Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

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Early Television Museum Picture Perfect

TV adds so much to family happiness.

~Motorola

Early Television Museum is located in Hilliard.

RCA’s first television on the market, TRK-12, was Steve McVoy’s initial early television purchase. He found it on eBay in pieces. Collecting became a passion and soon his basement was filled with old television sets. His wife suggested he find another place to store them.

Once he discovered an available building, he founded the Early Television Foundation in 2000 at Hilliard, Ohio to preserve the history of television sets. At Early Television Museum, progress is shown from the early mechanical systems of the 1920s to the introduction of color television in the 1950s.

There is a large display of early television sets from outside the United States.

However, Steve developed a passion for televisions early in life. He fondly remembers that first set in his parents’ home. The 1953 model Admiral 21-inch set received only one channel in Gainesville, Florida where he grew up.

At the age of ten, the family has a picture of Steve pulling a little wagon with the words “TV Repair” written on the side. By seventh grade, he worked in a TV repair shop after school.

Steve’s first business, Freedom TV, was located in Gainesville, Florida.

That passion turned into a business as he opened Freedom TV, an antenna shop, which supplied apartment buildings and hotels. When antennas lost their popularity, it seemed a logical move to create Micanopy Cable TV to provide television service.

Steve McVoy, originator of the museum, takes visitors on a tour of the facility.

Since Steve enjoys starting new businesses and giving many people a place to work, he expanded his cable company to several states, including Ohio. In the 70s, he met his wife Suzi, who just happened to work at his Columbus, Ohio cable company. The move to Ohio happened at that time. He sold the cable company in 1999 before he opened the Early Television Museum.

Larry McIntyre has been with Steve since the very beginning. He has always been interested in the electronics side of the television industry as his grandfather was an electrical engineer.

Early sets were made in Columbus by Murry Mercier and his father in 1928.

At the museum, there is a self-guided tour where you can press a button to hear about the television sets and their programs. The sets are numbered to make it easy to follow the narrative. The facility is well arranged with easy transition from one era to the next.

A Felix the Cat statue was used by RCA/NBC to test early television equipment in 1928.
Television were introduced to the United States consumer market in 1939 at the World’s Fair.
This RCA TRK-12 was displayed at the 1939 World’s Fair.

Starting with the 1920s, you find yourself on a fascinating journey through the early years of television beginning with early mechanical. RCA then developed the technology for sets using tubes, but it was the BBC that put it into operation in 1936. That first purchase of Steve’s, the RCA TRK-12, was introduced at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York. It cost $600 – more than the cost of a modest car at that time.

This early television by Dumont was the largest black and white set ever made.

After WWII, there was a burst in television production. During the war, they had learned much about how radar operates and applied this to the television world. Then sets could be purchased at a lower cost.

This Emerson Telejuke played records and television in New York City in 1947.

The Emerson Telejuke became popular in 1947 in New York City. Most people still did not have a television set in their homes so they could drop a quarter into the jukebox and either listen to some 78 rpm records or watch television for thirty minutes. Every bar, restaurant, and club had a jukebox.

In 1954, Westinghouse made the first color television which sold for $1295.

In the 1950s, color tv was introduced. Westinghouse made the first color set for sale in 1954 at a cost of $1295. Sixty New York department stores offered them for sale with not a single purchase that week. As color quality improved, prices came down, and sales increased. However, it wasn’t until 1970 that color sets outsold black and white.

Early camera equipment surrounds this production van from Newark WGSF 31.

School groups frequently tour the museum. When he tells them that in the 50s, you might get only two or three channels, they find it hard to believe. A fourth-grade group took it upon themselves to count the sets and came up with a total of nearly 200.

Recently they added a 6′ Nipper to their RCA showroom.

During 2020, the museum added 4 mechanical, 2 pre-war, and 18 early color sets to their database. They also acquired a video of French TV in 1935. They are always looking for something unusual to add to their collection.

Kuba Komet’s home entertainment center was developed in West Germany in 1957.

Regular hours for the museum are only on the weekends. Saturday they are open from 10-6 and Sunday noon-5. They open during the week by appointment. Set aside an hour or two for exploring this well-arranged display of older television sets from the United States as well as Europe. Visit their website for detailed information at www.earlytelevision.org.

Early Television Museum in Hilliard is a great place to see how technology has changed over the years. For many, it will bring back memories of sets they had early in life. You hear it, you see it, you’re right there with RCA Victor.

Early Television Museum is located about two miles off I-270 west of Columbus at 5396 Franklin Street, Hilliard, Ohio. Enjoy your visit!

Sheriff Investigates Still

I enjoy writing about real situations so when our writers’ group decided to do a book called “Ripped From the Headlines,” I wanted to write about something that could have happened. One of my interests in natural health and I know a lady who brewed a special tea to help many problems. So this story is about a  fictitious local man, who was working on a natural cure. 

Boden, Ohio 1933 An anonymous source recently informed the Signal about law enforcement conducting an investigation in the woods outside of town. It seems a man known only as Lightning has been carefully watched by the sheriff’s office because of suspicious behavior involving a still in the hillside behind his home.

Neighbors watched Lightning carry bag after bag of materials into a cave under a rock cliff. Several local men were also seen entering the cave. It is suspected that they were there to purchase the brew being made.

A freshwater spring comes out in that area and is vital for the making of good rum, which some have heard Lightning say was his favorite drink.

Sheriff Harry Totten and a couple deputies surrounded the entrance on a recent morning very early before Lightning even arrived at the still. They hid in the trees so they could watch his approach.

Lightning whistled a merry tune of “Show Me the Way to Go Home” as he happily made his way to the hillside one sunny May morning.

Imagine his surprise when the sheriff and two deputies appeared from the woods with guns drawn. His whistling stopped as a puzzled look crossed his face.

“What’s the problem, sheriff? I don’t think I’ve done anything wrong.”

With a smirk on his face, Sheriff Totten answered, “We’ll see about that when we check inside the hillside here. Seems something strange is going on in that cave and we’re here to check it out.”

“Oh, sir, I can’t let you see in there as I’m working on a secret and don’t want anyone to see it until it is perfected.”

“Yea, sure. Some secret brew to make your neighbor’s feel better?” By now the sheriff was getting a bit upset by Lightning’s conversation.

“How do you know what I’m working on? No one has been told anything about it. This hasn’t even been tested yet.”

Exasperated, a deputy ordered, “Let us in the hillside and see what is inside.”

“Please don’t come in. I’m not ready for people to know about this.” pleaded Lightning.

“Sorry, but we’re headed in this very minute so step aside.” With that, they entered the hillside to find the still they were sure was making rum.

Inside they discovered something that resembled a still but it didn’t smell like alcohol at all. On closer inspection, it didn’t taste like alcohol either. In fact, it rather tasted like dirt.

“Yuk! This is horrible. You’ll never find anyone to buy this if you were planning on selling it. Whatever is it for?”

Lightning chewed on his lip as he tried to think of a way to explain what he was making without giving away the secret completely. Everyone knew about his wife’s rheumatism so maybe that would satisfy the sheriff.

“Actually, I’m trying to make a tonic that will help my wife’s rheumatism. She really suffers from the pain and I keep trying different combinations to see if I can find something that helps. I work on it each morning for a little while before I go to work and let her try some each day.”

Has it helped your wife any?” smirked the sheriff. “I don’t think anything you brew up here is going to prove to help rheumatism.”

With that, Sheriff Totten and his deputies had a good laugh as they returned to their recently purchased 1932 Ford Model B. “I always thought Lightning was a little off his rocker.”

Now Lightning could relax as he continued his experiment with the old Indian recipe his elders had passed down for generations. No one had developed it in recent years and Lightning felt it was about time that someone put it to work to help many people.

Living near Big Indian Run, he could gather the needed herbs and roots easily from the hillsides close by his home. When he combined them with fresh spring water, it didn’t take long in the still for the purest tea to overflow.

Some say it tasted like dirt, but if it helped a person feel better that was what was important.

He had heard stories of people being cured of their illnesses after drinking this special tea day after day. His ancestors had carried down the stories for generations.

Now, his daughter, Crystal, was very ill, too, and nothing seemed to help her. That’s what made him decide that this was the right time to develop this special brew.

“Daddy,” he heard her call. “Come carry me to the spring so I can watch you work.”

Quickly he moved to the house to help his daughter who was so weak she could scarcely stand. Together they sat by the spring and felt the soft summer breeze.

“If only you felt better and life could stay like this,” he whispered.

Crystal so wanted to go to school but right now that wasn’t possible. She knew her dad was trying his best to find a solution to make her feel better so she tried not to complain.

Day after day, Crystal drank the special tea her dad had brewed and day by day, he noticed a little color returning to her face and a little strength coming back to her body.

Sometimes the best cures for our aches and pains have been given to us in the natural world around us if we just know how to use them.

Today, Crystal enjoys going to school and laughs when her dad tells the story about Sheriff Totten thinking he had a still to brew alcohol.

His wife’s rheumatism has improved remarkably as well. There has to be something to that old Indian recipe.

Lightning is seriously thinking about bottling his brew!

Would you be willing to try some? 

Robb Gable Features Dickens Victorian Village in “Christmastime in My Hometown”

Personal experiences become the basis of many songs that Robb Gable writes. A popular song at this time of year is one he wrote specifically about Dickens Victorian Village called “Christmastime in My Hometown.”

Robb entertained with his Christmas song at a Victorian tea.

Ever since the Courthouse Light Show began fourteen years ago, Robb and his wife, Robin, have attended every Opening Night. The whole family loves Christmas with its music, lights and manger scene. Excitement fills the air in downtown Cambridge during the Dickens Victorian Village season.

This scene provided the inspiration for “Christmastime in My Hometown.”

One evening while watching the Hallmark channel on television, Robb realized that his hometown was very much like a Hallmark movie. As he sat on the couch watching television, he wrote the words to “Christmastime in My Hometown” in ten minutes. The words just flowed as he remembered what happens downtown Cambridge in November and December.

Christmastime is here again.

And our little town is busier than it’s ever been.

And that old courthouse shines so bright

Music fills the air upon a cold December night.

Christmas Eve service has become a tradition at Southern Hills Baptist Fellowship.

Christmas has always been special with his family and every year on Christmas Eve the family gathers at Southern Hills Baptist Fellowship for a musical service that packs the building. Robb, his two sons, and his brother, Pastor Kirk look forward to this family tradition.

Saturday nights with his sons are special musical evenings.

Robb’s love of music drifted over to his two sons, Cole and Eli. Cole has varied talents which include producing classical to heavy metal sounds as well as being an author. Eli has drifted down to Nashville where he writes songs and performs on the drums and guitar.

There’s more to Robb’s musical ability than just Christmastime. He’s a singer, songwriter, and producer of musical entertainment and especially enjoys Christian country music. During the recent pandemic, Robb shared a series of YouTubes, “Alive from the Couch.”

Robb began playing piano and guitar at an early age.

You can find out a lot about Robb just by listening to the words of the songs that he has written, as most of them are from events that have happened in his life. He grew up on a little dirt road on College Hill just a few miles out of town. This led to him writing a song “Dirt Road.”

Many can relate to Robb’s life experiences easily when he puts them to music. Take his “Trailer” song that tells about a few years when he and his family lived in a trailer. It was the first place his family could afford to call their home. His songs all have meaning that touches on real life.

His older brother, Kirk, actually gave Robb the desire to be a musician as Kirk always played music around the house. At the age of seven, Robb began taking piano lessons and when he was eleven, began playing guitar.

This Gable Brothers album cover features the two brothers, Kirk and Robb.

Kirk and Robb performed as the Gable Brothers for several years beginning in 2000. Their songs were heard world-wide and several of their songs charted in Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland.

Their dog, Scout, likes to hang out in Scout Dog Studio.

Today, Scout Dog Studio is where Robb’s music all begins and where he spends most of his time. The studio is named for their dog, Scout, who seems to enjoy hanging out in the studio as well. Robb has two studio rooms. One is devoted to drums, which he feels are the foundation of music. He loves drums and also plays keyboard along with the guitar.

Robb’s collection of Fender Telecasters keeps growing as each one has a different voice.

Robb has quite a collection of guitars but he says that each one has its own voice and purpose. Fender Telecasters have become a favorite and his collection of them has expanded to over 30, according to his wife. She knows Robb well as they’ve been married for 27 years.

A guitar kit was the perfect birthday present for Robb.

Robb loves anything about music. He especially enjoys the process of production. Usually he writes the words first and they come quickly. His songs begin with a recording of the drum, which often is done by his son, Eli. Then Robb adds the rest himself piece by piece…a guitar or guitars, keyboard, and last of all the vocals.

The last song he wrote was for Robin on their anniversary. He took a little more time to write that song – fifteen minutes since it was special! No matter what happens around him, he is happy when he sees her smile.

Recently, he has gone back to his renovation business as he likes working on his own schedule. Gable Renovation specializes in interior remodeling as Robb is a carpenter by trade. He offers trustworthy service, fair pricing, and quality results. He wants to exceed your expectations.

Robb leads the band at Trinity Baptist Church in Cambridge.

In his spare time, he is very active in his church and leads the band at Trinity Baptist. Spreading the Christian message through song gives him great pleasure.

Cole, Robin, Scout, Robin, and Eli enjoy a Gable family vacation.

The Gable family has enjoyed many wonderful family vacations over the years. Sometimes they take their guitars along and they always stop at a music store. Robin recalls one year when they didn’t take a guitar with them. About a week into the vacation, they bought a guitar at a local music store and passed it around like candy that evening. The Gable boys all love their music.

Join Robb and Robin downtown at the Courthouse Light Show.

Catch that hometown Christmas spirit at Dickens Victorian Village in downtown Cambridge during November and December. You’ll understand why it inspired Robb to write “Christmastime in My Hometown.”

And people come from all around

To see the sights and hear the sounds

Of Christmastime! Christmastime in my hometown.

Sophisticated Handcrafted Chocolates at Coblentz Candy Co.

Life happens. Chocolate helps!

Coblentz Chocolates is located in beautiful Amish country at Walnut Creek.

People come from miles around to see Coblentz Chocolate Company especially as the holiday season approaches. Located in the heart of beautiful Amish country on Route 515 in Walnut Creek, chocolate seems to be the favorite word here as everyone has a favorite chocolate treat.

Chocolate covered strawberries are one of their special occasion treats.

When you walk inside the shop, a heavenly smell surrounds you – the smell of chocolate. Then you are greeted with the friendliest workers who are eager to help you make your selections or answer your questions.

Dark chocolate coconut bonbons have been a favorite since opening.

Perhaps first, you would enjoy going back to the viewing area to actually watch them making the chocolate treat of the day. Watch through their special viewing gallery as it is made and hand-dipped. The gallery is closed during the pandemic.

Things have changed since those early years when Jason and Mary Coblentz and Jason’s brother Mark purchased a residence, which they still use today, and began making Coblentz Chocolates in 1987. Their main goal was to provide customers with quality caramels and chocolates. Those early creations are still favorites today.

If you like chocolate, you’re sure to like their fudge.

In the beginning, Coblentz had only two full-time and three part-time employees. They made 30 different kinds of candy. Then, Jason attended Pulakos Candy School for a three-week course in 1990 to perfect his chocolate-making skills. More additions were made to their selections.

Smooth and creamy Buckeyes are a popular item and in 2002, Coblentz made the world’s largest Buckeye, which weighed 277 pounds. Now that’s a lot of peanut butter and chocolate!

There’s plenty of parking right beside the store.

Finally, Mark decided to try a different business venture and sold his share of the company to Jason and Mary. Since that time, they have added a second story to the residence for additional candy manufacturing.

This showcase contains those early favorites of caramels and bonbons.

Some tempting treats include sea salt caramels and chocolate covered marshmallows, dark chocolate orange peels, chocolate covered cherries, and a large selection of sugar-free. All their cream centers are made from scratch. One lady told her friends, “If it’s from Coblentz, I know it will be good.”

Use these autumn treats on your holiday table.

It’s no surprise that Christmas is their busiest time of the year, but October is the busiest tourist month. Many tour buses stop on their way through Amish country to get a taste of this great tasting chocolate.

Coffee with a chocolate covered spoon makes a special gift.

Christmas Open House is usually held the middle of November. Get samples of their high-quality chocolate, sign up for door prizes, and sip their great coffee samples. There’s bound to be some great sales happening that weekend.

Mary and Jerry Coblentz traveled to Chili to see cocoa beans firsthand.

Jason and Mary can’t make candy all year long. Once in a while they take a break as both love to travel. Some of their favorite places include Florida, the Caribbean, England, and Ireland. My guess would be that they check out chocolate companies along the way.

Their caramel corn varieties will tickle different taste buds.

When asked about their future, Jason explained, “We want to maintain the quality of our candy so customers are getting what they expect.” You can’t go wrong with any chocolate that you buy here. You’ll have a hard time choosing just one.

Pick up a stuffed animal while you’re there. It’s more than a candy store!

If you can’t make a trip to the candy store right now, please visit Coblentz Candy at their website at www.coblentzchocolates.com . It’s the perfect place to find a gift for any occasion and they ship anywhere in the U.S.

Next time you visit Amish Country, plan a stop at Coblentz Chocolates at 4917 OH-5 15, Walnut Creek, Ohio. Parking is easy as there’s a large parking lot right beside the store. Treat yourself to the scrumptious taste of mouth-watering chocolate.

Great Western Schoolhouse Keeps One-Room School Memories Alive

Reading ‘Riting and ‘Rithmetic, the three Rs, were the basics taught in those early one-room schools that stretched across Ohio in the 1800s. Not many are still left standing today but those that are, hold special memories and can teach us lessons from another era.

Great Western School

On the campus of Ohio University-Eastern near St. Clairsville, Great Western Schoolhouse has been restored for just that purpose and still stands in its original place 150 years later. Back in 1870, this school was built by Clark Construction Company of bricks made from the clay found on the banks of a nearby farm pond. The walls are three bricks thick with roughly 30,000 bricks used. It was proudly named for the first steamship, “The Great Western” which crossed the Atlantic in 15 days.

During those early days, attendance was not required but encouraged nevertheless. Most of the time, there were eight grades in one room taught by one teacher. Classes were often held from October through April, a time when students were not needed as frequently for farm work.

Great Western School - 1940 when brick road ran below it
The brick Old National Trail ran below the schoolhouse in 1940.

Great Western School was continually used until 1952. It is one of the very few one-room schools still standing on the National Road. Ohio University-Eastern uses this school to help students and children understand the schools of pioneer times.

These students were the last class to attend Great Western School.

In 1975, Dr. Robert Bovenizer of Ohio University asked the National Trail #348 of International Questers to consider restoring the building. They receive donations from former students and area residents as well as the use of grant money to complete the restoration project. An open house was held in 1976 during our country’s bicentennial.

Great Western - Finished Repairs
Repairs on the brickwork of two sides of Great Western School have been completed.

Improvements continue to be made each year. Recently a new tin ceiling was installed in the school, and the interior walls were restored and painted along with some of the schoolhouse benches. This considerably brightened the classroom. Two sides of the exterior brickwork were restored last fall and look wonderful.

great-western-mrs.-skaggs
Mrs. Skaggs taught at Great Western for many years.

The school still has recitation benches, chalkboards, McGuffey Readers, the original schoolmaster’s desk, two outhouses, and a potbelly stove which was fired by the stronger male students. The wooden students’ desks were donated by another school.

Ann Rattine, schoolmarm, teaches students

When Ann Rattine began teaching in St. Clairsville in 1976, she visited the newly restored Great Western Schoolhouse. Ann recalled, “When I stepped over the threshold, I thought this would make a nice field trip.” At that point, she became an important supporter of the school’s development.

One-Room School Flag
Most one-room schools had a flag above the chalkboard as well as pictures of Presidents Washington and Lincoln.

When Ann retired, she accepted the role of schoolmarm in the restored school. Visiting groups spend most of the day at the school, beginning the day with the Pledge of Allegiance, the Lord’s Prayer, and a Bible story – all things that were done in those early days.

Great Western - typical child
This young lady appears as a typical child at a one-room school.

Large groups of children visit here each spring to have spelling and arithmetic lessons on the old-fashioned slates. Last year nearly 500 students attended. Students are introduced to the ‘dunce hat’, which originally was used if a student didn’t know his lessons.

McGuffey Readers were used by students at all grade levels.

Old-fashioned games are also played. A Spelling Bee gives a break from traditional studies. Outside students might play Jacks, Tug of War, Drop the Handkerchief, or LeapFrog.

One-Room School Desks
The schoolmarm keeps the school in perfect order.

Ann Rattine gives new meaning to the word ‘dedication.’ Not only is she the schoolmarm, but she also does all the jobs that a schoolmarm did at the one-room school. She sweeps the floor, cleans the desks with Murphy Oil soap to have them shining, and puts the classroom in perfect order. Even the pot-bellied stove shines, although it is no longer in use.

One-Room School slate and reader
A typical student’s desk would contain slate, chalk, eraser, and reader.

Former students are encouraged to reminisce about lessons learned, pranks played on teachers and other students, lunch boxes, and stories of how they got to school. Many remember the ‘hot school lunch’ provided by parents during the cold winter months. A large pot would be placed on the pot-bellied stove, and parents would contribute meat, potatoes, and vegetables. At lunchtime, students would fill their water cup with a dipper of warm stew.

Great Western School -Lentz Tavern front
Lentz Tavern, next to the school, provided a place to get water and also a place for teachers to get their room and board.

Drinking water had to be carried from the nearby tavern, where teachers often had their room and board. The water was poured into a large container at the rear of the class. Some students drank out of the same dipper, but most had their own cups to be used for water and stew. The boys often had collapsible cups in their pockets and would get a drink of water at recess from the pond.

Great Western 192 0
Students dressed their best for a 1920s class picture.

Christmas celebrations included the entire community, not just students and parents. This was always a grand occasion. Last Christmas, Great Western Schoolhouse took part in the Noon Rotary Tour of Homes in St. Clairsville to show community members how Christmas was celebrated in the one-room school. Decorations consisted simply of a Christmas tree and lanterns in the windows.

When folks traveled to school in their buggies, they would use a lantern to light the way. Once arriving at the school, those lanterns were set in the windows to give light to the Christmas celebration since there was no electricity. Decorations for the tree were made by the students and included strings of popcorn, homemade gingerbread men, and dried apple slices. 

Great Western School - Lesson Plans
The teacher’s lesson plan was divided into very short segments.

Perhaps you will want to pay the school a visit in 2020 when it celebrates its 150th Anniversary. If you have a group that would enjoy the experience of attending a one-room school at any time, please contact Ann at schoolmarm2009@gmail.com . You may also receive information by contacting Ohio University Eastern at 740-695-1720.

The modern schools are large and grand and beautiful to see,

But many love the country school treasured in memory.

~Helen E. Middleton

Great Western Schoolhouse can be found on the campus of Ohio University – Eastern just off I-70 at Exit 213 to Route 40. Turn left on US 40 West and the school will be on the right hand side.

Road Trippin’ in the USA at McPeek’s Mighty Maze

If you want to get lost, McPeek’s Mighty Maze is the perfect place with Roadtrippin’ USA as the theme of their corn maze for 2020. Located at the Coshocton KOA Campground on County Road 10, it’s more than just a maze. They have many activities that those young at heart from 0 – 99 will enjoy.

This all began in 2015 after Ryan McPeek had purchased a campground near Coshocton and was trying to create something extra that campers and area residents would enjoy. A corn maze came to mind.

That first year was a learning year and a busy one for Ryan as he married Camille in August. They spent their honeymoon at McPeek’s Mighty Maze! This was a new experience for both of them as they had never created a corn maze before.

The entire Mighty Maze is shown in this overhead view.

The maze is more difficult to create than you might think. First, Dave Phillips of Maize Quest draws the maze for the year. After the corn is planted by Brian Mason in the spring, about July 4 the maze is created while the corn is knee-high, young, and tender making it easy to cut down.

Climb the steps to the platform for a great view of the maze.

Tim Day of Maize Quest then arrives with his tractor, rototiller, and GPS unit. Phillips’ Road Trippin’ USA maze is placed into the GPS and the tractor cuts out the maze in a few hours. Day is very busy as cuts about sixty corn mazes each year around the country.

Maize-O-Vision glasses help you see a special map of the maze.

Since the pandemic has made traveling on vacations a bit more difficult this year, the maze takes the shape of Road Trippin’ USA . You can take a fun road trip right here in Coshocton. The Route 66 logo is in one corner of the maze. Another section features a camper and you’ll find a few mountains along the edge.

Along the way, you’ll find stations to help you explore the USA.

At the end of August, holes were drilled to set up nine game stations. Colored ribbons were placed along the miles of pathways inside to help people find their way. Each section has a different color ribbon to help people know where they are. While at this giant corn maze you will learn a bit of history as you play the games and travel through the cornstalks for answers. Play Word Game and learn about 18 different National Parks.

Enjoy the challenge of the Rat Wheel – similar to what a hamster might use.

There’s also a Kid’s Corn Maze for little ones who don’t want to get too lost. Cornelius M. Quest’s Picture Find has children discovering nine Ohio animals hidden at picture stations inside the maze.

McPeek’s Giant Corn Maze is the best place to get lost in the stalks for the 6th season. Enjoy a tasty treat from their three food carts – mini donuts, ice cream, and special favorites like hot dogs and french fries or lumpia and chicken fried rice.

The Jump Pad is the perfect place to use up some extra energy.

There’s all kinds of Fall Fun available as well as the maze. Their giant Jump Pad will have you bouncin’ for joy. Or you might try your luck in a Rat Roll, which is similar to a hamster wheel. Even adults have fun with these! There’s also a Barrel Train ride for the youngsters. Don’t forget all the pumpkins.

Ryan McPeek enjoys driving the tractor for the hayrides.

A hayride winds through the corn maze as it heads to the top of Mt. Everest. Seating will be limited for each ride to assure social distancing. Some traditional events will not be held this year due to pandemic guidelines. The corn box is closed as well as the playground.

Have a different kind of experience at Flashlight Night, which was held earlier this season. Imagine the darkness surrounding you as the cool night breeze moves the cornstalks with eerie sounds. Be sure to pick up a map so you don’t get lost for the night. Take a Glow Hayride that same evening. You’ll have to come back another year for all the fun!

The barrel train ride is great fun for youngsters.

McPeek’s Mighty Maze will be open four weekends in October on Saturday and Sunday from 12 – 6 so plan ahead for a time of family fun roadtrippin’ through the corn or maybe gettin’ lost in the stalks.

Ryan and Camille will help make your adventure a memorable one. Check their website for further information and additional events at www.mcpeeksmightymaze.com or visit them on Facebook.

All ages enjoy the Duck Race to see whose duck will win the water race.

Admission at the gate is $10 per person with children under 2 free. If you register online ahead of time, admission is $8 per person. Staying at the KOA Campground in Coshocton gets you free admission to the Mighty Maze and a chance to enjoy the night air sitting around a campfire.

Sounds like Roadtrippin’ USA could be great fun for everyone at McPeek’s Mighty Maze. Get lost in the stalks!

​McPeek’s Mighty Maze is located at the Coshocton KOA Campgrounds on County Road 10 just east of Coshocton. You can’t miss their signs!

Marbles Made in America at Marble King

Marlbe King bag of marbles    Many will remember going to school with your bag of marbles so you could join a game at recess. Someone drew a large circle on the playground, participants knuckled down, and the game began. Each player had their own special shooter marble which was usually their largest marble. Mine had a light blue swirl.

   The goal was to shoot a marble outside the circle. You then kept that marble for the rest of the game. Then students either played “for fair” in which marbles were all returned to their owner or “for keeps” – no explanation needed.

Marble King Berry

“Marble King” Berry Pink began selling marbles in the 1930s.

   Someone had to make those special marbles and this is their story. It all began in the 1930s when Berry Pink was selling marbles manufactured by Peltier Glass. By the 1940s, Pink was selling more marbles than Sellers Peltier could produce so they decided to combine their talents of manufacturing and salesmanship in a new company.

   Berry Pink gave away marbles as he traveled around the country hosting marble tournaments. He became known as the “The Marble King” to the children along the way. When the company was founded in 1949, Marble King seemed a fitting name for this new organization.

Marble King Building

The marble factory is located in Paden City, West Virginia.

   At that time the company was located in St. Mary’s, West Virginia. But in 1958, a fire destroyed the factory and the manager, Roger Howdyshell moved the plant to Paden City where it remains today.

Marble King Dad

When he was manager, Roger Howdyshell purchased Marble King in 1963 and his family still owns it today.

   Howdyshell left his mark on the marble industry in several ways. He led Marble King to the top of marble manufactures when he designed the first American made Cat’s Eye marbles. In 1983, Roger Howdyshell purchased Marble King and dedicated his life to making it a success. While Roger died in 1991, the Howdyshell family still operates Marble King and carries on that fine tradition set by Roger.

Marble Rollers

Hot glass is cut into small pieces and rolled into marbles.

   Today, Beri Fox presides over Marble King, the only factory in the United States that manufactures marbles. She was named for Berry Pink and worked at Marble King with her mom and dad all of her life. On summer vacations from college, Beri worked in the family business.

   At that time, most marbles were used in games and toys for companies like Mattel and Ideal. But when video games became popular, Marble King had to make the transition to other uses for their beautiful glass gems. Now, marbles are being used in floral designs, jewelry, architecture, and industrial applications.

Marble King Walt filling the furnace

Wal Lancaster fills the furnace with recycled glass.

   Beri explained, “You can be a broken piece of glass and we can transition you into something new again.” 90% of their marbles are made from cullet glass, which is scrap glass melted down for reuse from several area glass companies. They can make a million marbles a day when in full production.

Marble King Champions

National Marble King champions visit with Beri at the factory.

   This is a frequent stop for tour buses and school groups as they come to learn the history of marbles and have fun along the way. The gift shop includes a 12-foot ring like the one that is used at the National Marbles Tournament in Wildwood, New Jersey. Marble King has been a proud tournament sponsor since 1968. Winners are presented with a $2,000 scholarship for post-secondary education. This year, a virtual tournament was held due to the coronavirus; next year, Marble King will sponsor the West Virginia Marble Festival in Paden City.

Marble King Beri with children

Beri enjoys visiting with children as they play with marble games in the gift shop.

   Kids have a chance to play Ringer in the gift shop. This is one of the traditional marble games where 13 marbles are placed in an X inside a circle. The challenge is to see who can be the first one to knock out seven marbles. “The opportunity to work in an industry that involves kids is what is truly important,” stated Beri. She always enjoys a chance to play Ringer with the kids when they stop by.

Marble King demonstration

   Most people think of marbles being used in toys and games. However, there are many other uses for marbles. Some are used as decorations for weddings, jewelry, fish tanks, and infiltration systems. When you shake a can of spray paint, that rattle you hear is an industrial use of a marble. Special marbles are even used in making wine and beer. They have even been used by NASA for testing in their space balloons. The list of uses is amazing.

Marble King Marble Tower

Towers filled with Marble King marbles create a great conversation piece.

   Their marbles have even made the movies! “Goonies”, “Hook”, and “Home Alone” have featured Marble King marbles as props. Robin Williams used Marble King marbles when he recaptured his youth as Peter Pan.

Marble King marbles

   Marble King marbles are made using recycled glass in the U.S.A. seven days a week, three hundred sixty-five days a year. Marbles have been shipped all over the world to over 17 countries, including Australia, Germany, France, United Kingdom, and Canada. In 2000, Marble King won the Governor’s Award for Excellent in Exporting.

Marble King at Grave Creek Mound

Grave Creek Mound Museum in Moundsville, West Virginia, uses Marble King marbles to create their logo in a large mural.

   In Moundsville, West Virginia at the Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex an entire wall displays their beauty in a fantastic, colorful design. Here 47,523 marbles replicate the logo of Marble King.

Marble King Altard States

Altar’d State uses Marble King marbles with a lighted background in every store.

   Altar’d State stores use a clear glass panel filled with Marble King marbles as the backdrop in each store. Lighted from behind, this creates a very beautiful and glowing welcome.

Marble King Marbles 2    Visit their interactive museum and gift shop in Paden City to discover why Marble King is known for quality, tradition, and history all over the world. It’s extra special because today they are the only marble company still producing Made in America marbles.

Made in America parade

Marble King was recognized as an American Made Hero and served, along with others, as the Grand Marshall of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Boston.

   After 70 years in business, Marble King marbles have earned the right to be called the world’s best-known, and best-loved marbles.

    Marble King is located in Paden City, WV. From Marietta take US-2 North and from Wheeling take US -2 South.  Turn on Park Street and then 1st Avenue. The Gift Shop will be at 401 S 1st Avenue.

Rise and Shine with Lisa Bell

Invest in your health!

Bell Barn

Their barn has become a symbol of her bakery business.

Bell Farmstead Bakery & Products came about as a result of Lisa Bell’s chronic stomach issues. While she tried the advice of many doctors, nothing seemed to relieve her problem. Then in 2014, she met a holistic doctor that had a bit of different advice.

Bell- Strawberry Oat Muffin

People like these strawberry oat muffins so well they buy them by the dozen.

   This doctor suggested she try a gluten free diet for a couple of weeks just to see how she felt. That meant that she was to eat no products with grains such as wheat, barley, and rye. Within three days, she felt better than she had ever felt; however, it took a year for complete healing and recovery. Her husband decided to try the diet with her and found he too felt much better.

   While Lisa started her gluten free business due to her own severe health issues, now she is helping others overcome this problem.  One of the first things they need to do is visit their doctor and schedule a test for Celiac, an immune reaction to eating gluten that damages the small intestine lining and prevents absorption of nutrients.

Bell - eggs, fried potatoes, Zucchini applesaue bread toasted with butter

This gluten free breakfast of eggs, fried potatoes, and toasted applesauuce bread looks mighty appealing.

   Once she found the gluten free diet made her feel so much better, her problem was finding tasty gluten free products. There weren’t any bakeries that offered anything gluten free and what she found in stores was dry, made with preservatives, using mega white rice flour and tapioca starch.  To correct this problem, Bell Farmstead Bakery & Products was born in 2016.

Bell Banana Nut Bread

Get to the Farmer’s Market early if you want some of Lisa’s banana nut bread.

   It became important to Lisa to not only have the products taste better but she wanted them to have nutritional value. She studied the ancient grains that our ancestors would have grown and used, such as amaranth, sorghum, and millet. Then she experimented with flaxseed meal, coconut, almond, and garbanzo bean flours. These flours are what bring the unique flavor and texture to her products.

   Most of the recipes used in her baked goods are ones she has created herself by trial and error for her family. She discovered that by using organic and non-gmo ingredients, products were not only healthier but also more flavorable.

Lisa and chicken

Her chickens provide the perfect eggs for her baked goods.

   Her chickens are even fed organic food. They start out with a feed ordered from Virginia that has no soy and then graduate to layer feed, which has no soy or wheat content. Any extras are organic produce that is grown by Lisa. After all, these eggs are what she uses in her baked goods.

Bell Pancake Mix

Bell pancake mix is Husband tested, Husband approved!

   Lisa is also president of the Cambridge Rise and Shine Farmer’s Market. This market only accepts homegrown produce, herbs, flowers, and plants as well as handcrafted goods. They cannot be purchased in bulk from an auction house but must be from the farmer’s garden. Here you get a chance to talk to the farmers that have produced the crops and get their suggestions for using them.

   Her products are sold at Rise & Shine Farmers’ Market, which is open every Friday morning May through October at the Southgate Hotel parking lot in Cambridge. Her products cater to those with food allergies and are all corn, soy, xanthan gum, gluten, and peanut free. Wheat, rye, or barley are not allowed in any of her products. Many people feel better when they avoid these foods.

Bell - Lisa in her herbs

Lisa can often be found working in her herb garden.

   Correct care of gardens and fields is of utmost importance. Chemical spraying of crops before or after planting contributes harmful substances to the body. Simply, you can’t digest poison! So the importance of pure crops is high on the list.

Lisa at Market Place SFF

Lisa was at one time chairman of the Marketplace for Salt Fork Festival.

   She also participates in the River City Farmers’ Markets in Marietta every other week. In past years, she also has organized the Marketplace for the Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival. Each market seems to bring new experiences such as hot sunshine, rain, wind, and even snow has been encountered.

Bell Apple Cinnamon Oat Muffins   Every week Lisa bakes something a little different for the Farmers’ Market crowd. A few of those treats from past weeks have included Zucchini Applesauce Bread, Rhubarb Mint Pie, and Apricot Date Scones. Something delicious always appears from her ovens.

Lisa - Wedding Cake

This gluten free wedding cake  looks and tastes delicious.

   There’s a wide assortment of breads, muffins, and pies available. Try some of her buckwheat or oat flax ginger pancake mixes. About a half dozen different oatmeal mixes include Raisin Cinnamon, Cranberry Almond Ginger, and Plum Vanilla. When talking with her recently, she was baking a vegan birthday cake and has also done wedding cakes.

Lisa - Organic Strawberry Patch

This organic strawberry patch provides fresh fruit for her baked goods.

   Lisa established her bakery because she doesn’t believe that being Celiac or having a food intolerance or allergy should prevent a person from having a tasty meal or a scrumptious dessert. Her goal is to create products that taste awesome and have nutritious value. Good nutrition is the key to a healthy immune system.

Lisa - Paloma chicken coop

Lisa served as local chief humane officer for livestock. Her animals are an important part of her life.

   When asked what advice she would give others, Lisa says without hesitation, “Invest in your health by eating healthy, get plenty of fresh air and sunshine, and practice grounding each day. Have faith in God and let Him be in charge of your life.” Grounding, or earthing, is the process of placing your bare feet on the ground for at least fifteen minutes a day to reconnect your body with the earth’s energy.

Bell Commercial   Right now, Lisa and her husband, Rick, are refurbishing a second house on their property to use as a commercial bakery. This is a very exciting endeavor and promises to give Lisa a place to experiment with her recipes while having a showroom where she can sell her products.

Bell Cooking Outdoors

Cooking outdoors is a year-round favorite for her family.

   She proudly states, “Everything I create is with a purpose and good intention not just for my family, but for you and your family also.” Contact Lisa at Bell Farmstead Bakery at 740-680-1866 or email her at bellfarmstead@yahoo.com. Visit her website at www.bellfarmsteadgfbakery.com .

   If you are having stomach problems and fatigue, Lisa would suggest that you have your doctor run a test for Celiac. Let her know your allergy and food intolerances and Lisa will gladly help you find some delicious foods to add to your diet.

Aaron Swank Projector Operator for Drive-in Movies

Aaron - Lynn Auto Theater

           Watching a movie at a drive-in theater was always great fun.

   Few people would have seen more movies than Aaron Swank of Newcomerstown during the 1956-86 era. He was kept busy running the projector at some drive-in or movie theater every week. Since Aaron served as a relief operator, he worked in Newcomerstown, Newark, Coshocton, Mt. Vernon, and Cambridge for several different companies.

Aaron Projection Room

Operators of projectors could not leave the projection booth during the movie.

   When working, his job was to take care of all equipment at the theaters including projectors, wiring, and speakers at the drive-ins. Only members of the Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and Motion Picture Machine Operators were permitted operator responsibility. Knowing when and how to change the lens for different movies was very important.

Starlite Opening Night

Tickets were 44 cents for Opening Night at Starlite. Children under 12 were free!

   35 mm movie reels at that time were received in multiple canisters placed in one box. Since each roll was only 18 minutes long, there were usually five or six large rolls included for a movie. A two-minute warning was given the operator to change rolls so there would be no break in the movie. This consisted of a couple of circles in the upper right-hand corner. Sometimes today you can still see those in an old movie on television.

Aaron - Heath Opening Night

Heath Auto Theatre advertised “Don’t dress up.” “Smoke if you like.” “No Parking Worries.”

   After a reel was run, it then had to be rewound for showing the next evening or to be sent on to its next stop. Some were rewound by hand but later they used an automatic rewinder and then placed the reels in order in compartments for ease of using the following night. Once in a while his young daughter Betsy went to the movies with Dad and had the privilege of rewinding the films.

Aaron Cruise in

        Cruise-In Drive in near Cambridge was a favorite of area youngsters.

   After seeing all those films, it seemed only natural to ask Aaron about his favorites. At the top of his list were Westerns, especially those starring John Wayne and Randolph Scott. The Shootist, the last film Wayne starred in was a favorite.

Aaron - Heath Auto Theatre

                        Heath Auto Theatre could hold 600 cars.

   Drive-ins were popular spots and the Heath Auto Theatre was a favorite of Aaron’s. The projection booth was on top of the concession stand with a 465′ screen and room for 600 cars. When working the drive-ins, dust was always a major factor as the projector and film had to be kept clean to run smoothly. 

Aaron - Starlite Theater

Starlite Drive-in near Newcomerstown was one place Aaron showed many movies.

   Another favorite place to operate the projector was at Starlite Drive-in near Newcomerstown, which opened on June 24, 1949. Their projection room with the popular Brenkert Enarc projector was partially underground. They had a wooden screen tower with a canvas screen and could park 300 cars. A tornado hit town in 1955 and did considerable damage to the screen so a new cement block tower was built.

   Here you could see a movie for 44 cents and children under 12 were free. They continued to operate until the end of the season in 1986 when the screen was demolished. Now it is a housing development with Star Lite Drive running down its center.

Aaron-speaker

            Every car had its own speaker to put in the window.

   At the drive-in theaters, Betsy placed the speakers on the poles in the spring and helped take them off in the fall. Taking them off was a little dangerous as often wasps would make their nests in the speakers during the summer. Betsy said she undid the screw on the top with one hand and had a can of wasp spray in the other.

Aaron and Mary

Aaron was thankful to have Mary for a great supporting wife no matter what he attempted.

   Some evenings, his wife Mary, daughter Betsy and perhaps a friend would go along to the drive-in with him. They would bring along popcorn and kool-aid as they curled up on blankets in the back of their VW van.

Aaron - Teacher

Mr. Swank will be remembered for his years of teaching at Madison High School and Buckeye Vocational School.

   Many will remember Mr. Swank from his twenty-seven years of teaching history and political science at Madison High School and Buckeye Vocational School. Playing trombone in bands on the weekends gave him great pleasure also, especially the good times with the Rich Simcox Band.

Aaron Rich Simcox Band

Playing trombone in the Rich Simcox Band was one of his favorite weekend pasttimes.

   “I got to meet a lot of nice people I never would have met,” smiled Aaron. However, on his musical evenings, he had opportunity to meet Lyndon Johnson and Ronald Reagon. His students always enjoyed hearing of how Mr. Swank passed up by choice almost meeting two men who were to become president of the United States with a simple, “No.”

Aaron - Musical Night

          Aaron played trombone in several different bands on weekends.

   As you can tell, operating the projector at one of these theaters was a busy occupation. You had to stay in the booth the entire time in case there would be a break in the film, a ghost shadow, or another problem. Of course, the best nights were those when everything ran smoothly…but those didn’t happen very often.

Aaron - cider press

    A favorite fall hobby was making delicious apple cider in his own press.

You can still enjoy a drive-in movie close-by today at the Lynn Auto Theatre in Strasburg. They have two screens and great choices for your watching enjoyment. Come as you are in your family car!

Captain Bill Calmly Cruises Through Life

Captain Bill at wheel

Captain Bill takes the wheel of the Lorena Sternwheeler.

When you’ve been a captain for thirty-five years, navigating the waters is something you do with ease no matter the situation. William Page, called Captain Bill by those who know him best, has surrounded himself with life on or near the water for most of his life.

Captain - child

That’s Bill on the right with a diving helmet his dad found in a Pittsburgh River.

   Growing up in Zanesville, he lived close to the Muskingum River and had many daring adventures there as a child while picking up coal along the railroad tracks. Riding a log jam down the river while fishing was one escapade that got him in trouble. Often he and his cousins would climb up under the bridges to catch pigeons – they wanted a carrier pigeon.

Captain - Aquatics Unlimited

Aquatics Unlimited in Zanesville was one of his first business ventures.

   Bill worked for Anchor Hocking Glass for 25 years as an engineering draftsman and mold maker. But the water was calling him and he opened Aquatics Unlimited in Zanesville. Here he designed and built swimming pools and spas, and taught scuba diving.

Captain - Swimming Pool

This swimming pool in Nashville, Tennessee was the last pool he constructed.

   Because of his diving abilities, he was a reserve deputy sheriff in Perry and Muskingum Counties. There he was active doing search and recovery dive team training and rescue missions.

Captain Diving

Giving scuba diving lessons was something Bill truly enjoyed.

   Then he took a vacation and fell in love with the waters of Florida. Soon he moved there, where he owned Knox Bait House Marina. When Bill decides to tackle a project, his persistence has always paid off. Since he had been a commercial diver, he decided to open a scuba diving center where he gave lessons on the Crystal River.

Captain - Manatee

Swimming with the manatee was a favorite Florida pastime.

   He set up a manatee training program at Crystal River because of their abundance at that location. His training program received international recognition. He fell in love with the manatees and enjoyed teaching people how to interact with these large aquatic mammals, who are very friendly when properly treated.

Captain Silver Suit 2

He was honored to wear the Silver Suit of Jacques Cousteau.

   While managing the Port Paradise Dive Center, he was in charge of everything from boat and diving equipment rentals to training divers and giving tours. This is where he was lucky enough to wear one of the famous silver suits of Jacques Cousteau who said, “The best way to observe a fish is to become one.” Bill understood how to do that.

Captain - Video Recorder

Bill still has the underwater video recorder that he used quite often.

   While in Florida, Bill’s life was filled with excitement. He worked at Walt Disney World with the dolphins, was part of the support team for a simulator space capsule with NASA, and directed scuba diving programs at the University of Florida and Bay Point Dive Center.

  There’s a special experience of freedom while diving. The feeling of weightlessness in the water and in the space capsule were pure delights for Bill. One special pleasure was diving to view all the colorful fish, especially at night when some give off a fluorescent glow. “We dive not to escape life but for life not to escape us.”

Captain - Yacht

Sailing his charter yacht Challenge led to many exciting trips in the Caribbean.

   In Florida, he received his captain’s license and took people on cruises from Ft. Lauderdale to the Caribbean. For three years he captained The Challenge, a 52′ charter sailing yacht.

   An old friend from Zanesville, Dorothy Montgomery, pulled some strings and asked him if he would come back and temporarily captain the Lorena. He had never operated a sternwheeler before but decided to accept the challenge. That was fifteen years ago.

Captain and Becky

Bill and his wife, Becky, share a passion for the waterways.

   Since then Captain Bill and his wife “Admiral” Becky, social director on the Lorena, have enjoyed the Muskingum River and the people who ride along with them. They hope to be back on board by the end of May each year.

Lorena Paddlewheel

Today Bill is Captain of the Lorena on the Muskingum River.

   While steering the Lorena, he notices his environment. In the sky, he sees many different birds, eagles and an occasional seagull. In the water, herring and other fish make themselves known but he quipped, “I haven’t seen an alligator, but I’m looking.”

   In his spare time, Bill drives tour buses and school buses for West Muskingum. He fills every hour of the day. If he would have one bit of advice for young people, it would be, “Education. Get it all.”

   Everyone has dreams and Bill is no exception. One dive he would still like to make is off the coast of Australia in the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef system.

Captain - Queen of the Lake II

His next project is to direct the restoration of the Queen of the Lake III at Buckeye Lake.

   His next project is fairly close to home as he has been asked to be project manager at Buckeye Lake as they complete the final steps on the restoration of Queen of the Lake III.

Captain at home

The Captain’s home office is filled with nautical memorabilia.

   There’s no doubt that Bill and Becky enjoy life to the fullest these days. Bill enjoys playing keyboard, guitar and accordion but never took a lesson. He’s one of those true musicians that play by ear. Today he’s perfectly happy to just relax in their beautiful home near Zanesville.

   Bill has seen things under the water that most have never seen. Memories float to the surface when he speaks of his adventures.

   “The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonders forever.”

~Jacques Cousteau

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