Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Posts tagged ‘Byesville’

St. Michael’s Greek Orthodox Church

St Michaels Orthodox Church

St. Michael’s Orthodox Church served as worship center for many Slavic immigrants.

Orthodox Christians from central and eastern Europe petitioned Archbishop Platon for a priest in Robins back in 1912. In the beginning, worship services were held in the Lodge Hall, which was remodeled and converted into St. Michael’s Greek Orthodox Church.

Baba and Dede 001 (2)

My grandparents, George and Mary Veselenak – Dede and Baba to me, were active at St. Michael’s Orthodox Church. George Veselenak was president of the United Orthodox Brotherhood of America for over thirty years.

The church sat against a bank in Robins, which is today known as Trail Run. During an Easter service there at midnight on Sunday morning many years ago, the church fell into total darkness. Everyone left the church to follow the priest around the church three times to indicate the three days Jesus stayed in the tomb. Then everyone stepped back inside the church to find it brightly lighted with many white candles. The Resurrection had occurred.

St Michaels Parish

Families gathered to have Easter baskets blessed.

Easter baskets were blessed by the priest and a feast was held for those present to break their fast since Friday. Many had not eaten meat for the duration of Lent. It was a pleasant time as their soul had been filled with the Spirit and their bodies with the blessed food.

The interior of the Greek Orthodox Church, later called Russian Orthodox Church, holds many beautiful paintings, statues, and decorations.  The church building is centered around the altar table, The Banquet Table of God. The Book of the Gospels sets on this carved wooden table from which communion is served. Many candles can be found throughout the center of worship.

St Michael's Interior

The altar at St. Michael’s  shows the traditional Orthodox cross.

Icons of Christ and the saints play a large role in describing the reality of God’s presence with us. They can be found on the royal gate, over the doors, around the central gates, on walls and ceilings.

The cross is the central symbol for Christianity. The Orthodox make the Sign of the Cross by placing their first two fingers and thumb together to signify the Triune God. Then cross themselves from head to breast and from shoulder to shoulder. This is done several times during their services.

This ribbon badge has two sides. The red, gold and blue side was worn for all church services, while the black side was used for funerals. This badge belonged to Dede.

Incense is the symbol of the rising of prayers, of spiritual sacrifice and of the sweet-smelling fragrance of the Kingdom of God. The priest frequently swings his censor of incense over the altar area as well as the entire congregation as a blessing.

Robins Prayer cloth 001

Mom framed this prayer cloth that belonged to Baba.

Since services remain much the same from week to week, parishioners know the hymns and prayers easily as their chant is very repetitious. No organ or instruments are used as all words are from scripture or ancient Christian texts. Orthodox people generally stand for the entire service.

1914 First Children's Class at St Michaels

This picture taken in 1914 shows the size of the first children’s class at St. Michael’s.

St. Michael’s Orthodox Church in Robins had a large attendance, and children were well behaved. There was no nursery so children learned to stand quietly for the entire service. In its early years, services were conducted in Slovak, however, today English prevails.

Land for the church cemetery, now known as Robins Cemetery or Trail Run Cemetery, was purchased on the hill across the road from the church in 1918. The Bethlehem Cemetery is in Lower Trail Run. About twenty years later, the “R” Club (Fellowship of Orthodox Christians in America) was established.

Trail Run View with church by tracks

This is an overview of Robins with the Orthodox Church seen on the back right.

The parish home in Robins, burned down on two separate occasions. The first time in 1939 when it was rebuilt with lumber from vacated houses after the mines had closed. After the second fire in 1958, parishioners decided to rebuilt in Byesville, OH and purchased land for a future church building.

Christ the Savior Orthodox Church

Christ the Savior Orthodox Church celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2017.

In December of 1966, the first service was held in the new building in Byesville, where the church was called Christ the Savior Orthodox Church. Today this church is the only Orthodox Church in southeastern Ohio and covers an area from Columbus to the Ohio River and as far north as Canton. They celebrate their 50th anniversary this year.

Their church bulletin states: “May God reward your good deeds and preserve the spirit of devotion to Him every day of the year.”

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Evidence of Bigfoot in Southeastern Ohio

Bigfoot Newcomerstown

This large Bigfoot outside The Feed Barn keeps an eye on customers.

Bigfoot captures the attention and following of many residents of Southeastern Ohio. Frequent meetings are held all year with devotees telling of their latest sightings and experiences with the illusive Bigfoot.

Recently an employee of Salt Fork State Park saw something large stand up along the road as she was driving past Hosak’s Cave in the park. This Bigfoot ran into the woods, but left behind a large footprint, which the Bigfoot investigators made into a plaster cast.

Bigfoot Crossing

It’s no surprise that in the Salt Fork Lake area you might find a Bigfoot Crossing.

Each spring, Salt Fork State Park holds Ohio Bigfoot Conference, which draws hundreds to listen to the latest information about Sasquatch, another name for Bigfoot. This year those dates are May 19 and 20. Cliff Barackman from Animal Planet’s “Finding Bigfoot” will be the Master of Ceremonies.

Bigfoot Orrs

Vicky Veselenak shares a passion for Bigfoot with her dad, Marvin Orr.  You can have lunch with Bigfoot at Orr’s Drive-in.

Several area businesses use Bigfoot as a drawing card. In Byesville, Marvin Orr at Orr’s Drive-In placed a statue of Bigfoot beside their picnic tables. Marvin and his daughters frequently attend Bigfoot meetings and conferences. After hearing all the stories told by ordinary people, it makes them believe there’s ‘something’ out there.

Daughter Vicky used the Bigfoot theme in her classroom in Rolling Hills for years. Her bulletin boards were alive with his image, wooden Bigfoots made great hall passes and she designed her own six foot tall Bigfoot with a jigsaw. Stop by Orr’s and have lunch with Bigfoot.

BF The Feed Barn

Three Bigfoot statues draw attention to The Feed Barn in Newcomerstown. Doyle Donathan, manager, enjoys sharing stories about this mysterious creature.

The Feed Barn in Newcomerstown displays and sells Bigfoot statues and tee shirts because of all the sightings in the area. Recently, a young boy was crossing the railroad tracks down by the Tuscarawas River and checked both ways to make sure no train was coming. No train in sight, but he did see a Bigfoot step across the track easily with one long stride.

Bigfoot Caldwell

Denny Crock keeps customers watching as he frequently dresses Bigfoot as a snowboarder, fisherman, or even ready for Jamboree in the Hills. It’s difficult to find his shirt size – 7X.

In Noble County at the Caldwell Food Center Emporium, you will be greeted by Bigfoot at the entrance to the parking lot. Denny Crock, owner, knew people talked about Bigfoot frequently so wanted a concrete statue at his store. This 6’2”, 2400 pound creature attracts much attention.

Bigfoot Salt Fork

This carved, restrained, wooden statue hangs out in Wildlife Lounge at Salt Fork Lodge.

Out at Salt Fork Lodge, Ohio Bigfoot Conference donated a carved wooden statue since their meeting provides Salt Fork Lodge its largest conference of the year. Rooms and cabins are filled to capacity this weekend and the Lodge Gift Shop has record sales with their wide range of memorabilia.

Bigfoot Gift Shop

The hottest items at the Salt Fork Lodge Gift Shop are tee shirts. But they also have              “Bigfoot I Believe” wine,  action figures, games and much, much more.

Nothing But Chocolate will give you a sweet taste of Bigfoot as she has his footprints for sale – in chocolate of course. Amanda makes these delicious footprints for the Bigfoot Conference and for State Park Conventions held at Salt Fork.

Local investigations began with Don Keating in 1980. He wrote an article about a sighting in the Newcomerstown area. Since then Don had organized the Ohio Bigfoot Conferences at Salt Fork State Park until he recently stepped back to devote more time to another interest – meteorology.

Bigfoot Doug

Doug Waller, local Bigfoot investigator and enthusiast, has written two books about the group’s experiences.

Doug Waller speaks frequently around the area about the legendary Bigfoot. The founder of Southeastern Ohio Society for Bigfoot Investigation, Doug and his team tell about the activities and sightings of this mysterious creature.

Ideas range from an ape-like animal to an extraterrestrial being. The Native Americans saw Bigfoot as a spiritual being, including it on their totem poles.  The Delaware Indians cautioned residents here long ago to put out food offerings for “the wild ones in the woods”.

Bigfoot sign

This clever sign always brings a smile to the face of Bigfoot fans.

Each person is free to explore the ideas he finds probable. But when you hear a scratch on the wall, smell something terrible outside your door, or see an eight-foot tall creature lumber off into the woods, you just might become a believer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Granny Rides the Interurban

Imagine what it would’ve been like to take a Gypsy Road Trip a hundred years ago. At that time a modern means of transportation in Guernsey County was the Interurban, a type of electric railway with light, self-propelled, electric cars. Midland Power & Traction provided the electricity from their location  on Foster Avenue at 2nd Street (recent home of Variety Glass) in Cambridge, Ohio.

Just for fun, let’s step on the Guernsey County Interurban and take a little road trip with Granny through Guernsey County on a summer day long ago. She has a special destination for her trip today, but will enjoy all the sights along the way.

All aboard for a ride into the past.

Interurban on 8th St 001

Tickets could be purchased at The Electric Shop across from the courthouse.

Having saved her pennies for weeks now, it’s time to purchase her round trip ticket for a quarter. The Electric Shop on the corner of South 8th Street across from the courthouse is a handy place to get a ticket.

Cambridge Glass Company Baseball Diamond

This aerial shot of the old Cambridge Glass Company shows the baseball diamond, a popular weekend form of entertainment.

At the first stop on the trestle by the Cambridge Glass Company on Morton Avenue, glass workers wait. Many employees use this for their ride home after work, even on a Saturday. Granny notices the baseball teams preparing to enjoy the summer day. Looks like the semi-pro teams of Cambridge Glass Clear Cuts and Byesville Bobcats are ready to “Play Ball”.

Today a stop will be made at the Byesville Driving Park along Chapman Creek. Many depart the train at Stop #7, called Marjorie or Springfield, and walk about a quarter of a mile to the grandstands at the park to watch the horse races.

Korte

Korte’s Park had perhaps the only swimming pool in Ohio back in the early 1900s.

Others get off at Stop #9 and visit the nicest picnic area around at Korte’s Park. This is said to have been the only swimming pool in the state of Ohio, so quite a popular spot during the summer months.

Interurban Car on Byesville Depot Street

The Interurban rolls down Depot Street (now Second Street) in Byesville.

This Saturday afternoon when all the coal miners are shopping in Byesville, the Interurban has to slow down a little because of the miners and their families flooding this main thoroughfare. Coal miners were not welcome to shop in Cambridge, so Byesville was a busy town.

Interurban Rocky Bottom 001

Interurban passes over Rocky Bottom swimming hole, a popular summer hang-out.

Just outside of Byesville at Little Kate, the tracks lead over Wills Creek on a trestle. Granny’s eyes light up as she notices a sign on the cowcatcher that says “Haag Railroad Show”. That sounds like something she would like to see.

As you pass over “Rocky Bottom”, a favorite swimming hole for youngsters, watch out for skinny dippers.  Sometimes they make people laugh, and other times cause embarrassment to those riding the rails. Granny has to cover her eyes!

Trail Run Mine is a busy town with over 1500 residents. You have to be quick as the interurban only stops here for seconds unless there are milk cans, ice, dynamite, or other freight to unload. They must keep on schedule.

Interurban Vacation Bible Class in 1925

Vacation Bible class of Lucasburg and Buckeyeville stops for a picnic at Ball’s Grove.

Up on the hillside, Granny spots families having a picnic under the trees. There is a spring nearby and she has heard that Ball’s Grove (today the northbound I-77 roadside rest) is a perfect place for a family to enjoy relaxing while the children play tag or kick-the-can.

Puritan Mine 001

Miners and mules line up outside Puritan Mine.

As the Interurban stops at Puritan Mine (Seneca Lane), coal miners get on board to head home for the evening. Granny fusses just a little to make sure they don’t get coal dust or grease on her best dress as she has almost reached her destination. The large cars have seats for forty-two, but often two hundred dirty miners will crowd on board, eager to head home for the day.

Interurban at Pleasant City 001

The Interurban can be seen on the other side of the covered bridge leaving Pleasant City to return to Cambridge.

By the time the cars have made it all the way to Pleasant City, the end of the line, there is reduced power for the trip back to Cambridge. Voltage is so low that cars leave at a crawl with their overhead lights no brighter than lightning bugs. Now you can see why they need that new substation on Morton Avenue to provide power to the stations at Pleasant City and Byesville.

Today’s a  special day for Granny as it’s her birthday. Her sisters live in Pleasant City and greet her as she gets off the Interurban. They are amazed that she has come so far all by herself.

Granny is excited to tell them about the Haag Railroad Show that is coming next week. “Maybe we could all go see their trained bears, ponies and blue-faced monkeys. There’s always something exciting happening around Guernsey County these days.”

Wouldn’t it have been an adventure to take a Gypsy Road Trip with Granny on the Interurban?

 

Beautiful Ohio’s Winter Wonderland

Jackson Park near Byesville provides a scenic place to walk on a winter day.

Jackson Park near Byesville is a great place to walk on a winter day.

Snow flakes fall against the window panes while the wind howls through the cracks in the wall. Looking out the window here in Ohio, there is snow as far as the eye can see. This is the perfect time to get out the picture album and reminisce about other snowy days.

Dad shovels snow.

Dad bundles up to shovel snow.

Shoveling snow has always been a winter chore throughout the years. Often this task got delegated to the man of the house as he bundled up in buckled boots, old overcoat, and toboggan to protect himself against the winter cold. At the time of this picture, the car wasn’t driven into the garage because the tires had chains on them to enable better traction in the snow. Sometimes it may have been days before anyone cleared the roads. It may be a neighbor with a blade on his tractor or perhaps the highway department, that finally opened the roads for needed supplies. Often when the snowplows cleared the roads, they would push a pile of snow a couple feet high across the end of your driveway. Or you may have lived in a place where the winds blew drifts several feet high. Those were and still are the times that try men’s souls and their backs.

Children enjoy a sled ride.

Children enjoy a sled ride.

Children always enjoy a ride on their sled whether they are being pulled by someone or gliding down a hill. Many neighborhoods have a favorite hill where children gather to race on their sleds. Sometimes they may use a large lid or piece of cardboard with the front bent up so it can slide easily down the hills without getting caught in the snow. An old innertube also provides a great way to slide down a hill. You can be certain that everyone is going to come home covered with snow and ready for some hot chocolate.

Carrot nose placed on his first snowman.

Carrot nose placed on his first snowman.

Another favorite activity in the wintertime is building a snowman. Parents enjoy helping youngsters build that first snowman as it makes dad and mom feel young again too. To add the finishing touches, a nose is created by using a carrot, while its mouth and two eyes are made out of coal. Many times a hat is placed on the snowman’s head with a scarf around their neck. Then everyone hopes it doesn’t melt away too quickly after all that hard work.

Pepper, the Pony, pulls a sleigh through the snow.

Pepper, the Pony, pulls a sleigh over the snow.

If you are lucky enough to have a horse of your own, or a kind neighbor with a horse, hooking up a sled or sleigh behind a horse is great fun. It is important that someone either lead the horse or ride it as otherwise the horse might take off too quickly leaving passengers on the ground in the snow. What a treat when it works properly!

Deer wander over the Ohio hills.

Deer wander over the Ohio hills, as seen from my kitchen window.

This is also the time to see animals seemingly enjoying the snow as well. Kittens leap over snow covered chairs and playfully wrestle on the ground, while dogs might just sit and watch the activites around them. Deer graze on a few blades of grass still poking through the snow, while keeping alert to any danger around.

While this is not a favorite season for all, many truly enjoy taking a walk in the snow, skiing, or ice skating on a frozen farm pond. Winter recollections can be an enjoyable way to pass a homebound day. Wonder what your favorite wintertime activities might be? To tell the truth, this gypsy would rather take a road trip on a sunshiny day!

The Train to Nowhere

The Train to Nowhere

The Train to Nowhere

A beautiful diesel-electric locomotive awaits on the tracks in the small town of Byesville, Ohio. At this point in time, it is called “The Train to Nowhere”, as it remains in place unable to move down the Byesville Scenic Railway due to circumstances beyond their control. But that doesn’t mean the spirit of the railroad isn’t alive here! It continues with a program called “The Coal Miners’ Story.”

Bronze Coal Miner Statue

Bronze Ohio Coal Miner Statue

As soon as you pull into the parking lot, the bronze coal miner statue catches your eye. The Ohio Coal Miner was sculpted by Alan Cottrill at Cottrill Sculpture Studio and Gallery in Zanesville, Ohio, and dedicated in September of 2012. This statue is a tribute to miners and their families in Ohio, as well as across the entire nation. The miner’s brass tag reads 382, the number of coal miners who lost their lives in the deep mines of Guernsey County over the mines’ sixty active years. During the past few years, all contributions given to the Byesville Scenic Railway during their train rides were dedicated to building this memorial statue, which actually cost nearly $40,000 to reach completion.

A portion of the plaque in front of the statue states: May your personal sufferings, sacrifices and the hardships endured by your families, never be forgotten nor taken for granted.

Sadly, the train is not able to chug down the track these days due to some issues over insurance and track ownership, but the volunteers at Byesville Scenic Railway are still sharing a unique presentation of life during the days when coal mines were booming in the early 1900’s. At that time, Byesville had 77 mines, and was considered to be “The Coal Mining Capital of Southeastern Ohio”.

Visitors are invited to take a seat on “The Train to Nowhere”, where they are given information regarding the 1917 train cars and the diesel locomotive. Back in the coal mining heyday, the train ran from Cleveland to Marietta delivering coal from Guernsey County mines. The Byesville Scenic Railway volunteers are optomistic that the train will be running again a few years down the track.

Dave Adair tells coal miners' stories.

Dave Adair tells coal miners’ stories.

In their “old greasy mechanic garage” – sometimes used as a movie theater room, the volunteers have constructed a makeshift mine of black plastic walls. It is here in Entry 7 South that a living history of a local coal miner is portrayed by volunteer, Dave Adair. He describes the harsh life of a miner as well as the poor home conditions. Beans and cabbage were two frequent items on their supper menu, with meat seldom being a part of their food supply. According to Miner Dave, “All were poor but no one realized it because all were the same.”

"I owe my soul to the Company Store."

“I owe my soul to the Company Store.”

Miners were very superstitious and often carried lucky pieces in their pockets. Over the entrance to the mine, a horseshoe was often placed. It had to be placed with the open side up so the luck wouldn’t run out with 100,000 ton of rock above their heads.

Treasures for families of coal miners and train enthusiasts can be found in the Company Store. A variety of gifts for young and old alike range from engineer hats and handkerchiefs to mugs and wine glasses. You won’t want to go home without a memory of those hard working miners.

Steve Stolarik explains Mineres Museum.

Steve Stolarik explains Miners’ Museum.

The Miners’ Museum has been developed in more recent years for the education of the general public. It contains a collection of original coal mining equipment used in the local mines. On the wall are displayed the various bits used to drill into the coal face to insert a stick of dynamite, which the miners had to buy themselves from the company store. Steve Stolarik was on hand to explain how the bits and lanterns functioned when the miners were deep in the mines. Included for display are numerous pictures of the old Guernsey County Coal Mines.

Keep your eye on the track to see when the “Train to Nowhere” will again be on the move. In the meantime, visit the website of Byesville Scenic Railway to see their scheduled events. Local train enthusiasts are singing hopefully, “I hear that train a comin’, it’s rollin’ round the bend.” 

Byesville Scenic Railway is located in Byesville, Ohio just off I-77 (Exit 41) south of Cambridge. Turn toward Main Street of Byesville, then left at the traffic light.  The train depot is one block on the right. Free parking is available along Second Street and Seneca Avenue. 

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