Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Posts tagged ‘Coshocton Ohio’

Historic Roscoe Village – America’s Canal Town

We Bring History to Life

Roscoe Visitor Center

Roscoe Village Visitors Center is the perfect place to begin your tour.

Welcome to yesterday! Life 200 years ago was quite different from what we experience today. While we can’t turn the clocks back to that era, we can visit Roscoe Village in Coshocton to catch a glimpse of life on the Ohio and Erie Canal during that time.

Roscoe Oldest House

Weaver Daniel Boyd, his wife, and four children lived in the oldest house in the village from 1825-1835.

   Back in 1816, James Calder laid out the port town that was to become Roscoe. He followed a hunch that farmers would rather do business at Calder’s General Store along the Muskingum River than pay twenty-five cents to take the ferryboat to Coshocton.

   He named the town Caldersburgh, but it was later renamed Roscoe, in honor of William Roscoe, an English historian and leading abolitionist. Roscoe never visited America and probably never knew he had a town named after him.

Roscoe Ohio Erie Canal

Enjoy a smooth horse-drawn canal boat ride on the Ohio-Erie Canal.

   When the Ohio and Erie Canal was constructed in the 1820s, business in the village expanded and the golden age of Roscoe began. The first canal boat, the Monticello, landed at Roscoe on August 21, 1830. Roscoe was one of the largest wheat ports along the 350-mile canal that went from Lake Erie to the Ohio River.

Roscoe weaver

Rami demonstrated weaving techniques on her 200- year-old American Barn Loom.

   Roscoe thrived until the 1860s when the canals gave way to railroads. The canal boats continued to operate on a smaller scale until the disastrous flood of 1913, which swept away the port of Roscoe.

Roscoe One Room School

Natalie, the schoolmarm, told about teaching in a one-room school.

   Today the restored Roscoe Village is a reminder of Ohio’s canal era thanks to the dedication of prominent Coshocton industrialist, Edward Montgomery and his wife, Frances. A painting, “Canal Days”, which depicts the Roscoe area and can still be seen in the Chase Bank building at 120 S. Fourth Street, captured the imagination of the Montgomerys.

Roscoe Toll House

The Toll House is the restored home of James Welsh, toll collector on the canal.

   Their role began back in 1961 when they purchased the 1840 Toll House and decided to create “a living museum” on the banks of the Muskingum River. They endeavored to revive, restore and reclaim the then-burgeoning port town to a time when the Ohio and Erie Canal bustled with boats and barges.

Roscoe Dr. Dee

Dr. Dee in Dr. Johnson’s Office explained the tonsil guillotine.

   When you visit Roscoe Village today, you can stroll through the gardens, visit their many historic buildings, and take a horse-drawn canal boat ride on a portion of that old Ohio and Erie Canal. You’ll feel like you’re living a chapter of American history.

Roscoe Hotel

The Roscoe Hotel was a canal era hotel used as a stagecoach stop.

   Begin your tour at the Visitors’ Center where you can view a film, “Ditches of Destiny”, which describes those early days on the Ohio and Erie Canal. Then take a self-guided tour of the village to see costumed interpreters in historic buildings describing what life was like in those old canal days. Stop at the restored 19th-century buildings, which house The Famous Shops of Roscoe Village. Most businesses are open seven days a week throughout the year.

Roscoe Johnson Humrickhouse Museum

Learn more local history at the Johnson-Humerickhouse Museum. Yes, that’s Bigfoot in the shadows.

   Don’t forget to visit the Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum where you will learn interesting facts about Ohio history. Here displays tell you stories of the American Indians, Ohio artifacts, and Decorative Arts. There’s also a wonderful collection of East Asian artifacts that were collected by the owner.

Roscoe Blacksmith

Carl, the village smithy, made leaf hooks as a blacksmith demonstration.

   Stroll through the Gardens that Frances Montgomery lovingly left for visitors to enjoy. Meander down its paths to see the beautiful blossoms and herbs that have been popular for ages. Beauty blooms in the gardens every season of the year.

   A ride down the Ohio and Erie Canal is the smoothest ride you can imagine drawn by two strong horses on the towpath. You’ll hear stories of how people traveled the canal in those early days. Some are quite unusual and exciting.

Roscoe Doctor's house and office

Stroll the streets of this quiet village any time of the year.

   Stop by Roscoe Village this summer and join in their 45th Anniversary. We need to remember the history of our area and how those early settlers developed a foundation for the world we live in today.

   Perhaps Captain P. R. Nye, who operated a canal boat at Roscoe’s Lock Twenty-Seven, says it best: “The Silver Ribbon – the Ohio Canal – was the best of life a man ever had.”

Historic Roscoe Village is located at 600 N Whitewoman Street in Coshocton, Ohio. From I-77, take exit 65, which is US-36 W. Follow 35 West to Whitewoman Street approximately 18 miles. It will be on the right-hand side of the road.

Henry David Thoreau’s Thoughts Still Meaningful Today

Chautauqua in Coshocton on a rainy evening

Chautauqua in Coshocton on a rainy evening

An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.

Ohio Chautauqua always brings informative and interesting characters to the stage. A recent performance in Coshocton was no exception as Kevin Radaker, professor of English at Anderson University in Indiana, portrayed Henry David Thoreau, one of the greatest writers of American Literature. Even though Thoreau wrote from 1817-1862, his thoughts still influence and inspire countless people today. The audience sat mesmerized during his lecture…you could have heard a text message beep.

Banjo player entertained before the main speaker.

Banjo player, Jerry Weaver, entertained before the main speaker.

Thoreau was born and raised in Concord, Massachusetts and chose to reside there his entire life. Two sisters and a brother rounded out the Thoreau family where his father ran a pencil factory, and his mother had strong views as an abolitionist. He worked for a while in his father’s pencil factory and as a carpenter, but said he was just so-so at carpentry. However, he did become a devout abolitionist for the rest of his life, following in the footsteps of his mother. He considered himself a writer by profession, a mystic and philosopher.

After graduating from Harvard, Thoreau became friends with Ralph Waldo Emerson, who encouraged him in his writing and introduced him to Transcendentalism, which emphasized the spiritual matters over the physical world. Thoreau felt that every seventh day should be a day of work, while the rest of the week be treated as the Sabbath.

Thoreau holds his favorite drink - water.

Thoreau holds his favorite drink – “Water is the only drink of a wise man.”

His best know masterpiece, Walden, was written while Thoreau lived for two years in a small cabin at the edge of Walden Pond, not far from Concord, on property owned by Emerson. His daily walks in the woods are best described in his own words: “There is nothing so sanative and so poetic as a walk in the woods and fields.” He compared the value given him by his walks to what others get by going to church. Walden Pond was his greatest adventure.

Even though Thoreau spent most of his live in Concord, he did venture to other places. Cape Cod and Maine helped him picture in words the wrath of the sea, yet capture the vigor and health of Nature. He felt national preserves should be created, not for recreation but re-creation of the wilderness, his main fascination.

He was a great fan of travel, but a slightly different kind than what we might presume. His mystical travel required an inward journey, which is accomplished by using our imagination and intuition. Through these inward journeys, Thoreau came to realize what the ancient Orientals meant by contemplation and forsaking work. Sometimes he loved to sit on his porch for the entire day, while his neighbors scoffed at his poor work ethic.

Thoreau relaxes on stage.

Thoreau relaxes on stage.

Perhaps he liked to read some of his favorite books as he sat on the porch for a day. Those would include: The Bible, Hindu’s Mahabharata, and Chinese teachings in Four Books of Confucius. He felt that all these similar teachings should be written side by side for better comparison.

Thoreau encourages his readers to take an inward journey, pointing out that it may very well be more difficult than being on a ship with hundreds of other people crossing the ocean.

What he wrote a hundred and fifty years ago is still relevant today.


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