Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Posts tagged ‘Fort Steuben’

Tour Historic Fort Steuben

Fort Steuben captures the spirit of America and represents the opening of the West after the Revolutionary War when settlers could finally afford to purchase land. The first seven ranges of the Northwest Territory along the Ohio River needed to be surveyed into sections before being sold to those settlers.

This original Fort Steuben cornerstone, erected in 1786, has been preserved.

In 1787, Fort Steuben was constructed to protect the surveyors from the Indians as well as prevent squatters from coming across the Ohio River from Virginia. The Federal Government wanted to sell this land so made it illegal for those early pioneers to cross the river and settle without purchase.

Here’s an overview of some of the buildings inside the fort.

Major John Hamtramck was responsible for getting the fort built. It was named for Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben, a drillmaster who served under General George Washington in the Revolutionary War. It’s easy to see how Steubenville, Ohio received its name. It was the perfect place for a defense with the Ohio River to the east, a bank of hills on the west, and a nice plateau on which to build. Its location was mid-way between Pittsburgh and Wheeling.

One hundred fifty soldiers guarded this fort. There was a lookout station where they could easily watch the Ohio River. However, after one year, the fort was abandoned and never used again.

The University of Steubenville holds an annual archaeological dig here.

Some say that in 1790, the fort burned but archaeological digs have shown no evidence of ashes or burnt objects. Others think that perhaps settlers dismantled the buildings and moved them to a place where they were going to live.

Some items found in the dig are displayed inside the Welcome Center.

Every year since 1978, the University of Steubenville has conducted a summer session on the grounds of the former fort. Their archaeological dig has discovered many discarded items from that time and some are on display at the Fort Steuben Visitors Center while others can be found at the University of Steubenville.

The hospital included a surgeon and a shelf filled with medical supplies.

Several times over the years, people had been interested in reconstructing the fort, but it wasn’t until 1986 that two ladies became enthusiastic about the project after attending a lecture by the archaeologists. Their enthusiasm led to the community becoming involved in the project. It began in 1989 but it wasn’t until 2009 that the fort was completed.

Nutcracker Village happens each year during November and December.

Fort Steuben Park has become a central part of community activities as this is where they hold the Dean Martin Celebration, Nutcracker Village, Farmers’ Market, 4th of July Fireworks, and weekly concerts in Berkman Amphitheater during the summer months. The fort is a private effort funded by local supporters and is staffed with a director and many helpful volunteers.

The table in the Officers’ Quarters was used for dining and as a place to spread out maps of the surveyors.

Taking a self-guided tour or touring the fort with a trained interpreter in this reconstructed village gives you a glimpse of what life was like over 230 years ago. There are seven buildings in the complex where you will find posted stories of the trials and tribulations suffered without today’s modern conveniences. Step inside the Officer’s Quarters, Hospital, Commissary, or Guard House to learn their stories.

The original Federal Land Office, where plots of land were sold, was moved close to the fort.

A special feature is the Federal Land Office, the first one built in the United States in 1800. The original building has been moved near the fort. There seemed to be a natural connection as this Land Office was where people came to buy the land after it had been surveyed. The agent and his family lived in the Land Office cabin.

The agent and his family lived inside the Land Office.

The land was measured off in plots of one square mile, which would be 640 acres. A settler could purchase a square mile for $1 an acre but had to buy 640 acres. Later, those plots were divided and settlers could purchase 320 acres for $2 an acre. Some consider this Ohio’s Ellis Island as it was at the Land Office that people started new lives.

Berkman Amphitheater has weekly concerts during the summer months.

The outstanding Visitors’ Center is open all year long while Fort Steuben is open from May through October. Hours for both are from 10 am – 4 pm. Admission to the fort is $10 for adults and $7 for students 6-12. Those under six are admitted free.

If you enjoy history, you’re sure to enjoy visiting the Welcome Center and Fort Steuben.

Nutcracker Village Guards Historic Fort Steuben

Nutcrackers Line the Avenue

Nutcrackers, under an archway of lights, line the walk at Fort Steuben.

Time slows down as everyone strolls slowly through Historic Fort Steuben Nutcracker Village while they view the Nutcrackers and visit with friends.You can feel the Christmas spirit in the air.

A truly magical event happens at Fort Steuben Park from November 21 through January 7. Nutcrackers stand guard throughout the park twenty-four hours a day to bring joy and excitement to the Steubenville community along the Ohio River.

German tradition tells us that nutcrackers were given as keepsakes to bring good luck and protect your home. Their power and strength is much like a watchdog keeping evil spirits and danger away.

john-glenn.jpg

Each Nutcracker designates a popular area figure such as astronaut, John Glenn.

The first nutcrackers carved by the Steinbachs of Germany featured kings, military officers and prominent members of the upper class. Steubenville Nutcracker Village has continued that tradition by having Nutcrackers designed in the image of prominent local, historical and literary people.

Nutcracker Ohio State

All area schools are represented by a Nutcracker, including Ohio State.

The Steubenville Nutcracker Village became a reality due to the partnership of Nelson’s of Steubenville and Old Fort Steuben Project with Jerry Barilla, president. The project is sponsored by Trinity Health System. It’s their gift to the people of the Ohio Valley. They lay claim to having the world’s largest collection of life-size nutcrackers at 150 and growing each year.

Nutcracker First Junior

That first Nutcracker, Junior, stands inside the Visitors Center.

The idea came to Jerry Barilla as he was packing away his nutcrackers after the holiday season. A spark went off that said, “This could be a community project.” Enter Mark Nelson of Nelson’s Art and Design who fanned that spark and with help from his family created the first Nutcracker.

Nutcracker Terese and Mark 2

Terese, Uncle Drosselmeyer, and  co-founder, Mark Nelson. enjoy visiting at the market.

Each 6′ Nutcracker is uniquely designed and hand painted in Steubenville by Nelson’s, home of inspirational gifts. Mark’s daughter, Terese, designs and oversees painting of the nutcrackers while Brian Stutzman, woodworker at Nelson’s, does the actual carving.  Much thought, planning and time go into each Nutcracker as their details are outstanding.

Nutcracker Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa has been honored due to her great inspiration to the world.

Constructed of a dense foam with fiber glass covering, they are both light enough to move easily and sturdy enough to withstand the harsh winter elements of November and December.

Nutcracker Grandpa and Grandma

Grandma and Grandpa Nutcracker sit in Advent Market with picnic tables behind them.

When Mark was asked if he had a favorite Nutcracker, he thought carefully before responding. “Picking a favorite Nutcracker is like picking a favorite child…Impossible!”

Nutcracker Nativity SceneTake a stroll through Fort Steuben Park day or night to walk among the Nutcrackers lined along the avenue created by a canopy of colorful lights. Nighttime becomes magical as lights and music highlight the characters.

Nutcracker Tree in Advent Market

A 30′ Christmas Tree stands in the center of Advent Market.

Special effects can be seen from the blue and gold lights on the Sixth Street Bridge, a 30′ Christmas tree in the heart of Advent Market, and wreaths, holly and garland all around the park. The Advent Market, inspired by a Franciscan custom, is open the five weekends after Thanksgiving on Friday, Saturday and Sunday with handcrafted and homemade goods available from holiday chalets.

Nutcracker Crooners

The Rat Pack is featured, including hometown star, Dean Martin, “King of Cool”.

If you would care to watch a special performance, Wooden Heart Follies, an original Nutcracker musical, is being presented at the Steubenville Masonic Temple.  Discover if wooden figures can fall in love. While the melodies are from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite, the story is based on the Nutcrackers in Fort Steuben Park

Nutcracker Letters to Santa

Inside the Visitors Center is a convenient place to write Letters to Santa.

Don’t forget to check inside the Visitors Center, where you’ll find a Winter Wonderland of Christmas holidays from the past. There’s also a place to write a letter to Santa and many great gift ideas.

Nutcracker Fudge

You could even find Nutcracker fudge in the Advent Market.

Take a free ride downtown, to view some of the artwork in this “City of Murals”, on the Holly Trolley every half hour on Saturday or Sunday from 1-4 pm.  Or perhaps you prefer a free Hayride every half hour on Advent Days from 6-8 pm.

Nutcracker Amphitheater

Berkman Amphitheater along the Ohio River provides a place for weekend entertainment.

Watch live entertainment consisting of area performers, church and school choirs, and regional bands on Advent Weekends from 5 – 8 pm in the Berkman Amphitheater in the park. Holiday music fills the air.

Nelson Family

The Mark Nelson family all play a role in Steubenville Nutcracker Village.

Stroll through Fort Steuben Park and pick out your favorite Nutcracker…if you can. It’s a great place for families to come together and receive a little Christmas magic.

Historic Fort Steuben Nutcracker Village can be reached off Ohio-7 along the Ohio River. Address is 120 S 3rd Street, Steubenville, Ohio.

 

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