Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Posts tagged ‘LaFayette Hotel’

Cruisin’ Down the Muskingum River on a Sunny Afternoon

River boats

Camping, boating and fishing are popular along the beautiful Muskingum.

While the Muskingum River begins at Coshocton, between Zanesville and Marietta it holds many points of interest. This river is the only river navigable by larger boats within the state of Ohio. That’s all because of its system of eleven dams and locks, still in working order, that extends for 112 miles.

River Ferry 1900 001 (2)

The Coal Run Ferry delivered a load of railroad crossties on horse-drawn wagons across the Muskingum before bridges were built.

The river received its name from the Native Americans, who called it Moos-kin-gung – meaning “Elk Eye River”. That name happened due to the large herds of elk that once roamed this valley. In those early days, the cargo on the river consisted of essentials such as salt, flour, pork and apples. A round trip took three to five weeks to go from Zanesville to Pittsburgh and back via the Muskingum and Ohio Rivers.

Steamer at Lock #3 001 (2)

The steamer approaches Lock #3 at Lowell in the early 1900s.

When steamboats became popular, navigation was rough on the rugged Muskingum River so they designed a system of dams and locks to lift the boats when the elevation changed abruptly. After a boat is secured within the lock, the lock tender closes the gate and opens the valves required to raise or lower the pool level. When the water in the lock chamber has reached the required level, the lock tender opens the through gate just like they did in 1841.

Steamer Marietta stuck on dam at Lock # 1 001 (2)

Steamer Marietta got stuck on the dam when not using the locks.

Sometimes the boats would attempt to go over those rugged spots without using the locks. Once in a while they succeeded, but often they ended up stuck in the river.

River Lorena

The Lorena takes passengers on a pleasure trip down the Muskingum River.

This trip began with a stop at the Lorena Sternwheeler at Zane’s Landing Park in the city of Zanesville. While the original Lorena visited Zanesville in the late 1800s, the present one arrived in 1976 for Zane’s Trace Commemoration. A ride on the sternwheeler gives you a chance to feel the river, as the paddles create a merry sound. Memories of the 1800s ride along with the Lorena.

River Lock 9

Lock #9 at Philo provides a great view of the dam and locks.

Soon Lock 9 at Philo appears with the original lock tender’s house.The falls at the lock sparkle in the sunshine as people stand in the shallow river to fish.

River Ohio Power Plant 1923 001 (2)

The Philo Ohio Power Plant was the first electric plant built along the Muskingum.

In 1923, Philo Ohio Power Company, one of the largest electric plants of that time, was located on an island in the river.

River Hand Powered Locks 001 (2)

The lock tender hand operates the lock at Rokeby Lock #8.

Lock 8, Rokeby Lock at Eagleport, is a special stop along this system of locks, the only hand operated locks still being used in the United States today. In fact, it is believed there is only one other system like this in the world, and that is in China. It was near this lock that General John Hunt Morgan and several hundred cavalry forded the Muskingum River on his raid across Ohio.

River Stockport Inn

Stockport Mill Inn would be a pleasant place to spend an evening.

Beside Lock 6 stands the beautiful Stockport Inn. Today’s Inn was built in 1906 by the Dover brothers; however, there were two mills previously at this site dating back to 1842. This mill was known for its refined flours: Gold Bond, Seal of Ohio, and Pride of the Valley. It’s a perfect place to spend a night as each room has a balcony that overlooks the river. On the weekends, enjoy a tasty meal at Restaurant on the Dam.

River Fishing

Fishermen wade into the river in hopes of a great catch.

During the drive down the river, it is lined with cabins and campers for those that enjoy being near the water. Most have boats at their docks and many slides end in the river. Frequently fishermen are either on the shore or wading nearby waiting for a nibble on their line, and perhaps fish to cook over a campfire in the evening

River Ohio

Imagine early travelers’ surprise upon seeing that the Muskingum River empties into the wide Ohio River at Marietta.

The trip ends at the first permanent settlement in the Northwest Territory – Marietta. Here the Muskingum River joins the Ohio River to flow eventually to the Gulf of Mexico.

River Lafayette

At the confluence of the Ohio and Muskingum Rivers stands the Lafayette Hotel.

Some say this beautiful old Lafayette Hotel still holds spirits of many travelers from the past. One nighttime visitor is Mr. Hoag, former owner of the hotel, who appears in his brown derby hat. That’s something not seen by my eyes, but a story heard by my ears.

The locks are open weekends 9:30 – 6:00 from mid May until mid October. Please check their schedule and call ahead if you need to use the locks at another time so a lock tender can be available.

valley-gem-heads-out

While in Marietta, you might want to cruise on the Valley Gem.

Be sure to take time to sit along the Ohio River and enjoy reminiscing about those long ago riverboats that went from Pittsburgh to Zanesville along this route. They carried both passengers and freight. Barges still carry their loads of coal and steel up and down the river, and people enjoy taking a ride in their pleasure boats as well.

Some things have changed, but the Muskingum River has remained the same since the days of ancient visitors. Hope you can enjoy a trip down the Muskingum River sometime soon.

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Ghost Tales Flourish in Historic Marietta

Welcome to Hidden Marietta, where some stories – and some people – simply refuse to die.

The fountain marks the starting place for the Ghost Trek.

The fountain marks the starting place for the Ghost Trek.

The most haunted town in Ohio seems a natural place for a Ghost Trek – the streets of Marietta. Meeting near the Lafayette Hotel along the Ohio River, excellent guides tell some of the scariest stories about restless spirits left over from the past in this paranormal hot spot. Even rain won’t dampen your spirits.

While ghost stories are told at each stop, the tour also tells the history of early Marietta. As you hear stories of murder and paranormal activities, the heart races just a little faster as you glance around to see if there’s anything unusual happening.

The tour takes about two hours with perhaps a dozen stops, so many interesting ghost and historic tales are told along the way. Buckley Island in the middle of the Ohio River has experienced everything from Native American Indian attacks to an amusement park. At one point it also contained “Pest House”, where all sick people were quarantined to prevent illness from spreading on land. Once there, you stayed permanently. Today, hikers still feel sick and weak on the island…perhaps leftover energy?

Staircase the Ax Murderer used in 1890's.

Staircase the Ax Murderer used in 1890’s.

Walking down the brick streets, with Victorian style buildings, gives you the feeling of stepping back in time. Listen to the tales of footsteps, knocks, and voices in the night. When you visit the old La Belle Hotel, the eerie glow of the night beckons for a close look at the staircase where the ax murderer walked slowly up, then ran down. Those footsteps are still heard frequently today and reflect a residual haunting – energy left over from 130 years ago.

Today, guests at the Lafayette Hotel often comment about unusual happenings in their rooms. Glasses may be moved, lights turned on or off, and people are frequently seen roaming the halls. One of those nighttime visitors appears to be Mr. Hoag, former owner, in his brown derby hat.

Haunted Lafayette Hotel

Haunted Lafayette Hotel

Employees of long ago recognized Mr. Hoag as the best possible manager. Employees today say that sometimes during the night, the elevator will suddenly light up for 6th floor, which is where maintenance equipment is stored, and the manager frequently visited. After a short time, the elevator comes back down to the ground floor. Just Mr. Hoag, still checking on his hotel.

Former home of Marietta Sanitorium

Former home of Marietta Sanitarium

Another eerie stop was the Tiber Way Grille, where people hear moaning and sobbing. Close inspection of the old ghost advertisement on the side of the building, brings out the letters saying: Chronic Disease- Marietta Sanitarium. After the hospital moved, a funeral parlor occupied this building. Now you see the reason for the crying sounds. Soon this will become a Victorian style hotel – complete with ghosts.

Now that you have heard a few of the ghost stories, perhaps you’ll enjoy a visit to Marietta sometime soon yourself. While Halloween seems the perfect time for a Ghost Trek, this event is held every Friday and Saturday evening from June to November at 8:00. Meet at the corner of Front and Greene Streets, at the fountain by the famous haunted and historic Lafayette Hotel.

Watch out for those ghosts!

To arrive in Marietta, Ohio take Exit 1 off I off I-77 and head west on Route 7, Greene Street. Where the Muskingum River meets the Ohio River, you will find the old Lafayette Hotel, the starting point for the Ghost Trek. This walking tour is under the expert guidance of Lynne Sturtevant, founder of Hidden Marietta and author of several books of Marietta history.

 

Ohio’s Historic Lafayette Hotel – A Haunting Experience

Ohio River at MariettaMay the ghosts be with you while you spend the day or night at the Lafayette Hotel in historic downtown Marietta, Ohio.  Visitors and employees anxiously report stories of paranormal activity in this grand hotel on the banks of the confluence of the Muskingum and Ohio Rivers.

Back in 1882, river traffic was heavier than it is today. The Ohio River provided the freight and passenger routes for much of the eastern part of the United States. Of course, these riverboat travelers needed a place to get meals as well as a place to spend the night. Here at the meeting place of two major rivers, the Bellevue Hotel was built. This quite modern hotel, for the late 1800’s, had a fast running elevator taking guests to 55 rooms, five of which had baths. Rates at the Bellevue were $2.00 a night

lafayette hotel 013After a fire destroyed the Bellevue Hotel, another hotel was constructed on the original foundation. In 1918 the present triangular shaped Lafayette Hotel opened for business. The name was chosen to honor Marquis de Lafayette, French hero of the American Revolution, who was believed to be the first tourist to visit Marietta in 1825. There is even a plaque, near the hotel at the edge of the Ohio River, marking the spot where he came ashore.

A popular meeting room bears the name of Rufus Putnam, who many list as the founder of Ohio.  His leadership established Marietta as the first permanent United States settlement in the Northwest Territory.   In a letter sent to his former home, Rufus Putnam described the land along the Ohio River to his friend as: “a country of most pleasant climate and of the rarest beauty and enduring charm”.

Riverview LoungeThe Riverview Lounge is where the “Lady in White”  often appears hovering over the carpet, while she smoothly moves through the room. The bar happens to occupy the same area where the ladies’ dressing room was located  in the original hotel.

When selecting a room in Marietta’s only downtown hotel, you will probably be given a choice of view – either the Muskingum River or the Ohio River. Here the ghost of Mr. Durward Hoag, former owner of the hotel, watches over guests and staff from both directions. Sometimes guests feel an icy cold draft pass through their well heated room. Evidence of his presence appears in flashing light bulbs, rearranged papers, hidden objects,  and often merely a wisp of light. Maybe Mr. Hoag’s spirit is bored!

When speaking with recent visitors, footsteps were reported outside their door, but no one was in evidence. The elevator, carrying no passengers, left the floor a couple times during the evening and headed to the rooftop. Later that night when they were in bed, another couple felt someone jump in the center of the bed where they were resting. All guaranteed they had not visited the Riverview Lounge.

Gun RoomThe Gun Room is a popular place for lunch. The walls are adorned with photos of great majestic sternwheelers that traveled the Ohio River.  A display of antique long rifles contains one made by J.J. Henry that accompanied the Benedict Arnold expedition to Canada in 1775. Waitresses tell of coming in early to work and seeing a figure leaving the front section of the restaurant. Often the swinging doors to the kitchen open for no reason at all. Some feel that Mr. Hoag is checking on his staff.  On the plus side, these spirits are never harmful.

Enjoy the ambience of this richly historical Lafayette Hotel on the river sometime soon. They have been expecting you for nearly a hundred years!

The Lafayette Hotel is located  at 101 Front Street in Marietta, Ohio. Exit I-77 at Exit 1 and follow Route 7 South, which is also Pine Street.  At the third light, Pine Street continues straight and becomes Green Street. Continue on Green Street until you come to the hotel on the corner of Green Street and Front Street. Parking is available between the hotel and the Ohio River as well as on the other side of the hotel.

Ghost Trek Stories in Hidden Marietta, Ohio

0oOOOoo! ooOOOoo! As the Ghost Lady leads a large group through downtown Marietta, Ohio, stories of ghosts are told on nearly every street. This is an old town with many restless spirits left over from the past.

Ghost Trek is a two hour walking tour of historic and haunted Marietta and begins along the Ohio River on aptly named Ohio Street.  Back in the early 1800s, this was the stopping off point for many riverboats.  So naturally a bar was one of the first establishments to serve the travelers.  The first bar to open ran out of whiskey in two hours and needless to say there were inebriated men walking the street 24/7, along with pick pockets and yes, ladies of the night.

The LaBelle Hotel was a popular House of Prostitution and the building is still in existence today, called the Levee House Cafe.  A story was told of a prominent businessman, who visited one of the young ladies frequently on the second floor. He attempted to keep this  a secret, but one evening his son followed him to the hotel with an axe.

The son watched as his father ascended the steps to the second floor and then waited until the light went out in one of the rooms.  Hastily, the son walked up to the second floor, opened the door, cut off his father’s head with the axe, and ran back down the steps to the street.  Guilty?  Not by the standards of those days! He was arrested but acquitted on the basis that he was defending his family honor.

Today the people who live in this building still hear the sounds of footsteps climbing up the stairs, a time of quiet, then footsteps running down the stairs again.  This is called residual haunting as the energy released in the environment during a traumatic event may  reappear as an echo of its original form.

On to the Lafayette Hotel where the third floor seems to have lots of unsettling paranormal activity. Built in 1918, every death that has occurred in this hotel has happened on the third floor.  Guests frequently complain of personal belongings being moved around.  One man commented, ” I am a science teacher. I don’t believe in any of this stuff”… until his belongings in his room got rearranged and some came up missing.

Fifty paintings of  artist James Weber (1888-1958) were brought to Sugden Book Store for an art show on the second floor. Melancholy Weber loved his art work, but was forced to run the family grocery store.  So he said that when he died he wanted all of his paintings burned.  But someone found fifty that were left behind!

After careful setup for the art show, the owners were very pleased with their findings. Next morning when they arrived to open the show, they found the table had been knocked over as well as the pictures.  On the desk was a real estate report – a deed from 1932 for James Weber’s art studio, right there on the second floor!

Restoration of the old Colony Cinema was seen firsthand as the group had special permission to enter the theater. Here, it is said, the ghost of the former owner, Mr. Shay,  travels via an underground passageway between the Colony Cinema and Mid Ohio Valley Players Theater across the street. Colony Cinema has been an important part of the Marietta community since 1919 when it was The Hippodrome Theater, the premiere showcase of Marietta and the surrounding area. Some of Hollywood’s biggest names, including Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, and Boris Karloff, appeared on its stage.  Its gorgeous original asbestos fire curtain has been rediscovered and is being restored to be featured predominately in the restored Colony Cinema.

The last stop on the tour was at Tiber Way Grille, where people hear sobbing, crying, and have an edgy feeling.  They definitely feel it is haunted. Closer look at old lettering on the building perhaps gives a reason for this feeling.  It says: Chronic Diseases The Sanitorium. This twenty six room hospital was used for tuberculosis patients in the early 1900s as well as for those with extreme mental problems. Fittingly, next door was Doudna’s Funeral Services!

Nothing beats a haunted, moonlit night with ghosts of the past.

To arrive in Marietta, Ohio take Exit 1 off I 77 and head west on Route 7, Greene Street. Where the Muskingum River meets the Ohio River, you will find the old Lafayette Hotel, the starting point for the Ghost Trek. This walking tour is under the expert guidance of Lynne Sturtevant, founder of Hidden Marietta and author of several books of Marietta history.

Marietta Trolley

On the banks of the Ohio River, climb aboard the Marietta Trolley for a ride back in history through the brick streets of Marietta, Ohio.  The one hour tour is narrated today by a lady who has lived in the area all her life so knows the history quite well. Interesting stories of famous people who have visited the area were part of the adventure.  It is a beautiful day so push open the windows and get some great pictures of the landmarks as we have frequent stops for narratives.

Marietta is the oldest city in Ohio founded in 1788 and named for the Queen of France, Marie Antoinette.  LaFayette Hotel is its oldest hotel opened in  1918.  Located where the Muskingum River meets the Ohio River, this hotel is our starting point and will be our lunch stop later in the day.

An interesting sidelight of the tour are the flood markings on many of the downtown buildings showing how high the flood waters came.  1913 looked like the year of a very high flood.  Many times the flood marks were up to the second story of the old brick buildings.

Religion played a large role in the early days of Marietta thus there are many old churches of various religions throughout the town.  The St Mary’s Catholic Church originally housed the  College for Women in its present day parish.

The Great Mound in Mound Cemetery was part of the tour.  The large mound is thought to be the burial place for largest number of  Revolutionary War officers buried in one location. Wonder if their spirits still dwell on the hillside?

Meigs House was built in 1802 (before Ohio became a state in 1803) for Jonathan Meigs, Ohio’s first postmaster, governor and US senator. This beautiful restored brick dwelling that has been used as a home and office, but appears to be a perfect place for a bed and breakfast.

The trolley ride ended with a ride through Historic Harmar Village where you can see the Coca Cola Museum as well as the Children’s Toy and Doll Museum. Gives you lots of interesting places perhaps for another day.

Bouncing back to the Ohio River, our ride ends with lunch in the Gun Room of the LaFayette Hotel.  Maybe you can come back again with some friends and enjoy another trip through Marietta. What an interesting ride!

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