Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Posts tagged ‘Logan’

Climb Aboard Hocking Valley Scenic Railway

Hocking Valley Welcome

This railroad car welcomes you to the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway.

Take to the rails on Hocking Valley Scenic Railway, which boards at Nelsonville and heads toward Logan. After purchasing your ticket in the depot, there’s a small museum inside of train memorabilia. Almost everyone in the depot and on the train is a volunteer. They enjoy meeting and telling stories to all the passengers.

Hocking Depot

All train rides depart from the 1982 Nelsonville Depot based on a prototype once in Rising Sun.

   First, you will have to decide which type of car you want for your adventure today. There are actually three choices that can accommodate approximately 300 passengers. The three steps to the cars are steep, but there is a wheelchair lift available.

   One car is air-conditioned with soft seats and a quieter ride. Or you might select a car with windows that can be opened so you can see and hear the sights a little better. Some prefer the open cars with wooden benches and a roof overhead in case of rain.

Hocking Valley Train

Baldwin 4005 Switch Engine running on diesel and electric was previously used by the US Air Force.

   Riding in the car with open windows seemed a good choice as wanted to take some pictures along the way as well as hear the sound of the train more clearly. The powerful steam whistle blows and the wheels start to turn as the train begins its journey.

Hocking kiln

The train passed remains of an 1880 kiln used by Nelsonville Brick Co., who won first prize for bricks at the 1904 World’s Fair.

   During the comfortable, swaying ride through the countryside, a narrative over the loudspeaker gave information regarding the formation of the railway. In 1869, the Columbus and Hocking Railroad began as a fast, inexpensive way to deliver coal to the market. At one time there were forty coal mines being serviced by the railroad.

Hocking Baseball

Passed by the Crabtree Baseball Field, named for local hero Estel Crabtree, a former Cincinnati Reds outfielder. Seats for the stadium are made of stone from the old Hocking Canal.

   The railroad had numerous mergers over the years and finally merged into the Chesapeake & Ohio system. When they began selling off lines south of Columbus, the Hocking Scenic Railway purchased track in 1972 and began a renewal of the railroad. They have been operating the Scenic Railway since 1985.

Hocking River

Part of the route followed the Hocking River, which flows into the Ohio River.

Hocking Engine House

The Hocking Engine House is located near the Hocking College Campus.

   This two-hour journey takes a break during the return trip on the campus of Hocking College at Robbins Crossing, a pioneer log cabin village, organized and run by students of the college as well as community volunteers.

Robbins Crossing

The Pioneer Village at Robbins Crossing comes to life with costumed interpreters.

   Robbins Crossing is a collection of original log cabins built by settlers of the Valley in 1850. They were dismantled and carefully moved to the campus location where they were reassembled in a village format. The insides of the cabins are filled with authentic artifacts from the period.

Hocking Pioneer Artist

A pioneer artist relaxes while painting on the porch after a morning in the kitchen.

   Visit a blacksmith shop, general store, one-room school and more. Everyone is dressed in period costume to make the visit more authentic. This is a great chance to see how life was lived in Southeastern Ohio in the 1850s.

Hocking Feeding Chickens

Children enjoyed feeding the chickens at Robbins Crossing.

   This trip through the green woods of the Hocking Hill included sights of deer, geese, flowers and streams. Actually, part of the way we drove along the Hocking River.

Pioneer Village Cooking

This pioneer was preparing dinner on an old coal stove.

   During the ride, several families had brought along a picnic lunch to enjoy on the train. Children seemed fascinated to be taking a train ride and even when it was over, they wanted to get back on board.

Hocking Brick Homes

Many houses and buildings along the way were built of those famous Nelsonville bricks.

   The train runs its normal schedule every Saturday and Sunday from Memorial Day weekend until the last weekend in October. But their extra events sound like fun!

Hocking Cross

Overlooking Nelsonville is a cross that a church member had placed in memory of his wife, Betty.

   Special themed “family friendly” events are held throughout the year in conjunction with the train ride. Check their schedule at to find out when you might take a ride on the Robbery Train, Fall Foliage Train, Santa Train, or New Year’s Eve when you can have your choice of pizza and pop or wine and cheese.

   Experience the feeling of riding a train across the country in those early days. Sit back and relax to the clickety-clack of the train wheels on the Hocking Scenic Railway.

This adventure brought back wonderful memories of the Byesville Scenic Railway and their capable storytellers who made the journey so interesting.

The Hocking Valley Scenic Depot is located in Nelsonville, Ohio at 33 W. Canal Street, along US Route 33 in Athens county in Southeastern Ohio. Depending on your location, there are many ways to arrive at the depot.


Washboards – Not Relics of the Past


Columbus Washboard Factory

Columbus Washboard Factory in Logan, Ohio

Scrub a Dub Dub! That’s the sound of clothes being washed on what most consider an old-fashioned washboard. But that’s not the case at all! People around the world still use washboards and many of those are being made today by the Columbus Washboard Factory in Logan, Ohio.

In 1895, Frederic Martin, Sr. began building washboards called “Bear Easy” in his back yard near Columbus, Ohio on Oxley Avenue in Grandview. The business didn’t really take off until his son, Frederic, Jr. expanded the business in 1925. Their peak year was in 1941 when they sold 1,287,757 washboards. During their lifetime they sold over 23,000,000. But eventually the business was sold and in 1999 moved to Logan, Ohio where the new owners promoted some alternative uses for washboards.

Washboard being made

Washboard being made

Today Columbus Washboard Company is the only company in the United States that makes washboards. They emphasize originality and high quality in over 80 different boards they manufacture.  Signs posted throughout the small factory make it quite easy to do a self-guided tour. Workers eagerly answer any questions you might have. If you have a group of six or more,  a guided tour will be provided.

Production has slowed and there are usually about 200 washoards made per day now. Once the materials are assembled, it takes less than a minute to make a washboard. They have the one-at-a-time assembly down to a science.

A crimper holds a roll of metal, which runs through a device that bends the metal to create various rubbing surfaces. The two most popular washboards are Maid Rite and Dubl Handi, which gets its name from double sides on the washboard. One side is rough for those tough spots, while the other side is fairly smooth for fine garments.

Washboard kit for Armed Service members

Washboard kit for Armed Service members

The fact that the washboards and all parts are Made in the USA creates a special added attraction. A Washboard Kit makes an excellent gift for members of the armed forces stationed away from civilization. Each kit includes a covered tub, washboard, bar of soap, clothesline, clothespins, and, of course, instructions.

Various Washboard sizes

Various Washboard sizes

If you have a member of the armed services who might have need of a washboard kit, Columbus Washboard Factory will send a kit free of charge. Send a name and address of someone in the armed services to Columbus Washboard Factory, 14 Gallagher Avenue, Logan, Ohio  43138. Donations are appreciated, but not required.

Once in a while the washboards get used in unique ways. One such time happened when a soldier received some steaks. How could they cook them? They used the wood on the washboard to start a fire and then used the rough metal surface for the grill. Those military guys think outside the box.

These boards get shipped around the world. Some of the frequent customers outside the United States live in England, France, Japan, Australia, and all of the tropical islands.

Columbus Washboard Factory has discovered other uses for the washboards besides laundry. At the Veterans hospital in Waco, Texas, they decided to cover the walls of the elevator and cafeteria with washboards. Guess they wanted a scrubbed clean look!  Many people today use them for decorative purposes and some have a blackboard in place of the metal so it can be used for a message board.

Their gift shop includes many unique items besides all the various washboards. You can find products that Grandma would have used such as Laundry Powder, Bluing, and Dolly Clothespins.

Washboard Music Festival in Logan, Ohio

Washboard Music Festival in Logan, Ohio

Today one of the most popular uses is as a musical instrument. Every year on Father’s Day weekend, three blocks of downtown Logan are closed off to host the Washboard Music Festival. It is listed as the Most Unique Music Festival in the area. The streets overflow with toe-tapping music, arts and crafts, a quilt show, antique tractors, and even washboard solos. Perhaps you would like to purchase a washboard and join in the fun this year.

There is no easy way to arrive at Logan, Ohio.  State Route 33 runs through the town in south central Ohio. The journey is not one for those who enjoy interstate travel, but perfect for a gypsy.

Fort Henry Days Celebrated Oglebay Park, West Virginia

For Henry Days Encampment at Oglebay Park

Fort Henry Days Encampment at Oglebay Park

After driving the scenic, winding, mountain roads of Oglebay Park, the scene changed to one resembling a Revolutionary War Camp. We had arrived at Fort Henry Days celebrating life as it was on the frontier in the late 1700’s. Fort Henry was built as protection from the Indians during Dunmore’s War and also used during the Revolutionary War. Originally it was called Fort Fincastle in honor of Viscount Fincastle, Lord Dunmore, Royal Governor of Virginia. Later the name was changed to Fort Henry, to honor Patrick Henry, the Revolutionary Governor of Virginia.

Young settler makes a stem for his pipe.

Young settler makes a stem for his pipe.

A stroll through the grounds indicated there would be a variety of ideas to explore with people who were very knowledgeable regarding the war as well as life during that time. Everyone was camped in tents using only supplies and equpment that would have been available during the late 1700’s.  One family told of seeing deer grazing nearby and even having a red fox and her cub come into their tent.

Near the center of the encampment, benches had been placed to face a platform made of bales of straw covered with sheets of plywood. This was the spot for today’s presentations. Dan Cutler, dressed in Indian garb with a headdress made of antlers, portrayed Chief John Logan. This mild-mannered chief extended a wampum belt of friendship to the white man. His kindness shone through when he made a pair of beaded deerskin moccasins for a barefoot, little girl of the settlers.

Chief Logan displays a Christian peace offering.

Chief Logan displays a Christian peace offering.

Chief Logan told of the Indians’ struggles with the settlers at Yellow Creek after they had killed his brother and other female relatives.  Chief Logan, who by Indian custom had the right to retaliate for their murders, then raised a hatchet that had long been buried. His hatchet handle contained fourscore notches – one for each scalp taken in their subsequent attacks on settlers.

Later in the afternoon, Dan Cutler also portrayed Chief Cornstalk and told tales of the chief’s adventures at Fort Randolph on the Scioto River, where they floated quietly on rafts of driftwood to surprise the settlers. Having the standing of warrior was very important, but some felt it important for the young men to get an education. When the educated returned to their tribe, they were considered “good for nothing” …no longer warriors.

Chief Cornstalk told of the Ohio Company promising the land to the Indians, but then supporting the British and pushing the Indians off their promised land. He vividly remembered the first surveyor of the Ohio Company, George Washington, who didn’t even know how to read and write…according to Chief Cornstalk..

Alan Fitzpatrick, author of Indian legends

Alan Fitzpatrick, author of Indian legends

The grounds at Oglebay Park were filled with battle re-enactors, people depicting life of the times, and vendors selling wares. Under the pavilion were located Sons of the American Revolution, Daughters of the American Revolution, Wheeling Area Historical Society, and authors selling their books. One of these authors was Alan Fitzpatrick, author of Wilderness War on the Ohio and In Their Own Words. His tales of life at that time are based on written records he has found. Anyone in that era who could read and write was very highly sought after with quill, ink, and tablet. There was also beautiful handmade Native American jewelry for sale…my Fort Henry Days’ remembrance – a thunderbird necklace!

Gallowglass musical entertainment

Gallowglass provides musical entertainment.

Member of the Wayward Companions plays a jawbone.

Member of the Wayward Companions plays a jawbon

Musical entertainment was provided by Gallowglass, a lively group playing and singing period music as well as old Irish tunes. There seemed to be a lot of drinking ballads in the mix.This group has been performing at Fort Henry Days for several years and their performance contained not only songs but humorous stories as well. Included in their performance were: Welcome Home, Nancy Whiskey, and several reels. A member of the Wayward Companions joined in on many of their songs by playing a bovine jawbone with a period bone toothbrush that he had brought from Gettysburg.

Dr. Jessica Fisher, dentist

Dr. Jessica Fisher, dentist

An interesting frontier dentist informed those gathered at her office about dental practices of that time.  Arsenic was one favorite remedy for a toothache. Their favorite mouthwash was a combination of mint or rosemary in orange water or rose water mixed with alcohol, of course. When someone died or was killed, their teeth were removed to replace those lost by the living. early concept of “tooth implants”?

Indian Village for Reenactment

Indian Village for Reenactment

The culmination of the day was a Battle Re-enactment, unlike any I had ever seen before. This recreation told a true story, which was narrated over a loudspeaker. This event occurred back in 1782 at Sandusky, Ohio where the frontiersmen were attacking an Indian village. The natives were doing their normal chores with children playing in the cornfields. An Indian warning call was the sign for everyone to run for cover. They even set the cornfield on fire! Many were captured but some fled to freedom.

Fort Henry Memorial Wall

Fort Henry Memorial Wall

Not much is left of the old Fort Henry, but locals are trying to keep alive the memories. There is a granite Fort Henry marker in the parking lot on the right hand side just past Capitol Theater. A list has been started, but not complete by any means, of those who were in Wheeling at the time of the American Revolution. All these names have been placed on a wall, which is being displayed throughout the Ohio Valley. Should your family name be there?

Fort Henry Days are held the first weekend of September annually. Celebration is held in Oglebay Park at Wheeling, WV. Once you get to the park, signs will direct you to the activities. If you know of any names that need to be added to the wall or wish to display the Fort Henry Wall, contact the Fort Henry Living History board by email at

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