Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Posts tagged ‘Muskingum River’

Discover Marietta with Historic Trolley Tour

 


Trolley on Brick Street

The Marietta Trolley explores the city on those old brick streets.

   When Harley Noland opened his restaurant in Marietta, he began thinking of ways that could bring more tourists into the area. That was when the idea of a trolley struck him. This was twenty-five years ago, and the Marietta Trolley has been making tours ever since.

Levee House

The Levee House was a popular place to dine along the river.

   His restaurant, The Levee House, was located on the Ohio River making it convenient to have a Bed & Breakfast nearby on a historic riverboat, CLAIRE E. Both of those businesses are no longer in operation but the trolley lives on.

Harley

Guide Harley Noland brought the trolley to life again about 25 years ago.

   Sometimes Harley still gives the trolley’s guided tour, but there are also several local historians that help with that side of the project now. Each of them has wonderful factual knowledge of the area and tells accurate stories of those early pioneers who settled at the confluence of the Muskingum and Ohio Rivers.

   This is the perfect way to see the highlights of the city while traveling their old brick streets and learn about its history. The city has an abundance of beautiful Victorian homes, churches, earthworks and historic spots that will have you going back for a second look. There’s history on every corner!

   This year the trolley ride begins on Front Street at the Armory, which is the new home of the Marietta/Washington County Visitors Bureau. Then begins the ninety minute narrated tour of Marietta on the trolley made of mahogany with a great speaker system for easy listening.

Westward Monument

The Start Westward monument marks the 150th anniversary in 1938 of the signing of the Northwest Treaty Ordinance.

   Coming from the East Coast, the settlers designated the area along the Muskingum River as “The Commons”. Today there stands a monument to the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Northwest Territory Ordinance. This Memorial to the Start Westward of the United States was carved in 1938 by Gutzon Borglum, the same man who carved Mount Rushmore and dedicated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

shanty-boat

Ohio River Museum displays a shanty boat, which floated a family from job to job.

   A stop at the Ohio River Museum focuses on the role of the rivers in the expansion of our country. It gives a chance to view the last shanty boat, which is a complete house that people lived on. There is also the oldest pilot house in the United States close by.

w-p-snyder-jr

Stop back and take a tour of the W.P. Snyder, Jr to learn more about early riverboats.

   The Adventure Galley was the first flatboat to arrive in Ohio from Pittsburgh. The W.P. Snyder, Jr.. is now docked nearby and the last coal-fired, steam-powered sternwheel towboat to have operated on the Ohio River.

   Sacra Via, “Sacred Way”, is an ancient path from the Muskingum River to the earthworks in Marietta. The pathway was surrounded by earthen embankments about twenty-six feet high and was covered with mollusk shells from the river so that it sparkled in the moonlight.

   The mounds are the site of a Winter Solstice Sunset Watch and it is strongly believed these mounds were placed here for an astrological alignment. This site has not eroded in 2000 years due to the heavy clay used to build it up.

Conus Mound

Conus in Mound Cemetery was an ancient burial ground.

   Mound Cemetery contains Conus Mound, a burial mound surrounded by an earthen wall and a dry moat. This was used for burial and ceremonial purposes. The cemetery surrounding it has more Revolutionary war officers than any other cemetery in the United States.

Oil House

This was home to an early family who made their living from the oil fields.

   A bubbling black substance coming out of the ground was put on joints and felt to be a healing compound. It was called Panther Water and used as medicine. When its true purpose was discovered, the crude oil in this town made many men rich. That gives a reason for many of the lovely homes in the area.

Rufus Dawes House

Rufus Dawes house was the boyhood home of U.S. V.P. Charles Dawes, who was also a Nobel Peace Prize recipient.

   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. Many of the rich built their homes on terraces to avoid the flood waters.

Newest Mansion

The newest mansion was built by a present-day entrepreneur who makes refrigerator magnets.

   But not all of Marietta’s lovely homes are old. One pillared house was built in the last 17 years by a man who manufactures something you wouldn’t think would be a million dollar business – refrigerator magnets.

The Castle

The historic Castle was built in 1855 at a cost of $10,000.

   The location of The Castle today sets on grounds that were originally used by a potter and his wife. It would have been one of the earliest pottery manufacturing locations in the Northwest Territory. Many prominent Marietta residents lived here including Ohio Senator Theodore Davis. Today it is open as a historical museum to honor the legacy of The Castle families as well as provides educational and cultural activities to learn more about its connection to Ohio history.

St Mary's

The Basilica of St. Mary of the Assumption is only one of the many historic churches on the tour.

   The Basilica of St. Mary of the Assumption was a stop off the trolley to view the spectacular interior, which takes one back to its European roots. The church was consecrated in 1909. The beautiful stained glass windows were created in Munich, Germany. There are nearly 140 images of angels throughout the church. Large angels bearing palm branches and torches can be found surrounding the sanctuary while cherubs adorn each column.

   Beauty like this would not have been normally seen at this time in history or even today for that matter. Many say it compares favorably with Basilicas in Europe.

harmar-historic-bridge

This Pedestrian bridge over the Muskingum River is a pleasant stroll from downtown Marietta.

   Fort Harmar, the first frontier fort in Ohio Country, was situated on the Muskingum River, called the easy way west. Built in 1785, it was named for General Josiah Harmar. He had been ordered by the United States Army to build a fort here to discourage illegal settlers from squatting there. It did just the opposite as made them feel protected by the fort nearby. Tall masted sailing ships were later built here.

Douglas Putnam Place

Anchorage was built on the hill in Harmar by abolitionist Douglas Putnam in 1859.

   The Douglas Putnam House sits high on the hill overlooking the river in the Harmar district. He was the leader of the abolitionist society in Marietta. As one of the wealthiest members, his support of the UGRR was not surpassed. From his house, you could see Virginia on the other side of the river, which at that time was not a real barrier as it was shallow enough to be crossed on horseback.

River Lafayette

The Lafayette is the oldest hotel in Marietta…and haunted.

   The trolley tour is one of the most popular tours in the Marietta area. Parking is free at the Marietta – Washington County CVB at 241 Front Street. Hop on the trolley Tuesday through Saturday during July and August at 10:00 to experience a glimpse of history.

   It’s a great way to discover Marietta!

Confluence Most Beautiful

Putnam said that where the Muskingum meets the Ohio River was the prettiest sight he had ever seen.

Take Exit 1 in Ohio off I-77 to Pike Street. Continue west on Pike Street until it ends at the Lafayette Hotel. Take a right and the Visitors Bureau will be at 241 Front Street. Buy your trolley ticket when you get on the trolley.

Advertisements

Old Stone Academy Opens Underground Railroad Exhibit

Freedom.

Its importance isn’t usually discovered until it is taken away.

Stone - Old Stone Academy

Stone Academy provided a place for Anti-Slavery meetings as well as the Underground Railroad.

Perhaps you have felt like running away from a bad situation. That’s how most of the slaves felt in their quest for freedom. The Underground Railroad helped them succeed in finding this special liberation.

   Even before the time of the Civil War, Anti-Slavery organizations were very active. A center of activity in Ohio was the Old Stone Academy in Putnam on the Muskingum River.

Stone - drive with timeline

The drive to the house has a timeline from the settling of John McIntyre in Zanesville until the end of the Civil War.

   While the Stone Academy served as a station on the Underground Railroad in the 1830s, that wasn’t the reason it was built back in 1809. The oldest building in Muskingum County was designed to be the new state capitol building. It was built by Dr. Increase Mathews, Levi Whipple and Ebenezer Buckingham.

   However, across the river in Zanesville, then a separate community, John McIntire and others constructed a building for that same purpose. Zanesville did serve as the capital of Ohio from 1810 to 1812.

Stone Anti-Slavery

“Coming to Blows” by Adam Chandler depicts the pro-slavery mob outside Stone Academy during an anti-slavery lecture.  Theodore Weld said, “Mob came, broke the windows and doors, tore off the gate and attacked me when I came out with clubs and stones…”

   The Stone Academy became a school and had public offices for several years. It was the center of abolitionist activity in Putnam with the Ohio Anti-Slavery Society holding state conventions there in 1835 and 1839. Both years, mobs of pro-slavery disrupted their meetings threatening to burn all of Putnam. The people of Putnam were very unpopular with their neighbors across the river in Zanesville.

Stone Notice to Slaves

This notice was posted as a warning to fugitive slaves.

   These abolitionists were mainly from New England and had a very strong religious background that made most of them desire to have equal rights for all. However, there was a section of this group that proposed sending the blacks back to Africa in the 1830s.

   The Stone Academy has been accepted by the National Park Service as part of the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. There is a new Ohio historical marker at the Stone Academy.

Stone - Putnam Presbyterian Church

The Putnam Presbyterian Church served as a meeting place for Anti-Slavery meetings.

   Nearby the Putnam Presbyterian Church held many anti-slavery meetings. Their pastor was the brother of Harriette Beecher Stowe. One of their popular speakers was Frederick Douglass, an African American orator who spoke of slavery issues across the state.

   A story was published about Douglass in “The Anti-Slavery Bugle”, which told of his purchasing a ride from Columbus to Putnam to speak at the Presbyterian Church. Douglass paid $3 in order to ride inside the stagecoach that day, but when they saw he was an African American, he was not permitted to ride. He took the case to court and won an out of court settlement for $15.

Stone - Increase Mathews House

Increase Mathews House was another stop on the Underground Railroad in Putnam.

   The slaves who came through this direction were understandably not very trusting of the station masters. These brave souls took a lot of chances during their flight. They wanted above all else to be free.

   Nelson Gant was one of those freed blacks who settled in Muskingum County. He had to raise money to purchase his wife’s freedom as she was still a slave in Virginia. Gant became one of the wealthiest men in the county with a successful produce business, which originated that famous cantaloupe, the Dresden Melon. He worked hard and transported slaves in his wagons.

Stone - Jim Geyer director

Museum director, Jim Geyer, told many interesting stories of the early days of the Stone Academy.

   In speaking with Jim Geyer, museum director, he tells of interesting programs they are developing to attract more people to the museum and the area. There are several UGRR stops involved in the area, not just the Stone Academy.

   Jim and other volunteers are reaching out to the community with a power point presentation suitable for schools, civic groups or retirement communities. He serves as a step-on guide for bus groups that come to the area. They are taken to various places in the Putnam Historic District that have a part in the UGRR story. At present, they have six sites locally that were part of that UGRR. These were called “safe houses”.

Stone - Lett Settlement

Lett Settlement, located where the Wilds is today, was composed of “free people of color”.

   Soon they are planning to add another interesting spot to their tours – The Wilds! There the Lett Settlement consisted of a group of “free people of color” who later assisted the fleeing slaves.

   Since the Stone Academy has been filled with so much activity over the years, it is no surprise that paranormal activity is frequently observed in the house and in the area. They have one special program called “History, Mystery, and Unsettled Spirits” that speaks of this phenomenon as well as some folklore. Ghost tours are conducted and paranormal investigations continue.

   Henry Howell managed the Ohio Anti-Slavery Society and gave fiery speeches. The residents across the river were not happy with his speeches and came to burn his house down. Howell escaped but his dog was left behind. They found the dog later hung in the back yard. Claims are made that the spirit of the dog can still be heard barking today.

Stone UGRR safe homes

A wall display tells of the ‘safe homes’ for the Underground Railroad.

   One problem they have at the Stone Academy is limited floor space and they have been discouraged from attaching pictures and displays to the walls. There are few artifacts here but much information in the form of charts and pictures. Due to the limited space, exhibits in the hallways are frequently changed.

Stone dolls

These dolls were made by an anti-slavery advocate with a duplicate set being given to Queen Victoria.

   The best part of the tour are the stories told by volunteers, who are very knowledgeable about its history.

Stone closet hideaway

This closet held a trap door that led to the basement where a slave could hide.

   The building served as a station for the Underground Railroad. A popular feature is a hidden trap door under the staircase that led to the crawl space under the building where the runaway slaves hid.

Stone - found under stairs

These articles were found under the stairs of the trap door.

  In the 1870s, Stone Academy became the private residence of Elizabeth Robbins, well-known actress, activist and writer. Today it is home to the display of the UGRR directed by Muskingum County History and located in the Putnam Historic District.

   Freedom remains an important element of our lives today. May we remain a nation where our freedom of choice is never extinguished.

The Old Stone Academy is located in Zanesville, Ohio. From I-70, take Exit 155 to Underwood Street.  Best to use your GPS to 115 Jefferson Street, which is across the Muskingum River using the 6th Street Bridge. There is an easy access parking lot beside the Stone Academy.

Stockport Mill and Inn Gives Scenic View of Muskingum River

A retreat for all reasons – or no reason at all

Stockport Dam

Turbulent waters recently flowed past the Stockport Mill and Inn along the Muskingum River.

Escape crowds and noise. Listen to the sounds of the flowing river. Enjoy a delicious meal. All of these become part of the experience when visiting Stockport Mill and Inn on the Dam at the edge of Stockport, Ohio. Explore the history of the area while you “mill around”.

Stockport Locke

This hand-operated lock sets across the Muskingum River from the inn.

     Stockport Mill, located at the sixth in a series of locks and dams on the Muskingum River, had its beginning in 1842. The building today is the third mill on that site. It was built in 1906 by the Dover Brothers. By using a pair of 10-inch Leffel turbines, it not only provided power to run the mill but generated electricity for the town of  Stockport.

Stockport Mill Sign

This old mill sign hangs on the porch of the Stockport Inn on the Dam.

     Stockport Milling Company was known for making Gold Bond, Seal of Ohio and Pride of the Valley refined flours. Products were shipped on steam packet boats and on the Ohio & Little Kanawha Railroad, because good roads were not available at that time.

Stockport Corn Grinder

Some antique equipment, like the corn separator, can be found throughout the inn.

     That early mill supplied many different needs. Farmers could get feed and supplies for their animals, including halters and show supplies. Wives used the mill to purchase their garden seeds and plants. Even the children found a place to pick up a 4-H project in the form of baby chicks.

Stockport Slate in Entrance

Slate from the roof has been recycled into wall covering at the inn’s entrance.

     This was also the place where farmers met to share their news, until it ceased operation as a feed mill in 1997.  Three years later this beautiful old mill was restored and now functions as Stockport Mill Inn and Restaurant on the Dam. It is the only mill still remaining of many that dotted the busy river in the past.

     The owner, Dottie Singer, has attempted to preserve the original architecture and building materials. Inside you’ll find many unusual antiques, information about the history of the area, and great pictures and paintings throughout donated by local Morgan County residents.

Stockport Suite

Hudson Suite offers a view of the river and a jacuzzi for relaxation.

     There are fourteen guest rooms with private balconies, which all have scenic views of the Muskingum River. You might choose to stay in the Morgan Raider Suite, Valley Gem River View, or Captain Hook Suite.

Stockport Lounge

This meeting room contained workings of the mill as well as a place to visit.

     Suites come with a jacuzzi, while other rooms still have that old fashioned claw bath tub. Each of the four floors has a meeting room for relaxation as well as early morning taste treats. This is a great place for a reunion, wedding, business meeting, or just to get away.

Stockport Dining Room

Enjoy weekend meals at Stockport Restaurant on the Dam.

     Their dining area has a wrap around terrace so you can have a delicious meal while watching the river drift by. The restaurant is open weekends throughout most of the year, but closed in January. Friday and Saturday, their hours are 5PM-9 PM, while on Sunday, their delicious buffet, which brings memories of Sunday dinners on the farm, runs from noon-4PM.  Reservations are recommended.

Stockport Turbine

This was one of the original turbines that provided electricity to the mill and town of Stockport.

     While those early turbines that produced electricity for the town became corroded, new turbines have been installed that are similar Samson Leffel turbines. The only difference is these new ones have stainless steel parts instead of the early carbon steel, which rusted.

Stockport Tunnel

This is the exit tunnel for the water after it has run through the turbines.

     Water enters the turbines through a trash-rack, which keeps logs from interfering with turbine action. Then it goes in a tunnel under the mill, where it hits a runner, which turns and makes the power.

Stockport Wall 2

Guests are encouraged to visit the “Signing Wall” along the steps on their way to see the turbines in the basement area.

     The generator sets on top of the Speed Increaser at a level above the 100-year flood level. This Hydro Project produces around 800,000 kilowatt hours per year, using seventeen million gallons of water each day. After all their electric needs are met at the mill, any excess electricity is sold to the electric company. It’s no surprise that today this system is run by a computer!

Stockport Balcony

There’s always an exciting view of the Muskingum River from the balconies.

     For those who like to stay away from it all, Stockport Inn and Mill Restaurant on the Dam would be the perfect place. Guests often come back for the river view from their balcony, great food, and the rustic décor. Many have a favorite suite they use time after time.

Stockport Summer

In the summer, the river here is peaceful near Stockport, Ohio.

     Relax as you hear the sound of the river bubbling right past your balcony at this historic structure. Look for it on your next trip down the Muskingum River.

Stockport Mill and Inn on the Dam is located just off Route 60 along the Muskingum River about halfway between Zanesville and Marietta. Cross over the river at Ohio 266 W and the mill will be on the left hand side. Their address is 1995 Broadway Avenue, Stockport, Ohio.

 

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.

Drift Along on the Monticello III Canal Boat at Roscoe Village

 

Monticello sign

Look for this sign off Route 83 near Coshocton to find the Canal Boat Landing.

The smoothest ride you’ve ever had!

That describes the trip along the restored Ohio-Erie Canal near Roscoe Village. Two horses, Rock and Bill, slowly walk the original tow path as they gently pull a replica of the canal boats that traveled this same route in the early 1800s. Sit back and relax on this forty minute ride while you listen to the captain tell the story of life on the canal.

Monticello horses

Bill and Rock, two huge draft horses, wait patiently in their stable.

Two Percheron horses pull the Monticello III canal boat quite easily. The hoggee, or horseman, leads them along the tow path. He uses 150′ of rope to guide them as they pull with great ease this flat bottomed boat weighing twenty-five tons.

In 1803, the need for a canal was evident. They would place a boat carrying goods on the Muskingum River, and it would drift downstream to the spot in Marietta where it met the Ohio River. They had no way to get the boat back upstream, so they had to dismantle the boat and carry it piece by piece to be reassembled. The canal eliminated that problem.

Monticello hogie walks horses

The hoggee walks along the original canal towpath as he guides the horses.

Ground breaking for the canal began in 1825.The canal was built by Irish immigrants, who worked for 30 cents a day and four jiggers of whiskey. The need for whiskey came into play to avoid the condition known as canal fever.

First, the canal was dug by hand to a depth of four feet, then lined with clay to make a sturdy bottom. How did they pack the clay? With a sheep-foot roller – a herd of sheep ran over it to smooth it.

Completion occurred in 1832, seven years later. Transportation at that time gave few choices – either a stagecoach or a passenger boat. Rates for the boats were fifty cents a day, which included room and board, while stagecoach fares were typically five cents a mile.

Monticello turning

Monticello III gives a smooth ride that is certain to relax you.

Often three hundred boats traveled on the canal at one time. Passing became the real challenge as their tow ropes could easily get tangled. This intricate job fell to the hoggees, the boys who guided not only the horses, but also the tow ropes. Quite often they were teenage orphans with no other way to find food and shelter.

Former president, James Garfield, worked as a hoggee in 1847 when he was a teenager. The story was told that Garfield fell into the canal so often, he became ill. After that experience, that young man decided that college would be a better choice.

Monticello on the canal

Everyone enjoys their trip down the restored Ohio-Erie Canal.

Captains often lived in the cabin on the boats with their family. The females of the family would be the cooks and do household tasks as they traveled on the canal. All garbage and waste was thrown to the towpath side. So if the cooks needed extra water for cooking they would dip it from the side opposite the towpath.Turtle soup was a favorite treat.

Monticello mileage sign

This sign at the edge of the landing tells distances from the Roscoe Port to Cleveland and Portsmouth.

As humorous as it may sound, there was a speed limit for boats on the canal to keep the banks from eroding. Four miles an hour was the limit and they were fined for speeding. Speed was determined by how long it took to get from one lock to the next.

Monticello map

This map of Ohio shows the route on the eastern side of the Ohio-Erie Canal from Cleveland to Marietta and Portsmouth.

In 1913, a major flood throughout Ohio wiped out the Erie Canal. Parts of it still exist today from Cleveland to Portsmouth. View a bit of history and take the smoothest ride imaginable at Roscoe Village sometime this summer. It’s relaxing!

The canal boat ride at Roscoe Village is seasonal from Memorial Day to Labor Day on Tuesday – Saturday at 1:00, 2:00, and 3:00 and Sunday at 1:00 and 2:00.

Ohio Beginnings with Rufus Putnam

Putnam Museum Front

Campus Martius Museum in Marietta contains interesting early Ohio history.

How is The Bunch of Grapes Tavern in Boston, Massachusetts connected to Campus Martius Museum in Marietta, Ohio?

After the Revolutionary War, in March, 1786, a group of men met at The Bunch of Grapes Tavern in Boston to purchase land in the Northwest Territory.  Rufus Putnam, Benjamin Tupper, Samuel Parsons, and Rev. Manasseh Cutler formed the Ohio Company of Associates, also known as The Ohio Company, and purchased what was to become about one-fifth of the state of Ohio.

Putnam Land Office

The Ohio Company Land Office, where Rufus Putnam and his partners worked, is the oldest known building in Ohio. Built in 1788, many hopeful land owners walked the path to its door.

These Revolutionary war soldiers were given land grants in lieu of payment for services rendered during the war. They purchased approximately 1,500,000 acres at roughly eight and a half cents per acre along the Ohio River in southeastern Ohio.

Provisions in this land grant were made for two sections in the center to be set aside for an educational institution. The first land grant college was to be called American Western University, but before opening changed its name to Ohio University.

Putnam Portrait

Rufus Putnam served as a member of the Ohio Company, which laid out the plans for Marietta.

Even though Rufus Putnam. the leader of the Ohio Company, was a self-educated man and did not have any formal schooling after the age of nine, he promoted higher education by serving as a trustee at Ohio University. He also claims a connection to West Point. where he built a fort during the Revolutionary War. Fort Putnam is today being preserved and operated by the United States Army Garrison, West Point.

In his memoirs, which are today at Marietta College, he shared his wish for a better education. One line said, “hence neglecting Spelling and gramer when young I have suffered much through life on that account.” But that didn’t keep him from recording records of all his correspondence, while he also kept a daily journal.

Putnam Sugar

An interesting item on the kitchen table was a cone of sugar wrapped in blue paper from the West Indies, with sugar nippers close by to get the perfect amount of sugar for a cup of coffee or tea. The blue paper had a second use as Persis could use it to dye her spun thread.

Rufus Putnam established the first Ohio Company settlement on the banks of the Ohio River in 1788. This became the first settlement in the Northwest Territory. Adelphia, meaning brotherhood, became its first name, but that was soon changed to Marietta in honor of Queen Marie Antoinette of France.

There the Ohio Company built a fortification to protect themselves from the Indians. They called their stockade, Campus Martius. Rufus Putman’s home was one of a row of plank houses inside this stockade.

A few years later, fortification was no longer needed, so the stockade was disassembled. However, the Putnam house remained at the original site, but with added rooms. He purchased the corner blockhouse for $70 and used its lumber for his house addition.

Putnam Kitchen

This is the original kitchen where the Putnam family prepared and ate their meals.

His wife, Persis and eight children, joined him in Ohio at their new home on the bluff of the Muskingum River. Their home here contained a kitchen, sewing/sitting room and two bedrooms upstairs. Now you can see the need for an addition.

Putnam Spinning Wheel

Mrs. Putnam used the spinning wheel frequently as her seamstress abilities were well known. When Rufus was on his trips for the country, she often had to earn money for essentials by sewing.

Putnam Museum

Treasures of early Ohio can be found inside this building in Marietta.

What’s behind all those windows at Campus Martius Museum in Marietta, Ohio today? Inside is the full size house of Rufus Putnam and it still stands where it was built back in 1788. The museum was built around the house in 1931 after the Daughters of American Revolution with assistance from the state of Ohio saved it from destruction.

Putnam 1931

The house is pictured as it was in 1931 before preservation began.

Rufus Putnam served his country faithfully and was respected by his superiors, especially by his favorite leader, George Washington.  It has been said that so long as the history of his country shall be written and read, the part Rufus Putnam played in that history will be found occupying one of its broadest and brightest pages.

Visit Campus Martius Museum to see where the Putnam family lived and learn more about their new life in Ohio. The museum overflows with Ohio history.

Campus Martius Museum is located at 601 Second Street, Marietta, Ohio, on Ohio State Route 7, and minutes from I-77. Plenty of free parking is available and cost of admission is very reasonable.

Marietta Vice Walking Tour Filled with Thieves, Bars and Murders

This island contained an Amusement Park in 1900.

In 1900, Buckley Island contained an Amusement Park during the day, then became a Lawless Wonderland at night.

You had to be bold and brave if you dared walk on the seedy side of town in Marietta, Ohio back in the early 1900s. But Lynne Sturtevant recently led a crowd of fifty on an adventure back to early days as the old sections of Marietta were revisited. Along the way, characters in costume greeted the tour and told of dangerous adventures at that time.

Riverfront man and Lynne, our guide

Riverfront man and Lynne, our guide

Crime was a severe problem all along the Ohio and Muskingum Rivers in Marietta, with bars, bars, and more bars. The Ohio River flowed around a small island, that served as an amusement park during the day, but a whole new crowd arrived in the evening. They enjoyed all the vices of the time – drinking, gambling, prostitution, and murder. Going to the island in the evening had an added enticement of cheap beer. Along the shore beer was twenty-five cents a glass, but on the island, only five cents. The Island, now known as Buckley Island, was a lawless wonderland. If you wanted to do anything illegal, the island was the place!

Old hotel and bar

Notice the popular shadow advertisement of WHISKEY at The Levee House – just above the table tops.

Despicable characters roamed the streets, drinking and arguing over everything imaginable. One man and his wife were each found with bullets in their head after an argument over a wristwatch. The stories told were all true reports of the Marietta newspaper from that time.

Proud bartender

Proud bartender

Dance halls and saloons were the main businesses in town. Shadow advertising can still be seen on many buildings with words like WHISKEY worked right into the brick works.

Along the way, the group met a delightful bartender who told of some of the fights he had witnessed at the bars. The job he hated the most was cleaning the spittoons.

A character portraying Oliver Hyde, mayor of Marietta in 1904, spoke to the group in front of the police station. The building also served as the electric company and the mayor had his office on the top floor. He gave the latest police report describing real events in Marietta in 1904.

Historic Harmar Bridge

Historic Harmar Railroad Bridge

The historic Harmar Railroad Bridge provided a scenic walkway over the Muskingum River. This is the country’s oldest operating railroad swinging bridge, still using a hand crank to swing it open for passing boats. Where the Harmar Historical Village stands today, Fort Harmar existed in 1785 for the protection of the Indians.

Walking over the bridge, one of the roughest sections of town was on Maple Street. A young man, who lived there, told about his neighborhood. He spoke of Mr. and Mrs. Hayes, who were well known local folks. Mrs. Hayes served as a madam, while her husband usually caused problems. Mr. Hayes was very jealous of his wife and accused her of seeing the local bartender. She begged him, “Don’t kill me!”

He did.

Guy from the rough side of town

Guy from the rough side of town

The young man said the Marietta Police had never caught the husband and asked the mayor why he wasn’t working on it. The mayor, in typical mayor fashion said, “It’s under investigation.” The young man told the group to get back over the bridge as quickly as possible as the area was not a safe one.

While visiting a housewife in Sin City, she told of a murder that happened next door to her house. She was hanging out the laundry when she heard a husband and wife fighting next door. The husband yelled, “I’ll break your face right in if you do that again.”

Later she smelled a fire burning in their back yard and hurried to get her clothes off the line. About 5:00 the next morning, there was a knock at her door. At the door stood the next door neighbor. “Good morning, the missus has gotten drunk and fell into the fire and burned right up. She’s always getting drunk.”

When the police arrived at the scene, over half of the woman’s body was severely burned, but they could see severe bruises on her neck. Perhaps she didn’t just fall into the fire, but was pushed. You’ll have to visit to find out…the rest of the story.

A rainy ending to an educational and interesting day

A rainy ending to an educational and interesting day

Rain held off until the very end of the tour, when it came down from the sky in buckets. The wind, rain and lightning made it seem that this place was perhaps still dangerous.

Marietta, Ohio is located at the confluence of the Muskingum and Ohio Rivers in southern Ohio. Take Exit 1 off I -77 in Ohio to experience this delightful town. Characters along the way were provided by Paskawych Entertainment, LLC of Marietta.

Tag Cloud