Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Posts tagged ‘Portsmouth’

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.

A Stroll Through History Portsmouth Flood Wall Murals

Floodwall 7

Early life in Portsmouth can be seen in the Stagecoach Mural, Hanging Rock Iron Furnaces, and the Ohio and Erie Canal at its southernmost point.

2000 seems to be the magic number in Portsmouth. 2000 years of Scioto County History on 2000 feet of Portsmouth Flood Wall Murals.

Floodwall Flood

The disastrous Ohio River Flood of 1937 led to the construction of this floodwall.

In 1937, a disastrous flood caused the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to construct a flood wall along the Ohio River to prevent the same thing from happening in the future.

While the flood wall served its purpose, it wasn’t very pleasing to the eye. Dr. Louis Chaboudy  and his wife, Ava, had visited Steubenville, Ohio in 1992 and were pleased with the murals they saw there. They decided to begin the search for a person who might not only paint pictures of the history of Scioto County, but bring it to life so it would attract visitors to their city.

Floodwall Mounds

The Portsmouth Earthworks is a large mound complex constructed by the Ohio Hopewell Culture from 100 BCE to 500 CE.

Robert Dafford, an internationally known muralist, seemed the perfect person for that role and painting began on the largest mural, 20′ x 160′ in 1993. One artist created all 2000′ of the Flood Wall Murals by October of 2002. The remainder of the murals are 20′ x 40′. Whether you are an artist or have little appreciation for fine art, these murals will grab your attention and tell you the story of the changes that have taken place in Portsmouth over the years.

Floodwall 9

The Greyhound Bus Station was a popular place during WWII gas rationing. Or you could have joined local legend, Roy Rogers, riding Trigger.

The murals tell the story of the history of the area, and depict all the former factories, the great flood of 1937, sports history and much, much more. See detailed paintings of historical Portsmouth, which include local legends, such as Roy Rogers, Branch Rickey, and the Portsmouth Spartans NFL football team. The Spartans could not survive in the small town of Portsmouth during the depression, and in 1934 were sold to Detroit, where they became the Detroit Lions.

Floodwall 8

Sixteen churches established in the 1800s are featured in this stained glass motif. 

Some surprises appear along the way whether you are walking for the best view, or driving along in your vehicle. Discover that the shoe industry had six factories here in the early 1800s employing over 6,000 people. Look carefully at the mural of the Portsmouth Motorcycle Club and see if you can spot the reflection of the muralist, Robert Dafford, in one of the hubcaps.

After the initial 2000′ were painted, there have been four murals added. One of them depicts famous baseball players from the area, while another shows a bicycle tour from Columbus to Portsmouth.

Floodwall Ohio River

The Ohio River flows just outside the flood wall where the U.S. Grant Bridge crosses over to Kentucky. 

The great thing is…it’s FREE!  Take a leisurely stroll along the murals or view from them the sidewalk across the street for a different perspective. An amazing feature is that there are paintings on both sides of the wall so don’t forget to view the wall from the Ohio River side as well.

Portsmouth Outer Wall

The Ohio River side of the flood wall was begun before the mural side. You can drive along most of the outside of the wall along the Ohio River.

Here the flood wall has been designated at the Portsmouth Wall of Fame, where accomplishments of area natives are recognized. Their name is placed beneath a star with an autograph of the person being honored in many cases – Don Gullett, Al Oliver, Roy Rogers, Dan Quayle, Larry Hisle and Gene Tenace being a few of those recognized.

Floodwall Town Mural

Downtown Portsmouth in the 1900s is the cover of the Scioto County Visitors’ Guide. The Steel Industry played a major role in the town’s growth.

The Portsmouth Flood Wall serves as a great example of how something that serves a needed purpose doesn’t have to be dull or boring. With a little bit of talent, it can brighten up the world.

Portsmouth is located in the southern part of Ohio along back country roads. Your best bet for directions is using your GPS. 

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