Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Posts tagged ‘post office’

Take a Relaxing Visit to Historic Harmar Village

Old Fort Harmar was built near the confluence of the Ohio and Muskingum Rivers.

At the confluence of the Muskingum and Ohio Rivers, Fort Harmar was the first military fort built in Ohio County. Built under the command of General Josiah Harmar, this 1785 fort was given his name.

This drawing was made by early pioneer, Judge Joseph Gilman.

Its purpose was to keep illegal settlers from squatting there but it proved the opposite as they came and settled because they felt safe from the American Indians with the protection of the fort. The fort was abandoned in 1790 and demolished in 1791. Its location is thought to be under the Ohio River as the river has widened over the years.

Take a trolley ride for interesting historical stories.

The Ohio Company planned out Harmar Village near the fort site across the Muskingum River from downtown Marietta. Today, a trolley tour of Historic Marietta and Harmar is a nice way to get an overview. Then you can go back and see the places that appeal to you. Once you get to the other side of the river, Harmar Village is filled with historical homes, a few unique shops, many dining experiences, museums, and restored train cars.

Historic Harmar Bridge provided a nice walk over the Muskingum River in past years.

Historic Harmar Railroad Bridge, strictly pedestrian in recent years, leads from Front Street in downtown Marietta to Harmar Village but is now closed. It was a scenic walk over the Muskingum River to explore the old restored village. The bridge, which was built in the 1860s is in disrepair and they have a campaign to save the bridge as it was the only working, hand-operated railroad bridge in America. They still operate it during the Harmar Festival for those who would like a ride. All proceeds, of course, go to Save the Bridge.

Putnam House is high on the hill overlooking the town and the rivers.

A beautiful Italianate home can be found high on the hill in Harmar. It was built in 1859 by Douglas Putnam, one of Marietta’s wealthiest men. Putnam was the leader of the abolitionists in the area where he was a major supporter of the Underground Railroad.

He built the home for his wife Eliza who fell in love with that style when traveling through New England. Eliza carefully chose everything that was to go into the house to make it their home. The cost at that time was $60,000.

The family named the house Putnam Place, although many called it Putnam’s Folly. The tower was probably his idea as he could easily see both rivers and the city as well as across the river to Virginia so he could keep a good eye on slave movement. At that time the Ohio River was rather shallow and you could easily ride a horse across it. Later the house was purchased by Harry Knox, a builder of steamboats, and renamed Anchorage.

In recent years, paranormal investigations and tours have also been held at Putnam Villa by the Washington County Historical Society, which hopes to restore it.

Henry Fearing House Museum gives a glimpse of life in the early 1800s.

Harmar seems to overflow with historical homes. The Henry Fearing House Museum gives you a taste of middle-class life during the Victorian era. Fearing invested in the area and had a steamboat enterprise. Built in 1847, today this house holds historical items from Marietta and Washington counties. In 1829, Levi Barber, who was a surveyor and U.S. Congressman, built The Barber House.

The Children’s Toy & Doll Museum has a vast collection of old toys.

The Children’s Toy & Doll Museum gives visitors a glimpse of what toys entertained children during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The house where this hidden treasure is located was built in 1889 by George Strecker, a local boilermaker. They have beautiful displays of dollhouses, circus wagons, dolls from around the world, and many new displays this year.

The Old Post Office has a train display beside it.

The Old Post Office is a center of attraction right beside their train display. Lydia Young served as postmaster here from 1864-1885 in what was also her notary shop. While there aren’t many places for shopping in Harmar, you’ll find several places for delicious food as all have crowds of people at lunchtime.

Busy Bee is a popular family restaurant for breakfast and lunch.

Busy Bee is right next door to the Post Office and has been serving fresh ingredients from local farms since 1944. Everything is made from scratch with breakfast their specialty. Larry loves the area and has plans for starting three new businesses there: a bakery, butcher shop, and distillery.

Harmar Tavern has a friendly bar, indoor dining, and a great patio.

Stop for a meal at Spagna’s Italian Restaurant right next door to Harmar Tavern. Spagna’s offers authentic southern Italian cuisine and an extensive wine list. Or go next door to the tavern, a neighborhood gathering place that almost never closes. They are known for their “Soon to be famous” Fried Bologna Sandwich.

The history of Harmar is told at the edge of town near where the original fort stood.

If you are planning to attend their Fourth of July Celebration or the Sternwheeler Festival, you might enjoy heading to Lookout Point on Harmar Hill. Here you can see many vistas of Marietta as well as the beautiful Ohio and Muskingum Rivers winding their way through the scene. It’s a great place to watch the fireworks! Harmar is a great place to visit any time of the year.


End of an Era: Morrison’s Store Sycamore Valley, Ohio

Morrison General Store in Sycamore Valley, Ohio

Morrison’s General Store in Sycamore Valley, Ohio

Driving down the long steep Creighton Hill to Sycamore Valley, thoughts of years gone by began to creep into the mind. At the bottom of the hill in a beautiful tree-filled valley sat the little town of Sycamore Valley, Ohio. Located in Monroe County, this small town has a rich history centered around their meeting place, Morrison’s General Store.

Shelves at Morrison Store

Shelves at Morrison Store

Built back in the 1880’s, this was the supply center for most of the people of that valley. No other towns were close by so at Morrison’s General they found not only groceries for the family, but also feed for their livestock at an adjacent feed mill. Included on the shelves were everything needed for the home, farm, and even boots and hats for the farmer. When looking through the old ledgers for the store, total sales for the month of December, 1943 totaled $1,429.32. An unusual sign on the scales inside summed up the philosophy of the store:

We have no quarrel with those who sell for less They know what their merchandise is worth.

Warm Morning Meeting Place

Warm Morning Meeting Place

Even though there was a gas light at the entrance, inside the store was dark and gloomy cheered only by the friendly folks of the Valley. Many remembered coming to the store two or three times a week to get everything they needed for their family. No matter if you needed eggs and cheese or nuts and bolts, this was the original one-stop shopping center. One man said he came from the age of three to the store where his mother met with some other ladies for quilting. This was a time when folks would gather around the old Warm Morning wood stove, prop up their feet and share the latest Valley news.

Sycamore Valley Post Office

Sycamore Valley Post Office

Sycamore Valley Post Office

Sycamore Valley Post Office

The store here in Sycamore Valley also served as a one-pump Ashland gas station as well as the post office, which served over 100 addresses at its peak. Inside you can still see the post office boxes where mail was kept for pick-up. While there Morris, the last postmaster, told about his 34 years running the post office. Morris’ dad owned the store previous to that time.

Times were rough in the Valley and keeping the store open was a difficult encounter during the best of times. Finally, the store was closed but the post office continued for several more years. Morris did sell candy, pop and a few small items until it finally closed in 2008 when the government shut down many small post offices.

Old Bridge Abutment

Old Bridge Abutment

Across the narrow road, this concrete marker was the vertical support for a bridge that went across the creek. The store owner kept his cattle on the other side of the little creek and the bridge was firectly across the road in front of the store door.

Leaving Sycamore Valley, long time residents of the area told stories about going back up the steep Creighton Hill to the ridge top. When someone was wanting to buy a car back even in the early days, Creighton Hill was the test site.  If it could make it up the hill, then the car was worthy of being purchased. The speed with which it climbed the hill determined its price! This was one of the original test strips for automobiles.

At times it is interesting to explore what used to be, but we are certainly lucky to have the improvements that we have today – electricity and indoor plumbing come instantly to mind.

Sycamore Valley can be found in Southeastern Ohio on the perfect Gypsy Road Trip. After leaving I-77 in Ohio at exit 25, you will enjoy a scenic route of twists and turns. Better get out your road map or GPS (if it can get a signal) to find the way.

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