Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Posts tagged ‘Roscoe Village’

Barefoot McCoy Captures Real Life in His Songs

 

Surrounded by music since childhood, Jake “Barefoot” McCoy of Newark, Ohio now provides musical entertainment all over Ohio and across the United States. His popular folk music developed step by step throughout his life.


Barefoot as a child

Even as a child, Jake attempted to play his dad’s musical instruments.

   His family was homeschooled and piano instruction was part of the curriculum. At the age of five, he began classical piano lessons from a teacher who came to their house every week. A half-hour of practice was required daily.

   Jake feels lucky to have started his musical training at an early age. Music filled his heart and soul so by the time he was eight, he played as much by ear as by reading the music. It wasn’t until age 13 that Jake wrote his first songs using piano and guitar as accompaniment.

Barefoot at Apoxee Trail Florida

The Apoxee Trail in Florida is a great place to go hiking with your guitar.

   When attending Newark High School, Jake also participated in cross country and track. Running and being in nature got in his blood too, and he still gets pleasure from hiking today or taking long walks in the woods.

   Jake attended Asbury College in Kentucky for four years where he earned a degree in music and performance, with minors in accounting and agriculture. In that small town of Wilmore, locals met on the porches or in local clubs and enjoyed sharing music. That’s where he developed as a banjo player.

The same teddy bear is available in multiple, playful settings.

Historic Roscoe Village featured Jake at their grand piano for a Christmas concert.

   It was while enjoying music on those hot summer evenings along the Kentucky River that Jake began playing without wearing shoes. A couple of his friends, Rainwater, a Cherokee, and Gail Roe gave him the Indian name of “Barefoot” at that time and this unique name distinguishes him easily from other performers.

   While in Kentucky, he performed with many local bands from 2010 to 2014 and immersed himself in Appalachian culture, including readings of Thoreau and Wordsworth. If you listen closely, you can hear traces of his beliefs and values in the songs he writes.

Barefoot at South Florida Fair - West Palm Beach

Fairs are a popular venue. Here he performs at the South Florida State Fair in West Palm Beach.

   2015 created a memorable year for Barefoot as he went to California to visit a relative. He stayed the year playing every day as a street performer on the Santa Monica Pier. In the evenings he would play at local clubs and bars. While surrounded by all that music, he wrote over 100 songs that year.

   He began performing solo in 2015 and has since delighted crowds at over 1200 shows in Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida, Indiana, New Mexico, and California. His most recent festival took place in March at Dawsonville, Georgia.

Barefoot April

Jake Barefoot McCoy writes meaningful lyrics for his folk songs.

   A special relative that influenced his music tremendously was Doc Watson. His folk guitar playing inspired much of Barefoot’s technique today. During the American folk music revival in the 1960s, the award-winning Doc played acoustic guitar and banjo with a special picking style.

   A multi-talented young man, Barefoot is a singer, songwriter, and musician. A specialty he has mastered is putting poetic lyrics together that tell stories of yesterday and tomorrow. Barefoot is a truly great lyricist able to capture beauty, happiness, frustrations, and pure fun.

Barefoot at Keyboard

The keyboard is a central part of his performances.

   He varies his performances by playing guitar, banjo, harmonica, and piano. No matter what instrument he picks up, his skill and feelings come pouring through. Those bare feet keep him in close touch with his foot percussion, which is often his guitar case.

Barefoot at Cherokee, NC

Cherokee Nation in North Carolina has a festival that he thoroughly enjoys.

   While playing around on the piano at home, he often just happens across his next song. He loves telling a story through his music and usually is working on several new songs. Sometimes he might work on a song idea for years, but often it happens in just one day, maybe even ten minutes.

Barefoot Latest Album

His album “Back to Virginia” takes you on a musical adventure from valleys to mountaintops.

   His albums are Bye Bye Bluebird, Ballyhoo, American Lady, and Back to Virginia. At concerts, Take Me Away and Cali top the list of requests. Summer in My Soul is his latest hit.

I will not grow old

While my heart is full

The world outside is so cold

But it’s Summer in My Soul.

Tourism Barefoot McCoy

He was a featured entertainer at Ohio Tourism Day on the Ohio Statehouse steps.

   Some of his favorite concerts have occurred at the Cherokee Festival in Cherokee Nation, the Paul Bunyan Festival at Old Washington, and Apple Butter Festival in Coshocton. My first concert of Barefoot’s occurred on the Ohio State House Lawn at a State Tourism Show and later listened when he performed at the Guernsey County Senior Center Picnic.

Barefoot at Senior Diner

Guernsey County Senior Center asked him to play for their Senior Picnic in the park.

   Like all young men, he has his dreams. One of those would be to go on an international tour. He’d also enjoy playing with Tommy Emmanuel, who he admires for his complex fingerstyle technique on the guitar. The talented Jake “Barefoot” McCoy certainly has a wonderful chance to fulfill his dreams.

Barefoot Tee

This Barefoot tee shirt could be a fun gift.

   Visit his website at www.barefootmccoy.com to hear some of his music. It’s an easy place to order an entertaining CD. Bluegrass fans might like to pick up a Barefoot Raglan Tee Shirt or Hoodie for themselves or a friend.

   Watch his schedule and plan to listen to his delightful musical creations sometime soon. Barefoot McCoy is a pure American Folk Music treasure.

Flag Day is Every Day at Annin Flagmakers in Coshocton

Flags- Sign on Door

This sign appears on all doorways at Annin Flagmakers.

Annin Flagmakers have been making the flag of our country since 1847. The sixth generation of this family now owns and operates the business. Here workers make over three and a half million 4’x6′ flags each year in addition to many other sizes, including stick flags.

   Alexander Annin had been making flags for merchant ships on the waterfront in New York City for several years before beginning Annin Flags in Lower Manhattan on what was called “Old Glory Corner”. Eventually, headquarters was moved to New Jersey with factories in Coshocton, Ohio and South Boston, Virginia.

Flags Headquarters

One branch of Annin Flagmakers remains in Coshocton.

   These flags are Made in America of the highest standards by experienced flag makers. They have learned what long-lasting domestically made fabrics to use and what inks hold their color the longest. Fabrics include everything from nylon and cotton to polyester, with nylon holding up best outside.

Flags - workplace

This view greets your eyes upon entering the work area.

   State, military, national and international flags are made by Annin. However, the Coshocton facility basically makes US flags with a specialty now and then. When visiting, they were also making golf pin flags.

   Local history shows that the Coshocton branch of Annin Flagmakers was started by a family from Newcomerstown in 1968. Vane and Barbara Scott had been in the business of decorating floats for parades all over the country but were ready to settle down back home.

Vane Scott First Flag

Eugene and Francis Waller with owners, Barb and Vane Scott, proudly display the first flag made by Colonial Flag Company in 1968.

   A man with a flagpole company suggested they bid on a contract for 10,000 American flags…and they won! They purchased six sewing machines and a strip cutter to cut the stripes. That was the beginning of Colonial Flag Co. By 1970, they had moved their business to a larger building in Coshocton.

   When the 1976 bicentennial rolled around, Colonial Flag Co. had difficulty keeping up with orders so decided to sell the company. There were two stipulations to the sale: keep the business in Coshocton and keep Vane and Barbara on as managers. Annin Flagmakers purchased the business at that time. The reason there is a flag company in Coshocton today is due to the determination of the Scott family to keep jobs locally.

   Vane and Barb served as plant managers of Annin Flagmakers in Coshocton until 1991. Then Vane III, or Bud as he is often called, served as manager until 2002 when he retired.

Flags- rolls of stick flags

These rolls of stick flags are ready to be processed.

   Over the years, Annin has made flags for many important national events including:

  • 1849 – Inauguration of Zachary Taylor as President
  • 1851 – Queen Victoria’s Great Exhibit in London
  • 1860 – All wartime flags for the Civil War
  • 1969 – NASA’s Apollo II mission to the moon.
flags-dave-manager.jpg

Dave Rogers, DIrector of Operations, is proud to be part of Annin Flagmakers.

   At Annin Flagmakers headquarters, I had a chance to talk with Dave Rogers, Director of Operations, and learn a little more about the way flags are made today. They employ 150 people full-time and also hire temporary workers during their busiest season. Everyone wants the flags to be in their stores for Memorial Day weekend and the Fourth of July.

Flags - Strips being cut

The digital fabric cutter is prepared to cut white stripes for the flag.

   One popular flag is a 3’x5′ sewn nylon flag. They make around 35,000 of them each week. One of the first tasks is to cut the large rolls of fabric into stripes and place them in rolls of various colors. They can cut up to six different sizes at one time on their digital fabric cutter.

Flags- cakes of color strips

The colored stripes are then placed into rolls before heading to the seamstress.

Flags- adding the field of blue

Janet, a 22-year employee, adds the field of blue to the stripes.

   The stripes are then sewn together with six long stripes and seven short stripes. Once they are together, the field of blue is added. Star Field prepares the embroidered star field where the polished white thread gives sparkle to the stars on the field of blue.

Flags- cutting the edges

A 25-year employee, Anita, makes the edges straight.

   These workers take pride in their product. Three of the ladies together had in 88 years at Annin so worked with speed and precision. Everything has to be perfectly straight and their quadruple-stitched fly hem makes them extra durable.

Flags - Memorial Wall

Their lobby displays flags that were brought back after foreign service.

   When a local young man or woman went off to the war in Iraq, Annin gave them two flags. They asked them to return one flag telling where they had taken it, and the other was for their personal use. A display in the lobby shows several of those flags that were returned to Annin.

Flags - Ohio Visitors Bureau

Get your flag locally at the Coshocton Visitors Bureau in Roscoe Village.

   You can find Annin Flags at the Coshocton Visitors Bureau in Roscoe Village, Walmart, Target, Krogers and many other places. The friendly staff at the Visitors Bureau will take special orders for you and show you the large selection available there.

Flags- Walmart display

This display of Annin Flags is ready to ship to Walmart.

   Show your pride in America by displaying its flag and honoring it with a flag made right here in the U.S.A.

Oh say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave,

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

~Francis Scott Key The Star-Spangled Banner

Ohio Sunday Springtime Drive

Sunday drives have been part of our family tradition since I was a child. Dad always loved to travel those back country roads to see what we could see. Today this gypsy is trying to carry on that tradition as often as possible.

Spring Salt Fork Lake 2   On a recent Sunday afternoon, my car headed out to one of my favorite spots for thinking and dreaming at Salt Fork Lake Dam. From there, it was a matter of luck where the next stops might be. Ride along and see what interesting places appeared along the way.

Spring Hillside   Along the way the trees were finally getting their leaves in that beautiful spring green with some colorful redbuds thrown into the mix to add a little color.

  Spring Plainfield flags     The small town of Plainfield made my heart swell as their main street was lined with the US flag. Houses and businesses all along the street had a flag in their front yard to show their support of our country.

Spring depot   Coming into Coshocton, I spotted an old depot no longer in use but a great reminder of how railroads were an important part of our past.

Spring Roscoe   A drive through Roscoe Village always gives pleasure. Today there were a few people out walking but not much traffic. The little shops along the way looked like they were lonesome for customers.

Spring Clary Gardens   Nearby Clary Gardens has not only a flower garden, but a hillside amphitheater for entertainment and weddings. There is also a lovely Quilt Barn on the premises.

Spring Basket   Down the road at Dresden, you can witness the largest basket in the world. This delightful, small town continues to make handwoven baskets at Dresden & Co.

Spring Whit's   Coming through Zanesville, a Whit’s custard ice cream cone called to me. The flavor of the month was Almond Joy, a delicious treat.

   Hope you enjoyed the ride!

Historic Roscoe Village – America’s Canal Town

We Bring History to Life

Roscoe Visitor Center

Roscoe Village Visitors Center is the perfect place to begin your tour.

Welcome to yesterday! Life 200 years ago was quite different from what we experience today. While we can’t turn the clocks back to that era, we can visit Roscoe Village in Coshocton to catch a glimpse of life on the Ohio and Erie Canal during that time.

Roscoe Oldest House

Weaver Daniel Boyd, his wife, and four children lived in the oldest house in the village from 1825-1835.

   Back in 1816, James Calder laid out the port town that was to become Roscoe. He followed a hunch that farmers would rather do business at Calder’s General Store along the Muskingum River than pay twenty-five cents to take the ferryboat to Coshocton.

   He named the town Caldersburgh, but it was later renamed Roscoe, in honor of William Roscoe, an English historian and leading abolitionist. Roscoe never visited America and probably never knew he had a town named after him.

Roscoe Ohio Erie Canal

Enjoy a smooth horse-drawn canal boat ride on the Ohio-Erie Canal.

   When the Ohio and Erie Canal was constructed in the 1820s, business in the village expanded and the golden age of Roscoe began. The first canal boat, the Monticello, landed at Roscoe on August 21, 1830. Roscoe was one of the largest wheat ports along the 350-mile canal that went from Lake Erie to the Ohio River.

Roscoe weaver

Rami demonstrated weaving techniques on her 200- year-old American Barn Loom.

   Roscoe thrived until the 1860s when the canals gave way to railroads. The canal boats continued to operate on a smaller scale until the disastrous flood of 1913, which swept away the port of Roscoe.

Roscoe One Room School

Natalie, the schoolmarm, told about teaching in a one-room school.

   Today the restored Roscoe Village is a reminder of Ohio’s canal era thanks to the dedication of prominent Coshocton industrialist, Edward Montgomery and his wife, Frances. A painting, “Canal Days”, which depicts the Roscoe area and can still be seen in the Chase Bank building at 120 S. Fourth Street, captured the imagination of the Montgomerys.

Roscoe Toll House

The Toll House is the restored home of James Welsh, toll collector on the canal.

   Their role began back in 1961 when they purchased the 1840 Toll House and decided to create “a living museum” on the banks of the Muskingum River. They endeavored to revive, restore and reclaim the then-burgeoning port town to a time when the Ohio and Erie Canal bustled with boats and barges.

Roscoe Dr. Dee

Dr. Dee in Dr. Johnson’s Office explained the tonsil guillotine.

   When you visit Roscoe Village today, you can stroll through the gardens, visit their many historic buildings, and take a horse-drawn canal boat ride on a portion of that old Ohio and Erie Canal. You’ll feel like you’re living a chapter of American history.

Roscoe Hotel

The Roscoe Hotel was a canal era hotel used as a stagecoach stop.

   Begin your tour at the Visitors’ Center where you can view a film, “Ditches of Destiny”, which describes those early days on the Ohio and Erie Canal. Then take a self-guided tour of the village to see costumed interpreters in historic buildings describing what life was like in those old canal days. Stop at the restored 19th-century buildings, which house The Famous Shops of Roscoe Village. Most businesses are open seven days a week throughout the year.

Roscoe Johnson Humrickhouse Museum

Learn more local history at the Johnson-Humerickhouse Museum. Yes, that’s Bigfoot in the shadows.

   Don’t forget to visit the Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum where you will learn interesting facts about Ohio history. Here displays tell you stories of the American Indians, Ohio artifacts, and Decorative Arts. There’s also a wonderful collection of East Asian artifacts that were collected by the owner.

Roscoe Blacksmith

Carl, the village smithy, made leaf hooks as a blacksmith demonstration.

   Stroll through the Gardens that Frances Montgomery lovingly left for visitors to enjoy. Meander down its paths to see the beautiful blossoms and herbs that have been popular for ages. Beauty blooms in the gardens every season of the year.

   A ride down the Ohio and Erie Canal is the smoothest ride you can imagine drawn by two strong horses on the towpath. You’ll hear stories of how people traveled the canal in those early days. Some are quite unusual and exciting.

Roscoe Doctor's house and office

Stroll the streets of this quiet village any time of the year.

   Stop by Roscoe Village this summer and join in their 45th Anniversary. We need to remember the history of our area and how those early settlers developed a foundation for the world we live in today.

   Perhaps Captain P. R. Nye, who operated a canal boat at Roscoe’s Lock Twenty-Seven, says it best: “The Silver Ribbon – the Ohio Canal – was the best of life a man ever had.”

Historic Roscoe Village is located at 600 N Whitewoman Street in Coshocton, Ohio. From I-77, take exit 65, which is US-36 W. Follow 35 West to Whitewoman Street approximately 18 miles. It will be on the right-hand side of the road.

Chris Hart Performs One-Man Shows That Receive Rousing Reviews

Chris Hart

Chris Hart delights audiences with his repertoire of stories.

One-man performances require much research and attention to detail. Chris Hart has this down to a science. Not only does Chris do extensive research, but he writes all of the programs himself. This makes it easier for him during performances, as he is the only one who knows if he strayed from the original script.

Christopher Hart, museum curator and living historian at Roscoe Village, hales from the country in Tuscarawas County these days, even though born in Cambridge. Living on Steubenville Avenue for the first few years of his life, Chris indicated that he was a “good kid”, always a bit shy.

That shyness continued through school at Newcomerstown High School, where Chris didn’t participate in high school performances. Yet he loved going to the theater and watching.

sherlock (2)

Involved in Sherlock Holmes performances, Chris often portrays Sherlock’s sidekick, John Watson.

So where did the idea for one-man shows first appear? A few years after he married his supporting wife, Suzie, they visited a restored village in Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia. There, a man dressed in full costume told a living history story of a Confederate soldier, who never went home. Chris told Suzie, “That would be the ideal job. Fun!” The seed was planted.

Ohio Northern had become his college of choice to study in their pharamaceutical department. For many years, Chris played the real life role of pharmacist all over Tuscarawas County, but has since retired.

Now he had extra time. One day he noticed an ad for a person to portray a village doctor in Roscoe Village. Four people applied and took turns being doctor throughout the season. This was the first real person he had even done, but that was only the beginning.

Chris Hart

Captain Reynolds tells tales of life of the Ohio-Erie Canal.

A Canal Boat Captain on the Ohio-Erie Canal, which ran close to Roscoe Village, was the first character he fully developed himself. He became Captain Reynolds, who in his travels meets a photographer, snake charmer and even a witch.

While Chris began his one-man, first-person performance days at Roscoe Village, it didn’t take long for listeners to know they had a talented storyteller on their hands. He doesn’t just tell a story, he becomes the character in dress, voice, and emotion.

Queen Victoria and Chris Hart

During Dickens Victorian Village season, Chris performed “Audience with the Queen” with Queen Victoria.

His characters usually are drawn from famous historic events, but he doesn’t portray the main character. He finds it much more interesting to portray someone in the background of the event as he sees it through their eyes. Plus, everyone knows what Charles Dickens looked like, but nobody knows much about his close friend, James Fields.

The only famous person he has done is Neil Armstrong giving a press release twenty years after his walk on the moon. So far he has developed nearly forty different characters, and the list continues to grow.

Main Street Bar

Chris greets visitors to Olde Main Street at the original walnut bar from Sam Douglass Saloon in Newcomerstown.

He jokingly says his ideas come from the committee in his head. He takes ideas he personally likes and finds a character to fulfill that role, or he does a request for an organization. It usually takes about two to three months to research and write one of his performances. His best writing time happens at 5:00 in the morning.

Every story has three basic elements to reach the audience. It needs a little humor, the listener needs to feel a tug of emotion, and there’s usually a twist of some kind that makes the story surprising.

Titanic 001

This is a copy of the original boarding pass used for the Titanic.

His most popular show right now features “The Survivor of the Titanic”, where he portrays Peter Daley a first class passenger on the ship. Peter remembers that fateful day when the Titanic went down and how he survived.

Another favorite, “Shepherd’s Journey”, came to him while he was driving his car. A shepherd at the Nativity moves with Jesus through several major events in his life, culminating at the crucifixion and resurrection. This is a popular religious performance from Christmas through Easter.

Prof. Chris Hart

Chris prepares for another pharmaceutical lecture at Belmont Tech.

Even though Chris enjoys his work on stage, he now also teaches pharmaceutical classes at seven different colleges. His favorite class is at the University of Findlay, where he teaches the History of Pharmacy. As you might imagine his classes are fun as well as educational, since he often appears in costume to make the lesson real.

After seeing his schedule, it’s obvious that Chris makes good use of his time with little to spare. When he does have extra time, reading and hiking at Salt Fork provide relaxation. Mt. Everest tops the list of places Chris would like to visit. It’s the tallest mountain in the world with many stories to tell.

Chris a Salt Fork Festival.

At the Salt Fork Festival, Chris told the story, “Paws for the Cause”, about a Civil War soldier and his dog.

Throughout the year, Chris can be found throughout the states of Ohio, Pennsylvania and Tennessee entertaining audiences with his tales of years gone by. His most recent addition tells the story of a 9/11 survivor, “I’m Not a Hero”. Be sure to catch one or more of his one-man shows sometime soon. You’ll be a fan.

This season, 2017, he will be doing a new story for Friends of the Library during Dickens Victorian Village season. This time he takes on the role of Peter Cratchit, Scrooge’s office clerk, in a performance called “My, How Christmas Has Changed”.

When this fantastic storyteller stops to ponder, it’s not uncommon to hear him say, “That reminds me of another story.” Chris Hart brings history to life!

If you would like to contact Chris for a show at your event, phone him at 740–408-4608. You might find him at Olde Main Street in Newcomerstown or follow him on Facebook at Christopher Hart: History Comes to Life. Schedule ahead!

 

 

Unique Collections Fill Historic Roscoe Village Museum

Johnson-Humerickhouse Museum

Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum in Roscoe Village, Coshocton, Ohio

Sometimes when visiting a place time after time, you miss a treasure right in its midst. Such was the case with Coshocton’s Roscoe Village, a favorite spot for festivals over the years. However, there at its edge, a beautiful brick structure, The Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum, overflows with unusual historic exhibits.

This actually had its start back in the mid-1800’s when two brothers, John and David Johnson, spent their childhood in Coshocton. In later years, these brothers traveled the world collecting artifacts from all the places they visited.

Indian woven artifacts and Kachina dolls

Indian woven artifacts and Kachina dolls

In 1931, the Johnson brothers gave 15,000 collected objects to their hometown with the stipulation that a museum would be established to honor their parents, Joseph Johnson and Mary Susan Humrickhouse. Thus, the Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum became a reality and has since added collections of other local residents. Displays frequently change because the museum has more artifacts than can be displayed at one time.

Two floors contain four main areas to explore: Native American, Ohio History, Coshocton Area Memorabilia, and The Asian Room. Each holds objects that are certain to lead you to recall memories of the past and even create a puzzle or two in your mind.

American Indian artifacts display natives’ skills at pottery, beadwork and basket weaving. These outstanding collections show not only local Native American handiwork but that of Indians throughout the United States. A large collection of kachina dolls, who hold a spiritual essence to the Indian tribes, and items used by the medicine men are a couple of the noteworthy displays.

Chinese royalty collar with silk kimona and pottery in the background

Chinese royalty collar with Ch’ing silk theatrical robe and pottery in the background

An Asian Room contains both Japanese and Chinese treasures. A Japanese warrior in full dress protects that section of the room, while Buddha statues and kimonas express the Chinese traditions. A beautiful jeweled collar worn by a member of the Imperial Court contains over a hundred embellishments.

Controversial Newark Holy Stones

Controversial Newark Holy Stones

The Newark Holy Stones present a controversial subject as these objects were found in 1860 while excavating a mound in Newark, Ohio. The largest stone, the Decalogue Stone, appears to have Hebrew writing around its edges. Many link it to the Hopewell Indian culture, which existed there between 100 BC and 500 AD, while others are skeptical as to its origin.

Early pioneer cabin in Coshocton area

Early pioneer cabin in Coshocton area

Much of the Historic Ohio Display has been donated by great-grandchildren of Nicholas Miller and Mary Darling, early Ohio pioneers. Nicholas came to the Coshocton area in 1802 with $36 and two axes. That first winter, Nicholas made his home in a cave with his dog. Then in 1806, the Darling family migrated to Ohio from Viriginia. 18 year-old Mary drove her family’s four-horse team pulling a covered wagon containing eleven brothers and sisters to settle in the Coshocton area.

Nicolas’ trade as surveyor provided him opportunity to purchase prime land with money that he earned. Therefore, when he married Mary Darling, they settled in the Coshocton area. Today a replica of the cave he slept in provides children a place to hide and pretend. Beside it, a cabin has been reconstructed similar to the one where Nicholas and Mary lived to raise their family.

As you can tell, there are displays here for various interests, and at a low admission price. Throughout the year, various speakers and workshops provide a variety of subjects for area residents. Visit this treasure filled museum that isn’t far from home. While you are there, step back in time and stroll the brick streets of historic Roscoe Village.

Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum is located in  Roscoe Village near the south end at 300 N Whitewoman Street, Coshocton, Ohio.  From Ohio 83, exit onto North Whitewoman Street and follow it through Roscoe Village. The museum will be at the south end on the left hand side.

 

Calliope and Monkey Organ Sounds Fill the Air

“The Happiest Music on Earth”  rang out through the streets of Roscoe Village. Strolling down the street, it seemed a carnival like atmosphere but the instruments used were exquisite. The Mid-American Chapter of the Musical Box Society brought about thirty varied automatic and mechanical instruments for the enjoyment of everyone who visited. Some were small hand-cranked music boxes, while others were large trailer size.

A larger music box called “Ruth Organ” was open on both sides, as were many, so you could see the inner workings as well. This was a German made calliope, owned by an enthusiast from Indiana, with carousel horses peeking out at the sides. There was an interesting sign on the open back side, which said Achtung (Attention in German).  Below was a humorous verse using a German like twist and it ended like this: “Relaxen and listenin to die gekneekicken und fusstampen musik.”

One of my favorites was a small monkey organ, or hurdy gurdy,  hand turned by a happy lady in a flowered hat.  Music was fed through the monkey organ on a paper-feed much like the old player pianos, but on a smaller scale.  She kindly gave me a chance to try my hand at being a monkey organ grinder by turning the handle at just the right speed for that particular song, Walkin’ Happy. Still makes me smile!

Many of the participants here at Roscoe Village were planning to attend many more Musical Box Festivals throughout the summer.  Next stop for some was New York or the Monkey Organ Rally in Indiana, and many of them had plans for the the 62nd Annual Meeting in Washington D C this year in August.

Visiting Roscoe Village was Myron Duffield, “The Calliope King of the World.”  Myron performed to a crowd standing in the street from his red circus wagon organ that he built himself.  His plan is to play at every surviving calliope event in the world. This is like a trip back to childhood for him as he grew up hearing the calliopes on the Mississippi riverboats.

Catching my eye at one end of the street, “Rolling Thunder” was one of the larger calliopes there.  It was built in Antwerp, Belgium and across the front it said: “Not Your Father’s Organ”.  In the center there were three accordians, where the bellows moved as well as the keys playing the lively carousel sounds. All of them seemed to have drums as part of their inner workings.

Apparently the music was enjoyed as several people were dancing in the street. Well, that is except for one lady, who told me upon arrival, “Get your aspirin handy.”   Music was loud but entertaining, and definitely “Fusstampin.”

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