Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Posts tagged ‘Zane’s Landing Park’

Historic Lorena Sternwheeler Cruises the Muskingum River

Lorena On the River (2)

The Lorena Sternwheeler cruises up the Muskingum River.

Drift along the Muskingum River on the Lorena Sternwheeler, a piece of Muskingum County history. Sit back and relax as you take a break from the summer heat while listening to the sounds of the old paddlewheel and watching the world drift by.

Lorena Boarding Station

Boarding the sternwheeler takes place in Zane’s Landing Park in Zanesville.

   Walk the gangway to the sternwheeler at Zane’s Landing Park in Zanesville to start your smooth adventure on the Historic Muskingum River Water Trail. Lorena has a fresh coat of shiny white paint with red trim this year so looks extra special. She can carry seventy-five passengers, as they cruise down the same river that those early settlers traveled.

Mrs. Captain Bill

The Captain’s wife, Becky, serves as Social Director and greets visitors as they board.

   Captain Bill Page and his wife Becky, the social director, will greet you as you board ship. They’ll make sure you enjoy the cruise and are treated as special guests. Captain Bill earned his captain’s license when he had a marina in Florida and two scuba diving centers.

Captain Bill at wheel

Lorena Captain Bill has years of experience behind the wheel of a boat.

   After retirement, he and Becky returned to his hometown of Zanesville, where they were searching for a Captain for their sternwheeler. With a little coaxing, Captain Bill agreed to fill that position until they found someone else. That was fifteen years ago! He’s had 35 years of experience as Captain so you’re in good hands on the Lorena.

Lorena - Original at Putnam Landing

The original Lorena in 1800s is shown here at Putnam Landing.

   The original Lorena was launched on the Muskingum River in 1895 The sternwheeler was named for a love song, “Lorena”, written during the Civil War era by a Zanesville minister. It carried freight and passengers from Zanesville to Pittsburgh and back. Her docking place was at the foot of the canal on the north bank of the Muskingum River just below the Sixth Street Bridge.

   The round trip to Pittsburgh and back took about a week. They usually docked at Pittsburgh for two days to let passengers conduct any business they had on shore. There were even staterooms on board if they chose to stay there, rather than at lodging in town.

   No one seems to be certain what happened to the original Lorena. But those original boats were coal-driven and the boilers on many of them could not handle the switch to diesel.

Lorena Shore Scene

Scenes along the river add to the enjoyment of the trip.

   In 1972, Zanesville decided to search for a paddle wheeler to bring to the Zane’s Trace Commemoration on June 17-19. Their search led them to the Bryce M. located in Arkansas, where it had been used as a tugboat on the Arkansas River. It was renovated to look as close as possible like those boats that traveled the Muskingum in the early 1900s.

Lorena Paddlewheel

Sounds of the paddlewheel follow the Lorena on the river.

   This seemed to be a good promotion for the beautiful Muskingum River, Ohio’s largest inland waterway. Plus it would give area residents and visiting tourists a chance to take a leisurely hour ride on the river at a reasonable charge on the $100,000 sternwheeler.

   In order to arrive in Zanesville, the Lorena had to remove its wheelhouse to pass under the low bridge at McConnelsville, and some other low cables along the way. Though a little late, the Lorena did arrive on Saturday, when it began giving rides on the Muskingum River.

Lorena - Nearly Capsized January '78

This newspaper clipping shows the Lorena nearly capsized during a winter storm in 1978.

   It received worldwide coverage during the Blizzard of ’78 when it was within a quarter-inch of capsizing. This was one of the worst winter storms to hit Ohio in the 20th Century. With 13 inches of snow and winds over 50 mph, temperatures reached sub-zero wind chill. No wonder the Lorena had problems.

Lorena Muskingum River

The Muskingum River stretches from Coshocton to Marietta through a series of locks and dams.

   Cruises last about an hour and travel a three-mile stretch of the Muskingum River. Captain Bill reports that he has seen many varieties of fish and birds, some that he only thought would be in Florida. His sense of humor was evident when he smiled and said, “I haven’t seen an alligator, but I’m still looking.”

Lorena Driver

Kids of all ages enjoy “Steer the Boat Day” with help from Captain Bill.

   There are many events throughout August that you and your family are certain to enjoy. Coupons are being given for various other area attractions when you ride the Lorena. For example: “Libraries Rock” gives you a coupon for a free book at the Muskingum County Library.  On “Steer the Boat Day”, you can become Captain and steer the boat for a short time.  “A Tasty Cruise” provides a bag of Conn’s potato chips to each guest.

   It’s also available for lunch and dinner cruises, birthday and anniversary parties, or just to take your group for a ride down the river.  Meals are provided by Classic Fare Catering, who always provide tasty dishes.

   Parking is free and close to the sternwheeler entrance. Check out their schedule and see when you might be able to enjoy a relaxing ride down the Muskingum River.

The Lorena is docked in Zane’s Landing Park in Zanesville. Exit I-70 and head east a block and turn right onto Market Street. Take Market Street nearly to the end and look for the park entrance on the right-hand side. You’ll be ready to enjoy a ride on the Muskingum River.

 

 

 

 

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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.

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