GARST MUSEUM
& Annie Oakley Center

(Admission: $8.00 for adults, $7.00 for seniors [60+], $5.00 for youth [6-17], children 5 and under are free

Garst Museum, which includes the Annie Oakley Center, is a large museum encompassing seven different wings. Visitors enter through the Garst House, which was built in 1852 as an inn. The first floor of the Garst House is home to Native American Artifacts and items pertaining to the Treaty of Greenville signed in 1795. It opened the Northwest Territory for settlement. Located in the upstairs of the Garst House is a military exhibit, which ranges from 1812 to the current conflict in Iraq.  Attached to the Garst House is the Annie Oakley Center, which was opened on July 29, 2005 and contains the largest display of Annie Oakley items in the world. The Lowell Thomas Exhibit is housed in the next wing and includes items from his career as the most famous broadcaster of his time. The museum also houses an antiques gallery, a village of old shops, a pioneer wing, a collection of Currier and Ives, and a genealogy center.

FEATURING

CROSSROADS OF DESTINY
Crossroads of Destiny, Indians, Settlement, and Treaty of Green Ville

Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler

The largest stockade fort ever built in North America can now be seen for the first time ever, as it was in 1795 when it hosted one of the most significant treaties ever negotiated with American Indians.  

The fascinating story of one of the most pivotal times in American history has been largely neglected until now. Garst Museum in Greenville, Ohio is unveiling artifacts never before seen by the public in the exhibition, Crossroads of Destiny, Indians, Settlement, and Treaty of Green Ville. It spans four rooms, includes about 1,000 artifacts and took nearly 100,000 hours to assemble.

“This is the only exhibition I am aware of that deals exclusively with the entire scope of the Indian Wars and the subsequent Treaty of Green Ville,” said historian Floyd Barmann, former director of the Clark County Historical Society in Springfield, Ohio.  

To tell the story accurately, it took several historians and archaeologists to come together and share decades of independent research. They were bound by a quest to discover and share the truths that correct many errors perpetuated in history books.   

The chronological walking tour includes 28 display cases. Each case has authentic artifacts and weaves a story that begins with prehistoric Native Americans and climaxes as America’s Crossroads of Destiny in 1795 with the historic signing of the Treaty of Green Ville that included 12 Indian nations and the United States. The Treaty was signed at Fort Greene Ville. Surprisingly, there are no known images in existence of this massive fortress.   

Today, downtown Greenville and its surrounding area are built over top of the old fort. Most of the artifacts have been discovered in just the past 20 years. When sidewalks get dug up, they often reveal musket balls and soldier buttons. When farmers rotate their crops, flint types or arrow heads regularly surface. Greenville is an archeological goldmine for the Federalist Period 1789 -1801, also referred as the Critical Period in this nation’s history.  Each piece in the Crossroads exhibit has been authenticated by expert archaeologists and means such as carbon dating. The oldest relic on display dates back 14,000 years.  

The quest for an accurate reflection of this chapter in the nation’s rich heritage came with years of difficult work and sometimes pure luck!  

Archaeologist Tony DeRegnacourt and Dr. David M. Cox met and shared their discoveries to begin mapping, for the first time, where Fort Greene Ville stood. Since much of it is underneath the city, they pinpointed where they believed Block House 8 stood. Blockhouse 8 was larger than many forts in and of itself. With the permission of a farmer, they began excavating and made the stunning discovery of earth stained by logs that used to be the blockhouse. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to them, historian Dave Heckaman was doing research at the University of Michigan’s Clements Library in Ann Arbor. He opened a drawer and discovered the first ever map of the Greenville wilderness area. It showed creeks and the order of camp for troops, including the Kentucky Militia, commanded by Major General Arthur St. Clair in 1791. It is the first known map of the area and has never before been seen by the public. A copy of this map will also be displayed at Garst Museum’s Crossroads of Destiny exhibition.  

Once combined, the independent research started revealing puzzle pieces that told a different history than was being taught. The location of Blockhouse 8, places where officer and foot-soldier belongings were discovered, a map showing the topography of a 1791 wilderness and other clues were assembled to produce Crossroads of Destiny.  

Notes and discoveries were turned over to master model maker Andrew Janicki. With it, he produced the first ever historically accurate replica of the Fort at Greene Ville. The original fort had a manuscript plan drawn up by a quartermaster at the order of General “Mad” Anthony Wayne. But no images of the actual fort have ever been discovered and as suspected, the finished fort wasn’t exactly as planned. Modifications were made. But in addition to the modifications, other discoveries reveal what no manuscript plan (or blueprint) ever could. For example, where the soldier huts, blockhouses and pickets were erected as well as the eight squares where regiments camped. The model accurately reflects not only where these stood but also where there were bake houses, citadel, sutler stores, gardens, shops and more. The scale is 1/64” = 1’. Keep in mind, the original fort’s capacity was 4,000 troops, it had interior walls measuring 900 feet by 1,800 feet, the picket spanned 50 acres and this was the headquarters of the United States Army from 1793 – 1796.  

The walk through this time concludes in the fourth room dedicated to the Crossroads exhibit and is highlighted with the Class of 1795 describing the famous Americans that took part in the Treaty of Greene Ville. Future President William Henry Harrison was present as were Chief Little Turtle and “Mad” Anthony Wayne. Meriwether Lewis and William Clark met here for the very first time. 

Each exhibit case has extraordinary detail, wide variety of authentic artifacts and vivid artistry to recreate a compelling story in a historically accurate way that will teach not only about historic events but Indian and soldier lifestyles, cultures, tools, documents and weapons. It doesn’t just reflect the period of Fort Greenville but goes into great detail beginning with the Paleo Tradition to properly set up the chain of events that led to the Treaty of Green Ville’s opening of the Northwest Territory making Ohio the Gateway State and Greenville this nation’s Crossroads of Destiny.

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