Historic Ohio Homes
Villages and Farms

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Free Ohio Historic Homes, Castles Villages and Farms

Amish Country in Southwest Ohio

John T. Wilson Homestead

Sherwood-Davidson House Museum

Bob Evan's Farm

Land of the Cross Tipped Churches

Slate Run Historical Farm

Carriage Hill Farm and Museum

Lane Hooven House

Squire's Castle

Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption

Lavender Farm

Stearns Homestead

Christmas Manor

Log House Museum

Tallmadge Historical Church

Divine Farms

Manor House

Telling Mansion

Follett House Museum

McGuffey Museum

The 1810 House

Franzee House

Millionaires Row

Thurber House

Freshwater Farms of Ohio

Ohio Statehouse Museum

Toledo's Historic Old West End

Frostville Museum

Old Stone House Museum

Webb House Museum

Garfield Birth Site, Monument & Hist. Site

Quailcrest Farm

William Howard Taft Ntl. Historic Site

Hardin County Historical Museums

Robbins-Hunter Museum

Yoder's Amish Home

Hardin Village & Farm

Roscoe Village

 Young's Jersey Dairy

Harriet Beecher Stowe House

Rose Hill Museum


John Smart House

Settlers’ Village



More Historic Ohio Homes, Castles, Villages & Farm Attractions Worth the Price of Admission

Adena Mansion & Gardens


Punderson Manor

Blue Rock Station

Johnston Farm & Indian Agency

Ravenwood Castle

Century Village Museum

Lake Farm Park

Sauder Village

Ebenezer Buckingham Inn

Lavender Farm

Stan Hwet Hall & Gardens

Edison Birthplace Museum

Little Cities of Black Diamonds

Schoenbrunn Village

Gran't Boyhood Home & Schoolhouse

Loveland Castle

SunWatch Indian Village

Hale Farm & Village

Maria Stein Center

The Castle

Hanby House

McCook House Civil War Museum

Westcott House

Hayes Presidential Center

McKinley Presidential Museum

Zoar Village

Historic Lyme Village

Niederman Family Farm


Hubbard House

Ohio Village


Jefferson Depot Village

Piatt Castles

Ohio Historical Sites & Museums


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Your Guide to Free Ohio Historic Homes, Villages and Farms



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Historic Ohio Homes, Castles, Villages and Farms



(Admission: Adults $8.00; Seniors $7.00; Children 6-12 $4.00) 

Adena Mansion was the 2000-acre estate of Thomas Worthington (1773-1827), sixth governor of Ohio and one of the state's first United States Senators. The mansion house, completed in 1806-1807, has been restored to look much as it did when the Worthington family lived there, including many original Worthington family furnishings. The house is one of only three houses designed by Benjamin Henry Latrobe still standing in the country. Latrobe is considered the first professional American architect and served as architect of the U.S. capitol under President Thomas Jefferson. 

Situated on the 300 remaining acres of the original home place are five outbuildings and formal gardens. The gardens have undergone major renovation. Visitors may stroll through three terraces of flowers and vegetables, as well as the shrubs and trees in the grove. Looking east from the north lawn of the mansion, one can see across the Scioto River Valley to the Logan Range. This view was the inspiration for the Great Seal of the State of Ohio.

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Keim Family Market
Burnt Cabin Road in Seaman, Ohio
Phone: 937-386-9995 

Miller’s Furniture
Miller’s Bakery
& Miller’s Bulk Foods
Wheat Ridge Road in West Union, Ohio
Phone: 937-544-4520

Ohio Amish Country now includes Southwestern Ohio. In 1975, Amish families moved from the heart of Ohio’s Amish Country in Holmes County and settled in rural Adams County. Amish began selling baked goods along side Route 32. From there, the Miller and Keim family businesses grew from there humble beginnings to Amish superstores selling baked goods, bulk foods, full line delis with meat and cheese selections and almost anything you can imagine being made from wood. full line deli with cheese and meat selections, and bulk food selection that includes spices and baking ingredients plus an enormous variety of canned goods, sugar-free foods and candies. Their indoor and outdoor furniture lines include hutches, bedroom sets, chairs and gliders. In addition, they hand build gazebos, children play sets, footbridges and even buildings.  

The Amish merchants are very friendly but do not like their picture to be taken. They provide credit card processing, UPS delivery, catalogs for their products and superb customer service. 

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(Admission is Free)

This turn-of-the-century farmstead features many farming instruments and pioneer architecture. Highlights of the museum/village include the Stadt Log House and Dunkirk Jailhouse.  

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reservations required - inquire about fees)


This 38-acre sustainability project is home to Ohio's first "Earthship", a unique 2200 sq. ft. "living" home, built from used auto tires, cans, bottles, and strawbales. Farm buildings incorporate time-honored building techniques such as thermal mass (using the earth to help heat the house), passive solar (the sun's rays), and adobe construction (using mud and straw) to create a comfortable and attractive place to live. In addition, visitors can take a tour of the buildings, sign up for a workshop, walk with the llamas (trekking) or enjoy high tea in a peaceful setting.  Tour themes include sustainable agriculture practices, cooking with the sun, and alternative building techniques.  Call for hours or to set up a tour. Blue Rock Station is located just 20 minutes south of I-70 Zanesville. 


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Admission is Free (Fee for additional activities)  

Make your pilgrimage to where it all began “down on the farm.” Yes, the original 1,000 acre Bob Evans farm, including dozens of horses.  Begin your tour with Bob’s first restaurant named, The Sausage Shop, and continue to the Homestead Museum, log cabin village, small animal barnyard, quilt barn and much more. For a fee, you can also take part in many weekend events such as the annual Bob Evans Farm Festival. The “Homestead” is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is where Bob and his wife, Jewell, raised their six children. It used to be a stagecoach stop and inn. Click here to read an article about Bob Evens Farm.

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(Admission is Free)

Carriage Hill Farm and Museum are part of the Dayton Metro Parks. Visitors will see what it was like to work on a farm in the 1880’s. It has restored buildings that include a blacksmith shop, summer kitchen, woodshop and barns with a variety of animals. There are also hands-on displays for children. Household chores and farming are demonstrated as they were more than 100 years ago. There are also scenic views of woodlands, meadows, lake and pond.   

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(Admission is Free)  

See the largest stained glass window in the world and only one of 31 basilicas in the U.S. The window measures 67 feet by 24 feet. The cathedral also touches the senses with more than 80 additional stained glass windows and its French Gothic design complete with gargoyles and flying buttresses.  

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(Admission: Adults $6, Children ages 6-12 $4 and Children under 6 are free)

An engaging museum depicting a Western Reserve Village with over twenty-two historically authentic buildings that house over 20,000 museum artifacts.  On the museum grounds are a general store for purchases, a one room school house, Marshall’s Office, library, church, train depot and many more fascinating historical experiences! Open for public and private tours as well as a myriad of festivals and events. 

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(Admission is Free)

We invite you to pay a visit to Christmas Manor, a nineteen room, circa 1874 Victorian Italianate home (located in Bryan, Ohio). This is one of N.W. Ohio's most visited attractions.

Thousands of gifts and decorations are displayed throughout this magnificent home. The decorating ideas you see can easily be transferred to any home. So come catch the spirit of Christmas at Christmas Manor.

During the off season, visit the Christmas Manor "Home for the Holidays-Gift Shop" & "Fireside Books." It is open with limited hours. Gifts are displayed in a cozy home atmosphere.

Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler


There is an indefinable fascination that most people have with old mansions. And, there’s more to the allure than simply revisiting opulence of another era, because unlike ordinary houses, these dwellings were never built by ordinary people, and there’s a story behind every door. 

Usually these builders were the wealthy that did things their way, regardless of tradition. And tradition, as quoted by Kurt Adler is “What you resort to when you don’t have the time or money to do it right.”  

Their riches not only offered them the most extravagant comforts, but a flamboyant way of showcasing it. Sometimes too, it was the less than wealthy eccentrics who were out of step with the times who built them, but with all the variations, the fact that the owners were making a personal statement, is the one consistency.  

In Bryan, Ohio there is a brick three-story, nineteen-room Victorian Italianate home that projects as much of an individual declaration today as it did for the wealthy doctor who built it in 1874.  The present owners would probably prefer not to be described as eccentric, but they do use the old mansion in an unusual way—even though the announcement is one of cheer and good will to all. It’s known as Christmas Manor.  

It’s open to the public only from September 20 through December 31 and nearly every room is decorated with a Christmas theme.  

It started with a family named Goldsmith who purchased the house in 1962. After a few years, just as they were considering downsizing they happened upon an unusual Christmas shop in Rhode Island, and decided they could do something similar, only on a much larger scale with their house back in Bryan. They started with the porch and three rooms, and with each season the premise grew.    

With one owner between them and the Goldsmiths, the present owners, Loretta and Max Musser have continued the ritual to the near ultimate. It is a bed and breakfast, but Christmas displays consume all but one bedroom. However, it is a very special room for those lucky enough to rent it. Access is gained through large double doors and up a winding walnut staircase to a room with a twelve-foot ceiling, fireplace, a sitting room and amenities. In the upstairs room used as Musser’s office there is a trap door leading to servant’s quarters, but there will be no servant bringing breakfast to your bed like the original family was accustomed.  However, a voucher for a belt-busting meal at a local restaurant will satisfy the most ravenous morning appetite. 

This is one museum-type house where the imported Italian parquet floors, antique chandeliers and bookcases, as beautiful as any, are completely overwhelmed by spirits—the kind that make you feel good—and the Mussers work to maintain that atmosphere.  

On their buying trips they look for the most unique gifts and decorations, with creativity foremost in their designs that change yearly. Each room is a different color and diverse motif—seventeen rooms in all. A few examples are the Christmas kitchen, a country room, a room just for kids, and a winter park converted from an indoor swimming pool with every imaginable size and style of Christmas trees and candy canes everywhere.  

This is a business, of course, but many people tour the Christmas Manor just to rekindle their Christmas spirit, and the Mussers are quick to confirm that everyone is welcome. In this year of economic woes some people may not be filled with the usual cheer, but a tour of this old mansion with every nook and cranny stuffed with Christmas gaiety is guaranteed to turn up the wick on that inner flame. For more information go to www.christmasmanor.com

The Mussers also point out that the Spangler Candy Co. located in Bryan is the world’s largest producer of candy canes. If you want to know more about the red and white candies that are as decorative as they are tasty, the company offers tours and a museum. Call 888-636-4221 or go to www.spanglercandy.com for more details.  

By Robert Carpenter
Robert Carpenter was born and raised in the New Philadelphia, Ohio area.

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(Admission is Free)

Family owned Devine Farm and patch, located 30 minutes from Columbus is more than just a pumpkin patch. Annually, the farm features its Pumpkin Festival every weekend from late September until late November. The farm produces a variety of harvest products like field corn, wheat, soybeans and pumpkins. Straw bales and squirrel corn are available year-round. In the fall, with five buildings of activities visitors can enjoy pumpkins, the famous Barrel Train Ride, a corn maze, wagon rides, pumpkin painting and more, rain or shine. Many of these fun activities are $1. The farm can be reserved for school tours, company events or church groups.  

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(Tours: $3 per person)

You will love visiting this beautiful 5,222 sq. ft. brick home (circa 1820), featuring stained glass windows, ornate fireplaces, lots of original woodwork and a nineteenth-century chandelier made to use both gas and electric. Steeped in history the former occupants of this house had ties to Presidents Monroe and Lincoln, General Rufus Putnam, and Harriet Beecher-Stowe, just to mention a few.  CP Buckingham was the officer President Lincoln choose to deliver the orders to General McCellan relieving him of his command after the battle of Antitiem.  The history goes on and on. They also offer space for meetings, reunions and small weddings.  They have a large library and a living room with a grand piano.  Tours are by appointment only.

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(Admission: Adults $7, seniors $6 and $4 for kids 6-12 years old)  

Thomas Alva Edison was one of America’s most famous inventors. He is most renown for the invention of the incandescent light bulb, but his shop is also responsible for creating the phonograph and many other inventions. Edison’s story began with his birth in Milan, Ohio  in 1847. This birthplace/museum has many artifacts on display along with inventions, precious documents and other mementos. Guided tours may be arranged. The Edison Birthplace Museum provides insight to the historic inventor’s life.


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(Admission is Free)


The Follett House Museum has an extensive collection of archival materials chronicling the Sandusky and Erie County region. It includes several artifacts from the Underground Railroad. The museum is a branch of the Sandusky Library. The 1827 mansion was built by Oran Follett in Greek-Revival style. Follett was a businessman and one of the founders of the Republican Party. The museum’s Civil War collection includes items from the Confederate officers’ prison on Johnson Island. Other fine artifacts in the museum’s possession are diaries, letters, drawings and photographs from the Johnson Island Prison. It also displays books, maps and manuscripts. When you visit, take in the panoramic view of Sandusky, Cedar Point and Johnson’s Island from the mansion’s widow’s walk. The Follett House Museum is listed in the National Register of Historic Landmarks.

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(Admission is Free)


Built in the mid 1820s during the time of the construction of the northern portion of the Ohio and Erie Canals, this home exhibits excellent examples of Western Reserve architectural style and construction techniques used at the time.  

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(Admission is free except for group tours)

Freshwater Farms of Ohio is the state’s largest indoor fish hatchery. The fish farm is open for public self-guided tours as well as for-fee large group tours, and includes family activities such as trout-feeding, displays of native fishes and a sturgeon petting zoo. The Ohio Fish & Shrimp Festival is held at the farm every third Saturday in September. Producer of wholesome rainbow trout fillets and smoked trout, the fish are raised from egg to adult in solar-heated barns using clean water and feeds.  Their products are made with all natural ingredients and contain no artificial preservatives, specializing in hand-cut boneless fillets as well as smoked trout products, seasoned trout patties, marinated and pre-seasoned fillets, and bulk seasonings made from scratch. 

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(Admission is Free)

The Frostville Museum highlights the local 19th Century history and features several landmarks. The Brigg’s Homestead built in 1836, the Jenkin’s Cabin built in the early 1800s, the John Carpenter House built in 1840 and the Prechtel House built in 1874 are some of the featured buildings at this site. Each structure displays museum items that reflect the day and times of pioneer life, rural Victorian American life and other historic artifacts.  

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(Admission is Free)

James A. Garfield Memorial Cabin & Birth Site

Please note that this is President James A. Garfield’s birth site, not the historic site, which is in Mentor, Ohio. Here, you will see a replica memorial cabin like that which was built by Garfield’s father in 1829.  

James A. Garfield Monument:

President Garfield is buried in Lake View Cemetery, located in University Circle east of downtown Cleveland. As you enter Lake View Cemetery at the Euclid  or Mayfield Gate, follow the signs leading to the monument.  Garfield (1831-1881) was the 20th President of the United States and was elected to office in 1880.  He was assassinated in 1881 four months after his inauguration by Charles Guiteau.

James A. Garfield National Historic Site National Park Service:

James A. Garfield National Historic Site commemorates and interprets the life, family, and career of James Abram Garfield, college professor and principal, Civil War general, member of Congress, and 20th President of the United States.  This eight-acre property includes the Garfield home (purchased in 1876; expanded in 1880 and 1885-86), memorial library, 1880 presidential campaign office, and several outbuildings.  The grounds are free; access to museum exhibits, film, and guided house tours are $5.00 /person for anyone 16 and older.  The site regularly hosts several expanded tours, including a “Behind the Scenes” tour and a special tour for kids. Numerous programs and special events throughout the year further interpret James A. Garfield’s legacy and important role in American history.  For more information, contact James A. Garfield NHS, 8095 Mentor Avenue, Mentor, Ohio 44060; 440-255-8722; www.nps.gov/jaga.

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(Admission: $3/adult and $1/student or children 6-12 years old)  

See the humble beginnings of Ulysses S. Grant. Jesse Grant (Ulysses' father) built the home in 1823. Ulysses lived in Georgetown longer than anywhere else in his life.  He was born at Point Pleasant, Ohio in 1822 and the family moved to Georgetown when he was less than a year old. The schoolhouse was originally a one-room structure built in 1829. And the home is a restored white colonial.

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(Admission: $10/adult, $9/senior, $5/child under 12 years of age. Western Reserve Historical Society Members free.  Children under age 3 - free. Group admission rates are available) 

A round-trip train trip is available. It leaves from Rockside Station, 7900 Old Rockside Road, Independence, OH 44131. Call for additional information.

Spend a day enjoying the past at Hale Farm and Village museum. It is possible to board a train on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad for a 7-hour trip through the park system to Hale Farm & Village. The living history museum depicts the life on a Western Reserve farm during the mid-19th century. Artisans demonstrate period crafts, such as glassblowing, blacksmithing, spinning, weaving, candle making and basket making. A farmer can be seen working the farm with oxen. Restored homes, including the home of Jonathon Hale, await visitors. Docents in period clothing will tell of life during the 1800s. 

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(Admission is $3/adult (18-59), $1/child (5-17), $2.50/senior and kids 4 and under are free)

Benjamin Hanby left Westerville a rich tradition in music. The Hanby House is Ohio's first memorial to a composer. Hanby wrote more than 80 folk songs and hymns, including "Darling Nelly Grey," a popular song of the Civil War, and "Up on the Housetop," still sung by children world-wide. The Hanby House contains five rooms of original antiques from the Civil War era, including some of Ben's original instruments, musical scores and artifacts. The Hanby House was also a stop on the Underground Railroad.

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(Admission is Free)  

Harriet Beecher Stowe is the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Stowe was inspired to write this historic book when she learned of the evils of slavery.  Built in 1833 by Lane Seminary, the Harriet Beecher Stowe House served as the residence for the institution’s president. In 1832, Harriet Beecher moved to Cincinnati from Connecticut with her father, Dr. Lyman Beecher who was appointed president of the seminary.  

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General Admission: Adults, $7.50; Seniors, age 60+, $6.50; Children, ages 6-12, $3; Children 6 and younger are free.
Group Admission: Adults, $6.50 per person; school, $2.50 per person.

The Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center consists of two buildings, the Hayes Home and Hayes Museum/Library. Visitors can opt to tour one building or both. There is a reduced rate for both. The museum was started by the president's second son, Col. Webb Cook Hayes, and his siblings shortly after the turn of the last century. Major additions in 1922 and 1968 increased the galleries and library to 52,640 square feet. In keeping with the museum's mission there are 13,000 artifacts depicting the Hayes family. As president, Hayes contended with the aftermath of Reconstruction in the South especially as related to Black citizens, and the plight of the Native Americans. He fought against the controversial Chinese Immigration Exclusion Act and promoted Civil Service Reform. The Hayes Library at the Center is impressive offering Hayes' 12,000 volume personal library along with material from his military and political careers. The Hayes Presidential Center is open Tuesday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays and holidays from Noon to 5 p.m. (The library is closed on Sundays.)

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Adults $9, Seniors $8, and Children 6-12 are $5

Relive the past as you tour this 19th century village.  Historic Lyme Village includes the John Wright Mansion an 1880 Second Empire Victorian Mansion, an 1824 post office, 1836 family home, log homes, a one-room school, log church, general store, and 10 other 19th century buildings.  The village is also home to the National Postmark Museum and Research Center, which has limited hours.  Be sure to visit our Gift Shop in the Visitors Center for your gifts and souvenirs.  Sunday services are held at 8:00am in the log church during the summer months.

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(Admission is $5/adult, $4/senior, $3/child 6-16)  

Once a stop along the Underground Railroad, this 1840’s house was built by William and Catherine Hubbard and served as a refuge for escaped slaves. Its displays include old maps and photographs and Civil War items. It is furnished according to the appropriate period and style to reflect the homes history. And the home itself is listed in the Department of Interior’s National Historic Register.

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(Donations $3/person) 

Take a tour and re-live the 1890's in this historic 19th Century village as you step back in time and visit this quaint, preserved "living history" village.  Costumed villagers lead you thru the 1872 L.S.& M.S. Railroad Station, 1918 PRR Caboose, 1848 "Church in the Wildwood", 1849 Church Barn, 1838 Spafford One-RoomSchoolhouse, 1860 Pharmacy, 1845 Post Office, Hohn's General Store, Blacksmith Shop, 1888 Victorian House, The 1816 J. Warner Tavern and Village Bandstand. See restoration in progress as Jefferson Depot , Inc. (non-profit) volunteers restore the 1870 Carriage House.  All proceeds benefit restoration of these historic gems of a bygone era.

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(Admission is Free, donations accepted) 

The historic John T Wilson Homestead. EST. 1832. Listed as a National Register of Historical Places. The John T. Wilson Homestead has been a place of significance since the early 1800s as the center of the community, general store, and post office; an important stop on the Underground Railroad for slaves escaping to freedom; and a recruitment and training site of Civil War Union Soldiers – to its current placement on the National Registry of Historic Places and inclusion in the Friends of Freedom Society Most Endangered Underground Railroad listing. At the same time, this site has always been a place of quietness and peacefulness. Perched high on a bluff, with nearly constant gentle breezes, visitors to the Wilson home often feel a sense of calm and harmony. This is probably why John T. Wilson chose the name of Tranquility for the community that sprung up around his farmstead. The homestead is also the host of the yearly Adams County Civil War days. Please be sure to visit the website for more information on the historical John T. Wilson homestead.


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(Admission is Free)

At the John Smart House, you will see what life during the Victorian era was like. Beautiful furnishings, exhibits and vintage clothing are displayed. You will also enjoy pioneer artifacts, Civil War pieces, Native-American tools (including arrowhead displays). On an interesting note, see life-sized pictures, boots and helmet of real-life giants – Martin and Anna Bates.  

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(Admission: $4/adult, $3/child (younger than 6 is free), $11/family ticket)

This Nationally Accredited Museum will dispel any notions of a "small town" museum as you behold their remarkable collections.  Four of their galleries house permanent displays of American Indian (pre-historic Tools and Points and one of the finest collections of Indian basketry in the US), Historic Ohio, Euro-American Decorative Arts(Textiles, lacework, porcelain, glassware, sculpture, china and dolls) and Asian (Chinese and Japanese artifacts, lacquer, jade, theater masks and Samurai armor and swords).  A fifth gallery offers temporary exhibits from fine art and craft to local history and world culture. 

Visitors travel from all parts of the world to the JHM to see their collections of national significance, including its Chinese lacquer ware, carvings and ceramics, and its American Indian basketry and beadwork.  The museum is also well known for its collection of Ohio prehistoric Indian points and tools. A popular exhibit is the Newark Holy Stones which are controversial artifacts that were uncovered in prehistoric Indian Mounds in the 1860s that are inscribed in Hebrew. 

JHM is handicapped accessible and also offers a gift shop offers collection-related books, fine craft, jewelry and decorative items. 

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formerly the Piqua Historical Area State Memorial
($8.00/adults and $4.00/students 6-12)

See how it was in the early 1800’s when Colonel John Johnston lived here as a working farmer, a Federal Indian Agent, and a community leader who facilitated the building of the canal. See the oldest log barn in Ohio, learn about Woodland Indians, and ride the “General Harrison” on a restored segment of the canal. Costumed interpreters and craft demonstrators combine for a realistic visit to the first half of the 19th century.

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(Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, and $4 for children 2-11)

Farmpark houses a wide range of farm animals and offers visitors a chance to gain hands on experience with those animals.  Visitors can take part in the daily activities that occur on a farm such as learning how to milk animals both by hand or machine, feeding livestock, sorting grain, and making syrups and jams.  The park also features a cornfield maze that visitors can enter.  There also demonstrations on how to do other farm activities such as herding sheep.  The farm houses over fifty breeds of livestock with a dozen of the being endangered.  The farm also holds many gardens, orchards, and vineyards that can be visited.

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In July 1979, over sixty buildings representing the German Catholic settlements of southern Auglaize and Mercer Counties, as well as portions of northern Darke and Shelby Counties, were placed on a National Register of Historic Places. Named The Land of the Cross Tipped Churches, these buildings consist of churches, schools, rectories and convents, this grouping is symbolic of the culture and historic uniqueness of the region. Today, most of these structures remain to remind us of the hard work and dedication of these early settlers as they built the Miami-Erie Canal and forged a new life on the area’s rich and productive farmland. A drive along this Ohio Scenic Byway through the rural countryside follows the quaint churches with their cross tipped “spires to heaven” and includes stops at the focal points of the region: the former convent at Maria Stein, St. Augustine Church – the original Mother Church of the area, and the magnificent and impressive former seminary at Carthagena.

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(Admission is Free)



The Lane Hooven House was built in 1863 by industrialist Clark Lane and later restored. This octagonal Victorian Gothic Revival style brick home has a unique spiral staircase running up to the third-floor turret, a stain-glass entrance and some period furnishings throughout. The main floor is enriched with butternut and white walnut woodwork.  

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Springbrook Meadows
(Admission is Free)

The aroma of lavender greets you the moment you drive down the country lane to Springbrook Meadows Lavender Farm. Situated at the foothills of the Appalachians in beautiful Highland County is Ohio’s premier lavender farm, owned by Neal and Debbie Cook. The farm is a century farm, since it has been in the family now for over 100 years, but only recently have they begun raising lavender. The Cooks began raising lavender on the farm in the year 2000 after visiting with family in a place called Sequim (pronounced “squim”), Washington. Sequim could easily be identified as the lavender capital of the United States, and while on their visit they determined that they would try to raise the crop themselves back in Ohio. Lavender doesn’t require much to grow except sunshine and it doesn’t like to have its feet wet. That’s about all it takes. Neal says that, “Our part of the farm was a clay patch that just never grew field crops like corn or soybeans very well. That’s one of the reasons that our home is on that spot.  It just wasn’t productive for any normal farming.” So they decided to try lavender farming.   


That year they bought some extra suitcases and took home two suitcases full of different varieties of lavender to try on their farm in Ohio. Unfortunately the first year crop didn’t fare very well, in fact they lost almost 25% of that crop. It seems that the varieties that they selected to grow in Ohio were not as well suited for Ohio winters as those common in the Sequim area. Debbie went back to the drawing board and studied all the varieties she could find to determine the best fit for growing in Ohio. The next year, they returned and gathered several more suitcases of lavender and this time they were successful in growing and raising lavender in Southern Ohio. They now have over 16 varieties of Lavender in the field and over 95 varieties in the greenhouses for testing and mother plants. 


The Cooks have developed a unique way of raising the lavender, literally. They create a raised bed row with a combination of the local clay soil, amended with some compost provided by the sheep, cattle and a horse that graze in their field nearby. They also include some lime to sweeten the soil and a thin strip of sand at the bottom of each row to ensure moisture does not build up in the mounds. The whole row is then covered with a geotextile cloth, which serves as a weed barrier but still allows for the exchange of gases and some water to penetrate. Debbie says “It works well for us. It keeps the weeds to a minimum and the raised bed idea keeps the plants feet from staying wet. An added benefit, is that since it is a raised bed, it makes it easier to harvest.”  


In 2004 they had the very first Lavender Field Day, and they have been drawing over 1,700 guests every year since. “We thought it would be nice to share this wonderful plant with the community, and discovered that it drew folks from all over the tri-state area”.  Each of the craftspeople that attend the Lavender Field Day were seasoned professionals in their craft and are selected based on the quality of their product. Each craftsperson was asked to incorporate lavender into their artwork or display it in some way to promote lavender.  It really makes the creative juices flow for many of the artists. 


In 2004 the Cook’s also constructed the Lavender Cottage. This adorable little cottage houses all the lavender products that the Cooks have brought together from all corners of the globe. They created several of their own, including skin care products. Debbie is also a talented fiber artist and potter. You may find some of her hand-painted porcelain in the cottage or one of her famous corn shuck dolls. They have all manner of lavender products from essential oils, lavender filled pillows, to books on lavender including Debbie’s own cookbook, “A Taste of Lavender”. Debbie said that she enjoyed cooking so much that it was just a natural extension of her interest to create this mouth-watering book on cooking with lavender. And speaking of cooking, Debbie also does catered luncheons in the lavender field. Can you imagine sitting in the middle of a lavender field while sipping lavender lemonade? It’s absolutely heavenly. 


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Little Cities
of Black Diamonds

By Robert Carpenter 

Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler

Have you ever wanted to go down into a coal mine—not to work—just for the adventure?  The lives of the hard-working men who slog like moles hundreds of feet beneath, and sometimes miles back under the earth’s surface have always seemed intriguing as well as personifying the American spirit. 

So, you would think that a material equated to gemstones would be applauded for its key role in the industrialization that made this the greatest nation on the planet. Instead, coal and mining, which currently gain news prominence only after a disaster, are almost viewed as antisocial.  

Although more than half of the power consumed in our country is still generated by coal, the “greenies” would like to eliminate its use altogether. And due to nearly complete removal from home use, knowledge by later generations of the fossil fuel known as “black diamonds” is limited to its extraction by hazardous, gritty labor, far removed from, and seemingly unrelated to the sanitized information age.  

But there is an organization that does not want you to forget the vital function that coal has played in one of the most inventive and ingenious chapters of our history. 

The nonprofit organization labeled “Little Cities of Black Diamonds” refers to the old “played out” coal mining communities in Hocking, Perry, and Athens counties of southeast Ohio. “Cities” denotes that during the boom years when coal was king (approximately 1850 to 1925) these communities, although small—were indeed city-like, providing every amenity that society had to offer.  

And it wasn’t just coal that created prosperity in the region. There was oil, clay and iron ore, but the production and use of those resources was only possible due to energy from coal and its derivative coke that created power and fired the kilns and furnaces.  

The Black Diamonds’ organization feels that the story of coal and its influence should not be forgotten because it so accurately defines an era and the character of this part of the country. 

One of my warmest memories of childhood is of those winter mornings hearing my father rattle the grate in the furnace and bank the fire. The expanding cast-iron jacket would soon begin to crackle and pop, echoing up through the ducts, and heat from the coal flames boiling through the registers would transform a cold house to comfort within minutes.  

When snow and ice turned our inclined driveway into a sled run, my father would spread the ashes and clinkers (incompletely burned impurities) in the tire tracks, and then drive up the hill like it was summer.  

But coal furnaces, like steam locomotives, were not destined for the modern age.  Although, even with the glory days gone, coal heat extended its popularity into the ‘70’s, and current industrial use persists because compared to alternatives, it is cheap, plentiful and reliable. 

Of course coal has its drawbacks, as anyone old enough to remember hosing the soot off a porch floor would know.  Then we became aware of black lung disease, and acid rain due to the high sulfur content of coal found in the Appalachian basin. It was the latter that put a kink in the pipeline of southeastern Ohio coal production that it has never recovered from, even following the implementation of scrubbers on smoke stacks that clean up most of the pollution. 

Considering coal’s demise, there is still much to be celebrated in the southern tri-county region and more history than you may be able to absorb in one trip.  There are literally dozens of worked-out mines and related hamlets in the “black diamonds” area—some with little reason for existing other than displaying remnants of a vaunted past. But the organization has plotted thirteen specific destinations with enough varied interests to satisfy most anyone. 

There are group tours for organized parties of 12-15 people. For $50 per person per day, one or two-day excursions are available that include transportation by van, lunch and a professional guide. But most people will probably prefer to tour at their own pace and curiosity since there is enough interest at single sites to hold you for an entire day. 

The best starting point is at the Wayne Forest Visitors Center located on Rt. 33 between Nelsonville and Athens. The coal tipple-style building is headquarters for Ohio’s only national forest and they provide a driving tour map and brochure of the little cities and other novelties of the region.  Some examples are: 

Robinson’s Cave (mine) in New Straitsville is the unofficial birthplace of United Mine Workers Union, and the nearby museum relates the history of the town and mining in general. 

Shawnee is the best original example of boomtowns still standing in Ohio, and some say in the eastern U. S.  Its Victorian architecture presents shopping, restaurants, museums and two opera houses. It’s one of the places where you’ll want a camera. 

Haydenville is billed as Ohio’s last company-owned town. Industrialist Peter Hayden who dealt in iron, clay and coal, built the town using houses, stores and churches to display his products. One of the houses is now a museum. 

Nelsonville was at one time the gateway to the “little cities” area due to its location on both the Columbus and Hocking Valley Railroad and the Hocking Canal. It was, and remains the most prosperous of the rollicking cities that sprung up in the mining period, cresting at more than 8,000 residents. It’s also the present boarding point for the Hocking Valley Scenic Railroad that runs passenger cars up and down the valley during summer and fall. Call them at 800-967-7834 for more details. 

Rendville stands out because it was a social experiment. Founder William P. Rend recruited blacks to work his mines, but with his blessings they also held the leadership positions of the town such as mayor, postmaster, physician, ministers, and labor union bosses. The original Baptist Church is now The Rendville Art Works, which is open every day but Sunday.  

In addition to the historical sites, the area offers hiking trails, swimming, boating and fishing. Burr Oak State Park is said to be Ohio’s most remote and picturesque state park. Another bonus is the drive up SR 78 East from Bishopville. It’s known as the “Rim of The World.” The views are spectacular—especially at this time of the year. 

But whatever you’re viewing, you’ll be aware that it was coal that developed this area, and its decline, perhaps, that has let it down—a useful cue that nothing is forever—that change is inevitable, and hopefully for the best.  

The house I grew up in was eventually converted to electric, but regardless of the cleanliness, convenience and thermometer reading, we all agreed that it was somehow never as comfortable as coal-fired heat. 

In recent times there are mornings when in that semi-conscious state, I hear that old coal furnace crackling and popping. At first the ghostly quality was frightening. There is nothing in my present house that can possible make that noise, yet I clearly hear it even when I’m awake enough to know I’m not dreaming. But I’ve learned to welcome the sound because when it ceases I get up; I’m warm, I’m comforted, and all seems to be right with the world. 

Go to LittleCitiesofBlackDiamonds.org or call 800-394-3011 or (local) 740-394-3011 for more information.

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(Admission is Free)  

The Log House Museum was built in the 1820s by Jacob Nessly and is now used by The Historical Society of Columbiana-Fairfield Township. The museum features quilts and coverlets from the 1830s, pioneer items and on a more interesting note: a set of 10,000 year-old Mastodon bones found by a nearby farm. Also, you will see Civil War artifacts and more. Please note that photos are allowed, even with a flash. You can park for free on an adjacent church property.  

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(Admission: $3) 

It’s a real castle much as you’d see in the old country. It is a smaller replica (5,000 sq. ft.) of France’s 10th Century Chateau La Roche. It comes complete with a princess room, towers and terraces, and of course – a dungeon! It is open daily for tours and can be rented for weddings. In addition, overnight stays and group parties are available. Don’t miss the haunted tours around Halloween.

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(Admission is Free)  



This Georgian colonial mansion was built in 1938 for Robert Stranahan, cofounder of the Champion Spark Plug Company. The Manor House has 35 primary rooms, 17 bathrooms and 16 fireplaces. Most of the rooms are refurbished with period appropriate pieces. The estate grounds also have the former riding stables, limousine garage and symmetrical formal gardens next to brick walls with wrought iron gazebos.


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Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler



Looking at the quiet, lush farm land, with neat homesteads and the silhouette of silos on the horizon, gives no evidence of the harsh forest and swamp that the early German settlers contended with on their arrival in the mid 1830’s.  Many were Catholic and understood their need for help from God to survive.  Their deep faith urged them to build churches, where they met despite the fact that they had no clerical minister to serve them.  They gathered in prayer to support one another so they could cope with the hardships and fears they faced in the dark, deep woods.  These churches, which now dot the landscape some three miles apart and make up the Land of the Cross-Tipped Churches State Scenic Byway, were built in such close proximity because of the difficult travel with a horse and wagon through the swamp and forest.


Bishop Purcell became aware of the needs of these humble German speaking people, and when in Rome, he searched for a German speaking missionary who would be willing to come to America to serve these valiant folk.  Fr. Francis de Sales Brunner, a Swiss priest who had become a Precious Blood Missionary encountered Bishop Purcell and offered to come to Ohio, rather than to Africa, where he had anticipated going.   


This courageous priest was born in the small rural town in the north western corner of Switzerland, not far from Mariastein.  After Fr. Francis De Sales Brunner became a priest he and his Mother, Maria Anna Brunner, established a community of Women Religious which were named “Sisters of the Precious Blood”. 


In 1843 Fr. Brunner, along with seven Priests and seven Religious Brothers, came to America to serve the German immigrants in north western Ohio. In 1844, six Sisters of the Precious Blood arrived in this new land and began their nightly vigils of prayer in the wilderness.   


In 1846 the Sisters came to what was then called St. Johns.  The convent, built a half mile from St. John church became the first permanent Mother House of the Sisters of the Precious Blood. Maria Stein was the name given the convent after Mariastein in Switzerland, where Fr. Brunner had studied. In time that name replaced St. Johns to identify the whole surrounding area.   


Sisters have prayed and ministered at Maria Stein without interruption since their arrival.  In the early years their life was quite simple – a life of prayer and manual labor.  The Sisters and Brothers did all the practical things to keep a large community flourishing. This freed the priests to devote themselves to the spiritual care of the German speaking people of the area.   


Today the main attraction is the ornate Shrine Chapel which was built in 1890. In the niches of the beautifully carved wooden alters are a thousand relics of Men and Women who lived lives of exceptional holiness. Honoring the Saints with their relics was a common way of expressing devotion to the Saints.  Fr. Francis de Sales Brunner was an ardent collector of relics.  He brought a few with him on his first voyage to America. In 1845 he was presented with a gift of 600 relics.  In 1875 A collection of 175 relics were brought to Maria Stein and placed in the care of the Sisters.  Relics of more recent Saints have been added, some of which are those of Mother Theresa of Calcutta, Maximilian Kolbe, Damian of Molokai, Pope John XXIII, and various others.   


Devotion to Saints, or the Holy Ones who have gone before us, is a tradition that lies within the human heart.  As far back as in the Old Testament, Joseph, speaking to the Israelite people, petitioned them to take his bones with them when they would leave Egypt. Chapter 11 of Exodus states that Moses took the bones of Joseph with him when they entered the Promised Land.  The practice of visiting departed loved ones in a cemetery shows the same reverence as given to relics of the saints. 


For the many that come and enter the quiet of the chapels, peace returns to their lives. It is a place where energies are renewed. It is where the cares, problems and worries of daily life can be   placed in God’s hands. For many, healing of mind and spirit are sought and obtained.  This tranquil country setting allows the heart and soul to find respite from the turbulence of fast living. It is where peace and serenity can return to the mind and spirit and be renewed and strengthened. 


 In the old convent building there is a gift shop located on the first floor. It carries many articles of devotion, statues etc.  On the second floor, there is a museum with a history of the Sisters and early rural life in Mercer County.  The outside patio has pictures of the area churches that dot the country side hanging on the walls. A statue garden of various Saints provides a quiet place for reflection and prayer.   


The National Marian Shrine of the Holy Relics, a place of peace where all are welcome, is located at 2291 St. Johns Road, Maria Stein, Ohio. They are open Tuesdays through Sundays, noon to 4:30, closed Mondays and Holidays.


Visit www.mariasteincenter.org


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(Admission is $3 for adults, $1 for children age 6-12, and free for those under age 6)

Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler

The Fighting McCooks

The McCook clan was not known as a cantankerous bunch, but no one questioned their courage or their fierce defense of the Union cause. When the War Between the States broke out, they volunteered. All fifteen of them.  

The Civil War was personal. What kind of men rush into a conflict knowing they might have to fight their own neighbors or relatives? What goes through the mind of a man who encourages his brother and sons to join the fight knowing the odds are that some, maybe all of them will fail to return? It has been said that it is “the passion of fools, and the most foolish of passions.” Patriotism. 

To whatever instincts that were imbedded in the genetic code, it was definitely a passionate response by the McCooks—the fighting McCooks, as they became known. 

Recollection of American history frequently summons heroic names from both sides such as Sherman, Grant, Jackson and Lee. However, from schoolbooks the McCook name barely jingles a distant bell, but it should chime with clarity—there was hardly a Civil War battle, north or south of the Mason Dixon line, without the participation of a McCook. 

But now you can discover what academia left out. The saga of the McCooks is related through chronicled accounts and memorabilia displayed at the antebellum McCook House Museum in Carrollton. The house is owned by the Ohio Historical Society and managed by the Carroll County Historical Society. 

The house recently reopened after a $300,000 renovation kept it shuttered the past six months. It’s easy to recognize. It’s the large building on the southwest corner of the Carrollton town square, notable for its Federalist architecture—meaning a two-story red-brick box-like structure with prominent chimneys on either side, no porch or portico, and numerous windows.  The house was built by Daniel McCook, a Carrollton attorney, in 1837 and occupied by his family that included eight sons and three daughters until 1848.  The other part of the clan was Daniel’s brother John and his five sons, hailing from Steubenville (as did President Lincoln’s Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton.) 

You may explore the house at your leisure, but guided tours are more rewarding, especially for Civil War buffs. Downstairs you will see the parlor, Daniel’s law office, dining room (now a Civil War display) and the original small kitchen. Then head upstairs to view the four large bedrooms. 

Manager and tour guide Shirley Anderson says, “People are always surprised at the amount of items displayed here.” There are five Civil War swords belonging to the McCook sons; Daniel’s Henry rifle; GAR medals, period furniture; and a large set of china purchased in Paris in the 1860s. There’s also a large painting of Daniel and his sons (it is a copy of the original hanging in the Statehouse in Columbus). 

When the war began Daniel McCook was 63 years old—elderly by the standards of that era—but he volunteered as a nurse. Early in the conflict, he was present at the battle of Bull Run where his son Alexander commanded the 1st Ohio regiment, and his eighteen-year-old son Charles fought in another regiment.  

Outnumbered, it was a humiliating defeat for the Union and Charles joined his father who was tending the wounded. When the field hospital was overrun by Johnny-Rebs, Charles set off to rejoin his company, dispatching the first Reb with a well- placed shot, but was quickly surrounded and ordered to surrender. Seeing the futility, Daniel called upon the boy to submit, but Charles refused, calling back, “Father, I can never surrender to a Rebel. I will never surrender to a traitor.” At that point he was shot in the back. 

Word of the young man’s brave resistance traveled fast—told and retold hundreds, possibly thousands of times, plus the various accounts in print, but the premise never deviated.  Charles McCook became the cause celebre—his death the resulting harmony among those irrational impulses driving the war. 

John McCook and his five sons, all of whom were officers, were in for the duration, fighting every battle that came their way, and safely returned home. Daniel and his sons—five of whom were generals—possibly because of displaying extraordinary valor, did not fare as well. 

Daniel’s son, General Robert McCook was seriously wounded but returned to the battlefield while still debilitated and issued orders from an ambulance wagon. When Rebels attacked the ambulance he was unable to defend himself and was killed.  

In 1863 Daniel who was not a cavalryman, but by then an aged paymaster, spontaneously seized a vacant command and led an advance party in an attempt to intercept marauders who had crossed the river near Cincinnati, and died in the skirmish.  

A quote by an unknown officer of the time exemplifies the McCooks: "They were born leaders; they were all men of noble bearing, such man as would naturally be selected in conflict requiring valor, judgment, and influence with men." 

Nothing more epitomizes that statement than the actions of Dan McCook Jr. Perhaps in a lapse of judgment, General William Tecumseh Sherman in his march across Georgia, ordered a near-suicidal assault on a Confederate stronghold atop Kennesaw Mountain. Colonel McCook, leading one of the three prongs of attack, quoted to his men inspirational historic verse about “how better to die than against fearful odds,” before making the charge up the mountain where he fell. 

Displayed in the museum are two original military commissions for Alexander McDowell McCook. One has the signature of Abraham Lincoln—the other usually found more interesting—is signed in 1854 by Jefferson Davis, at the time Secretary of War. Of course, later, Davis was President of the Confederacy against which commissioned officers were sworn to fight. It was a deliberative and confusing time. 

Much has been said about the present understanding of honor and responsibility, compared with the concept a century and a half ago. Willingness to fight one’s neighbors and relatives, even over the most serious of disagreements, seems today, a distortion of duty. But through all the mistakes, it can be said that they did what they thought was right. Where the McCooks were concerned, the simplest explanation may be that they just didn’t know when to quit. 

The McCook House Civil War Museum is open Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1-5 p. m. Admission is   $3 for adults, $1 for children age 6-12, and free for those under age 6. Call 1-800-600-7172 or 330-627-3345 for more information click here.   

By Robert A. Carpenter

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(Admission is Free)  

The William Holmes McGuffey Museum is on the campus of Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.  It is registered as a National Historic Landmark and is open to the public as a house museum that includes campus and community history.  This was the home of William Holmes McGuffey, Professor of Ancient Languages and Moral Philosophy at Miami University from 1826 to 1836The museum/home honors McGuffey and his Eclectic Readers, a series of books that educated five generations of Americans and are said to be the most widely published books in the U.S., second to the Holy Bible.

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(Free self-guided tour)  

What was once know as “the most beautiful street in America” is now a distant memory over a century later. Cleveland’s Euclid Avenue, otherwise known as Millionaires Row, was once the residential street of some of the most influential families in American history and their lavish estates. These monstrous mansions with broad sweeping lawns, ornate architecture and wondrous landscapes used to be home to industrial tycoons and celebrated philanthropists like Rockefeller, Mather, Wade, Severance, Gund, Stone, Brush and Everett and political figures such as John Hay, Tom Johnson and Leonard Hanna. Now, only 10 homes remain on the once famed avenue. And most of those are hidden from view by the byproduct of their industrial architects – buildings.  However, you can still take a stroll down memory lane and see what’s left but do so at your own risk because this isn’t exactly Rockefeller’s neighborhood anymore.

The homes that remain in whole or in part include the following:

  1. Luther Allen House (7609 Euclid Avenue)

  2. Morris Bradley Carriage House  (7217 Euclid Avenue)

  3. John Henry Devereaux (3226 Euclid Avenue)

  4. Francis Drury House (8625 Euclid Avenue)

  5. Hall-Sullivan House (7218 Euclid Avenue)

  6. Howe Residence (2248 Euclid Avenue)

  7. Samuel Mather Residence (2605 Euclid Avenue)

  8. Stager-Beckwith House (3813 Euclid Avenue)

  9. Lyman Treadway House (8917 Euclid Avenue)

  10. H.W. White Residence (8937 Euclid Avenue)

These homes were once stunning monuments to America’s growing prosperity. Those remaining sit like relics releasing a hint of what once was “the most beautiful street in America.”  

Source: The Ohio Preservation Alliance

Millionaires Row in Cleveland Ohio

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(Admission is $8.00 for adults, $7.00 for seniors, and $6.00 for students (ages 3-18))

The McKinley Presidential Library & Museum is a family friendly history and science museum. The Museum includes the McKinley Gallery, the Street of Shops, the Keller Gallery, the new Stark County Story, Discover World, the Hoover-Price Planetarium, and the Ramsayer Research Library. The McKinley National Memorial, burial site of President William McKinley and his family, is also on the Museum grounds.


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(Admission: Varies according to event. Some are Free) 

This Southwest Ohio working farm is loaded with things to peak anyone's interest.
Whether it's a peaceful retreat at the bed & breakfast, a tour of the working farm, or paintball mania, the Niederman Family Farm is a real experience you soon won't forget! Special events are offered year-round and include favorites such as the Spring Farm Tours, Harvest Moon Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch Festival, and Christmas Walk. In addition, there are barn rentals, bon fire pits, barnyard animals, hayrides, corn maze and pumpkin patch.


Several years ago, the Niederman family, now in its fourth generation operating the farm, decided to open their farm to share an American lifestyle that is fading away. Reconnect with yourself, family, friends, and spouse with the oldest American pastime. Enjoy a day at The Niederman Family Farm.


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(Admission is Free)

The Museum is located on the ground floor of Ohio’s Capitol Building and functions as an interactive place for learning about Ohio government for more than 80,000 Ohio Statehouse tour visitors annually. The Ohio Statehouse Museum enriches the experience of Statehouse visitors by providing stronger and more diverse orientation and education about Ohio government and history. Admission to the Ohio Statehouse Museum is free.   

The Ohio Statehouse Museum includes interactive, hands-on exhibits that challenge visitors’ knowledge about Ohio history and the workings of state government and equip them to more fully participate as citizens.  Historical artifacts and images tell the stories of those who have come to serve at the “People’s House.”   Audiovisual media and theatrical effects transport visitors to historical events and invite them to imagine themselves as one of Ohio’s governors or legislators. 

The Ohio Statehouse Museum has created nearly 10,000 square feet of updated, high-tech, interactive exhibits enriching the experience of school children and visitors. The Ohio Statehouse is more than a monument to our past; it’s where history happens! 

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(Admission: Adults $10, Seniors $9, Children 6-12 are $5 and kids 5 and under are free) 

Step back in time to a 19th century county-seat town in Ohio about the time of the Civil War. Located adjacent to the Ohio Historical Center, the Columbus Ohio Village has been in existence for the past 20 years. It is mainly open to school groups or private events, however, there are a few public openings held throughout the year. OHS has launched a master plan study aimed at revitalizing the site as a destination attraction and an educational resource.

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(Admission is Free)

This 1838 “old stone house” was originally the residence of a Scottish immigrant and later served as a post office, shoe repair shop, grocery store, doctors office and barber shop. Now, as a museum, it provides a look at the city’s pioneer past with displays of furniture, household items, clothing, tools, books, toys, dolls and a spinning wheel. The home comes complete with a sickroom with old-fashioned equipment to care for the ill. Also on display are roped beds, cooking fireplace, four-harness loom, furnished parlor, handmade linens and more. The Old Stone House has a cousin linked to it – Nicholson House. This 1835 home is an example of early Western Reserve architecture. Both homes are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.  

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(Free admission for families and individuals.
Group rates apply for guided tours depending on attendants – call for pricing)

Make your way to the farm while traveling through the Historical Martinsville Road Covered Bridge located just seconds away. Here on the farm not only will you be surprised but many will be enthused by the new Biotecture Earthship built from recycled materials. Begin your tour wandering through an acre of Lavender fields where the butterfly’s swarm hand picking your favorite flowers or hiking on many trails. Don’t forget to visit the gift shop on the way out and enjoy some of hand-made Natural products. Finish the day by exploring Earthship and learn the possibilities of sustainable life and living green while taking it easy on your feet. You can also schedule ahead and receive your Reflexology session during your visit here and treat your feet!

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Mac-A-Cheek and Mac-O-Chee

(Single castle fees are $12/adult, $11/senior and $7/child ages 5-15.
Total fee for both castles is $20/adult, $18/senior and $12/child) 

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Self-Guided tours of each Castle acquaint you with both of these remarkable 19th-century residences. Combination tickets are available to tour both Castles. Special group tours can also be arranged for schools or community organizations. To schedule a group tour, call 937-465-2821. Special group rates are available. Christmas Program offered Thanksgiving through the New Year.

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This is an excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler

Some people avoid “haunted” hotels and lodges. Others flock to them. Those in the latter category will find esoteric thrills galore at the Punderson Manor State Park Lodge in northeast Ohio’s Punderson State Park. And it doesn’t have to be Halloween, or even a dark and stormy night, to bring on the action.

Some employees have heard the sound of children’s laughter when there are no children around. Fires go out. Pencils fly across a room. Doors open and shut of their own volition. Faucets turn off and on with no one near. Televisions turn on by themselves – or off. Usually at inconvenient times.

It’s enough to make a housekeeper cry, “Stop!” and sometimes these strange occurrences do. For example, guests sometimes hear loud noises coming from rooms next to them, which are in fact unoccupied or, in one case, from the room above (except that guest was on the top floor).  Most of these happenings are just annoying – or entertaining, depending on how open the guest is to experiencing such strange events.

But at least one event was pretty grisly: The specter of a lumberjack was seen hanging from a beam in the lounge for nearly three hours. Many staff members saw it. This was the only really scary event of dozens reported since the elegant 31-room manor opened in northern Ohio in the 1950s.

The land was originally settled by Lemuel Punderson and his wife, Sybal who operated a grist mill and distillery. After their deaths, the family sold it to W.B. Cleveland, whose heirs sold it to Detroit millionaire Karl Long in 1929.

Historians believe the 29-room mansion (with 14 baths) was being built for Long’s wife.  Rumor has it, she disliked Detroit while others say it was just a vacation home for the Longs. But Long never completed the home as he lost his fortune during the Great Depression and died before the home was completed. The property reverted back to its original owners, the Cleveland family, and eventually to the state of Ohio.

The state finally completed construction on the mansion in 1956, turning it into a resort with both lodging and dining. It added 26 two-bedroom cabins and by the 1970s it was a popular getaway for Clevelanders as well as a stop for other travelers. It was about then that resort employees began reporting the strange goings-on.

A self-proclaimed psychic spent some time on the property and says she spoke with a ghost who said he would continue to haunt the manor “until his rocking chair was returned.” Some think that the chair to which he refers is the rocking chair that belonged to Sybal Punderson, which was inherited by Cleveland and ended up in a historic collection.

Few clues can be found to explain the other happenings. No children ever lived at the manor, and there were no suspicious or tragic deaths there, as far as anyone can tell. The manor, however, was built across the lake from the old Wales Hotel, which burned in 1885 and where some children died in the fire.

Most guests don’t experience, or even seek out, these ghostly occurrences. They’re too busy playing golf on an 18-hole championship course, playing tennis or basketball, swimming in the pool, and boating or fishing at the nearby lake. There’s also great hiking in the summer and sledding, snowmobiling or cross-country skiing in winter.

The resort is managed by Xanterra Parks & Resorts and is open year round. To make reservations at the Punderson Manor State Park Lodge, call 1-800-282-7275 or visit pundersonmanorstateparklodge.com/.

To reserve rooms in these state parks or for more information, visit the individual web sites or ohiostateparklodges.com. Xanterra also operates the marina and facilities at Geneva Marina State Park in Geneva-on-the-Lake in northeastern Ohio.

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Quailcrest Farm is a magical place in the country. Located just on the edge of Ohio's Amish country, this family business was begun as a perennial nursery in 1975. Quailcrest is well known throughout the state for its herbs, perennials, old roses, flowering shrubs and scented gerenaiums for the serious and hobby gardener. It offers a wealth of gardening information and ideas as well as eclectic shopping in the gift shop, 25 relaxing display gardens, woods to wander, an assortment of dogs and cats, sunshine and fresh air!

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(Room prices vary from $115-$235 and event prices vary too) 

Ravenwood Castle is surrounded by 50 acres of forest and is set off the road by a half-mile private drive.  It is set in the Wayne National Forest just seven miles from the Hocking Hills.  The castle is twelfth-century Norman in style, and the castle's crenellated towers contain the guest rooms and suites, all with elegant private baths which include garden or whirlpool tubs. Most rooms or suites offer a private balcony or deck and all have a gas fireplace with antique mantle.  All rooms contain stained antique stained glass windows and lamps.  The castle contains a dining hall with dinner available at an extra charge, and also a game room and a library. Hiking, rock climbing, hunting, birding, wildflower walks, nature study, horseback riding and canoeing are a few of the outdoor activities guests can enjoy.

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(Admission is Free)  

This museum house was built in 1842 and has 27 rooms. The rooms are furnished with fine examples of 19th century American antiques, with a special emphasis on Ohio. Antiques at Avery House currently operates in the shop that Robbins Hunter ran. The museum hosts special exhibitions and programs. 

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(Free admission; living history tours: $9.95 Adults, $4.95 Students)



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Roscoe Village is a restored 1800s canal town. Guests experience life during the Canal Era on the Canal Town Journey tour, during which they are guided through historical buildings staffed with costumed interpreters, and enjoy hands-on activities at the Visitor Center. Afterward they may choose to stroll the lush gardens, take a horse-drawn canal boat ride, browse the numerous quaint shops and enjoy casual family dining.


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(Admission is Free)

This museum-home was built in 1818 as a private residence and once served as the town’s library. The three-story structure has furnishings from the Colonial and Victorian periods. The grounds also house a cabin replica and Smoke House. 

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(Admission: $16.00/adult, $10/child 6-16. Kids free on Sunday 

Travel back in time and see how settlers lived in northwest Ohio from 1803 until 1910. Sauder Village is a non-profit living history museum and educational complex with more than 40 buildings showing rural life in Ohio during the 19th century. Visit with costumed interpreters and watch artisans demonstrate glass blowing, pottery, spinning, weaving, broom making, woodworking, basket making, printing and quilting. On site is the Doughbox Bakery which offers various cookies, apple dumplings and fritters along with delectable pies, bread and pre-mixed cookie dough. The Barn Restaurant is open year round Monday through Saturday 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and a Sunday Buffet, from 11:00 to 2:00 p.m. The restaurant hosts many special holiday events which accompanies the delicious home-cooked food. The beautiful Sauder Heritage Inn has 98 guest rooms, indoor pool with waterfall, game and exercise rooms, a 25-foot tall "Great Oak Tree" with gathering space underneath, complimentary breakfast and more. The Village also has a 47-site Campground. Sauder Village is a destination that all ages will enjoy!

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A neighborhood of Americana-Like Shops
(Admission is Free) 

Settlers’ Village is a shopping village in the heart of Middlefield’s Amish Country, just north of Mary Yoder’s Amish Kitchen and Middlefield Cheese. Settlers’ Village is an arts and crafts shopping complex where tourists can shop, enjoy the friendly scenic environment of yesteryear.  Located in the Shopping Village is The Craft Cupboard (in business for 31 years), Tiny Stitches Quilts, Settlers’ Trains Cargo and Toys, The Amish Co-Op and Petting Barn, and Vancura Gallery of Fine Art and Custom Framing (a friendly, upscale art gallery). Settlers’ Village is known for their landmark, a 15 foot Holstein cow made from re-cycled car hoods. Most shops are open Mon-Sat. 10 am.-5pm.  Best to call ahead.

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(Admission is Free)



Built in 1815, The Sherwood-Davidson House is an example of Federal architecture. You enter the home through a front-fanned doorway. It has a two-story side gallery, portable wooden and tin shower built before 1860 and a kitchen with a collection of pioneer utensils. It is furnished with Victorian furnishings. 

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(Admission is Free)  



Hey kids, are you afraid to get your hands dirty? I didn’t think so. Well, roll up your sleeves and join in the farm life – 1800’s style at Slate Run Historical Farm. It’s in full operation year-round as a living historical farm – not just a museum. Chores change with the seasons just like real-life and the staff dresses the part. So, step-back into early farm and family life and watch chores carried out with the tools, equipment and methods used in the old-fashioned days without electricity and other modern conveniences.  


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(Admission is Free)  



This stone building known as Squire’s Castle” isn’t a castle. Rather, it is the caretakers house for a lavish mansion that was never built. The stone castle-like home was built in the 1890s by Feargus Squire, one of the founders of Standard Oil Company. He had planned a summer estate in the Cleveland countryside. His plans changed when his wife died. And the mansion never left the drawing board.  However, the Squire Castle is still a nice place to visit although it has been stripped of its glass windows, interior walls and furnishings and had the basement filled for fear of vandals. Still, wandering this stone home is interesting. It will leave the mind to wonder what if… Bring a picnic basket and spend the afternoon in the forest by this century old architecture.


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(Admission cost depends on the tour)

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Located in Akron, the Stan Hywet Hall is one of the finest examples of Tudor Revival architecture in America. The 65-room country estate sits on 70 acres of manicured landscaped gardens and grounds. It was built between 1912 and 1915 by Goodyear co-founder F.A. Seiberling and his wife Gertrude. The mansion was designed for their large family and a lavish life-style. The Manor House is filled with treasures from around the globe. The house contains 21,000 panes of glass, 23 fireplaces and hard-carved paneling of oak, sandalwood and black walnut. On the grounds is The Gate Lodge, which opened in 2004. It represents the birth of Alcoholics Anonymous and the millions of people helped by the program worldwide. Events are planned well in advance; please call to get the year’s schedule. Varied group plans are available. Discounts for groups of 10 or more may be arranged. Click here to see video and article.

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(Admission is Free)  

This 48-acre historical farm includes the 1855 Stearns House, 1920 Gibbs House, country store, meeting cabin, out buildings, barn and farm animals. Both of the houses are museums with period appropriate displays and furnishings.  In addition, visitors will see a 1848 fire engine and more.   

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(Admission is Free. Donations accepted) 

Also known as the Sullivan-Johnson Museum, exhibits include the world famous Kenton Cast Iron Toys, Fred Machetanz gallery, Jacob Parrott, and much more. Kenton Toy Collectors meet at the museum every other month. The Toy Collectors are available for appraisal of toys.  They also buy, sell, and trade. The Hardin Historic Village and  Farm is open by appointment only. 


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(Admission is $6/adult and $4/student or senior)

SunWatch Indian Village/Archaeological Park is a partially reconstructed Fort Ancient period American Indian village along the Great Miami River in Dayton, Ohio.  Excavations at this 13th Century village exposed a planned, stockaded village with astronomical alignments that was likely occupied for about 20 years. Due to its significance the site was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975 and became a National Historic Landmark in 1990. The interpretive center and reconstructed village include displays discussing the excavation and reconstruction of the site as well as the lives of the villagers that resided here.  Activities include guided group tours, festivals, overnight programs, and more.


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(Admission is $7/adult; $5/senior and $4/child ages 7-17 and under 7 is free) 

The village was founded in 1772 by the Moravian church as a mission to the Delaware Indians, but had to close in 1777 due to problems with the Revolutionary War.  Though the village had to be reconstructed it still today holds 17 log buildings and a variety of gardens.  The original mission cemetery is still located on site.  The village also houses a museum along with many natural areas and picnic facilities.

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(Admission is Free)  



This architectural landmark was once featured in the November 20, 1944 issue of Life Magazine. It was designed by a seven-member committee in 1819 and built in 1822. The appointed architect and builder of the church was Lemuel Porter. The wood church was designed in a Greek Revival portico. Its main features include a steeple with a weathervane standing one hundred feet high and four large columns. The church is available for weddings, community events and educational tours.

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(Admission is Free)

This five-room mansion comes with a Victorian parlor. It was built in 1928 and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is a French-style chateau.  

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(Admission is Free)



This former two-story brick farm homestead turned museum houses many pioneer artifacts. There are eight rooms that visitors may tour and view 19th and 20th century furnishings, house-wares and clothing. See what families did in their living rooms for activities and entertainment as well as what sort of items children of the time played with. Teachers will want to see the Old Schoolroom and its desks, books and teaching tools of the past. The kitchen is well stocked with china, utensils and more, including a cast iron.


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(Admission: Adults $7.00, Seniors $6.50, Students $4.00)

1855 home of several city and state notables. The Castle is an outstanding example of Gothic Revival architecture open for regular guided tours, periodic exhibits of art and artifacts important to the region as well as concerts, workshops, children's programs, teas, and other special activities.

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(Admission is Free)  

The Thurber House is a restored nineteenth-century home where author, humorist, cartoonist, and playwright James Thurber lived during his college days with his parents.

Thurber used this home’s characteristics in many of his stories. The home has since been restored to represent the early teens of the 20th century. And of course, visitors will see Thurber memorabilia, including original drawings, manuscripts and first editions of his books. In addition, his typewriter, briefcase, family photographs and more are on display.  

Excerpt from January 2007 edition of OhioTraveler

The Night The Ghost Got In

The Ohio Lunatic Asylum burned down killing seven people on November 17, 1868. Those grounds in downtown Columbus later included a house at 77 Jefferson Avenue. And from 1913-1917, the Thurber family rented it. On the 47th anniversary of the fire, two Thurber brothers were home alone upstairs when they heard footsteps circling the dining table below. When they investigated, standing at the top of the stairs, the sound faded. Until a rushing, pounding of feet leapt the steps two at a time with a dead bead for the two young men. But the young men did not see anybody there. None-the-less, they frantically scurried into nearby rooms slamming doors behind.

Later, James Thurber, one of the two brothers (attending Ohio State University at the time of the incident), penned, "The Night the Ghost Got In." Thurber went on to become a famous author, humorist and cartoonist. As for the house at 77 Jefferson Avenue, it's still there. And open for tours as a living museum.

Visitors and residents at Thurber House, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, have also reported strange encounters with the unknown. The dining footsteps have reoccurred over the years, as have opening and closing doors, books flying off shelves, and a citing of a mysterious silhouette of a hefty, stooped figure moving about near a window. Another figure was reported in someone's bedroom sitting in a rocking chair in the corner of the room, hunched, watching and then disappeared.

In 1984, the house opened as a literary arts center and museum of Thurber remnants. It is furnished in the style of the 1913-1917 period in which James Thurber lived there with his parents and two brothers. The first two floors are open daily for tours. At the direction of the Thurber family, unlike typical museums, visitors are encouraged to sit on chairs, play the piano, and otherwise act as guests to the home. Tours are 1-4pm daily (except holidays). Self-guided tours are free Monday through Saturday. Guided tours are offered on Sunday for a nominal fee of $2.00 - $2.50.

In addition, The Thurber House hosts many writing workshops, special events, a conference center next door, Reading Garden (between the historic house and conference center), a gallery, and museum shop. More information is available at www.thurberhouse.org, including detailed accounts of haunting witnessed over the decades.

James Thurber died from pneumonia on November 2, 1961. He is buried at Greenlawn Cemetery in Columbus, Ohio.

"I have lived in the East for nearly thirty years now, but many of my books prove that I am never very far from Ohio in my thoughts, and that the clocks that strike in my dreams are often the clocks of Columbus."
                   – James Thurber

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(Free self-guided tour)  


The Old West End of Toledo, Ohio is a vintage neighborhood that features one of the oldest and largest collection of Victorian and Edwardian homes in the nation. Visit Toledo and take a walk through this well kept time capsule that showcases a myriad of architectural beauty. The homes are found at the following addresses:


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(Admission is Free)

The Webb home was built in 1907. All of its rooms are open to the public and maintain the look of a private residence. Also on the grounds is a carriage house and restored large perennial gardens.   

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(Admission: $15 adults, $12 seniors 65+, $4.00/pp for school groups)



The Westcott House is Frank Lloyd Wright’s only Prairie Style home in Ohio.  The Westcott House has recently undergone an inch-by-inch $5.3 million restoration and has been restored to its 1908 appearance. Furniture has been rebuilt according to Wright’s specification and gardens re-landscaped in keeping with the time. Take a guided tour and learn about this Prairie Style home, industrialist Burton J. Westcott and his family. Admission fee includes a forty-five minute house tour plus eight-minute movie on Frank Lloyd Wright and the Westcott House restoration process.

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(Admission is Free)  



President William Howard Taft (1857 – 1930) was elected the 27th President of the United States in 1909. Visitors to his birthplace and boyhood home can play with old-fashioned toys, as did the former President. Also, visitors can play dress-up with clothes of the time.


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(Tours are $7.50/adult and $4.50/child (2-12 years old). Buggy rides are $4.50/adult and $3.50/child. School tour is $4/adult and $3/child. Complete package is $12/adult and $8/child) 

Yoders Amish Home is an authentic Amish farm.  The farm includes 116 acres of land.  While touring the farm visitors have a chance to see two houses, a barn that was built in 1885, and also a one room school house.  Visitors can also take buggy rides, and see and pet the animals living on the farm.  Guests can also purchase freshly baked good, and presents such as dolls and quilts.


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(Admission is Free. Fees for various activities)  



The farm was started in 1869 and is still owned and operated by the Young Family!  Young’s hosts over one million guests each year.  Young's is a working dairy farm with two restaurants (one is a large dairy bar and quick serve food restaurant, the other is a sit down, home-cooked, table service restaurant), two gift shops, two miniature golf courses, batting cages, golf driving range, the best homemade ice cream in the region,  friendly service, great food, family fun activities, group & company picnics, off site catering and FUN!


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(Admission: Ohio Historical Society members – free; Zoar Community Association members - free; Adults $8.00;
Children, ages 4-17 - $4.00; Children, age 4 and under – free; School groups discounted per student) 


Founded in 1967, the Zoar Community Association strives to preserve the heritage of the Village of Zoar. Founded in 1817, Zoar Village was inhabited by 200 German religious dissenters called the Society of Separatists of Zoar. Today, Zoar offers old-world charm. Twelve historic buildings have been restored and are open to the public. There are two local restaurants in restored historic buildings, as well as small shops throughout the village.  Today, approximately 75 families are still living in homes built from its earliest times to the present. The Zoar Community Association operates the historic house museums from the Zoar Store Welcome Center. For more information please see www.historiczoarvillage.com.


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As a precaution, please call ahead to the venues you plan to visit to ensure that the hours, admittance and other data in this Web site have not changed. We assume no responsibility for omissions, inaccuracies or errors within the contents of this Web site. However, we will take into consideration, any comments that would better represent the venues within, and add them to our Web site.

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