Adena Mansion & Gardens

Admission to Adena Mansion & Gardens Historic Site is approx. $12/person

  • Open: April – October Wednesday thru Saturday 9am – 5pm, and Sunday from 12 – 5pm.
  • Location: (Map It) 847 Adena Road in Chillicothe, Ohio
  • Phone:  740-772-1500 or 800-319-7248
  • Web: click here

Adena Mansion & Gardens Historic Site was the 2000-acre estate of Thomas Worthington (1773-1827), the 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 designed by Benjamin Henry Latrobe still standing in the country. Latrobe is considered the first professional American architect and served as the architect of the U.S. Capitol under President Thomas Jefferson.

Five outbuildings and formal gardens are situated on the 300 remaining acres of the original home place. The gardens have undergone a major renovation. Visitors may stroll through three terraces of flowers and vegetables and 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 inspired the Great Seal of the State of Ohio.

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Blue Rock Station

Blue Rock Station in Philo, Ohio requires reservations.

Blue Rock Station in Philo, Ohio:  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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Carillon Historical Park

Admission to Carillon Historical Park is approx. $14/person (less for kids).

  • Open Monday – Saturday from 9:30am to 5pm, Sunday from 12 – 5pm.
  • Location: (Map It) 1000 Carillon Blvd. in Dayton, Ohio
  • Phone: 937-293-2841
  • Web: click here

Carillon Historical Park in Dayton is a 65-acre campus with dozens of museums and countless artifacts showcasing the power of Dayton’s ingenuity and impact on the world in areas of mechanical flight and other industrial innovations. One of the stops in Carillon Historical Park is the Wright Brothers Aviation Center, where more Wright artifacts are on display than anywhere in the world. It features the 1905 Wright Flyer III —the only airplane designated a National Historic Landmark, the world’s first practical flying machine, and what the Wright brothers considered their most important aircraft. Learn how Dayton earned its reputation as a city of creativity and innovation.

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Century Village Museum

Admission to the Century Village Museum varies.

  • Open: Weekends from Mid-April – November
  • Location: (Map It) 14653 East Park St. in Burton, Ohio
  • Phone: 440-834-1492
  • Web: click here

The Century Village Museum:  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 schoolhouse, 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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Edison Birthplace Museum

Admission to Edison Birthplace Museum is approx. $17/person (less for kids).  

  • Open: Hours and days vary throughout the week and year. Closed January, Mondays, and major holidays
  • Location: (Map It) 9 Edison Drive in Milan, Ohio (near Exit 118 of the Ohio Turnpike)
  • Phone: 419-499-2135
  • Web: click here

The Edison Birthplace and Museum in Milan, Ohio:  Thomas Alva Edison was one of America’s most famous inventors. He is most renowned for inventing 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, inventions, precious documents, and other mementos. Guided tours may be arranged. The Edison Birthplace Museum provides insight into the historic inventor’s life.

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Frostville Museum

Admission to the Frostville Museum is nominal.

  • Open: Usually from Memorial Day – October on Saturday from 9am – 1pm, and special events.
  • Location: (Map It) 24101 Cedar Point Rd. at Rocky River Reservation in North Olmsted, Ohio
  • Phone: 440-734-5231
  • Web: click here

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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Grant’s Boyhood Home & Schoolhouse

Admission to President Grant’s Boyhood Home & Schoolhouse is $5/person.

  • Open: Wednesday – Sunday, May – October, from 12 – 5pm.
  • Location: (Map It) Boyhood Home is located at 219 East Grant Ave. in Georgetown, Ohio
  • Phone: 937-378-3087 or 877-372-8177
  • Web: click here

President Grant’s Boyhood Home & Schoolhouse:  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. The home is a restored white colonial.

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Hale Farm & Village

Admission to Hale Farm & Village is approx. $15/person (less for kids).

  • Open:  June – October, usually on Wednesday to Sunday from 10am – 4pm.
  • Location: (Map It) 2686 Oak Hill Road in Bath, Ohio
    (May need to use Peninsula, Ohio for GPS)
  • Phone: 877-HALE-FARM or 330-666-3711
  • Web: click here

Hale Farm & Village, located in the Cuyahoga Valley, is an outdoor living history museum. Mid-19th century life is depicted through 32 historic structures, farm animals, heritage gardens, cooking, and early American craft and trade demonstrations such as blacksmithing, pottery, and glassblowing. Shop for handcrafted at Hale and Ohio-made items in the MarketPlace or online in our Etsy store. Visit for a signature event or workshop, or plan your special event on the property. Take the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad to the farm and enjoy a day in the National Park.

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Hanby House

Admission to the Hanby House is nominal.

  • Open: Usually from May through September on Saturday & Sunday, from 1-4pm.
  • Location:(Map It) 160 W. Main St., Westerville, Ohio
  • Phone: 614-891-6289 or 1-800-600-6843
  • Web: click here

The Hanby House in Westerville:  Benjamin Hanby left Westerville a rich tradition in music. The Hanby House is Ohio’s first memorial to a composer. Hanby wrote over 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 worldwide. 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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Harding Presidential Sites

Admission to Harding Presidential Sites is approx. $16/adult (less for kids).

  • Open: Thursday – Saturday, from 9am – 5pm, and Sunday from 12 – 5pm.
  • Location: (Map It) 380 Mt. Vernon Ave., Marion, Ohio
  • Phone: 800-600-6894
  • Web: click here

The Warren G. Harding Presidential Sites features the home and Presidential Library of Warren G. Harding. Collections encompass more than 5,000 original items, including 300 from the White House. Because most of what you’ll see in the home is original, you’ll get the feeling that Warren G. and Florence Harding have just stepped into the next room.

The Harding Home, the residence of Warren G. and Florence Harding from 1891 to 1921, has been open continuously as a museum since 1926. The museum opened just three years after President Harding died from a heart attack in 1923. Mrs. Harding died 15 months later from kidney disease. In her will, she made arrangements for the home and the bulk of the contents to go into the hands of the Harding Memorial Association (HMA).

The HMA formed just after President Harding’s death on Aug. 2, 1923 to oversee fundraising to construct the Harding Memorial. They owned the 10-acre Memorial site and the Harding Home until 1978, when both sites were turned over to the State of Ohio. The sites today are administered by the Ohio History Connection with the help of local manager Marion Technical College.

When the museum opened in February 1926, visitors could view just the first four rooms of the residence – the reception hall, parlor, library and dining room. The rooms were not presented as they were when the Hardings lived there; instead, all of the rooms featured glass display cases of objects. Photos and framed documents covered the walls. The on-site caretakers lived upstairs.

In 1965, the HMA completed a restoration of the Home, showcasing it for the first time as a house museum. The group chose 1900 as the year it wanted to depict, choosing wallpapers that reflected that year. The caretakers continued to perform the maintenance and lead tours but now lived off-site.

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Harriet Beecher Stowe House

Admission to the Harriet Beecher Stowe House is approx. $5/person.

  • Open:  February – April on Saturday from 10am – 4pm, and Sunday from 12 – 4pm (last entry at 3pm).
  • Location: (Map It) 2950 Gilbert Avenue (State Route 3, U.S. 22) in Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Phone: 513-751-0651
  • Web: click here

The Harriet Beecher Stowe House:  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 seminary president.

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Hawthorn Hill – Orville Wright’s Mansion

Admission to Orville Wright’s Hawthorn Hill Mansion is approx. $16/person.

  • Open: Call in advance to schedule a tour for Wednesday or Saturday at 10am or 12:30pm
  • Location: (Map It) 1000 Carillon Blvd. in Dayton, Ohio
  • Phone: 937-293-2841
  • Web: click here

Orville Wright’s Hawthorn Hill Mansion in Dayton, Ohio, has recently been opened for public tours. You’ll see Orville Wright’s various inventions, from his reading chair to his shower. The sprawling grounds once had droves of people chanting outside for Orville’s house guest, Charles Lindbergh. The house was to be a joint residence of Wilbur and Orville, but Wilbur died before its completion. However, Orville’s sister and father lived in the residence. The estate was nicknamed Hawthorn Hill because it has over a hundred Hawthorn trees, and the mansion sits on top of a hill. Tours last approximately one and a half hours long (limit of 10 people per tour).

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Hayes Presidential Library & Museums

 

Admission to the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museums is approx. $20/person (less for kids).

  • Open: Days and hours vary throughout the year, but usually Thursday – Saturday, from 9am – 5pm, and Sunday from 12 – 5pm.
  • Location: (Map It) Spiegel Grove in Fremont, Ohio
  • Phone: 419-332-2081
  • Web: https://www.rbhayes.org/

The Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museums 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 from 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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Historic Lyme Village

Admission to the Historic Lyme Village is approx. $12/person (less for kids).

  • Open: June – August on Wednesday – Saturday from 11am –  5:00 pm (last tour starts at 4pm).
  • Location: (Map It) 5001 State Route 4 in Bellevue, Ohio (four miles south of Ohio Turnpike Exit 110)
  • Phone: 419-483-4949
  • Web: click here

Historic Lyme Village In Bellevue:  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, an 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.

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Historic Schoenbrunn Village

Admission to Historic Schoenbrunn Village is approx. $8/person (less for kids).

  • Open: Memorial Day – Labor Day on Wednesday-Saturday from 10am – 5pm, Sunday 12 – 5pm.
    September and October: Saturday 10am – 5pm, Sunday 12 – 5pm.
  • Location: (Map It) 1984 E. High St. in New Philadelphia, Ohio
  • Phone: 330-808-4815 or 800-752-2711
  • Web: click here

Historic Schoenbrunn Village became the first white settlement in Ohio and west of the Ohio River at the start of the American Revolution when Ohio was the Western frontier of the colonies. It was a unique meeting of two cultures: the Moravian Missionaries and the Delaware Native Americans. Today, Schoenbrunn offers 16 reconstructed log cabins, a museum, and a gift shop. 

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Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption

Admission to Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption is fee for self-guided tours (guided tours at a nominal fee).

  • Open: Monday- Friday from 9am – 3pm, Saturday from 10am – 4pm, and Sunday 11:30am – 4pm.
  • Location: (Map It) 1140 Madison Avenue (near downtown Cincinnati, Ohio) in Covington, KY
  • Phone: 859-431-2060
  • Web: click here

The Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption:  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 with gargoyles and flying buttresses.

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Jefferson Depot Village

Admission to tour Jefferson Depot Village is approx. $10/person and approx. $25/family of four).

  • Open from June – September (Tour guides in period attire on Saturday & Sunday from 1 – 4pmMonday & Thursday 10am – 4pm (Interpreters in buildings for 12 or more).
  • Location: (Map It) Jefferson Depot Village at 147 E. Jefferson St. in Jefferson, Ohio
  • Phone: 440-344-0167
  • Web: click here

Jefferson Depot Village is the best-kept secret in Ashtabula County. This hidden 19th-century preserved “living history” village is in Jefferson, Ohio. Tucked away in the northeastern corner of Ohio, the Jefferson Depot Village volunteers saved and restored the 1872 Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railroad Station (on the National Register of Historic Places) just 2 weeks before its scheduled demolition.  Then, they moved 15 original 19th-century buildings from Ashtabula County to the depot.  Each contains original artifacts and furnishings.

As you tour through the restored buildings, “Live a day in the 1890s”, work at the train station, attend church in the 1848 “Church in the Wildwood,” go to school in the 1838 Spafford One-Room Schoolhouse with its original music staff painted on the blackboard, pick up your mail at the 1845 Sheffield Post Office, get medicines from the 1860 Ashtabula Pharmacy or stroll thru the medicinal herb garden.  Everyone meets at Hohn’s General Store with its marble-topped cabinets full of goods.  The 1888 Victorian House is filled with authentic antiques.  Don’t miss the Church Barn, Blacksmith Shop, Girl’s and Boy’s Outhouses, the Carriage House, Old Tavern, PRR Caboose, and the Library/Welcome Center.

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Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum

Admission to the Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum is approx. $5/person.

  • Open: Memorial to Labor Day from 12pm – 4pm , and Tuesday – Sunday the rest of the year except January & February (Fri – Sun)
  • Location: (Map It) 300 North Whitewoman Street in Coshocton, Ohio  43812 (Located in Historic Roscoe Village)
  • Phone: 740-622-8710
  • Web: click here

 

Click to Read
COLLECTING A LEGACY …AND CONTROVERSY

The Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum is nationally accredited. As you behold their remarkable collections, it will dispel notions of a “small town” museum.  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 lacquerware, carvings, and ceramics, and 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, controversial artifacts uncovered in prehistoric Indian Mounds in the 1860s that are inscribed in Hebrew. 

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

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John Rankin House

Admission to the John Rankin House is approx. $8/person (less for kids).

  • Open: early April through October from Wednesday – Sunday from 10am – 5pm (Sunday 12-5). Tours on the hour.
  • Location: (Map It) 6152 Rankin Hill Road in Ripley, Ohio
  • Phone: 800-752-2705
  • Web: click here

The John Rankin House in Ripley, Ohio, is a National Historic Landmark and a famous station on the Underground Railroad.

The brick home was built in 1825 by Reverand John Rankin and sits high atop Freedom Hill overlooking the small river town of Ripley, Ohio. It features extraordinary tales of bravery and fantastic views of the Ohio River and its meandering bends between the Appalachian foothills of southern Ohio and northern Kentucky.

Rankin began his 44-year ministry at Ripley’s Presbyterian church in 1822. He and his wife and 13 children were ardent abolitionists. They dedicated their lives to helping their fellow human beings. Reverend John Rankin was one of the most active “conductors” of the Underground Railroad. His family never lost a “passenger” along their trek of the line. Over the years, more than 2,000 “passengers” stayed at the Rankin House. At times, up to a dozen runaway slaves lived in the humble brick home in addition to the 15 family members. It only took one encounter for slave owners and hunters to learn not to try and seize escaped slaves from the Rankins. Family members always stood armed and watchful.

The Harriet Beecher Stowe novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin cites a true story of a lady pushing her child across the thin ice on the Ohio River, desperate to cross to the Rankin House. When a slave hunter met her on the other side, he was so moved by watching her determination that he let her pass through to the home on the hill, shining its candle in the window at night to guide her and so many other escaped slaves to potential freedom.

Merely crossing the Ohio River didn’t bring freedom, even though Ohio was a free state. The Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 meant runaway slaves could be apprehended in free states and returned to slavery. The Underground Railroad had to get its “passengers” into Canada. Making it to the Rankin House was a milestone, to be sure, but the final trek from southern Ohio to northern Ohio and ultimately out of the United States still had many obstacles to maneuver.

The modest home has received more than $1 million in renovations to return it to an authentic representation of how it was when the Rankin family lived there. It is quite a time capsule.

The floorboards are original and in great shape. Several original family items, such as the family’s Bible, remain. Well-informed guides give tours. They learn vital information to share but are encouraged to do some research to develop additional points of interest to further make the Rankin House story come alive for its visitors. In her research, a young tour guide named Niya found that her fourth-generation grandfather was at the Rankin’s house in the 1840s.

This little place in the middle of nowhere attracts many visitors and has a large parking lot. The tour takes about 30 minutes. Another 30 minutes can be spent taking in the incredible scenery of the forested hills and Ohio River stretching east and west as far as the eyes can see.

The John Rankin House is one of those little stops you always remember.

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John P. Parker House

Admission to the John P. Parker House is approx. $8/person.

  • Open: May through October on Friday & Saturday from 10am – 5pm, and Sunday from 1 – 5 p.m.
  • Location: (Map It) 300 N. Front Street in Ripley, Ohio
  • Phone: 937-392-4188 or email johnparkerhouseohio@gmail.com
  • Web: click here

If you stand on the northern shore of the Ohio River in downtown Ripley, you understand why John P. Parker once stood near this very same spot in the mid-1800s and decided to build a home and open his machine shop and foundry in this bustling rivertown.

Parker was a freed slave who would become a successful businessman and inventor, and from about 1850 until the end of the Civil War; he was one of the most active conductors on the Underground Railroad. At great risk to his own life and freedom, he repeatedly crossed into Kentucky to help enslaved brothers and sisters escape across the river in wooden boats.

The John P. Parker National Historic Landmark features exhibits, a display center of Parker’s products, and guided tours enlightening visitors about his adventurous, daring life. It is a travel destination for families eager to experience a compelling episode in American history when the Ohio River was the line between bondage and freedom.

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Johnston Farm & Indian Agency

Johnston Farm & Indian Agency admission is approx. $10/person (less for kids).

  • Open: June – August on Thursday & Friday from 10am – 5pm, and Saturday & Sunday from 12 – 5pm. April, May, September, & October on Monday – Friday from 9am – 2pm.
  • Location: (Map It) 9845 North Hardin Road in Piqua, Ohio (Miami County)
  • Phone: (937) 773-2522 or 1-800-752-2619
  • Web: click here

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

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Lake Metroparks Farmpark

Admission to Lake Metroparks Farmpark is approx. $10/person.

  • Open: Tuesday – Sunday from 9am – 5pm
  • Location: (Map It) 8800 Chardon Road in Kirtland, Ohio
  • Phone: 800-366-FARM (3276) or 440-256-2122
  • Web: click here 

Lake Metroparks Farmpark in Kirtland houses a wide range of farm animals and offers visitors a chance to gain hands-on experience with those animals.  Visitors can participate in the daily activities on a farm, such as learning how to milk animals 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 are demonstrations on doing other farm activities such as herding sheep—the farmhouses over fifty breeds of livestock with a dozen endangered animals.  The farm also holds many gardens, orchards, and vineyards that can be visited.

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Loveland Castle

Admission to the Loveland Castle is approx. $5/person.

See The Multimedia Feature Story

The Loveland Castle & Museum is 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 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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Little Cities of Black Diamonds

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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Maria Stein Shrine of the Holy Relics

Welcome to the Maria Stein Shrine of the Holy Relics.

  • Open: Friday & Saturday from 9:30am – 4pm, Sunday from 12 – 4pm, and Monday – Thursday from 9:30am – 6pm.
  • Location: (Map It) 2291 St. Johns Road in Maria Stein, Ohio
  • Web: https://mariasteinshrine.org/

The Maria Stein Shrine of the Holy Relics is situated on nearly 30 acres of beautifully landscaped, peaceful rolling grounds in rural Maria Stein, Ohio. The grounds of the Maria Stein Shrine of the Holy Relics include many unique opportunities for walking, reflection, and prayer in a peaceful environment. The Shrine’s religious, genealogical, cultural, and architectural history interests visitors worldwide.

Pilgrims are encouraged to explore the grounds, appreciate the beautiful architecture, stroll along sacred paths, and enjoy an environment of serenity and solitude. Prayers are available to accompany your journey. There is no better place to deepen your spirituality than the Shrine, rich in holiness and history.

Some of the Shrine’s notable features include a beautiful courtyard featuring Stations of the Cross, an Angel Garden, a Statue Garden, the original tower entrance and the original bell from the former Convent built in 1860, a spring-fed, hand-dug well, Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto, the Chapel in the Woods, and so much more!

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Marietta Castle

Admission to the Marietta Castle is approx. $10/person.

  • Open: Tours are from April – December. Spring and fall hours are Monday, Thursday, & Friday from 10am – 4pm, and Saturday & Sunday from 1 – 4pm. Summer (June – August) hours are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, & Saturday from 10am – 4pm, and Sunday 1 – 4pm.
  • Location: (Map It) 418 Fourth Street in Marietta, Ohio
  • Phone: 740-373-4180
  • Web: https://mariettacastle.org/

The Marietta Castle is an 1855 home of several cities 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, and concerts, workshops, children’s programs, teas, and other special activities.

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McCook House Civil War Museum

Admission to the McCook House Civil War Museum is nominal.

  • Open: Memorial Day – early October on Friday & Saturday from 10am – 5pm.
  • Location: (Map It) 15 South Lisbon Street in Carrollton, Ohio
  • Phone: 1-800-600-7172 or 330-627-3345
  • Web: click here

Welcome to the McCook House Civil War Museum.
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 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 neighbors or relatives? What goes through a man’s mind 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 were embedded 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 for the past six months. It’s easy to recognize. It’s the large building on the southwest corner of the Carrollton town square. It is notable for its Federalist architecture—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 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 number 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 (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 Johnny-Rebs overran the field hospital, 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 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—and is signed in 1854 by Jefferson Davis, at the time Secretary of War. Of course, Davis was later 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. Today’s willingness to fight one’s neighbors and relatives, even over the most serious of disagreements, seems like 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.

By Robert A. Carpenter

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Moore House Museum

Admission to the Moore House Museum is approx $8/person.  

  • Open: Tours are Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday from 10am – 3pm.
  • Location: (Map It) 309 West 5th St. in Lorain, Ohio
  • Phone: 440-245-2563
  • Web: click here

The Moore House Museum and Lorain County Historical Society illustrate history from the early nineteenth century through the twentieth century. Its many displays and exhibits feature maps, clocks, time-saving devices, tools, clothing, toys, jewelry, photographs, historical documents, and many other artifacts of local interest.

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Niederman Family Farm

Admission to the Niederman Family Farm varies according to the event.

  • Open: Seasonal events, activities, and tours
  • Location: (Map It) 5110 LeSourdsville-WestChester Drive in Liberty Township, Ohio
  • Phone: 513-779-6184
  • Web: click here

 

The Niederman family planted hybrid crops of
tradition and tourism to save their rural culture

Ever-expanding suburbs have been squeezing farmland out for generations. Mostly gone are the amber waves of grain that used to grow in vast seas just outside major population centers. Where seeds once soaked up the sun and rain are now streets named for what they paved over Strawberry Fields Avenue, Hunting Meadows Road, Vineyard Circle, and so on. Since this transformation of America’s heartland, a generation of children can’t think past their local grocer when it comes to where food originates.

Much like mom’s apple pie, the American farm is fast becoming more fable than reality. But the Niederman family is trying to change that! …READ MORE

Click here for the rest of the story

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Ohio Village

Admission to the Ohio Village is approx. $16/person.

  • Open: Seasonal (call for days/hours)
  • Location: (Map It) 800 E 17th Ave in Columbus, Ohio adjacent to the Ohio History Center
  • Phone: 800-686-6124 or 614-297-2300 for museum and 614-297-2663 for group tours
  • Web: click here

The Ohio Village at Ohio History Center in Columbus, Ohio:  Step back in time to a 19th-century county-seat town in Ohio about the time of the Civil War. Meet the villagers and learn their stories. Tour the buildings and homes. Partaking in activities from the 1890s. Perhaps even see the Ohio Village Muffins play baseball by 19th-century rules.

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Piatt Castle Mac-A-Cheek

Admission to the Piatt Castle Mac-A-Cheek is approx. $15/person (less for kids).

  • Open: Late April through October from 10am – 4pm
  • Location: (Map It) 10051 Twp Rd 47, West Liberty, Ohio 43357
  • Phone: 937-465-2821
  • Web: https://piattcastle.org/

Piatt Castle Mac-A-Cheek in West Liberty, Ohio, provides self-guided tours of this remarkable 19th-century residence. Its a glimpse into the past life of wealth in Ohio featuring great architecture, a secret tunnel, a rather large dog house, exhibits, photographs and more. It’s a stunning place to host a wedding.

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Punderson Manor

Welcome to haunted Punderson Manor in Northeast Ohio.
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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Ravenwood Castle

Welcome to Ravenwood Castle and its medieval flair.

  • Open: Year-round
  • Location: (Map It) 65666 Bethel Road, New Plymouth, Ohio
  • Phone: 740-596-2606
  • Web: click here

Ravenwood Castle, nestled in the woods of scenic Hocking Hills, provides a charming setting with a medieval flair. Whether you are planning a romantic trip for two or a unique getaway for family and friends, Ravenwood Castle makes for an unforgettable destination. They pride themselves on being an unplugged destination where technology isn’t all-pervasive. The common areas of the Castle (Pub, Library, Great Hall) and Castle rooms have access to Wi-Fi. The Castle offers a variety of on-site scavenger hunts, a board game library of 100+ games for guest use, and hiking trails for you to warm up on before tackling some of the most popular Hocking Hills destinations like Old Man’s Cave or Ash Cave – both just a short drive from the Castle! Grab a bite at the Raven’s Roost Pub and game the night away on the patio or Library.

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Sauder Village

Admission to Sauder Village is approx. $25/person.

  • Open: Summer hours are Wednesday to Saturday from 10am – 5pm (call or see link below for spring and fall hours).
  • Location: (Map It) 22611 St. Rte. 2 in Archbold, Ohio
  • Phone: 800-590-9755 or 419-446-2541
  • Web: saudervillage.org

Historic Sauder Village is a living history museum and farm in Archbold, Ohio. It provides a chance to travel back in time to 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, fritters, delectable pies, bread, and pre-mixed cookie dough. The Barn Restaurant hosts many special holiday events accompanying the delicious home-cooked food. The beautiful Sauder Heritage Inn has 98 guest rooms, an 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 an 87-site Campground with a Splash Pad, fishing, bike trail, playground, and other great amenities. Sauder Village is a destination that all ages will enjoy!

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Staley Mill Farm & Distillery

Welcome to Staley Mill Farm & Indian Creek Distillery where Joe and Missy Duer invite you to step back in time.

This historic farmstead is a glimpse into the past and will return its visitors to an earlier time with its timeless beauty, ageless spirit, and family heritage.  Situated along meandering Indian Creek, the 160-acre farm was purchased in 1820 by Elias Staley who built a commercial-sized distillery across from the grist mill that he and his brothers had built several years earlier for the previous owner.  “Liquid Gold” was produced by the mix of grains from the Grist Mill and his handmade double copper distilled rye whiskey became the “profit of the times” for his pioneer family.  Staley Rye Whiskey became famous for its quality. Customers (including Indians) came from miles around to get their jugs filled with the tasty liquid.

After Elias’ death in 1866, sons Andrew, Simon, and John continued the distilling operation.  During their lifetimes, the grist mill was expanded, a two-story warehouse was built, and the construction of a 1500 gallon mash tub enabling them to increase production.  At times, there were 100 barrels aging in the Bond House and the distillery ran 24 hours a day.

Simon’s son, George Washington Staley continued to operate the distillery after the death of his father and two uncles.  It was his sad duty to close the doors of the family’s profitable whiskey distillery when Prohibition was made the law of the land in 1920.  With great foresight, George hid the old stills and associated distilling equipment from the government agents on the top floor of the warehouse.  He also recorded the mash bill or recipe that the family had used for 100 years.

After George passed away, two generations came and went with only memories of whiskey-making times at The Staley Mill Farm.  But the past met the present when the next generation (Joe and Missy) resurrected history.

Today, a new artisan farm distillery has been built, and once again Staley Rye Whiskey is flowing from the still house.  The distillery represents the legacy of early farm distilling:  past, present, and future.  It’s the only family-owned historic artisan farm distillery in the United States using the old-fashioned double copper distilling method. Whiskey is distilled using the original copper pot stills that Missy’s great-great-great-grandfather Elias used in 1820, the same mash bill, and the same water source (spring water).

A “true sip of history”, these whiskeys are uniquely small batch where art and science meet in the middle to produce a spirit like no other.  Award-winning, old-fashioned frontier whiskeys are created with a passionate dedication to authenticity using the Early American Distilling Method.   Produced by the 6th generation, these historic artisans, keepers of the past, fan the flames of the future…  The spirit of America in a bottle!

A visit to Indian Creek Distillery will transport you to the “Old Northwest Territory” where the Frontier was wild and whiskey was king!

So come to the farm where it all began two centuries ago. Learn about upcoming events.  Sample and purchase Early American Rye Whiskeys and shop for flasks, glasses, t-shirts, and more in the retail shop. The tasting room features the family’s historic photos and artifacts, some dating back to the early 1800s when Staley’s whiskey-making legacy began.

Hours are Thursday – Saturday from 10-5.  Still House tours are scheduled Saturdays at 12:00, 2:00 & 4:00. For additional information, click here.

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Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens

Admission to Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens tours range from approx.  $15 – 30/person.

  • Open: April – December (days and hours vary).
  • Location: (Map It) 714 North Portage Path in Akron, Ohio
  • Phone: 330-836-5533
  • Web: click here

Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens is one of the finest examples of Tudor Revival architecture in America. The 65-room country estate sits on 70 acres of manicured 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 lifestyle. 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; please call to get the year’s schedule. Varied group plans are available. Discounts for groups of 10 or more may be arranged.

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SunWatch Indian Village

Admission to SunWatch Indian Village & Archaeological Park is approx. $7/person.

  • Open: Saturday & Sunday from 10am – 4pm.
  • Location: (Map It) 2301 West River Road in Dayton, Ohio
  • Phone: 937-268-8199
  • Web: click here

SunWatch Indian Village & Archaeological Park in Dayton is a partially reconstructed Fort Ancient period American Indian village along the Great Miami River.  Excavations at this 13th-century village exposed a planned, stockaded village with astronomical alignments that were 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 and the lives of the villagers who resided there.  Activities include guided group tours, festivals, overnight programs, and more.

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Thurber House

Admission to Thurber House in Columbus is approx. $5/person.

  • Open:  Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 1 – 4pm.
  • Location: (Map It) 77 Jefferson Avenue in Columbus, Ohio
  • Phone: 614-464-1032
  • Web: www.thurberhouse.org

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

James 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 a past 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. A rushing, pounding of feet leaped the steps two at a time with a dead bead for the two young men. But the young men did not see anybody there. Nonetheless, 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 daily (except holidays). Self-guided tours are free Monday through Saturday. Guided tours are offered on Sunday.

In addition, The Thurber House hosts many writing workshops, special events, a conference center next door, a Reading Garden (between the historic house and conference center), a gallery, and a 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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Westcott House

Admission to the Westcott House is approx. $20/person.

  • Open: Call to schedule docent-guided tours only
  • Location: (Map It) 1340 East High Street in Springfield, Ohio
  • Phone: 937-327-9291
  • Web: click here

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 specifications, and the gardens have been re-landscaped in keeping with the time. Take a guided tour and learn about this Prairie Style home by industrialist Burton J. Westcott and his family. The admission fee includes a forty-five-minute house tour plus an eight-minute movie on Frank Lloyd Wright and the Westcott House restoration process.

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Zoar Village

Admission/tour at Historic Zoar Village is approx. $12/person (less for kids).

  • Location: (Map It) Zoar Store and Visitor Center is at 198 Main St. in Zoar, Ohio
  • Open: April – October on Saturday & Sunday from about 11am – 4pm (Noon on Sunday), and June – September open Wed – Sun.
  • Phone: 330-874-3011 or 800-262-6195
  • Web: https://historiczoarvillage.com/

Historic Zoar Village is the Zen of Ohio. Founded in 1817 by a group of about 200 German Separatists seeking escape from religious persecution in their homeland. Today, Zoar is a community of approximately 75 families living in homes built from 1817 to the present. Many of the original homes have been preserved or restored, as have the many buildings and museums that the Ohio History Connection maintains.  Historic Zoar Village is a quaint German village where you can spend the day walking through the museums and beautiful gardens. Take a step back in time and enjoy a meal, beverage, or snack at one of the local restaurants. Shop at the Zoar Store for unique and eclectic items, gifts, tour tickets, and information. You can also rent bicycles to tour the town. If you are looking for an easy and relaxing hike or bike ride, one of the Ohio Towpath trailheads is at Zoar. The village is open to the public from early April through December.  Tours are available throughout the year. The Zoar Community Association graciously provides some of the buildings and the picture-perfect gardens for rent to the public. Zoar Village is a beautiful location for your wedding or other celebration.

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