Ohio Historical Sites, Museums, and Landmarks

Explore Ohio’s history museums, monuments, forts, mills, cemeteries, and preservation projects from local historical societies.

Free Ohio History Museums, Sites and Landmarks

More Ohio History Attractions Worth the Price of Admission

Ashtabula County History Museum

Admission to the Ashtabula County History Museum is $4/adults and $2/child.  

  • Open: Summer months on Wednesday from 12pm – 7pm, Sunday from 1pm – 5pm; The rest of the year on Wednesday from 10am – 4pm
  • Location: (Map It) 5685 Lake Rd. in Geneva-On-The-Lake, Ohio
  • Phone: 866-533-3277
  • Web: click here

Ashtabula County History Museum / Jennie Munger Gregory Memorial Museum. An 1823 farmhouse furnished with all kinds of collectibles and antiques. The reference library for researchers is free. There’s also the Blakeslee 1810 Log Cabin and grounds of primitive surroundings located at 441 Seven Hills Rd. in Ashtabula which is open by appointment. Log Cabin Days are the first weekend after Labor Day. In addition, there’s the Joshua Giddings Law Office, built in1823, furnished with his office furnishings (North Chestnut and Jefferson). It is also free and open by appointment.

Campus Martius Museum

Admission to the Campus Martius Museum in Marietta is $7/adult, $4/student (from K-college with valid ID), and children 5 and under free.

  • Open: Monday and Wednesday – Saturday from 9:30am – 5pm, Sunday and holidays from 12pm – 5pm
  • Location: (Map it) 601 Second St. in Marietta, Ohio
  • Phone: 740-373-3750
  • Web: campusmartiusmuseum.org

Campus Martius Museum in Marietta focuses on migration in Ohio’s history.  The museum is located on the site of the first organized American settlement in the Northwest Territory.  The first floor of the museum is dedicated to the early settlement and even has part of the original fort enclosed in a wing of the building.  Other exhibits deal with the history of the local Indian tribes and their relations with the early white settlers, life in early 18th century Marietta and how it evolved throughout the years and features many artifacts recovered from early life in Marietta.  Other exhibits go on to explore two more waves of migration to Ohio and how it affected life in the entire state.  The museum also features 90 pieces from the Ohio Historical Society’s collection.

Cleveland History Center

Admission to the Cleveland History Center of the Western Reserve Historical Society is $12/adult, $10/senior, $9/veteran, $6-10/student. Parking is $8-15.

  • Open: Thursday from 12-8pm, and Friday – Sunday from 10am – 8pm
  • Location: (Map It) 10825 E. Blvd. in Cleveland, Ohio
  • Phone: 216-721-5722
  • Web: click here

Cleveland History Center of the Western Reserve Historical Society in downtown Cleveland houses a Library and two Museums. The History Museum features tours of a mansion built in 1911. You’ll discover the lifestyles of the rich and famous, and also of the servants (whose lives differed dramatically from the main house glamour). The Chisholm Halle Costume Wing is one of the top-ranked costume collections in the nation, showcasing garments from the late 1700s to the present.

The Crawford Auto Aviation Museum showcases antique, vintage, and classic automobiles and aircraft ranging from model T’s to modern-day Jaguars. In both Museums, special exhibitions focus on the many different chapters of life in the Western Reserve.

The Library is a principal repository for histories, records, and papers relating to the growth and development of Cleveland and the Western Reserve. Patrons visit to learn about their family’s history; and important archival collections include urban, African American, ethnic, Jewish, and Labor histories.

Clinton County History Center

Admission to the Clinton County History Center is $5/person.

  • Open: March 1 – the 3rd week in December on Wednesday – Friday from 1pm – 4pm (and by appointment)
  • Location: (Map It) 149 E. Locust St. in Wilmington, Ohio
  • Phone: 937-382-4684
  • Web: click here

The Clinton County History Center highlights General James W. Denver (for whom Denver, Colorado was named), Eli Harvey (artist and sculptor), and Carl Moon (photographer of the Southwest).

James Denver moved to Wilmington, Ohio in 1831. His personal library and military artifacts are on display. Eli Harvey was an internationally known artist. His works are on display. And Carl Moon’s photos of Southwest Indians are on display. He was one of the first to photograph native-Americans in their natural habitat. The museum’s Quaker Room is dedicated to items demonstrating the simple living of Clinton County’s earlier settlers. In addition, there are many Victorian artifacts, furniture and clothing to see as well.

Fort Ancient Earthworks

Admission to Fort Ancient Earthworks is $7/adult, $6/senior, and free for kids younger than 6 years old.

  • Open: Wednesday- Saturday from 10am – 5pm and Sunday from noon – 5pm (other days by appointment).
  • Location: (Map It) 6123 SR 350 in Oregonia, Ohio
  • Phone: 513-932-4421
  • Web: click here

Fort Ancient Earthworks and Nature Preserve provide a rich history of the Hopewell and Fort Ancient cultures as you discover the largest and best-preserved prehistoric hilltop enclosure in the United States. Situated on a wooded bluff 235 feet above the Little Miami River in Oregonia, Ohio, this 2,000-year-old site features man-made earthworks, miles of trails that showcase the natural and archaeological features of the land, and a Museum that encompasses 15,000 years of Ohio history and pre-history.

Fort Ancient Earthworks are part of the Ohio Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks UNESCO World Heritage Site. Click here to see more.

Fort Meigs

Admission to Fort Meigs is $10/adult, $8/senior (ages 60+), $5/student, and children five and younger enter for free. Rates may vary for special events. Reduced admission is available from November – March.

  • Open: Wednesday – Saturday from 9:30am – 5pm, Sunday from 12pm – 5pm, Closed Monday & Tuesday
  • Location: (Map It) 29100 W. River Rd. in Perrysburg, Ohio
  • Phone: 419-874-4121 or 800-283-8916
  • Web: click here

Fort Meigs 1813, Ohio’s War of 1812 Battlefield, is a historical site with one of the largest reconstructed, wooden-walled forts in the United States. It sits in its original location along the Maumee River. The seven blockhouses, five artillery batteries, and numerous earthworks appear much as they did during the summer of 1813. Exhibits in the fort’s blockhouses present the life of a soldier, the building of the fort, and dramatic accounts of the two sieges against the fort in 1813.

The Visitor Center houses classrooms, a museum store, and a museum. The exhibits focus on the themes of Era, Conflict, Understanding, and Remembrance. The exhibit also explores how historians and archaeologists learned what happened at the fort. Important artifacts are featured in the museum exhibits, including War of 1812 weapons, accouterments, uniforms, and soldiers’ items.

Historical interpreters, dressed in 1812-era clothing, present demonstrations of camp life, weapons, and other activities throughout the summer. Reenactments and special events further highlight America’s rich military history.

Fort Recovery State Museum

Admission to Fort Recovery is $5/adult, $2/child (ages 5-12), and children 5 and under free.

  • Open: June – August Daily from 12pm – 5pm, May & September on weekends, Memorial Day, and Labor Day from 12pm to 5pm
  • Location: (Map It) One Fort Site St. in Fort Recovery, Ohio
  • Phone: 419-375-4649 or 800-283-8920
  • Web: click here

Fort Recovery and St. Clair’s Massacre: On a small triangle of land on the banks of the Wabash River in the late 1700s, the course of United States history was changed forever. It was on this plot of land that two significant battles took place.  The first battle (1791), “The Battle on the Banks of The Wabash” or “The St. Clair Massacre,” was the largest confrontation ever to take place between Native Americans and the U.S. Army.  Even to this day, that battle stands as the greatest loss ever suffered by the United States Army!  Nine hundred of the 1200 soldiers were killed or mortally wounded.  Nearly 100 camp followers suffered the same fate at the hands of nearly 1500 warriors under the command of Little Turtle of the Miami’s and Blue Jacket of the Shawnee’s.

First Congressional Investigation: The first congressional investigation in U.S. history took place after that battle. When, in the course of the investigation, the “evidence” began to implicate members of President Washington’s own cabinet, the investigation was called off.

Anthony Wayne’s Legion: Fortunately the 1791 massacre and incredible embarrassment of the United States Army was not the end of the story. President Washington called Revolutionary War leader, Anthony Wayne back into service. He was given broad authority to raise and equip a “real” army.  Wayne modeled it after the old Roman Legions.  This army, The Legion of the United States, became well equipped, trained, and disciplined.

The fort of “Recovery”:  In 1793, Wayne ordered soldiers to construct a fort on the site of the disastrous ‘91 massacre.  Choosing this land, Wayne was sending a psychological message to the natives that the army and the United States were back!  Unlike the previous forts which were named for war heroes, he ordered that this fort be called “Recovery!”

The Battle of Fort Recovery: The second conflagration (1794), “The Battle of Fort Recovery,” took place on the same triangle of land as St. Clair’s Massacre.  However, with the protection of the fort, nearly 250 soldiers were able to resist a two-day relentless attack by 2500 warriors again under the command of Little Turtle and Blue Jacket.  After the defeat of the natives, Little Turtle said he would never again fight the American Army.  He said, “To do so would be suicide to my people.”  It was this battle that ultimately broke the back of Indian resistance, led to the signing of the Treaty of Greenville (August 1795), and opened up the lands of the Northwest Territory for settlement by the colonists.  The success of the US Legion at Fort Recovery proved that the United States had a viable army, that it was in control of its territories, and that the survival of the United States was at last assured!

Visitors to present-day Fort Recovery will be impressed with how much of that watershed military history comes alive today through:

  1. The clearly evident “Wabash hillside and triangle of land” where over a thousand lives were lost and the river flowed bloody.  Where a surviving St. Clair soldier described the scene as “A pumpkin field, a steaming pumpkin field!” (scalped heads on that cold snowy November morning)
  2. The reconstructed Anthony Wayne fort with the two-story blockhouses and connecting stockade, the well, the flagpole!
  3. A totally renovated (2010) museum that houses such detailed and accurate figures of Wayne’s Legion that students sometimes step back thinking they are real.  Even a dragoon and his horse!  Plus of course the stories of Josiah Harmar, Arthur St. Clair, Anthony Wayne, William Wells!
  4. The prehistoric and historic Native American history, models and artifacts, all of which tell the stories of those proud people!  Blue Jacket of the Shawnees, Little Turtle of the Miami’s!
  5. The obelisk monument stands over 100 feet high in honor of the soldiers who died in both battles, and whose remains are buried under that monument!
  6. The Greenville Treaty Line Marker on the fort ground designated this point as the northwest corner of the land that could be settled by “white men.”
  7. The pioneer cemetery where the remains of soldiers and their families who stayed to make their homes near the fort are buried.
  8. Two log cabins depicting early colonial homes and tools.

Garst Museum & Annie Oakley Center

Admission to Garst Museum & National Annie Oakley Center in Greenville is $10/adult, $9/senior (ages 60+), $7/youth (ages 6-17), and children 5 and under free.

  • Open: Tuesday – Saturday from 10am – 4pm, Sunday from 1pm – 4pm, Closed Monday and major holidays
  • Location: (Map It) 205 N. Broadway in Greenville, Ohio
  • Phone: 937-548-5250
  • Web: https://www.garstmuseum.org/

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

Heritage Hall in Marion, Ohio

Admission to Heritage Hall in Marion, Ohio is $6/adult, $5/senior, $3/child, and children under 5 free.

  • Open:  May – October on Wednesday – Sunday from 1pm – 4pm, November – December on weekends from 1pm – 4pm
  • Location: (Map It) 169 E. Church St. in Marion, Ohio
  • Phone: 740-387-4255
  • Web: www.marionhistory.com/

Heritage Hall and the Marion County Historical Society & Museum in Marion, Ohio features the historical museum and Warren G. Harding collections, a gift shop, and the Rinker/Howser Resource Center for genealogical research. While at Heritage Hall you may also visit the Wyandot Popcorn Museum with over 50 antique poppers. Also operated by the Marion County Historical Society is the restored 1897 Linn School, located on State Route 4 north of Marion. The building is open for walk-in visitors from 1-4 pm on the first and third Sundays, May through October. At Linn School, visitors find McGuffy readers, tin lunch pails, desks with fold-up seats, and more. Heritage Hall is the headquarters of The Marion County Historical Society and is located at the corner of Church and State Streets in Marion, Ohio.

Historic Fort Steuben

Admission to Historic Fort Steuben is $10/adult, $9/senior (ages 60+), $7/child (ages 6-12), and children 5 and under free.

  • Open:  May – October on Monday – Saturday from 10am – 4pm, and Sunday from 11am – 4pm
  • Location: (Map It) 120 S. Third St. in Steubenville, Ohio
  • Phone: 740-283-1787
  • Web: click here

Historic Fort Steuben in Steubenville, Ohio is a fully reconstructed 18th-century fort on its original site overlooking the Ohio River. With eight buildings, artifacts, displays, and an archaeologic dig, it recreates the life of the soldiers who were assigned to protect the surveyors of the newly opened Northwest Territory, the gateway to the west. Adjacent to the Fort is The First Federal Land Office, an original 1801 structure with antiques and documents. Ohio Valley Frontier Days with reenactors, crafters, music, and food is held the first weekend in June. Fort Steuben Park is home to the Fort Steuben Visitor Center and the Berkman Amphitheater where summer concerts are held on Thursday evenings.

McKinley Presidential Library & Museum

Admission to the McKinley Presidential Library & Museum is $10/adult, $9/senior (ages 60+), $8/child (ages 3 – 18), and children 2 and under free.

  • Open: Tuesday – Saturday from 9am – 4pm (closed noon to 1pm)
  • Location: (Map It) 800 McKinley Monument Dr. NW in Canton, Ohio
  • Phone: 330-455-7043
  • Web: https://mckinleymuseum.org/

The William 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, Discover World, the Hoover-Price Planetarium, and the Ramsayer Research Library. The McKinley National Memorial, which is the burial site of President William McKinley and his family, is also on the Museum grounds.

9/11 Public Safety Service Memorial

Welcome to the 9/11 Public Safety Service Memorial.

  • Open: year-round
  • Location: (Map It) 145-199 E Stone St in Gibsonburg, Ohio
  • Phone: 419-332-4470
  • Web: click here 

The 9/11 Public Safety Service Memorial in Williams Park was built by the community to be a tribute to those who lost their lives on 9/11. The memorial is free to visit and is open year-round. It was designed by the artist Jim Havens and is made of recovered steel from the World Trade Center. One of the pieces included in the memorial is a 7,000-pound piece of steel from the North World Trade Center antenna. The memorial offers a timeless memory of America’s past, recognizing all of the police, fire, and emergency medical services that work tirelessly to keep the country safe. 

Buckeye Lake Historical Society Museum

Admission to Buckeye Lake Historical Society Museum is $4/adult, $2/senior, and $1/child.

  • Open: Tuesday – Sunday from 1pm – 4pm, Closed Monday and during February
  • Location: (Map It) 4729 Walnut Rd. in Buckeye Lake, Ohio
  • Phone: 740-929-1998
  • Web: click here

The Greater Buckeye Lake Historical Society Museum is a complete history of the famous amusement park during the ’30s, 40’s and ’50s. Photographs, restored rides, and 100’s of artifacts depicting the days of big bands and “The Playground of Ohio.” Other areas of interest are the Ohio Canal, Interurban display, local artists, and the history of the 5 regions surrounding the lake. Guided Boat tours of Buckeye Lake and Historic Cranberry Bog are available May-September by appointment. The museum is a non-profit that operates under the guidance of The Greater Buckeye Lake Historical Society.

National Road – Zane Grey Museum

Admission to the National Road – Zane Grey Museum is $7/adult, $6/senior, and $3 /student.

  • Open: May 1 – October 31 on Wednesday – Saturday from 10am – 4pm and Sunday from 1pm – 4pm
  • Location: (Map It) 8850 E. Pike in Norwich, Ohio
  • Phone: 740-826-3305
  • Web: click here

The Zane Grey National Road Museum
This excerpt is from a past edition of OhioTraveler

There’s an anecdote about Zanesville recalled from far back in childhood: A tourist in town asked for directions and was told to go to the middle of the bridge and turn left. He was also informed that he could cross the bridge and still be on the same side of the river. Each statement is preposterous as the other, yet both true. As well as the only Y-bridge in the world, Zanesville is also known as the center of the pottery industry. At one time there were 41 potteries in Muskingum County producing millions of artifacts, a few of which show up on Antiques Roadshow and fetch exorbitant prices.

But those anomalies pale in comparison to the literary accomplishments of the city’s favorite son. Zane Grey’s book sales have exceeded forty million copies of nearly ninety novels; too many to be published in his lifetime.  Twenty-five were produced posthumously and reprints of his work continue to this day, seventy years after his death.

Born Pearl Zane Gray in 1872, he grew up in Zanesville, a town founded by his maternal ancestors. His father, a dentist, disapproved of nearly everything his son found rewarding.  The fourth of five children, Pearl Zane was acknowledged in early childhood as complex.  He was never inclined toward academics, yet was a voracious reader, especially of Revolutionary and Western history.

A gifted athlete, his other interests were baseball, fishing, and brawling—the latter intensified by a testy personality and a short fuse. Of course, with a name like Pearl, a boy had better be able to fight.

Grey wrote his first story at age fifteen, but his father ripped it to shreds and beat him severely. It was his mentor, an old gent named Muddy Miser who encouraged him to pursue his natural instincts while his father insisted he learns dentistry—which he detested, though the training was prescient in an odd way.

In 1889 the Grays suffered a financial setback that hastened a move to Columbus and a change of the last name to Grey. Assisting monetarily, Pearl Zane made unlicensed house calls extracting teeth—until the state board caught up with him. Fortunately, he also caught the attention of a baseball scout, resulting in numerous college scholarship offers.

His study habits at the University of Pennsylvania were reflective of earlier patterns, spending most of his time at baseball, creative writing, and womanizing, all of which had priority over curriculum. With the minimal scholastic accomplishment, he graduated in 1896 and opened a dental practice in New York City—at once and permanently dropping his first name.

The location was a poor choice in view of the competition, but New York was the publishing capital and writing had become his passion—tempered with offers from professional baseball. Dentistry was merely a means to an end.

Nine years later and still foundering, he married Lina Roth whom he called Dolly. Eleven years his junior, she became his greatest asset. Her confidence and natural ability as an editor, along with an inheritance, allowed him to abandon the dental charade forever.

His first book, Betty Zane, a thinly disguised biography of a direct aunt and Revolutionary War heroine, was turned down by numerous publishers but won acclaim after being self-published with Dolly’s endowment. Three of his first four books were Indian-fighting pioneer stories of the Ohio Valley, but Zane Grey became best known for his Western fables that were first serialized in Harper’s Magazine.

His style generated a huge network of fans that eagerly awaited new publications that appeared like clockwork. But due to envy no doubt, the critics were as ravenous as his admirers. They alleged his depictions of the West were too fanciful as well as overly violent—his characters unrealistically larger than life. But in truth Grey relied on personal experience, scrupulous note taking, and photography. All of his works were categorized as fiction, yet were based on people and situations he had experienced first-hand, punctuated with authentic dialogue.

Unknown and unfathomable to his devotees was the fact that Grey fought serious bouts of depression all his life, with long unproductive spells. “Realism,” he said “is death to me. I cannot stand life as it is.” He often left his wife and three children for weeks or months to go on adventurous excursions, and spend time with mistresses that calmed his demons.

When he returned he would have a new story and frequently pounded out a complete book is two or three months. Attesting to his versatility and proficiency he interspersed the Westerns with two hunting books, two baseball books, and eight fishing books.

The road to success had been excruciatingly long and convoluted, but the deferred arrival seemed to contain momentum that once freed was unstoppable. Grey became one of the first millionaire authors, and Hollywood developed a lust for his flair that exceeded book publishers.  In 1918 he moved his family to Altadena, California to be closer to the movie industry.

At one time Grey owned his own motion picture company which allowed faithfulness to his books to the degree of filming on the authentic locations he had described. Eventually, he sold the company and remained as a consultant, but became disillusioned with the film industry over the dilution of his stories and characters. It was no doubt charitable to his conscience that many of Hollywood’s adaptations came after his death.

Even so, he is credited with 110 films, one TV episode, The Zane Grey Show, and a series, Dick Powell’s Zane Grey Theater, which ran for five years based on his novels and short stories.

Zane Grey died in 1939 perfecting an exercise he loved as much as writing—the casting of his fly rod—off the porch of his California home.

It’s not surprising that several domains sought to declare him as their own. Of course, the city named as a derivative of his ancestral surname, and known more for Zane Grey than he for it, will always pay tribute. Curiously the archives are not in Zanesville but in Norwich, ten miles east on Rt. 40. The National Road Zane Grey Museum honors not only the author but also the area’s pottery industry and the forging of the “Main Street to the West” that shares Grey’s famous theme.

Whether coming or going, you will want to traverse Zanesville’s legendary Y-bridge located on the Rt. 40 main thoroughfare, but vigilance is required at the middle—where the unexpected has been known to alter and sometimes add a new dimension to the journey.

By Robert Carpenter

National Veterans Memorial and Museum

Admission to the National Veterans Memorial and Museum is $17/adult, $15/senior, $10-12/student, and Free for veterans, Gold Star Families, and members.

  • Open: Wednesday to Sunday from 10am – 5pm.
  • Location: (Map it) 300 West Broad Street in Columbus, Ohio
  • Phone: 614-362-2800
  • Web: https://nationalvmm.org/

National Veterans Memorial and Museum is here today because of John Glenn, former Ohio Senator and Marine Colonel. Through his leadership, this site now honors the men and women who served. In addition to the significant names and dates of soldiers and battles, the museum shares intimate belongings and pain that so many veterans carry.

National Voice of America Museum

Admission to the National Voice of America Museum is $10/adult and $5/child ages 5-12.

  • Open: Saturday and Sunday from 1 – 4pm
  • Location: (Map It) 8070 Tylersville Rd. (GPS use Crosley Blvd.) in West Chester, Ohio
  • Phone: 513-777-0027
  • Web: http://www.voamuseum.org/

The National Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting showcases the story behind the world’s first “superpower.” That power came in the force of 500,000 watts. But today the FCC requires it to operate at far less capacity. This “Voice of America” helped win WWII. Hitler referred to the world-wide broadcasts as “Those Cincinnati liars!” Today, the complete story is available by touring the historic landmark and museum.

The story begins with President Roosevelt (FDR) turning to Powel Crosley, Jr. and his corps of pioneering engineers. They in turn created transmitters and antennas that reached millions of listeners in Europe, Africa, and South America. The innovation in technology that took place in the building during the war was groundbreaking. The rest, as they say, is history.

Oberlin Heritage Center

Oberlin Heritage Center tours range from about $3-6/adult.

  • Open: Tours on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday at 10:30am and 1:30pm. Museum open Tuesday through Saturday, 10am – 3pm.
  • Location: (Map It) 20 W. Vine St. in Oberlin, Ohio
  • Phone: 440-774-1700
  • Web: click here

The Oberlin Heritage Center, accredited by the American Association of Museums, is the history museum, historical society and historic preservation organization of Oberlin, Ohio. It offers tours of three historic buildings focusing on Oberlin history, including abolition and the Underground Railroad, African-American history, women’s history, and the history of aluminum. It also features a “hands-on” one-room schoolhouse, which school-age visitors particularly enjoy.  The Oberlin Heritage Center also organizes educational programs and events on a variety of topics for audiences of all ages.  Please contact the Oberlin Heritage Center for more information on its tours and educational programs, Oberlin’s history, and in-house research facilities and resources.”

Ohio History Center

Welcome to the Ohio History Center featuring the Museum, Archives, and Library of Ohio History Connection in Columbus

Admission to the Ohio History Center is $13/adult, $11/senior (ages 60+), $11/student (with college ID), $7/youth (ages 4 – 12),  and children 3 and under free.

  • Open: Wednesday – Sunday from 10am – 5pm, Closed Monday & Tuesday
  • Location: (Map It) 800 E. 17th Ave.  in Columbus, Ohio
  • Phone: 614-297-2300 or 800-686-6124
  • Web: click here

The Ohio History Center in Columbus, Ohio depicts Ohio history from the Ice Age to 1970. The museum’s interesting architecture is made up of three stories, 250,000 square feet, supported at the base by a glass-enclosed entryway anchored by four stunning columns. It houses the museum, library, and state archives of Ohio, gift shop 280 seat auditorium, and offices. The library preserves and collects written and graphic information concerning Ohio’s history. The museum store offers publications, posters, ceramics, and historical reproductions, educational games, and toys. Teachers and members receive a 10% discount. In addition to its permanent collection, the center offers a rotating schedule of temporary exhibits. The Center’s newly renovated, permanent natural history exhibit features Ohio’s plants, animals, geology, geography, and climate and weather.

Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler


Ohio’s history is filled with truths stranger than fiction.

The Buckeye State is home to an inordinate number of nationally acclaimed comedians, former Presidents and flyboys. It birthed “rock n roll” and Rockefeller. It fielded the first professional baseball team and houses the professional football hall of fame.

The 17th state of the union is as diverse as its landscape which features the north coast, Ohio River and Appalachia regions. It bridged the original states of the union to the rest of what would later become the lower 48 as “The Gateway State.”

Welcome to the wonderful world of Ohio history. It’s as unique as the building that contains it. In the capital city of Columbus, Ohio’s past is presented in all its glory at the Ohio History Center.

Its permanent collections, traveling exhibitions and special events deliver a new experience every visit. Many innovative and interactive displays engage the minds of young and old in impactful settings.

Ohio’s ancient past explores more than 15,000 years of Ohio’s prehistoric and historic Native American heritage. Interesting discoveries are revealed here including the Adena Pipe, the mica hand, and the Wray figurine. Not only are visitors able to see life as it was thousands of years ago in these lands, but computer stations allow for even deeper exploration for information.  Try the Ohio Historical Society’s Archaeology blog and tour the First Ohioans on-line exhibit.

Venture from the ancients to frontier days to the 1970s, focusing on agricultural and industrial progress. One of the most popular sections of this exhibit is Ohio and its role during the Civil War. Artifacts include weapons, uniforms, medical and camp equipment among other notable items. The highlights continue with 1920s newsreels, an operating carriage shop, vintage automobiles and children’s activities, including a log cabin and pioneer kitchen, where young people may dress in pioneer clothes and operate a spinning wheel for starters.

The Ohio History Center leaves no stone unturned and even preserves the history of nature in Ohio.  Here, visitors can explore five themes of Ohio’s natural history: plants, animals, geology, geography and climate. Greeting all those who enter is the enormous Conway mastodon. Beyond its grasp is a tour spanning the ice age presented in a highly interactive manner designed for young people to touch specimens and play with computer displays and other hands-on stations.  Highlights include Battelle Discovery Park and Theatre.

Located on the third floor of the Ohio History Center is the Archives/Library. It is there that researchers, historians and otherwise curious minds gather to delve into every nook and cranny of Ohio’s documented history. It also houses the State Archives of Ohio. Genealogists are one of the most popular patrons of the Archives/Library.

Adjacent to the Ohio History Center is Ohio Village. Ohio Village is designed to recreate the typical county-seat town in Ohio during the mid 19th century. The buildings are fully operational and complete, not just merely facades. The village is only open to the public for special events, school groups and private events.

More to explore:

The Center offers educational programs for school groups with a wide range of subject-focused field trips. Group tours may be arranged for seniors, church groups, large families, students and youth groups. Private events and parties may be planned in the Center or Ohio Village for meetings, weddings and banquets of all kinds. The Ohio History Store offers books and magazines, posters, ceramics, historical reproductions and much more.

Ohio’s Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks

Ohio’s Only UNESCO World Heritage Site 

The Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks are Ohio’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site. It comprises eight of Ohio’s ancient American Indian monuments.

Ohio’s Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks are only the 25th World Heritage Site in the United States. Only three other UNESCO World Heritage Sites are multi-part sites like the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks. These sites encompass several locations, such as the Frank Lloyd Wright buildings. UNESCO is the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. Its class of sites features places like Machu Picchu and Pyramids of Giza.

The Ohio Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks sites listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site are:

  • Mound City in Chillicothe, Ohio
  • Great Circle Earthworks in Newark, Ohio
  • Fort Ancient Earthworks in Oregonia, Ohio
  • Seip Earthworks in Bainbridge, Ohio
  • Hopewell Mound Group in Chillicothe, Ohio
  • Hopeton Earthworks in Chillicothe, Ohio
  • Octagonal Earthworks in Newark, Ohio
  • High Bank Works in Chillicothe, Ohio

These ancient Native American earthworks in Central and Southwest Ohio were constructed nearly 2,000 years ago. They are manmade architectural marvels astounding in their precise alignment to the stars above, used to understand time and employ a masterful understanding of geometry and science.

It is a mystery how simple and small tribes of hunter-gatherers forged mind-blowing earthen structures both grand in size and style. They were used to measure the cycles of the sun, moon, and more.

Mound City

Mound City is at Hopewell Culture National Historic Park
in Chillicothe, Ohio. It is part of the Ohio Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is made up of 24 mounds. The Mound City Group Visitors Center and the museum tell a remarkable story with rare artifacts and interactive exhibits. Outside is a well-preserved and maintained grassland framed by mature trees with very clear and large ancient mounds, allowing visitors close examination. Map It.
Click to plan your visit. 

Great Circle Earthworks   

Great Circle Earthworks in Newark, Ohio, is a part of the Ohio Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks UNESCO World Heritage Site. Together, they were the greatest geometrical earthworks in the world. The magnificence of the Great Circle Earthworks is felt today when one enters the Great Circle through a break in the 14-foot-high earthen wall and a land bridge over the trench that follows the circle of raised earth. Now, in hallowed grounds, ceremonial mounds remain at its center. There is also a nice little museum at the Great Circle Earthworks visitors center with helpful staff to answer questions. There, models show the immense complexities and purpose of these ancient wonders. Map It.
Click to plan your visit.

Fort Ancient Earthworks

Fort Ancient Earthworks in Oregonia, Ohio, is part of the Ohio Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks UNESCO World Heritage Site. It features a robust museum with plentiful artifacts and interactive exhibits that tell a thorough story of these earthworks that resemble earthen fort walls, thus its modern name. Great hiking trails allow visitors to traverse the earthworks perimeter and beyond. Map It.
Click to plan your visit. 

Seip Earthworks

Seip Earthworks in Bainbridge, Ohio, is part of the Ohio Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks UNESCO World Heritage Site. This site features a large ancient mound set against an Appalachian Ohio backdrop on huge parklike grounds with abundant green space. Map It.
Click to plan your visit.

Hopewell Mound Group

Hopewell Mound Group in Chillicothe, Ohio, is part of the Ohio Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks UNESCO World Heritage Site. The 130-acre site is part of the Hopewell Culture National Historic Park. These earthworks are open during daylight hours. Map It.

Hopeton Earthworks

Hopeton Earthworks in Chillicothe, Ohio, is part of the Ohio Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks UNESCO World Heritage Site. Although its earthen walls have receded with time and man’s interference, they are still visible. To enhance the experience and see better what was once more prominent, it is mowed to highlight its design and has signage to explain further. Map It.

Octagonal Earthworks

Octagonal Earthworks in Newark, Ohio, is a part of the Ohio Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks UNESCO World Heritage Site. Unfortunately, the Octagonal Earthworks have been incorporated into a golf course. Still, an observational deck is available next to a country club parking lot to see parts of the 50-acre octagon from a slightly elevated perch. Map It.

High Bank Works

High Bank Works in Chillicothe, Ohio, is part of the Ohio Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks UNESCO World Heritage Site. A special permit is required to access the High Banks Works unless it’s a ranger-held event. It is primarily a research preserve.

Although the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks are Ohio’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site, many other effigy mounds are worth visiting. Ohio has incredible ancient earthworks built by prehistoric Native Americans. Perhaps the most well-known in the world is Serpent Mound in Peebles, Ohio. Include it and others, and you will have mounds of fun.” 

For more information, visit http://worldheritageohio.org/.

By Frank Rocco Satullo, The OhioTraveler, Your Tour Guide to Fun!

Ohio River Museum

Admission to the Ohio River Museum in Marietta is $7/adult, $4/student (K-college with ID), and children 5 and under free. 

  • Open: April – Labor Day on Monday & Wednesday – Saturday from 9:30am – 5pm, Sunday & holidays from 12pm – 5pm, Closed Tuesday; September – October on Saturday from 9:30am – 5pm, Sunday & holidays from from 12pm – 5pm; Closed Easter & November – March
  • Location: (Map It) 601 Front St. in Marietta, Ohio
  • Phone: 740-373-3750
  • Web: click here

The Ohio River Museum in Marietta gives a detailed description of the golden age of the steamboat.  It also gives an educational program about the ecology of the Ohio River system.  The museum features three buildings, the first one offers displays about the origins and natural history of the Ohio River.  The steamboat is the main focus in the second building which offers many steamboat displays along with and educational video on steamboats.  The third building houses displays on the art of boat building along with displays about mussels in the Ohio River and tools and equipment from the steamboat era.

Allen County Museum

Admission to the Allen County Museum is free with a suggested donation of $5.

  • Open: Tuesday – Friday from 1pm – 5pm, Saturday from 1pm – 4pm
  • Location: (Map It) 620 W. Market St. in Lima, Ohio
  • Phone: 419-222-9426
  • Web: click here

Allen County Museum in Lima, Ohio:  One of the feature attractions of this popular museum is the John Dillinger/Sheriff Sarber exhibit. The Dillinger/Sarber collection includes Dillinger’s jail cell and Sarber’s desk, wax figure replicas and a video documentary. The main museum covers everything from A to Z. Also on the premises are a Children’s Museum and Children’s Garden where kids have the opportunity to do some hands-on learning. And there’s an 1893 Victorian home and out-cabin open for tours as well as a railroad collection containing old timetables, pictures, books, magazines and other materials. Inside the main museum, visitors will have two floors of discovery. The main floor features sections depicting pioneer and 19th-century life, Noah’s Ark exhibit, transportation displays, opera-house music, archives room, auditorium and library. The ground-level floor provides various sections and exhibits like the Sarber/Dillinger, old general store, firefighting, military and firearms, minerals and fossils, arts and pottery, multicultural, agricultural, woodworking and engraving, and Native American items.

Alpine Hills Museum

Admission to the Alpine Hills Museum inside the Sugarcreek Information Center is free, but donations are appreciated.

  • Open: Early April through October from Monday – Saturday 9am – 5pm (and weekends only in November).
  • Location: (Map It) 106 W. Main Street in Sugarcreek, Ohio
  • Phone: 330-852-4113

The Alpine Hills Museum in downtown Sugarcreek contains three floors of historic artifacts depicting the early days of the Swiss and Amish heritage unique to this area. A visitor’s trip through the museum starts with a 12-minute video presentation about Amish culture and the Swiss immigrants’ impact on the Village. The tour continues through numerous audio-visual displays that take one back to an earlier era including 1895 fire equipment, a 1900’s Amish kitchen, a complete replica of an 1890 cheese house, an early woodshop with hand tools, an early print shop, and much more. Don’t miss seeing the Swiss Alp Horns on the top floor!

The Sugarcreek Information Center is also located in the lobby of the museum. Here, visitors can get free information about many local and area attractions and events such as the Ohio Swiss Festival and the Fabulous 50s Fling and Car Show. Visitors can also purchase unique souvenirs to take home such as postcards, t-shirts, magnets, jewelry, and much more!

Enjoy a one-of-a-kind experience at the Alpine Hills Historical Museum located in downtown Sugarcreek, the Little Switzerland of Ohio. Minutes away from Amish attractions, fine restaurants, shopping, and more!

Aurora Historical Society Museum

Admission to the Aurora Historical Society Museum is free.

  • Open: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 2pm – 4pm
  • Location: (Map It) Located on the lower level of the Aurora Memorial Library at 115 E. Pioneer Trail in Aurora, Ohio
  • Phone: 330-995-3336
  • Web: http://aurorahistorical.org

The Aurora Historical Society Museum has all kinds of interesting artifacts.  Visitors can say “cheese” and pose in front of a giant cheese-making apparatus on display at the museum or look at several interesting maps dating back to the original map of 1799. It also features maps of the Western Reserve and the township in the 1870s. Additional items for viewing include old tools, fabrics and clothes, household items, toys, old photographs, and currency (The Harmon Stone) actually issued for the region during the Civil War.

Bear’s Mill

Admission to the Historic Bear’s Mill in Greenville is free, and guided tours are available for a fee during business hours.
Tour arrangements can be made for a fee during non-business hours.

  • Open: Tuesday & Wednesday from 10am – 4pm, Thursday thru Saturday from 11am – 5pm, and Sunday 1 – 5pm
  • Location: (Map It) 6450 Arcanum-Bear’s Mill Rd. in Greenville, Ohio
  • Phone: 937-548-5112
  • Web: https://www.bearsmill.org/
  • Play Video

Historic Bear’s Mill in Greenville was built in 1849 and has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1975. Bear’s Mill is an authentic example of a stone-grinding flour mill of its time. Cornmeal, whole wheat flour and rye flour are still ground with the French Buhr stones powered by water from Greenville Creek. Visitors can take a free self-guided tour of the 4 story structure and enjoy a walk in the scenic woods surrounding the mill. On the first floor is the Mill Store & Gallery where mill flours, gourmet sundries, and art by regional artists are available for purchase. Proceeds from sales and all donations go to the Friends of Bear’s Mill, the nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide a rich cultural experience and community-oriented events including educational tours, demonstrations and nature walks while preserving the Mill’s historical significance and natural beauty.

Bedford Historical Society Museum

Admission to the Bedford Historical Society Museum is free.

  • Open: Tuesday and Thursday from 10am – 4pm
  • Location: (Map It) Public Square in Bedford, Ohio
  • Phone; 440-232-0796
  • Web: click here

The Bedford Historical Society Museum is located in the restored 1874 town hall of Bedford. Visitors can come and read the diaries of pioneer women or other correspondence, as well as speeches and manuscripts ranging from the 1850s through the 1950s. It also has a vast reference library documenting genealogical resources. Many of the areas most notable women in history are also represented by a newspaper clipping file featuring Halle Berry who is an actress, renowned criminologist, and community activist. Rotating exhibits have featured period furniture displays, military artifacts, old household tools, china collections, and more.

The Big Bottom

Admission to The Big Bottom Memorial Park is free.

  • Open: Daily from Dawn – Dusk
  • Location: (Map It) 2741 State Route 266 in Stockport, Ohio
  • Phone: 800-860-0143
  • Web: click here

The Big Bottom is a memorial to commemorate a settler/Indian war, which began with a massive massacre of Ohio settlers by the Delaware and Wyandot Indians in 1791. The twelve-foot marble marker has been placed here for remembrance of what happened. The bloodshed between the fighting parties went on for four years until the historic Treaty of Greenville ended it.

Buffington Island Monument

Admission to the Buffington Island Monument is free.

  • Open: Daily from dusk – Dawn.
  • Location: (Map It) 55890 State Route 124 in Portland, Ohio
  • Phone: 866-363-2652
  • Web: click here

The Buffington Island Monument isn’t actually located on an island, so don’t be misled, you will not have to swim or take a ferry to see this park and monument! The monument is a tribute to the soldiers who fought in a major Civil War battle here in Ohio. Renowned Major Daniel McCook of the “fighting McCook” family was a casualty of the battle. The monument itself was built from broken glacial rock found in Ohio.

Captain Hook’s Tomb

Admission to Captain Hook’s Tomb is free.

  • Location: (Map It) Old Brick Cemetery (off State Route 376) in Stockport, Ohio
  • Phone: 740-962-5861
  • Web: click here

Captain Hook’s Tomb doesn’t belong to the pirate from Peter Pan. It belongs to former riverboat captain Isaac Newton Hook (1819-1906), who decided to design his own grave with a rounded top so his wife wouldn’t dance on it, according to legend. There used to be a small platform on top with a boat “to take him away in case of a flood.” There was a flood, which indeed took the boat away. The question is, was he in it?

Custer Memorial Monument

Admission to Custer Memorial Monument is free.

  • Open: Daily during daylight hours
  • Location: (Map It) State 646 and Chrisman Rd. in Jewett, Ohio
  • Phone: 866-473-0417

The Custer Memorial Monument is a bronze statue depicting George Armstrong Custer and is located at his birthplace, which is now a roadside park and picnic area. The only thing left of Custer’s house is the foundation. An exhibit pavilion accounts Custer’s life and his infamous “Last Stand.”

Cuyahoga Valley Historical Museum

Admission to the Cuyahoga Valley Historical Museum is free.

  • Open: Friday – Sunday from 12 – 5pm
  • Location: (Map It) 1775 Main St. in Peninsula, Ohio
  • Phone: 330-657-2665 or 330-657-2892
  • Web: click here

The Cuyahoga Valley Historical Museum is a branch of the Peninsula, Ohio Library. It features exhibits that showcase the history of the Cuyahoga Valley. It has many historic maps, documents, photographs, and other pieces on display. The museum itself is located inside the restored Boston Township Hall. The building was originally built in 1887 as a high school.

Fallen Timbers Battlefield

Admission to Fallen Timbers Battlefield is free.

  • Open: Daily from 7am – Dark
  • Location: (Map It) 4949 Jerome Rd. in Maumee, Ohio
  • Phone: 419-407-9701
  • Web: Click here

Fallen Timbers Battlefield near Toledo, Ohio is the historic battle site where General Anthony Wayne had a decisive victory resulting in the Indians of the Northwest Territory signing the Treaty of Greenville. The treaty gave the southern and eastern regions of Ohio to the settlers. The name Fallen Timbers was derived due to a massive windstorm knocking down trees just before the battle. The park also has a monument honoring Wayne, the soldiers, and the Indians who died there.

Fort Amanda

Admission to Fort Amanda in Wapakoneta is free.

  • Open: Daily during daylight hours
  • Location: (Map It) State Route 198, 1/4 miles South of Fort Amanda Rd. in Wapakoneta, Ohio
  • Phone: 844-306-3360
  • Web: click here

Fort Amanda in Wapakoneta captures what war was like in 1812. Visitors can read the diary of Ohio militiaman Ensign William Schillinger, which provides a daily account of everything like the weather, events unfolding, personal thoughts, and other observations. The fort itself served as an important supply depot during the War of 1812. It included five blockhouses, cabins, and storage buildings. The walls of the fort were nearly 12-feet above ground.

Famous Ohio Gravesites

Famous Ohio Grave Sites and Cemeteries in Ohio.

  • Explore famous Ohio graves with a mysterious twist in the geocache adventure called GraveQuest
  • Rutherford Hayes – The 19th U.S. President is buried in Fremont, Ohio
  • Annie Oakley – The famous woman sharpshooter is buried at Brock Cemetery outside of Greenville, Ohio
  • Moses Fleetwood “Fleet” Walker – The first black baseball player in the major leagues (yep, even before Jackie Robinson) is buried in Union Cemetery in Steubenville, Ohio
  • Orville and Wilbur Wright – Better known as “The Wright Brothers” are both buried at Woodland Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio
  • Aunt Jemima (Rosie Riles) – The pancake queen is buried in Redoak, Ohio
  • Kent State Memorial – Memorial markers for the four university students who were shot down and killed by the Ohio National Guard on May 4, 1970 during a protest. The markers are placed where each of the four died.
  • Erma Bombeck – Newspaper columnist and humorist is buried at Woodland Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio
  • Paul Brown – The legendary football coach of the Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals, Ohio State Buckeyes and Massillon Washington High School is buried at Rose Hill Cemetery in Massillon, Ohio

Fort Jefferson

Admission to Fort Jefferson is free.

  • Open: Daily during daylight hours
  • Location: (Map It) Weavers-Fort Jefferson Rd. in Greenville, Ohio
  • Phone: 937-547-7370 or 844-288-7708
  • Web: click here

Fort Jefferson is in Fort Jefferson, Ohio near Greenville, Ohio was built in 1791. This fort served as an outpost to General Arthur St. Clair, and its purpose was to shelter army supplies and guard against nearby Indians. It was abandoned in 1796 and is now a park with a monument, twenty feet high, marking the site where it once stood.

Gnadenhutten Museum & Park

Admission to Gnadenhutten Museum & Historical Park is free.

  • Open: Daily from Memorial Day – Labor Day; Weekends from September – October
  • Location: (Map It) 352 S. Cherry St. in Gnadenhutten, Ohio
  • Phone: 740-254-4143
  • Web: click here

Gnadenhutten Museum & Historical Park features the oldest settlement in Ohio. It was established in 1772 by a Mohican elder and a large group of Christian Indians. In 1782, nearly 100 of the Indian residents were killed. Today, a 35-foot memorial recognizes those killed in the massacre, and a museum displays artifacts and an expansive arrowhead collection. There is also a reconstructed church and log cabin replications of those that stood at the site more than 200 years ago.


GraveQuests: Geocaching for famous Ohio gravesites without knowing who you’ll find.

First Quest is a Sure Shot

  • Who Am I: Chief Sitting Bull nicknamed me “Watanya Cicilla.” Buffalo Bill made me famous around the world.
  • Where am I: Brock Cemetery in Darke county. It is up to you to find the cemetery and tombstone. For geocachers, coordinates are
    N: 40° 15.622 and W: 084° 33.645.
  • What you will find: An Ohio icon and American legend.
  • Nearby Attractions: Bear’s Mill, KitchenAid™ Experience and Maid Rite, which is a unique eatery.

Second Quest Was Lost in Time

  • Who Am I: I am the first black major league baseball player but my name is not Jackie Robinson. I was called up 63 years earlier. It even says so on my gravestone and in the very first edition of the board game Trivial Pursuit
  • Where am I: Union Cemetery in Steubenville, Ohio (Section P). For geocachers, coordinates are N: 40° 21.884 and W: 080° 38.274.
  • What you will find: A beautiful place that winds forever into the rolling wooded hills with creeks so bring walking shoes because it is worth the stroll.
  • Nearby Attractions: Steubenville “City of Murals” and hometown of Dean Martin, Old Fort Steuben, The Ohio River and Creegan Animation Factory.

symmes-graveThird Quest is a Journey to the Center of the Earth

    • Who Am I: Many thought I was nuts for my hollow Earth theory. It is also referred to as the Theory of Concentric Spheres or Polar Voids. I fought most my life to get funding to prove it. Instead I was ridiculed. But there were times the mainstream scientific community lent some credibility. My tombstone looks like a monument and has a hollow Earth atop its peak. I have a famous uncle with the same exact name.
    • Where am I: The burial ground where I lay to rest is long gone yet my grave stone remains in what is now a playground in Hamilton, Ohio at the southeast quadrant of 3rd Street and Sycamore. For geocachers, coordinates are N: 39° 23.711 and W: 084° 33.699.
    • What you will find: A very interesting story behind my life and theories, a playground, and a fun town to explore.
  • Nearby Attractions: Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park, City of Sculpture, and Jungle Jim’s.

Fourth Quest is Chock Full of Surprises

This quest is a three-parter, all in the same general location.

garfields-tombWho Are We? One used to be the richest man on Earth and would love today’s oil prices, the second busted Al Capone for tax evasion, and the third was assassinated while President of the United States.

Where are we? Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio. For Geocachers, coordinates are:

  • N: 41° 30.673
    W: 081° 35.474
  • N: 41° 30.834
    W: 081° 35.571
  • N: 41° 30.604
    W: 081° 35.486

rockefeller-graveWhat you will find: A cemetery that doubles as an arboretum and outdoor museum. Tours are often scheduled, including architecture, trolley, and geology. It is also a destination for horticulturalists. Many legendary personalities rest within along side all walks of life. Cassettes and CDs are available at the office for self-guided tours.

Nearby Attractions: Cleveland Botanical Garden, Cleveland Museum of Art, and Western Reserve Historical Society. For a good meal and shopping, head just outside the cemetery down Mayfield Road (Murray Hill) into the heart of Little Italy. Many shops and restaurants await. Make sure you don’t leave without Cannoli from one of the bakeries.

Harrison Museum & Tomb

Admission to President Harrison’s Museum & Tomb is free (donations accepted).

  • Open: year-round dawn to dusk
  • Location: (Map It) 112 S. Miami Ave. in Cleves, Ohio
  • Phone: 844-288-7709
  • Web: click here

President Harrison’s Museum & Tomb commemorates  President Benjamin Harrison (1833 – 1901), who was became the 23rd President in 1889. The tomb and monument are made of Bedford limestone and marble. It stands 60 feet. A visitors’ terrace allows a beautiful panoramic view of the Ohio River valley.

Heritage Hall Hamilton

Admission to Heritage Hall Hamilton is free with an encouraged donation.

Heritage Hall Hamilton

  • Open: Friday from 10am – 4pm, Saturday from 9am – 2pm
  • Location: (Map It) 20 High St. in downtown Hamilton, Ohio
  • Phone: 513-896-9930

Heritage Hall in Hamilton, Ohio features rotating historical exhibits highlighting the area’s rich industrial and business heritage. It is home to the Robert McCloskey Museum, which honors the famous children’s author and artist whose books reflect his early years in Hamilton. The museum is located in the Frederick G. Mueller Building, (the former Hamilton Municipal Building) with its beautiful marble and tile lobbies it survives as one of only two Art Deco structures in the city. The building is an ideal location for a permanent museum highlighting the life and career of Robert McCloskey.

Robert McCloskey was the author/illustrator of some of the most honored and enduring children’s books ever published. He was born in Hamilton, Ohio, and his Midwestern childhood served as the model for his book Lentil (1940) and several of his later books. His second book, Make Way for Ducklings (1941), received the Caldecott Award, as did his Time of Wonder (1957), making him the first person to be honored twice.

Inscription Rock Petroglyphs

Inscription-Rock-Petroglyths-Kelleys-IslandAdmission to Inscription Rock Petroglyphs is free.

  • Open: Daily from Dawn – Dusk
  • Location: (Map It) E. Lakeshore Dr. at Kelleys Island, Ohio
  • Phone: 866-921-5710
  • Web: Click here

Inscription Rock Petroglyphs at Kelleys Island have prehistoric Indian rock inscriptions that archaeologists believe date between 1200 and 1600. Much of the 32 X 21-foot rock has been eroded through time by the lake, but a roof has since been built to preserve what’s left. There is a viewing platform for visitors to appreciate the remains. The drawings are of people and animals carved into the limestone. It was discovered in 1833.

Knox County Historical Museum

Admission to Knox County Historical Museum is free.

  • Open: March – November on Wednesday from 6pm – 8pm, Thursday – Saturday from 2pm – 4pm, Closed Sunday – Tuesday and December – February
  • Location: (Map It) 875 Harcourt Rd. in Mount Vernon, Ohio
  • Phone: 740-393-5247
  • Web: click here

The Knox County Historical Museum features the George Tanner Telephone History Collection, the C&G Cooper Heritage Collection of 19th-century steam farm engines, and the “Spanning the Century” an exhibit of bridges. The displays throughout the museum also pay homage to the musical history of Knox County and the life and travels of Johnny Appleseed throughout the county. In addition, there are plenty of other exhibits including those of dolls and toys, textiles and clothing, and coverlets and quilts, among many other items.

Lake Erie Island Museum

Admission to the Lake Erie Island Museum is free.

  • Open: daily from mid-May to early October 11am – 5pm
  • Location: (Map It) 443 Catawba Ave. in Put-In-Bay, Ohio
  • Phone: 419-285-2804
  • Web: click here

The Lake Erie Island Museum features winemaking displays, model ship collections of historic Great Lakes vessels, the Boat Building, and the Wildlife Building.

Lake View Cemetery

Admission to Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland is free.

  • Open: November 1 – March 31 from 7:30am – 5:30pm; April 1 – October 31 from 7:30am – 7:30pm
  • Location: (Map It) 12316 Euclid Ave. in Cleveland, Ohio
  • Phone: 216-421-2665
  • Web: click here

Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio is more than your ordinary cemetery. It is considered by many to be a walk through history, a vast outdoor art museum, or a horticultural paradise. In any case, it is one of the finest garden cemeteries in the country as well as one of the most historic. It has 285 acres of land and is located in University Circle. It is modeled after the great garden cemeteries of Victorian England and France. It also has a picturesque dam measuring 500 feet wide and 60 feet above the ground. And among its numerous points of interest and appeal, visitors will be awed by the memorials of its more famous permanent residents such as:

  • President Garfield’s Tomb
  • Wade Memorial Chapel, one of the few buildings left in the world that the interior was designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany and his studio. Both the Garfield Monument and Wade Chapel are open daily, April 1 – Nov. 19th, 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.
  • John D. Rockefeller’s Monument (For younger folks, imagine someone wealthier than Bill Gates and Microsoft)
  • Eliot Ness – the lawman that brought infamous mobster Al Capone to justice
  • James Salisbury – creator of the Salisbury Steak
  • Ray Chapman – The only player in major league baseball history to be killed during a game by a pitched ball (Cleveland Indian) – see “The Eternal Boy of Summer” excerpt below
  • Charles Pinkney – a minor league baseball player killed by a pitched ball
  • Carl Stokes – the first black mayor of a major city (Cleveland)
  • Garrett Morgan – Inventor of the gas mask and first tri-color traffic light
  • Coburn Haskell – inventor of the modern golf ball
  • Collinwood School Fire Memorial – a memorial to the 172 children and two teachers who died in the biggest school accident in U.S. history (occurring on Ash Wednesday in 1908
  • And many other nationally and internationally known business and industrial tycoons, philanthropists, political powers, people of the arts and entertainment world as well as ordinary people of a wide variety of races, ethnic and financial backgrounds.

Excerpt from a past edition of www.ohiotraveler.com
The Eternal Boy of Summer

Ray Chapman, “Chappie,” was a fan favorite and beloved by his teammates. He played shortstop for the Cleveland Indians from 1912 – 1920. In 1917, he set a record for most sacrifice hits, 67, in a season. He was a decent hitter with a career batting average of .278. He set a team record for stolen bases in a single season, 52, that stood until 1980. In 1918, he led the American League with runs scored and walks. He was an excellent bunter and if the Gold Glove were awarded then, he’d probably have a few of those too.

Back in the early 1900s, pitchers ruled the diamond. They could do things to the ball that today’s pitchers could only fantasize. They scuffed it, spit tobacco juice on it, smeared dirt all around it, and eventually turned the white leather into a dark mass. New York Yankee submarine pitcher Carl Mays mucked the ball up with the best of them.

And on August 16, 1920, Chappie stepped into the batter’s box to face Mays. Due to the lack of lighting and the invisible ball, many believe Chapman never even saw what killed him. It struck him in the head; batting helmets weren’t required until 30 some years later.

Although many say Chapman may have been inducted into the Hall of Fame had his career not been cut short, he will forever be remembered as the only modern-era professional baseball player to die as a direct result of being hit by a pitched ball.

His death later led to changes in rules governing “doctoring” the baseball.

For the rest of the 1920 season, the Cleveland ball club wore black armbands to honor their fallen teammate. Together, they achieved winning their first World Series that year.

Ray Chapman is buried in Lake View Cemetery, known as Cleveland’s outdoor museum and arboretum. More than 100,000 others spanning all walks of life join him, including President James A. Garfield, Eliot Ness, and John D. Rockefeller. Lake View Cemetery is also considered a beautiful botanical garden.

If you want to pay homage to a fallen hero of America’s greatest pastime, put a flower on Raymond Johnson Chapman’s grave this season and whisper “play ball.”

By Frank R. Satullo, The OhioTraveler

Lawrence County Museum

Admission to the Lawrence County Museum is free.

  • Open: April – Mid December on Saturday & Sunday from 1pm – 4pm
  • Location: (Map It) 506 S. 6th St. in Ironton, Ohio
  • Phone: 740-532-1222
  • Web: click here

The Lawrence County Museum features a permanent collection of local history as well as rotating exhibits year-round. It features items forging the iron history of the region as well as Victorian-era clothing and furniture displays. The museum itself is housed in a restored 1870 Victorian home.

Leo Petroglyph State Memorial

leo-petroglythAdmission to the Leo Petroglyph State Memorial is free.

  • Open: Daily from Dawn – Dusk
  • Location: (Map It) Park Rd. in Ray, Ohio (Follow the signs and it’ll soon be on the left)
  • Phone: 800-600-0144
  • Web: click here

Leo Petroglyph State Memorial has around 37 inscriptions in sandstone marking the culture of the Fort Ancient Indians, dating between the years 1000 and 1650. The drawings, whose meanings have not yet been translated, are of Indians and animals representing the time and region. Today, visitors can view these creations as well as a scenic ravine, gorge, and cliffs.

Lima Firefighters Memorial Museum

Admission to the Lima Firefighters Memorial Museum is free.

  • Open: call for hours
  • Location: (Map It) Lincoln Park at the corner of Elm St. & Shawnee St. in Lima, Ohio
  • Phone: 419-221-5160
  • Web: click here

The Lima Firefighters Memorial Museum is a local tribute honoring the brave firefighters of the area. It features vintage displays depicting their history of service to the surrounding community. Here, you’ll see a horse-drawn steam pumper from the 1800s, a memorial to those who were lost in service, and of course homage paid to firefighters past and present.

Mahler Museum

Admission to the Mahler Museum is free.

  • Open: by appointment
  • Location: (Map It) 118 E. Bridge St. in Berea, Ohio
  • Phone: 440-243-2541
  • Web: click here

The Mahler Museum in Berea concentrates primarily on the local history of its women citizens from the 1800s well into the 20th century. It documents the role of women as community activists and provides records from 1882 to 1936. It also documents the reading habits and ideas that influenced women in the 20th century as well as a collection of books written by local authors.

Mansfield Memorial Museum

Admission to the Mansfield Memorial Museum is free with an encouraged donation.

  • Open: Saturday from 10am – 4pm, Sunday from 12pm – 4pm, Closed November – April
  • Location: (Map It) 34 Park Ave. W. in Mansfield, Ohio
  • Phone: 419-525-2491
  • Web: click here

The Mansfield Memorial Museum is in the Mansfield Soldiers and Sailors building, built in 1888, and is the oldest building in Richland County. It displays artifacts of the county’s military, civil, and natural history artifacts. It is also home to ELEKTRO the Westinghouse Robot of the 1939-1940 New York World’s Fair. It was the first robot that walked and talked.

Massillon & Paul Brown Museums

Admission to the Massillon Museum and Paul Brown Museum is free.

The Massillon Museum (MassMu) and Paul Brown Museum are under the same roof in Massillon, Ohio. Massillon Museum’s circus gallery is filled with memorabilia and a hand-carved 100-square-foot diorama. Additional galleries feature local history, fine and decorative arts, contemporary art, small exhibits of American Indian and ethnological artifacts, traveling exhibitions, and photography.  MassMu’s three floors include ever-changing displays and a gift shop.

The Paul Brown Museum is located on the second floor of the new wing of the Massillon Museum.

The Paul Brown Museum’s football history timeline is always on display. It spotlights Paul Brown’s fedora, his Hall of Fame gold jacket, and a chronology of his career. The paralleling Massillon Tiger timeline spotlights the 1940 Massillon-McKinley game ball signed by the entire Tiger team and the milestones of Massillon’s high school and professional squads.

The Museum shop offers football-related books for sale, and the Paul Brown Museum’s website is full of information and photographs telling the story of Coach Brown and his contributions to the sport.

Mercer County Historical Museum

Admission to the Mercer County Historical Museum is free.

  • Open: By appointment throughout the year
  • Location:  (Map It) 130 E. Market in Celina, Ohio
  • Phone: 419-678-2614
  • Web: click here

The Mercer County Historical Museum provides area historical exhibits.  Open Houses with Special Exhibits are held throughout the year, e.g. Prehistoric Artifacts; Antique Guns; Post Cards; Sports Hall of Fame, etc.

Over two dozen Western Ohio and Mercer County Local History Books have been printed by the Historical Society.  A weekly newspaper column is written by Joyce Alig, President, who has the best Archival Collection of Mercer County History in existence.

Ohio Statehouse Museum & Tours

Admission and guided tours to the Ohio Statehouse Museum are free.

  • Open for tours weekdays from 10am – 3pm on the hour.
  • Location: (Map It) Ground floor of Ohio’s Capitol Building at 1 Capitol Square in Columbus, Ohio
  • Phone: 614-752-9777
  • Web: click here

The Ohio Statehouse Museum is located on the ground floor of Ohio’s Capitol Building and functions as an interactive place for learning about the Ohio government for more than 80,000 Ohio Statehouse tour visitors annually. The Ohio Statehouse Museum enriches the experience of Statehouse visitors by providing a 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!

Perry Historical Museum

Admission to Perry Historical Museum is free.

  • Open to the public on the second Saturday of each month from 12-4pm
  • Location: (Map It) Center Road and Main Street intersection in Perry, Ohio
  • Phone: 440-259-4541
  • Web: click here

The Perry Historical Museum once served as the original Perry town hall. It was built in 1875. The museum displays many historic photographs, documents and memoirs. It also features letters, furniture, clothing, collectibles and other relics covering the region’s historic roots.

Quantrill’s Raiders

The story of William Quantrill and the Quantrill’s Raiders and Dover, Ohio history.

Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler
By Robert Carpenter

Eastern Ohio has produced an inordinate number of famous people making exceptional contributions to every facet of society—probably more than any like-sized geographical area in the country.

Nearly all have come from rural areas or small towns, some remote and expunged from modern maps. But the people of their home regions have never forgotten them, and their pride is preserved even though the association is often little more than geography.

However, there are exceptions. Dover, Ohio is located in the middle of this exemplar region, and they have rights to the famous, but also the infamous—perhaps notorious is a better characterization—and no one in Dover expresses an overt smugness with this particular relationship.

It’s understandable that there is little celebration in claiming someone portrayed as the “bloodiest man in the annuls of America.” Still, there is a fascination with this man whose name is better known than the most renowned war-time commanders coexisting during the nation’s ultimate military ordeal.

Over a period of time, he was interred in two separate caskets in Dover’s Fourth Street Cemetery, but even with this bizarre arrangement, his remains are not all there. Indeed, it is said by many that William Clark Quantrill was never all there.

History books convey an impression that Quantrill was a hardened veteran who gained followers due to his wartime experience and martial acumen, when in fact he was little more than a boy—although one endowed with extraordinary leadership ability.

The oldest of eight children, Quantrill was only seventeen when he left his Dover home in 1854. His parents had swarmed attention on him, but apparently not the kind that cultivates ideal citizenship. His hard-drinking father beat him while his mother doted on him.

Although psychiatric problems were not then as quickly recognized as today, it was acknowledged early on that William would never be a poster boy for mental health. Although no mention is made of bedwetting or playing with fire, the third symptom of a psychopathic killer in the making—torture and killing of animals—was William Quantrill’s boyhood pastime.

Modern psychiatry describes psychopaths as manipulators, risk-takers, and narcissists. They lack empathy, and have a total absence of conscience—but are usually quite intelligent. It’s not insanity, but rather a character flaw described in more polite terms as an antisocial personality. History implies that Quantrill’s contemporaries deemed such a depiction laughably inadequate.

In the most paradoxical of career choices, Quantrill began as a schoolteacher in Dover and then in Indiana and Illinois as he forged his way west on his first adventure.

Occupational satisfaction eluded him from the beginning, and he dropped teaching in favor of gambling, but sparse winnings compelled him back to Dover before his twentieth birthday. It was his indulgent mother who convinced two friends to claim a plot of land in “free soil” Kansas for William and allow him to repay the courtesy by laboring on their farms. No one foresaw this maneuver as precipitous to the legend of “Bloody Kansas” which was almost totally composed by the treacherous hand of William Clark Quantrill.

The territory was a perfect bailiwick for someone of Quantrill’s predisposition. Kansas and Missouri were split on slavery and skirmishes between factions escalated as the War Between the States heated up. Quantrill soon disposed of his farming obligations in favor of collecting the bounty on runaway slaves. His most profitable scam was helping Jayhawkers (abolitionists) free slaves then recapturing them for the reward money. By 1860 he was wanted in Kansas for horse stealing, burglary, larceny and arson. He was never tried due to his escape to Missouri where he joined the Bushwhackers (Confederate guerillas).

With allegiance to a cause that better excused the instincts of a modern-day terrorist, his band of guerillas rapidly grew. They ambushed federal troops, robbed the Union’s mail and murdered civilians while burning and pillaging their way through every anti-slavery community in their path. Eventually, he was commissioned as a Captain in an authorized Missouri detachment but always operated outside the official chain of command.

Quantrill was described as about 5’ 9” with a Roman nose and sandy hair. He always wore a slouch hat and high-heeled boots to enhance his stature, but it was his reputation that made him a bigger-than-life hero to many southern sympathizers. Under his lead rode Frank and Jessie James and the Younger brothers who after the war continued their Quantrill-learned hit-and-run tactics to rob banks. As well as superior leadership he was a strategist of uncommon skills. So effective were his devices that Union forces never gained the upper hand over his mercenaries.

His finest hour (in his mind) and the most despicable as seen by ethical citizens, was the August 1863 raid on Lawrence Kansas. In retaliation for a perceived Union crime against Confederate prisoners, Quantrill led more than four hundred guerillas with the intent of destroying the town. The strangest and most repulsive action resulted from his twisted, heretofore unspoken code that forbids harm to women—but forced them to watch as their husbands and sons were murdered.

With an estimated two hundred killed and most of the town burned, retribution by the Union was swift and far-reaching. Quantrill, never one to stand and fight, fled to Texas. Even some of his most hard-edged followers had been sickened by the slaughter in Lawrence and the Confederate command became disgusted and embarrassed by his atrocities. Texas authorities requested he leave. In the spring of 1864 he returned to Missouri, but there the rebels suffered one of their worst defeats. With resistance stronger and Quantrill having been declared an outlaw, he slipped away to Kentucky.

Organized Union troops had never come close to capturing him so they opted for a different tact. A man named Edwin Terrell—nearly as dastardly a wretch as Quantrill, on the premise that “it takes one to know one,” was authorized to hunt him down.  On May 10, 1865, Terrell’s small band caught up with Quantrill and a few of his men in Taylorsville, Kentucky. In a shootout Quantrill was struck by a bullet that lodged in his spine, instantly paralyzing him. He was taken to Louisville where he declined in agony for nearly a month before dying at the age of twenty-seven.  Fearing vandalism, his grave was disguised and left unmarked –which should have signaled the end to America’s most monstrous myth. It’s ironic that for years Quantrill’s name was spoken like a bad omen, but it was only after his death that the “raiders” designation was added—inserting new verve into the legacy and keeping it alive.

Twenty- two years later Quantrill’s saga was further resuscitated with the treachery and deceit befitting the subject and all the miscreants involved. Quantrill’s mother enlisted the help of William Scott, a boyhood friend of Quantrill’s, to bring his remains back home to Dover. In Kentucky, the remains were exhumed and Mrs. Quantrill identified them by a chipped tooth. She was denied permission to remove the vestiges from the state—so a scheme was devised to steal them.

For two years following, Mrs. Quantrill toured Kentucky, Missouri and Kansas attempting to learn all she could of her son’s wartime activities, and returned to Dover for the final interment. However, Scott who had interim possession of the body parts pilfered the skull, some hair and five arm and leg bones. There was a burial, but it’s unclear whether it was with deception or agreement. There is the certainty of course, that the coffin lacked all the remains. Afterward, Scott tried to sell the skull to the Kansas State Historical Society, and the bones and hair were in their possession for a time. It’s also acknowledged that the skull was later in the possession of Scott’s son and used in fraternity initiations. Years passed before it was donated to a Dover museum where it remained until October 1992 when a decision for closure put the skull to rest in a tiny coffin in the Dover’s Fourth Street Cemetery. A flat marker can be found in the Quantrill family plot in the right rear of the burial ground near the alley.

In that same month, the five bones and hair were finally re-interred at the Old Confederate Veterans Home and Cemetery in Higginsville, Missouri.

William Quantrill’s story is not the most dignified of Ohio’s past, and many are more than willing to let Missouri and Kansas have an outsized share of his legacy.  To this day there are descendants who deny connection to Quantrill.

Matt Lauezenheiser, director of the Dover Historical Society and the historical J. E. Reeves Mansion located at 325 E. Iron Avenue said, “We don’t celebrate Quantrill Day here in Dover.”  In the Carriage House Museum at the rear of the Reeves Mansion, there is a life-size wax replica of William Quantrill’s head—but you’ll have to ask to see it. Lauezeheiser says they are not trying to hide it, but for preservation they keep it stored in a refrigerator.

In all its perversity, this Dover native’s tale is still among the most memorable of Buckeye state folklore. Who can forget the narrative of Quantrill’s Raiders? It’s part of history.

Call 800-815-2794 for hours, tours, and prices.

Ray Chapman’s Grave

Visit Ray Chapman’s grave at Cleveland’s Lake View Cemetery.

  • Open daily from 7:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
  • Location: (Map It) Lake View Cemetery at 12316 Euclid Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio
  • Phone: 216-421-2665

Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler.com

Visit Ray Chapman’s Grave at Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland

The Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds report for Spring Training in mid-February. It’s the time of year when everyone talks about baseball legends and folklore and dreams of winning the pennant.

When I was a kid, I was (and still am) a die-hard Tribe fan. And the story I’ll share is one that is well-documented, little known, and told by my father and his father before.

Ray Chapman, “Chappie,” was a fan favorite and beloved by his teammates. He played shortstop for the Cleveland Indians from 1912 – 1920. In 1917, he set a record for most sacrifice hits, 67, in a season. He was a decent hitter with a career batting average of .278. He set a team record for stolen bases in a single season, 52, that stood until 1980. In 1918, he led the American League with runs scored and walks. He was an excellent bunter and if the Gold Glove were awarded then, he’d probably have a few of those too.

Back in the early 1900s, pitchers ruled the diamond. They could do things to the ball that today’s pitchers could only fantasize about. They scuffed it, spit tobacco juice on it, smeared dirt all around it, and eventually turned the white leather into a dark mass. New York Yankee submarine pitcher Carl Mays mucked the ball up with the best of them.

And on August 16, 1920, Chappie stepped into the batter’s box to face Mays. Due to the lack of lighting and the invisible ball, many believe Chapman never even saw what killed him. It struck him in the head; batting helmets weren’t required until 30 some years later.

Although many say Chapman may have been inducted into the Hall of Fame had his career not been cut short, he will forever be remembered as the only modern-era professional baseball player to die as a direct result of being hit by a pitched ball.

His death later led to changes in rules governing “doctoring” baseball.

For the rest of the 1920 season, the Cleveland ball club wore black armbands to honor their fallen teammate. Together, they achieved winning their first World Series that year.

Ray Chapman is buried in Cleveland’s Lake View Cemetery. More than 100,000 others spanning all walks of life join him, including President James A. Garfield, Eliot Ness, and John D. Rockefeller. Lake View Cemetery is also considered a beautiful botanical garden. If you want to pay homage to a fallen hero of America’s pastime, put a flower on Raymond Johnson Chapman’s grave this season and whisper “play ball.”

By Frank R. Satullo

Superman Born in Cleveland

Pictured left to right are Jerry Siegel, writer, and Joe Shuster, illustrator

Superman was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster in Cleveland but they made little for their efforts.

“Look! Up in the air. It’s a bird. It’s a plane.
It’s S-U-P-E-R-M-A-N !!!”

We wonder how many fans know that Superman started out as a villain. It was a short-lived effort before creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster turned the action hero into a good guy, who stood for “Truth, Justice, and the American Way.”

With Siegel doing the writing and Shuster the drawings, their Superman character got off to a slow start in 1933 and was rejected again and again by various magazines and comics.

A new publisher, DC Comics, had used other works by Siegel and Shuster, so they weren’t exactly unknown. When the publisher’s new magazine “Action Comics” was getting ready, they got their chance. Shuster’s art of Superman lifting a car with his hands, and the comic book story inside written by Siegel, appeared in Action Comics No. 1 in the summer of 1938.

By the time issue No. 4 appeared on the newsstands, sales were off the charts. Sounds like a real success story for a couple of young teenagers who had dreams of Superman being known all over the world. Oops! The problem was Siegel and Shuster had signed over the rights to DC Comics for a scant $130, and a contract to supply the publisher with ongoing material.

By World War II Superman was one of the most recognized comic superheroes in the world. At the same time, other comic superheroes included Captain Marvel, Batman and Robin, The Green Lantern, and Wonder Woman. In 1941 The Saturday Evening Post reported that the pair was then earning $75,000 each per year for their creative efforts, but a mere fraction of DC’s Superman profits which by then had soared into the millions of dollars.

Five years later Siegel and Shuster sued for more money and DC Comics fired them. That prompted still another legal battle, and two years later they accepted $200,000 and signed away any further claim to Superman. DC Comics soon took their names off the comics.

Through the lean years, the Superman co-creators prevailed even though it was hard to find work. With the pending release of the “Superman” movie in 1978, and with the backing of some of the biggest names in the comic book industry, DC Comics was persuaded to give the creators life-long pensions, health care benefits, and credit to them as creators was restored.

Many in the comic industry felt it was not enough, considering Superman had become an icon and earned DC Comics billions of dollars. The Man of Steel had become one of the most recognized comic superheroes in the world through comics, toys, clothing, other merchandise, cartoons, radio, television, movies, video games, and even the Broadway stage. The money was just pouring in. Over the years there has been legal wrangling as to the rights to the Superman character, as well as appropriate payment to the co-creators. There are still ongoing legal ins and outs, with some decisions being worked out.

Few know that Siegel’s wife Joanne was the model for the Lois Lane character. She initially modeled for Shuster, not realizing she would become Superman’s heartthrob. Joanne and Jerry married 10 years after Superman made his debut, following Siegel’s divorce from Bella Siegel.

A few years after Siegel’s death in 1996, his wife wanted to donate some of his personal papers and other items (his typewriter, glasses, and the like) to set up a permanent memorial, but no one in Cleveland was interested.

Some of that material has ended up at the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage in Beachwood (a suburb of Cleveland) for the permanent Siegel and Shuster exhibit.

Today there are three specific locations marking the important beginnings of Superman on Cleveland’s east side back in the late 1930s. One is the bronze-like historical marker by the clock tower on the corner of East 105th Street and St. Clair Avenue. A few blocks away is the original home of Siegel. And a bit further away is the corner property where Shuster lived.

Some of the streets have also been given honorary names, with signs bearing the familiar stylized “S” insignia in a triangle.

So if you are a fan of that high-flying character who is faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, and who can leap buildings in a single bound (and can only be brought down by a little kryptonite), then you might enjoy self-touring the tight-knitted area where Superman first made his appearance.

However, The Man of Steel had a redo by DC Comics in 1986. Gone are

the iconic red shorts, the flowing red cape, the familiar S on his barrel chest, and the clean, muscular lines of the superhero.

The “new” Superman “uniform” has been overhauled to a more modern and futuristic form in an attempt to re-capture a new generation of fans. His new appearance is akin to the characters of computer action games. Whether or not the regenerated Superman catches on remains to be seen.

So here’s what to look for Superman fans. . . . . .


A large, two-sided Ohio Historical Marker honoring the Superman creators is in front of a small clock tower on the northeast corner of a busy intersection. It was set in place in 2003, on the 65th anniversary of the 1938 release of the fabled comic book featuring the initial appearance of Superman.

Commissioned by the Ohio Historical Society, the $2,500 marker was sawed off its post and stolen but was returned by the thieves three weeks later undamaged. Bronze in appearance, the plaque is actually aluminum.

Oddly enough, Siegel’s name is misspelled on one side of the plaque.


Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel grew up in a home off East 105th Street in what is called the Glenville neighborhood (or area) on Cleveland’s east side. Today a private residence lived in by a quiet couple for more than 25 years, the home has been restored and refurbished by the Siegel and Shuster Society, which has the first right of refusal when the house might go on the market.

At one time painted in the Superman colors, today the home is a more traditional color scheme. However, there is the familiar Superman “S” shield on one side of the front fence, and a triangular marker on the other side. These plaques were sponsored by the Siegel and Shuster Society.

It was in a second-floor bedroom of this house that the co-creators wrote and drew their Superman character.

In the summer of 2009, there was a grand ribbon-cutting to mark the completed restoration of the home. While sparsely attended, plus a rain-soaked day, Siegel’s widow and daughter were on the front porch for the ceremonies.


A dozen blocks away, at the end of Amor Avenue where it meets Parkwood Drive is the site of what once was an apartment building where Shuster lived (he died in 1992). The corner property is now a private home and is surrounded by a wooden fence. Panels from the first Superman comic book are on the fence facing the sidewalk.

And that first Action Comics No. 1 fetched a stunning $1 million not too long ago. It is considered the Holy Grail of comic books and was sold from a private seller to a private buyer, neither of whom released their names. Oh, it originally cost just 10 cents — a mere dime.

So if you are a fan, you can add to your enthusiasm, and perhaps get a bit more inspiration at all three locations on Cleveland’s east side. And who knows what might happen. . . . . . “Look! Up in the air. It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s S-U-P-E-R-M-A-N !!!”


The Superman historical marker is at the northeast corner of East 105th Street and St. Clair Avenue, not far from the Lakeland Freeway (Route 2), on Cleveland’s east side in what is called the Glenville area. Be sure to read both sides of the plaque, and see if you can find Siegel’s misspelled last name (hint: it’s on the continued, second side). Siegel’s original home is still a private residence, although it is easy to spot at 10622 Kimberly Avenue (Jerry Siegel Lane), off East 105th Street, just three blocks from the historical marker. Shuster’s original home in an apartment is gone, and a private residence is there now at the corner of Amor Avenue (Joe Shuster Lane) and Parkwood Drive (Lois Lane). You are welcomed to stop and read the comic book panels.

Excellent background material and information are available by reaching out to the Siegel and Shuster Society’s website at: siegelandshustersociety.org.

Special to OhioTraveler.com by Tom And Joanne O’toole, Travel Journalists

Tom and Joanne O’Toole are full-time freelance travel journalists and photographers. The husband/wife writing team is published in newspapers and magazines across the country and throughout Canada. They make their home in a little community in northeast Ohio when they are not off in search of new travel adventures — like learning more about the origins of superhero Superman. They are now on a search for an elusive copy of the first 1938 issue of Action Comics.

Unique Northern Ohio Libraries

Here are some interesting Libraries in Northern Ohio.
Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler.

In my opinion, the best place to be during an Ohio winter is indoors with a good book, within arm’s reach of hot chocolate. However, by February, even I’m tired of hibernating. Snow or no snow, I need to get out! Often, I kill two birds with one stone by visiting the Wood County District Public Library, spending hours reading by the fireplace, chatting with friends, and going online. I love it there!

However, there are many other libraries in Ohio worth a visit, some tucked away in places you might not think to look, including public gardens, museums, professional organizations, and universities. Specialty libraries usually welcome visitors and allow collection use during visiting hours. Some also allow borrowing, although a membership or borrower’s card may be required first. One warning: be sure to call about policies, visiting hours, admission fees, and material availability before you visit; the current economic crisis is forcing a lot of changes.

One of my favorites is the Warren H. Corning Library, a breath of spring located at Kirtland’s Holden Arboretum. Planning future gardens here is a perfect antidote to snow! Only members can check books out, but the public is welcome whenever the library’s open. (The rare book room isn’t open to the public, but the curator might let you take a peek.)

Look for the free landscape bulletins, too, which offer helpful gardening information.  Need some fresh air? The Arboretum has great hiking and cross-country ski trails –borrow a field guide and see how many animal tracks you can identify!

If there’s a child in the house, a trip to the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library is a nice diversion.  The main branch has a really fun children’s section that can keep kids busy for hours, complete with characters from favorite stories and a huge children’s magazine section. They also have a nice eatery and gift shop.

Then there’s the Sanger Branch Library in Sylvania, home of a reading room filled with larger-than-life scenes from author/illustrator Denise Fleming’s picture books. (Interesting trivia: Fleming got her first library card as a child at the original Sanger.) A peek-a-boo brick wall, a tree twinkling with fireflies, a fish pond – kids can spend hours here finding favorite book scenes.

Take heart. Winter won’t last forever. Spring is on its way. When it finally arrives, a trip to the Bainbridge Library herb garden (the brainchild of gardening enthusiast Kathy Catani) will banish the rest of your winter wearies.

“My daughter worked at the library [in 1988-1989],” says Kathy, “and whenever I’d … pick her up, I’d look at that piece of ground and think what a perfect place it would be for a garden. I finally put an article in the paper asking if anybody would be interested in helping me start an herb garden there, and I got a great response.”

These eager responders eventually formed the Chagrin Valley Herb Society, which is still involved in caring for the garden and holding meetings and programs in the library.

The garden, divided into smaller gardens (such as a culinary garden, a potpourri garden, a butterfly garden, and a medicinal garden), includes two wheelchair-accessible fragrance gardens in raised beds labeled in Braille. Personal tours can be arranged through the library.

Many Ohio public libraries offer more than just reading material to their patrons. Here’s a sample of unusual items available with a library card.

  • Cake pans of various shapes and sizes [Reed Memorial Library – Ravenna; J.R. Clarke Public Library – Covington; Hubbard Public Library]
  • Toys, puppets, puzzles, and games [too many to list]
  • Original art and art prints  [Norwalk Public Library; Wayne County Public Library – Wooster]
  • Woodworking and crafts patterns and blueprints [Lorain Public Library]
  • Polaroid cameras [Milton-Union Public Library – West Milton]
  • Microscope [Wornstaff Public Library – Ashley]
  • Video games [Morley Library – Painesville; Hubbard Public Library]
  • 10’ x 10’ gazebo with netting; live animal traps; sewing machine; telescopes [Canal Fulton Public Library]

There are too many great Ohio libraries to list them all; below are a few more you can investigate on your own, plus the contact information for all the places mentioned in the main article above. Happy hunting!

Check These Out:

  • Avon Lake Public Library
    32649 Electric Blvd.
    Avon Lake OH 44012
    Phone: 440-933-8128
    Website: https://alpl.org/
    Email: refdesk@avonlake.lib.oh.us
    Hours [DiscoveryWorks]: M-Th 10:30 am – 12:30 pm; 2:30 pm – 5 pm & Fri 10:30 am – 12:30 pm; 2:30 pm – 4:30 pm
    Home of DiscoveryWorks, a hands-on arts and science learning center for children
  • Cleveland Botanical Garden
    11030 East Boulevard
    Cleveland, Ohio  44106
    Phone: 216-707-2812
    Website: https://cbgarden.org/
    Email:  [garden] info@cbgarden.org
    [librarian] gesmonde@cbgarden.org
    Hours: After Labor Day until Memorial Day Tue-Sat 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, Sun Noon – 5:00 pm, Closed Mondays. Hershey Children’s Garden closes for winter November 1; all other gardens remain open throughout winter. Extensive horticultural library [the Eleanor Squire Library]
  • Hudson Library and Historical Society
    96 Library St.
    Hudson OH 44236
    Phone: 330-653-6658
    Website: www.hudsonlibrary.org/
    Email: tjojtk@gmail.com [Gwen Mayer, archivist]
    Hours: M-Th 9 am – 9 pm; Fri-Sat 9 am -5 pm; Sun Noon -5 pm.
    Extensive collection of abolitionist John Brown material, including all books written about him or Underground Railroad/Anti-Slavery activities in Ohio.
  • North Canton Public Library
    Home of The Little Art Gallery
    185 North Main Street
    North Canton, Ohio  44720
    Phone: 330-499-4712
    Email: gallery@northcantonlibrary.org
    Hours: M-Th 9 am to 9 pm; Fri  9 pm to 6 pm; Sat 9 pm to 5 pm; Sun 1 pm to 5 pm, Labor Day through Memorial Day.
    Features artists from Stark County and surrounding NE Ohio in monthly shows; they sometimes include art by local children.
  • Pro Football Hall of Fame
    Archives and Information Center
    2121 George Halas Drive NW|
    Canton OH 44708
    Phone: 330-456-8207
    Website: www.profootballhof.com
    Email: tourism@profootballhof.com
    Hours: M-Fri 9 am – 5 pm [call first; AIC open only by appointment]
    Everything you want to know about pro football; huge collection of Spaulding guides, clippings, scrapbooks, media guides, etc.
  • Rocky River Public Library
    1600 Hampton Rd.
    Rocky River OH 44116
    Phone: 440-333-7610 [museum ext. 3763]
    Website [library]: rrpl.org
    Website [museum]:  Click here, www.cowanpottery.org
    Email [museum curator]:  c.jacobs@rrpl.org
    Hours: M-Th 1 pm -9 pm; Fri & Sat 9 am -6 pm; Sun 1 pm -5 pm
    Home of Cowan Pottery Museum, world’s largest publicly owned collection of Cowan pottery (over 1200 pieces, including “Jazz Bowl”, by Viktor Schreckengost); also in-depth collection of ceramics and porcelain reference materials. Contact museum’s curator to schedule tour.

Libraries Mentioned in Article:

  • The Bainbridge Library
    17222 Snyder Road
    Chagrin Falls, OH 44023
    Phone: 440-543-5611
    Website: Click here
    Email: bainbrid@oplin.org
    Hours: [library] Fall/Winter M-Th 9 am- 9 pm; Fri-Sat. 9 am – 5 pm; Sun 1 pm – 5 pm [garden] Dawn to dusk.
  • Holden Arboretum
    9500 Sperry Road
    Kirtland, Ohio 44094
    Phone: 440-946-4400 (Warren H. Corning Library: ext. 225; Rare Book Room: ext. 139)
    Website: click here
    E-mail: holden@holdenarb.org
    Hours: T-Sat 10am – 5pm; Closed Mondays
    Rare Book Room use by appointment only. ID guides available from library or Corning Visitor Center information desk.
  • Toledo-Lucas County Public Library – Main
    325 Michigan St.
    Toledo, OH 43566
    Phone: 419-259-5207
    Website: click here
    Email: Dorcel.Dowdell@toledolibrary.org [main library manager]
    Hours: M-Th 9 am – 9 pm; Fri-Sat 9 am – 5:30 pm; Sun 1 pm – 5:30 pm
  • Toledo-Lucas County Public Library – Sanger Branch
    3030 West Central Ave.
    Toledo, OH 43606
    Phone: 419-259-5370
    Website: Click here
    Email: Erin.Connolly [branch manager]
    Hours: M-Th 9 am – 9 pm; Fri-Sat 9 am – 5:30 pm; Sun 1 pm – 5:30 pm
  • Wood County District Public Library
    251 N. Main St.
    Bowling Green OH 43402
    Phone: 419-352-5104
    Website: http://wcdpl.lib.oh.us/
    Email: woodref@oplin.org
    Hours: M-W 10 am – 8:30 pm; Th-Fri 10 am – 6 pm; Sat 10 am – 5 pm; Sun 1 pm – 5 pm

Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler by Betty Winslow

Van Wert County Historical Museum

Admission to the Van Wert County Historical Museum is free.

  • Open: Sundays 1 – 4pm
  • Location: (Map It) 602 N. Washington St. in Van Wert, Ohio
  • Phone: 419-771-9851
  • Web: click here

The Van Wert County Historical Museum:  What’s not to see at this local treasure? The museum is inside an 1896 Victorian home and has many displays covering virtually every period in Van Wert history, including its Native-American ancestor age. In addition to Indian artifacts, exhibits include old pictures of the town and memorabilia regarding its military involvements. Other attractions feature the 1951 Pennsylvania Railroad caboose, a one-room schoolhouse built in 1906, a large barn, and an 1860 log cabin home.  The schoolhouse is fully equipped and includes an extensive history of Van Wert County schools.  The barn also includes many artifacts from the county’s agricultural history, fire fighting equipment, and county fair history.

Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center

Admission to the Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center is free.

  • Open: Open daily 9am – 5pm (Closed Mon & Tue from Nov thru Feb)
  • Location: (Map It) 16 S. Williams St. in Dayton, Ohio
  • Phone: 937-225-7705
  • Web: click here

Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center is a visitor’s center where you can get information on all of the Wright sites throughout the Dayton area known collectively as the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park. At this site, the Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center, you see where three historical figures’ lives intersected: Wilbur Wright, Orville Wright, and Paul Laurence Dunbar. This site features the second location of the Wright Brothers’ original business – a print shop. It is here that Dunbar’s newspaper, The Daily Tattler, was printed. Enjoy two stories of fascinating history combining the worlds of Dunbar and the Wright Brothers. Just outside is one of the original buildings and location for a Wright Brothers Cycle Shop – The Wright Cycle Company.

Old Courthouse Museum

Admission to the Old Courthouse Museum in Dayton is $5/person

  • Open: Tours are provided by request (prefer 2 weeks’ notice)
  • Location: (Map It) 7 N. Main St. in Dayton, Ohio
  • Phone: 937-293-2841
  • Web: click here

The Old Courthouse Museum in Dayton has exhibits that the Montgomery County Historical Society displays, featuring the area’s history. The museum features items from the Wright Brothers to the National Cash Register Company and its founder, John Patterson. This old courthouse and the courthouse square have witnessed speeches by Presidents from Lincoln to Reagan. And as a national historical monument, the structure is one of the finest Classical revivals in the country.

Portage County Historical Museum

Admission to the Portage County Historical Museum is free with a requested donation of $5/person (for a tour of the facility) and $3/person (for just the museum).

  • Open: Saturday from 9:30am – 12pm
  • Location: (Map It) 6549 N. Chestnut St. in Ravenna, Ohio
  • Phone: 330-296-3523
  • Web: click here

The Portage County Historical Museum is a 12-acre museum site that includes the John Lowrie & Mary Helen Beatty Museum, a pioneer homestead, a land grant office, an 1810 New England barn, the Ford Seed Company museum, a steam traction engine, and a distinctive clock tower with an 1882 clock and bell. The museum itself has a vast collection of artifacts including native-American tools, pottery, casting tools, Riddle Hearse, military items, farm tools, saddles, household fixtures, kids’ clothes and toys, and women’s clothing and jewelry. Visitors should be sure to see the cathedral-style stained glass window, which originally came from the courthouse built in 1882.

Southeast Ohio History Center

Admission to the Southeast Ohio History Center $5/adult, $3/senior or student, and free for children 12 and younger.

  • Open: Wednesday – Saturday from 12:30 – 3:30pm
  • Location: (Map It) 24 W. State St. in Athens, Ohio
  • Phone: 740-592-2280
  • Web: www.athenshistory.org/

The Southeast Ohio History Center showcases the history of Athens County. The collection features permanent and changing exhibits that explore the region’s history. Genealogists are available to assist visitors with researching family history. In addition, there are lectures and special events planned throughout the year.

Strongsville Historical Society Village

Admission to the Strongsville Historical Society and Village is $5/adult, $4/senior, and $3/child (ages 6 – 10). 

  • Open: June through August (Tours on Wednesday at 1pm)
  • Location: (Map It) 13305 Pearl Rd. in Strongsville, Ohio
  • Phone: 440-572-0057
  • Web: click here

The Strongsville Historical Society and Village allows visitors to see what it was like to stroll through a 19th-century village, complete with a general store. Additional buildings include a log cabin and a millinery. All of the buildings at this quaint recreated village are original structures, either in their original places or moved to the village from other locations throughout Strongsville.

Warren County Historical Museum

Admission to the Harmon Museum and Warren County Historical Society is $10/adult, $6/student (ages 5 – 18), and $25/family (consisting of 2 adults and up to 4 children).

  • Open: Tuesday – Saturday from 10am – 4pm
  • Location: (Map It) 105 S. Broadway in Lebanon, Ohio
  • Phone:  513-932-1817 
  • Web: click here

Harmon Museum and Warren County Historical Society is located in historic downtown Lebanon, Ohio (just two doors south of the Golden Lamb Inn) and is acclaimed as one of the nation’s most outstanding county museums.  Inside is a host of exhibits ranging from prehistoric times through the Victorian age and beyond.  Most notable are the museum’s extensive paleontology and archaeology collections, its Village Green exhibit (that has charming arrangements of antique toys, clocks, guns, and clothing), and its Shaker Gallery (which features one of the largest collections of Shaker artifacts found anywhere).  Other noteworthy exhibits include a pioneer cabin, unique collections of horse-drawn vehicles, early farming tools, and folk art.  There is also local history and genealogy library that houses a vast quantity of manuscripts and reference material.  The museum store, The Rocking Horse, sells Shaker reproductions, decorative accessories, and books.

The historical society also owns and operates Glendower Historic Mansion at 105 Cincinnati Ave. in Lebanon, Ohio. Admission is the same. The mansion is open Thursday – Sunday from 12pm – 4pm during summer and December.

Wood County Museum

Admission to the Wood County Museum is $7/person 13-64 years old, $6/senior, $3/youth, age 5 and under free.

  • Open: (Museum) December – January on Monday – Friday from 10am – 4pm, February – December on Monday – Friday from 10am – 4pm and Saturday – Sunday from 1pm – 4pm; (Grounds) Daily from 8am to 30 minutes after sunset
  • Location: (Map It) 13660 County Home Rd. in Bowling Green, Ohio
  • Phone: 419-352-0967
  • Web: www.woodcountyhistory.org

Click to read:
The County Poor House

The Wood County Museum in Bowling Green is located on the grounds of the former Wood County Infirmary. This unique site is one of the last county infirmaries where nearly all of the original structures still stand. The Museum includes the large, Victorian Era building, now a museum with over thirty exhibit rooms dedicated to showcasing the history of the Home and of Wood County. The outdoor park, maintained by the Wood County Park District, offers an herb garden, nature trails, and numerous outdoor points of interest including a working oil derrick and an extensive collection of farm implements. The Museum hosts a variety of public education programs and events including Living History Day, Power of Yesteryear Tractor Show, Gala Fundraiser, monthly curatorial programs and social teas, and self-guided or guided group tours for schools and organizations. The site was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.

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