Once upon a time, in rural Ohio, the Ohio and Erie Canal was built right next to the sleepy village of Roscoe. The town soon began to grow due to the business coming from the canal.
By the mid-1830s, warehouses, and mills had sprung up, and Roscoe Village became one of the largest wheat ports in the state. However, the prosperity was short-lived, as the construction of railroads soon caused a decline in business along the canal. The state-wide flood of 1913 marked the end of the canal era in Ohio and led the little town of Roscoe to fall into a steady decline. Many decades later, local entrepreneurs Ed and Frances Montgomery were inspired to restore the rundown Roscoe to its former Canal Days glory. The couple endeavored to make Roscoe Village a place of education and appreciation of Ohio’s rich history. This is the Historic Roscoe Village that you can visit today!
First, stop at the Visitor Center to grab your Living History Tour tickets and get the lay of the land. You can visit the theater to view the award-winning film, Ditches of Destiny, and make sure not to miss the History room for the detailed dioramas depicting some of the county’s most important historical events. Once you journey into the Village, visit the exhibits in whatever order you choose and for as long as you would like, as the tour is self-guided. The blacksmith, weaver, and broom squire are just some craftsmen you will learn about as you walk back through time. You can also try hands-on crafts like rope making, leather punching, or candle dipping. The Living History Tour and Hands-on crafts are available from 10am – 4pm seven days a week.
To get a feel for canal life, ride a horse-drawn canal boat on the Monticello III, a modern replica of boats that would have populated the canal way. This 45-minute float along a restored section of the canal is accompanied by the history of 1800s canal life shared by the Canal Boat Captain. The Park District operates the Monticello III and has public runs on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 1, 2,3, and 4pm from Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day Weekend.
Still haven’t had enough history? Head to the nationally accredited Johnson–Hurrickhouse Museum, where you can dive further into historic Ohio and see artifacts from Native American and Asian cultures. The Museum also features the controversial Newark Holy Stone unearthed in the 1860s at the Newark Ohio Earthworks and rotating special exhibits. The special exhibit currently showcased is “Pushing the Surface,” a fascinating look at modern quilting techniques. The museum is open 12 – 4pm, seven days a week.
There is more to Roscoe Village than its history! The village is also home to a variety of unique shops and boutiques. These locally owned and operated stores house treasures such as handmade leather items, fine jewelry, old-fashioned candy, and other Ohio-made goods. Need a treat for your canine companion? Visit Good Boy Bakery for pet supplies and homemade cat and dog treats. If you need locally themed merch representing the “Buckeye State,” stop by Coshocton Supply Co. to grab a t-shirt or hat. By now, you’re probably quite hungry from all of your adventures. No worries! You can get a bite to eat at one of three delicious restaurants. Texas-style BBQ, legendary onion rings, and gourmet hotdogs are just some of the mouthwatering fares in Roscoe.
Roscoe also has events planned throughout the year! The village’s very first Food Truck Festival will be on August 19th. Along with a variety of food options, the festival will host musical entertainment, a petting zoo, and other kids’ activities throughout the day. This is an admission-free event.
On September 7th and 8th, 2023, Roscoe welcomes families for Fall Homeschool Days. Special hands-on crafts and discounted tour pricing are just some benefits of visiting during Homeschool Days.
Looking for an annual fall tradition to add to your calendar? Add the Apple Butter Stirrin’ Festival! Held the third full weekend in October, this autumn celebration is in its 52nd year and will offer live music, 100+ craft vendors, and apple butter stirred over an open fire. The admission cost for this event includes entry to the Living History Exhibits, free kids’ activities, and more.
Celebrate the joy of the holiday season with one of the Christmas Candlelighting ceremonies on December 2nd and 9th. Roasted chestnuts, carolers, and Christmas-themed history tours are also hallmarks of this time of year! To purchase tickets or learn more about these events, visit www.roscoevillage.com. For more information about events in the area, visit www.visitcoshocton.com. Visit today to become a part of Roscoe’s story!