August 2011 Issue
Highways to History
Explore Ohio heritage and culture in seven adventure-filled driving tours.
Every year we scour the state to uncover historical and cultural destinations in each of the seven designated Ohio heritage areas. We then package them into driving tours, making it easy for readers to explore the traditions and capture a little adventure along the way. This year, we’ve added some exciting new spots, while revisiting old favorites. And with the Civil War sesquicentennial upon us, we’ve incorporated some of the special sites and exhibits commemorating that event as well.
So don’t waste another minute. Gather your friends and family and motor your way through the state. There’s plenty of Buckeye heritage waiting to be explored.
Lake Erie Coastal
The Ashtabula Maritime and Surface Transportation Museum
is the perfect jumping-off point for lakeshore travel with its maritime artifacts and authentic pilothouse. Built in 1871 and located on Ashtabula Harbor, it is the former home of the Ashtabula light keepers and Coast Guard chief. New exhibits include a bell and artifacts from the USS Ashtabula. 1071 Walnut Blvd., Ashtabula 44005, 440/964-6847. ashtabulamarinemuseum.org
. Fri.– Sun. 12–5 p.m. Admission $5, children (6–16) $3, children under 6 free.
Travel west along the lake to the James A. Garfield National Historic Site
in Mentor. A 40-minute guided tour of the 20th president’s home lets you explore the exhibits that highlight his early life, military career, political rise and eventual assassination. The popular 90-minute “Behind the Scenes” tours take place the first Saturday of every month. 8095 Mentor Ave., Mentor 44060, 440/255-8722. nps.gov/jaga
. Mon.–Sat. 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Sun. 12–5 p.m.; Nov. 1–April 30: Open Sat.–Sun. only, 12–5 p.m. Admission $5, children 15 and under free.
Continue driving to Port Clinton where you can board the Jet Express
(800/245-1538) or Miller Ferries
(800/500-2421) for a trip to South Bass Island. Perry’s Victory & International Peace Memorial
rises 352 feet over Lake Erie, honoring those who fought in the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812. The visitors center features a 20-minute video about the battle and the construction of the monument. 93 Delaware Ave., Put-in-Bay 43456, 419/285-2184. nps.gov/pevi
. Currently, the memorial is closed for construction but the visitors center is open and free to the public.
Maumee Valley Heritage Corridor
Begin this travel adventure aboard the Sandpiper
for a two-hour Discover the Maumee River Boat Cruise. Board the boat at the Jefferson Street Dock in Promenade Park, downtown Toledo. Then enjoy a relaxing ride and close-up views of Toledo’s busy shipyard, stately homes, wildlife and the Veteran’s Glass City Skyway Bridge. Jefferson and Water streets,
Toledo 43604, 419/537-1212. sandpiperboat.com
. Sat. 10 a.m.–noon (See website for additional cruises.) Admission $15, 12 and under $7.
Just 13 miles east of Toledo, the Metzger Marsh Wildlife Area
is a prime spot for fishing and wildlife. Fishing access is available for boats and along the shoreline 24 hours a day. Walk along the large dike or pier, or get an up-close look at the many bird species in the wooded area. 419/424-5000, dnr.state.oh.us
. Dawn to dusk. Admission free.
In honor of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, visit the American Civil War Museum of Ohio
in Tiffin. The museum focuses on Ohio’s role in the Civil War. Exhibits include a dozen letters from the 164th Ohio Volunteer Infantry Unit. 217 S. Washington St., Tiffin 44883, 419/455-9551. acwmo.org
. Mon.–Fri. 11 a.m.–5 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Admission $6, seniors $5, active military and students $3, family $20.
Miami & Erie Canal Corridor
Begin in west central Ohio at the Fort Recovery State Museum
in Fort Recovery. Built on the site of St. Clair’s defeat in 1791 and Wayne’s victory in 1794, the museum and monument commemorate Ohio’s Indian Wars. Last summer, the museum was expanded and renovated and now includes an equal representation of the Native Americans and their participation. 1 Fort Site St., Fort Recovery 45846, 800/283-8920. fortrecoverymuseum.com
. June–August: Open daily 12–5 p.m. May and September: Open Memorial Day, Labor Day and weekends only, 12–5 p.m. Admission $5, children 5–12 $2, children under 5 free.
Your next stop is a short drive east to Maria Stein and the Maria Stein Heritage Museum
. Housed in a convent building from the early 1900s, the museum features artifacts and photos that chronicle the history of the Miami & Erie Canal, the area’s German settlers and their Roman Catholic faith. 2291 St. Johns Rd., Maria Stein 45860, 419/925-4532. mariasteinshrine.org
. Tues.–Sat. 12–4:30 p.m. Suggested donation $2.
Travel south to Troy and the Troy-Hayner Cultural Center
, the former mansion of Mary Jane Hayner. A permanent exhibit tells the story of the Hayner Distillery, a pre-Prohibition distillery that distributed top-shelf whiskey throughout the country. Plan your visit around the summer concert series that takes place in the courtyard. 301 W. Main St., Troy 45373, 937/339-0457. troyhayner.org
. Mon. and Thur. 7 a.m.–9 p.m., Tues.– Sat. 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Sun. 1–5 p.m. Admission free; donations accepted.
Ohio & Erie Canalway
Begin this tour in Canton at the National First Ladies’ Historic Site
. The current exhibit, “Heroes of the Presidential Medal of Freedom,” honors the four first ladies who have won the award, as well as other recipients who are first in their respective categories, such as Georgia O’Keeffe, Sandra Day O’Connor and Margaret Mead. 331 S. Market St., Canton 44702, 330/452-0876. firstladies.org
. Tours: Tues.–Sat. 9:30, 10:30, 12:30, 1:30 and 2:30; June–August: Sun. 12:30, 1:30 and 2:30. Admission $7, seniors $6, under age 18 $5.
Travel north to Cascade Locks Park
, a short walk from downtown Akron and a popular destination for history buffs and trail users. The Mustill Store, located in its original site at Lock 15 of the Ohio & Erie Canal, is a restored canal-era building, complete with visitors center and exhibits. 248 Ferndale St., Akron 44304, 330/374-5625. cascadelocks.org
. Daily dawn to dusk; store hours: Sat. and Sun. 9:30 a.m.–4 p.m. Admission free.
In nearby Kent, the Kent State University Museum
boasts several collections of fashion and the decorative arts, featuring everything from some of the world’s greatest designers and artists to American glass, fine furniture, textiles and paintings. Among the many highlights, the “Katharine Hepburn: Dressed for Stage and Screen” exhibit runs through September 4, followed by “On the Homefront: Civil War Fashions and Domestic Life,” beginning September 30. 515 Hilltop Dr., Kent 44242, 330/672-3450. kent.edu/museum
. Wed., Fri. and Sat. 10 a.m.–4:45 p.m., Thur. 10 a.m.–8:45 p.m., Sun. 12–4:45 p.m. Admission $5, seniors $4, students (7–18) $3, children 6 and under free.
Ohio Hill Country
Begin this adventure near the Ohio River at the Buffington Island State Memorial
near Portland. The memorial, which is made of broken glacial boulders, commemorates the state’s only significant Civil War battle. Today, a four-acre park and picnic area surrounds the monument. 56896 St. Rte. 124, Portland 45770, 614/297-2652. www.ohiohistory.org
. Dawn to dusk. Admission free.
Hit the road and travel north to Harrison County and the town of Cadiz to see the Clark Gable Museum
. The legendary actor was born in Cadiz in 1901, and the home contains some of the star’s belongings, such as his boyhood sled, his 1954 Cadillac and several letters from U.S. presidents. The Clark Gable Bed & Breakfast Inn is located next door to the museum. 138 Charleston St., Cadiz 43907, 740/942-4989. clarkgablefoundation.com
. Tues.–Sat. 10 a.m.–4 p.m., Sun. 1:30–4 p.m. Admission $5.50, seniors $4.75, children (5–16) $3.25, children 4 and under free.
Continue driving northwest into Amish Country. Guggisberg Cheese
, home of the original baby Swiss cheese, is
located in Millersburg. Cheesemaker Alfred Guggisberg was lured to the Doughty Valley by local Amish farmers who wanted a cheesemaker who would provide a market for their milk. Today, visitors can learn about the company’s history and watch cheese being made. 5060 St. Rte. 557, Millersburg 44654, 330/893-2500. guggisberg.com
. Mon.–Sat. 8 a.m.–6 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Cheese making: Mon.–Fri. 8 a.m.–noon.
Ohio’s Historic West
Step out of the car and stretch your legs during one of Springfield’s Summer Walking Tours
, sponsored by The Springfield Preservation Alliance. Eleven tours are scheduled throughout the summer. Each one lasts one and a half to two hours and explores a different area of town, from the South Fountain Historic District to Ferncliff Cemetery. 937/322-0011. restorespringfield.org
. Sat. 10 a.m. Admission $8–$10.
Also in Springfield, the Davidson Interpretive Center is located on the site of the largest Revolutionary War battle west of the Alleghenies — the Battle of Peckuwe. The center, with its many interpretive displays and educational programs, is a great place to learn about the battle and the Shawnee Indians who lived in Peckuwe. 930 S. Tecumseh Rd., Springfield 45504, 937/882-6000. clarkcountyparkdistrict.org/davidsoncenter.html
. Mon.–Thur. 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Admission free.
Turn your wheels toward the sunset. The Annie Oakley Center
at the Garst Museum in Greenville features an exhibition on the life and history of Darke County’s famous daughter, sharpshooter and entertainer. Uncover her true personality, which is surprisingly different from the tomboy image that Hollywood portrays. 205 N. Broadway, Greenville 45331, 937/548-5250. garstmuseum.org
. Tues.–Sat. 10 a.m.–4 p.m., Sun. 1–4 p.m. Admission $5, seniors $3, students (6–18) $2, children 5 and under free.
Southwest Ohio Heritage Area
Capture the area’s aviation heritage at the Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center
in Dayton. Several exhibits focus on the lives of three inventive men — aviation pioneers Orville and Wilbur Wright and writer Paul Laurence Dunbar. Their lives intersected when the Wright brothers ran a printing shop in the 1890s and they printed Dunbar’s newspaper, the Dayton Tattler. 16 S. Williams St., Dayton 45402, 937/225-7705. aviationheritagearea.org
. Daily 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m. Admission free.
A short drive southeast takes you to Xenia and the Greene County Historical Museum
. In addition to permanent displays on transportation and medicine, visitors learn about Greene County history, from Tecumseh to Norman Vincent Peale. Current highlights include an old flags display and a Civil War exhibit. 74 W. Church St., Xenia 45385, 937/372-4606. Tues., Thur. and Fri. 9 a.m.–3:30 p.m., Sat. 1–4 p.m. Admission $3, children 17 and under $2.
Cruise into Cincinnati, where the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
is hosting many Civil War Sesquicentennial events, including re-enactments, encampments and more. Learn about the Black Brigade, a military unit that assisted with the defense of the city during the 1862 siege of Cincinnati. 50 E. Freedom Way, Cincinnati 45202, 877/648-4838. freedomcenter.org
. Tues.–Sat. 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Admission $12, seniors $10, children (6–12) $8, children 5 and under free.