August 2009 Issue
This year, explore Ohio's seven heritage areas and their fascinating attractions — and enjoy the added reward of knowing that you won't jeopardize your bank account in the process.
Every year, Ohio Magazine scours the state for a lineup of memorable sites guaranteed to showcase Ohio history. The result is seven driving tours, based on the seven designated heritage areas in Ohio, where you can uncover the sights and sounds that typify Buckeye history.
This year, the tours should be more popular than ever as travelers tighten their purse strings and watch their cash. That’s because many of these attractions are free, or the admission cost is minimal, providing an added bonus during these tight economic times.
So choose one — or visit them all. Whatever you decide, prepare to be enlightened and entertained by Ohio’s rich heritage and culture.Lake Erie Coastal
The region that borders the Lake Erie coastline is Ohio’s maritime treasure. Capture the beauty of the lake; embrace the excitement of the city; and tarry in the small towns and the back roads along the way.
Start in the northeast corner of the state at the Jennie Munger Gregory Memorial Museum. New England transplant Solomon Fitch built this farmhouse along the Lake Erie shoreline in 1823. Fitch and his neighbor took advantage of the wooded landscape and shipped lumber to the East Coast. Today the house, a gift from its last owner, Jennie Munger Gregory, is the oldest frame structure on the Geneva-on-the-Lake strip. 5685 Lake Rd., Geneva-on-the-Lake 44041, 440/466-7337. ashtcohs.com. Wed.–Sat. 12–4 p.m. Admission $4, children $2.
Travel east to the 450-acre Mentor Lagoons Nature Preserve & Marina. Hike the wooded and waterfront trails through this property, which hasn’t changed much from the way it was 200 years ago. The preserve co-exists with the marina, and you can rent a kayak to paddle through the lagoons. Electric carts, bikes and helmets are also available. 8365 Harbor Dr., Mentor 44060, 440/205-3625. cityofmentor.com. Daily dawn–dusk. Admission free.
Drive to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and prepare to be wowed by the newest addition to the already incredible dinosaur exhibit: Tyrannosaurus Rex. And, in honor of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, the museum is hosting two exhibits on evolution. Two not-to-be-missed museum attractions include daily planetarium shows and the Perkins Wildlife Area, an outdoor area with rescued bald eagles, bobcats, foxes and owls. 1 Wade Oval Dr., Cleveland 44106, 216/231-4600. cmnh.org. Mon.–Sat. 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Wed. 10 a.m.–10 p.m., Sun. 12–5 p.m. Admission $9, seniors and ages 7–18 $7, ages 3–6 $6, age 2 and under free.
Drive east along the lake to Vermilion and the Great Lakes Historical Society, a highlight of the town’s historic Harbor Town district. The Inland Seas Maritime Museum contains one of the world’s largest collections of Great Lakes historical maritime artifacts, documents, ship models and original artwork. Its counterpart, the Clarence S. Metcalf Great Lakes Maritime Research Library, attracts many researchers and historians. 480 Main St., Vermilion 44089, 800/893-1485. inlandseas. org. Daily 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Admission $6, seniors and 12 and under $5.
Travel by ferry to the Stonehenge Estate on South Bass Island, a look at island life and the family grape-growing farms of the 1800s. The Stone Farmhouse and the Wine Press Cottage are both on the National Register of Historic Places and house a collection of antiques, photos and island memorabilia. Visitors can explore the premises with a 20-minute, self-guided, audiocassette tour. 808 Langram Rd., Put-in-Bay 43456, 419/285-2585. stonehenge-put-in-bay.com. Daily 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Admission $7, ages 6–15 $4, 5 and under free.
Maumee Valley Heritage Corridor
From the city of Toledo to the smaller towns along the Maumee River, this area is known for its landscapes and historical landmarks. Admire the architecture, explore the open fields and absorb the history and culture.
Begin your adventure at the Toledo Museum of Art
, a seven-building campus in Toledo’s Old West End neighborhood. The world-renowned Glass Pavilion houses more than 5,000 ancient and modern works of art, along with glassmaking studios and glassmaking demonstrations. On Fridays, the museum hosts musical performances, hands-on activities, visiting glass artists and wine tastings. 2445 Monroe St., Toledo 43620, 419/255-8000. toledomuseum. org. Tues.–Thur. 10 a.m.–4 p.m., Fri. 10 a.m.–10 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.–6 p.m., Sun. 12–6 p.m. Admission free.
Just a short drive west of Toledo is Secor Metropark, home of the National Center for Nature Photography, a state-of-the-art photography classroom combined with displays of work by some of the country’s best-known nature photographers and videographers. The Center is located within Oak Openings, an ancient beach ridge known for its rare combination of oak savanna, wet prairies, sand barrens, swamp and upland forest, making it the ideal backdrop for nature photography. 10001 West Central Ave., Berkey 43504, 419/407-9757. naturephotocenter.com. Sat.–Sun. 12–5 p.m. Admission free.
The nearby Kitty Todd Nature Preserve is the centerpiece of the Oak Openings region. This preserve has one of the highest concentrations of rare species of any nature preserve in the state. Marvel at the lark sparrow, the Karner blue butterfly and the wild lupine as you hike one of the trails or participate in a guided hike on the first weekend of every month. 10420 Old State Line Rd., Swanton 43558, 419/867-8049. nature.org/kittytodd. Mon.–Fri. 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Admission free.
Travel southeast to the town of Perrysburg and Fort Meigs Museum & Education Center. General William Henry Harrison established this fort on the Maumee River during the War of 1812, and several decisive victories took place here. The Museum and Education Center provide 3,000 square feet of exhibits and classroom space. 29100 W. River Rd., Perrysburg 43551, 800/283-8916. ohsweb.ohiohistory.org/places/nw06. Wed.–Sat. 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Sun. 12–5 p.m. Admission $8, seniors $7, students $4, 5 and under free.
Continue south to the Hancock Historical Museum. This Museum includes an 1880 Victorian house and 1840 log cabin, as well as an exhibit center with a timeline of local history from the Civil War through the Industrial Revolution. Also on site, the agriculture barn and transportation barn house Grant cars and the Buckeye Traction Ditcher, both of which were made in Findlay. 422 W. Sandusky, Findlay 45840, 419/423-4433. hancockhistoricalmuseum.org. Wed.–Fri. 12:30–4:30 p.m., Sun. 1–4 p.m. Admission $5, seniors $3, children free.
Miami & Erie Canal Corridor
The culture, nature and industry of this important time period are reflected in the current landscape, providing an open book of knowledge about the canal era. Browse the museums, hike the towpath and absorb the culture of a bygone era.
The 40-mile Miami and Erie Canal Tow path Trail runs from Delphos to Ft. Loramie, providing an opportunity to imagine what it was like when immigrants labored for 31 cents a day to build the canal. Along the way are many historic structures, bridges, aqueducts and cuts.
Next, visit the Gomer Welsh Community Museum, a tribute to the Welsh population that settled in Gomer in the 1830s. The town sits along the banks of the Ottawa River and Pike Run. Welsh culture, language and customs have played a key role in this area. 7365 Gomer Rd., Gomer 45809, 419/999-5820. Open on the second and fourth Sundays of each month, 1:30–4 p.m. Admission free.
Travel to the nearby Lima Fire Fighters Memorial Museum, dedicated to the more than 600 fire fighters who have served or are currently serving the Lima area. See a host of fire-fighting memorabilia, including a 19th-century horse-drawn steam pumper and a hero-inscribed honor walk. The museum is located in Lincoln Park, along with Allen County’s Historical Train Exhibit. Corner of Elm & Shawnee Streets, Lima 45804, 419/221-5164. limafiremuseum.org. Daily dawn to dusk. Admission free.
From Lima, head west to Grand Lake St. Marys to see three lighthouses. Built in 1923, Northwood Lighthouse is a monument to the original English Channel Beacon. Located on the north shore between Celina and St. Marys, the lighthouse is on private property, but can be viewed from the lake. A second beacon, the Rotary Lighthouse, was built in 1986 on the west bank of the lake by the Celina Rotary Club. The 40-foot structure provides views of the lake from an observation deck. Behm’s Lighthouse, dedicated in 2003, can be viewed on the south shore of the lake at 5444 Behm Rd. at Behm’s Landing. 419/394-1294.
The last destination on this tour is St. Augustine Church, perhaps the most prominent landmark in Minster. Built in 1848, the neoclassical-style
Roman Catholic Church was originally created with a single spire, but a member of the parish, a builder, replaced it with double spires in 1875.48 N. Hanover, Minster 45865, 419/628-2614. staugie.com. Tues.–Sun. 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
Ohio & Erie Canalway
This heritage area is characterized by a diverse lineup of big-city skylines, industrial landscapes and bountiful natural beauty. Embrace the contrasting geographic wonders, relive the history in the small towns and back roads and take time to view the amazing architecture.
Start this adventure at the Old Stone Churchin Cleveland’s Public Square.
Built in 1853, it stands today as one of the few remaining masterpieces of the Cleveland architectural firm Heard & Porter. The church’s Romanesque Revival style features semi-circular arches and large sandstone walls. A docent is on site weekdays for one hour. 91 Public Square, Cleveland 44113, 216/241-6145. oldstonechurch.org. Mon.–Fri. 12–1 p.m. Admission free.
The nearby PlayhouseSquareis a cluster of post-World War I-era theaters, most of which are connected by various stage doors and lobby passageways. These theaters boast lavish interiors and exteriors, symbols of the Renaissance Revival style. Today the theaters form the second-largest performing arts center in the country. E. 14th St. at Euclid Ave., Cleveland 44115, 216/771-4444. playhousesquare.org. Guided tours available on the first Saturday of every month, beginning at 10 a.m. Admission free.
About 30 miles southeast of Cleveland is the Hudson Historic District,a portion of the Connecticut Western Reserve. Today you can still see much of the New England influence in Hudson’s town green and Greek Revival architecture. The area around Western Reserve Academy, which was established as Western Reserve College in 1826, includes historical buildings, shops and restaurants. College, Streetsboro, S. Main and Baldwin streets, Hudson 44236, 330/650-1799. ci.hudson.oh.us.com.
Farther south is the Hower Mansion, built in 1871 by Akron industrialist John Henry Hower and located in the city’s Fir Hill neighborhood. Outstanding features include a 28-room floor plan, an octagonal central hall, a stair tower and a third-floor ballroom. The home was deeded to the University of Akron in 1970. 60 Fir Hill, Akron 44304, 330/972-6909. www3.uakron.edu/howerhse. Wed.–Sat. 12–3:30 p.m., Sun. 1–4; last tour leaves a half hour before closing. Admission $6, seniors $5, students $2, 6 and under free.
Also in Akron, Glendale Cemetery’s mausoleums and headstones tell the story of Akron’s past. Dr. J. D. Commins founded the cemetery in 1839, modeling it after Mount Auburn Cemetery in Boston. Today, this picturesque cemetery consists of winding roads, promontories and a collection of architectural styles. 150 Glendale Ave., Akron 44302, 330/253-2317. Daily dawn–dusk. Admission free.
Ohio Hill Country
With 33 counties, this is Ohio’s most expansive heritage area. Visit the Amish, hike the hills and parks, enjoy the Appalachian culture, and experience the river lifestyle. It’s all here, just waiting for you to explore.
Learn about Amish culture at Yoder’s Amish Home in Millersburg. During a 40-minute tour of two homes and a barn, local guides explain the history and lifestyle of the Amish. The 116-acre farm also features a one-room schoolhouse, bakery and gift shop. Don’t leave without a buggy ride, an opportunity to experience Amish transportation firsthand.6050 St. Rte. 515, Millersburg 44654, 330/893-2541. yodersamishhome.com. Mon.–Sat. 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Admission $6 (buggy ride $4), ages 2–12 $4 (buggy ride $3).
Travel south to Guernsey County for a ride on the Byesville Scenic Railway, a nine-mile round trip between Byesville and Derwent. Learn about the life, heritage and culture of the coal miners who worked the mines along the Marietta Branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad during the coal-mining heyday of the early 1900s. One block from the Second Street Crossing, Byesville 43723, 740/432-2022. bsrw.org. Call for hours. Admission $12, ages 3–12 $9, 2 and under free.
Continue south to the Oliver Tucker Museum and Log House, showplace of the Lower Muskingum Historical Society. The 13-room house is believed to have been built in 1835 by John Dodge, the founder of Beverly, for his daughter. Along with an accompanying log house, it contains artifacts and memorabilia from the Lower Muskingum Valley Area. St. Rte. 60, Beverly 45715, 740/984-4037. olivertuckermuseum.com. Sat.–Sun. 1–4 p.m. Admission free.
In Athens, be sure to visit The Ridges, formerly the Athens Lunatic Asylum. Built in 1874, this one-time psychiatric hospital is a collection of buildings that, along with three cemeteries, sits atop a ridge overlooking the Hocking River and Ohio University. Pick up a walking map and reference sheet at the Kennedy Museum of Art in Lin Hall, located in The Ridges complex. Richland Ave., Athens 45701, 800/878-9767. Walk the grounds anytime. Kennedy Museum of Art, 740/593-1304. ohio.edu/museum. Tues.–Fri. 12–5 p.m., Thur. 12–8 p.m. Sat.–Sun. 1–5 p.m. Admission free.
Complete this tour at the Edge of Appalachia, a 13,500-acre nature preserve located along Brush Creek in Adams County. This diverse landscape is home to woodlands, prairies, waterfalls, giant promontories and clear streams. Although three trails meander through the Preserve, Lynx Trail is especially alive during late summer, showcasing 250 different species of prairie flowers and grasses. Access near Lynx, about eight miles east of West Union 45693, 937/544-2188. nature.org. Dawn–dusk. Admission free. Ohio’s Historic West
Although it may be difficult to imagine, this was once the frontier. Indians and military battles are both part of the history of this portion of the state. As the years passed, small towns developed and farmland prospered.
Explore the town of Wapakoneta and the Auglaize County Court House, built in 1894. This neoclassical building is made of Berea sandstone, with a central gallery that opens to the second floor and a stained-glass skylight. At one time a “Copper Lady” stood on top of the courthouse tower, but today it sits prominently in the gallery, a change that occurred with the 100th anniversary restoration. 201 S. Willipie St., Wapakoneta 45895, 419/739-6710. Mon.–Fri. 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Admission free.
Learn about military history at the nearby Fort Recovery State Museum. Few people realize that the two largest Indian battles in our nation’s history took place in Fort Recovery: St. Clair’s Defeat in 1791 and the Battle of Fort Recovery in 1794. A 100-foot monument stands in memory of the more than 900 soldiers who died here, along with a log home, blacksmith shop, museum and state park. 1 Fortsite St., Fort Recovery 45846, 419/375-4649. fortrecoverymuseum.com. Daily 12–5 p.m., Admission $3, ages 7–14 $1, 6 and under free.
Drive southwest to Greenville and Prairie Ridge Meadow,home to the recreated Native American Peace Council House, a reconstruction of the Council House that General Anthony Wayne built during the Treaty of Greenville talks in 1795. N. Broadway, Greenville 45331, 937/548-0165. darkecountyparks.org. Dawn–dusk. Admission free.
Continue your exploration of this area via the Miami County Barn Quilt Tour, a driving tour that shows a collection of oversized, colorful quilt squares painted on the side of 60 Miami County barns. Maps are available on the Web site or can be picked up at the Miami County Convention & Visitors Bureau. 405 S.W. Public Square, Troy 45373, 937/339-1044. visitmiamicounty.org.
Head northeast to Logan County to complete this adventure with a one-hour tour of Ohio Caverns, the largest caverns in the state. See the remarkable and sometimes colorful stalactite and stalagmite formations. 2210 E. St. Rte. 245, West Liberty 43357, 937/465-4017. ohiocaverns.com. Daily 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Admission $12.50, ages 5–12 $7, 4 and under free.
Southwest Ohio Heritage Area
The southwest portion of the state is overflowing with activity, history and culture. Dine in the restaurants, learn about our nation’s leaders and discover the history of new frontiers.
Begin in Brown County at the Ulysses S. Grant Boyhood Home. Grant lived in this house from 1823 until 1839 when he left to attend West Point. The house, which is a National Historic Landmark, has been restored and furnished, and today one room is devoted to Grant and Georgetown memorabilia. 219 E. Grant Ave., Georgetown 45121, 937/378-3087. ohiohistory.org. Wed.–Sun. 12–5 p.m. Admission $3, ages 6–12 $1.
Travel northwest to Clermont County to visit the Tri-State Warbird Museum. This historic aviation museum features nine World War II airplanes, or warbirds. Two of them are undergoing on-site restoration; five are fully restored and can fly; and one was a designated flight trainer. 4021 Borman Dr., Batavia 45103, 513/735-4500. tristatewarbirdmuseum.org. Wed. 4–7 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Admission $12, veterans and students $7.
The Cincinnati History Museum, located at the Cincinnati Museum Center, depicts the history of Cincinnati and the surrounding region. Costumed interpreters interact with visitors about several topics, from the recreated Queen of the West steamboat to a World War II-era streetcar. 1301 Western Ave., Cincinnati 45203, 800/733-2077. cincymuseum.org. Mon.–Sat. 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.–6 p.m. Admission $8, seniors $7, ages 3-12 $6.
Continue northeast to Warren County and the town of Lebanon, home of the Golden Lamb Inn. Established in 1803, the inn is believed to be the oldest continuously operating business in Ohio. It was a frequent stopover for prominent individuals throughout the 19th century, and has hosted 12 U.S. presidents. Today this history is preserved in the rooms and furnishings of this celebrated building. 27 S. Broadway, Lebanon 45036, 513/932-5065. goldenlamb.com.
Complete your history-focused tour at The Citizens Motor Car Company: America’s Packard Museum. Located in the original Packard Dealership Building, which was built in 1917, the museum is dedicated to the Packard Motor Car Company and its products. More than 50 automobiles are on display, along with artifacts from the Packard Motor Car Company. 420 S. Ludlow St., Dayton 45402, 937/226-1710. americaspackardmuseum.org. Mon.–Fri. 12–5 p.m., Sat.–Sun. 1–5 p.m. Admission $6, seniors $5, students $4.
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