September 2007 Issue
History Comes to Life
Robbins Crossing at Hocking College plans "A Walk Through Time," a special weekend of reenactments, exhibits and historic interpretation.
The mission of Robbins Crossing is threefold. It is a learning environment where Hocking College interpretive services students and community volunteers share pieces of the area's history with those who visit. It is also the site where authentic log homes from a bygone era have been relocated and preserved. (These are complemented by two new log structures constructed to fulfill a specific need in the log cabin settlement that depicts the 1850-to-1870s era.) Just as important is the tourism aspect of Robbins Crossing, which is a destination for passengers aboard the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway and others seeking insight into area history. Some of these visitors come specifically to access the 17-mile Hockhocking Adena Bikeway between Nelsonville and Athens.
Robbins Crossing is located at the eastern edge of Hocking College's campus. Nestled behind a split-rail fence in the shade of a huge sycamore tree are the restored cabins bearing familiar family names — Anthony, Wolfe, Kidner, Gibbons, McInturf and Gladden. Each building has a purpose and is staffed by interpreters, appropriately attired in period clothing, who share what they've learned from local-history research.
The first weekend in October the little settlement expands, and with "A Walk Through Time" offers the opportunity for a broader, more encompassing look at history.
"A Walk Through Time" begins with the pre-1700s era Native American encampment, explains Russ Tippett, Hocking College vice president who organizes the activity. "We'll offer an eastern woodland Indian encampment from about 1720–1760 and the frontiersmen encampment depicting 1760–1800," Tippett says. Encampments conclude with soldiers and followers of the 1861–1864 Civil War's Union and Confederate armies.
Visitors will find steam-powered sawmills, an exhibit and demonstration of crosscut saws, a display of about 30 antique power chain saws once used to harvest timber, and a flour grist mill powered by a single-cylinder antique motor.
Nothing tastes better than ice cream, especially when the rich flavorful taste comes from Rader's Old Fashioned Ice Cream churned by a single-cylinder, leather-belt-driven motor. Enjoy the cool treat and a mini-lesson on how it's made.
An authentic moonshine still will be set up, but don't expect samples to be available! The area was once famous for moonshine and each maker threw in something that made 'shine from one particular still just a bit different from another.
Antique cars and trucks — a '27 Model-T Ford, a 1930 Model-A Ford and a 1949 Dodge power wagon — are only a few of the vintage models on display. Owners have also committed to bringing about a half-dozen antique motorcycles, none later than a 1960 model.
Music at Robbins Crossing comes in many forms, ranging from acoustic gospel to country, folk and bluegrass. Performing on Saturday will be the Murphy Family Band featuring 19-year-old mandolin master Megan Murphy. Just as impressive is 11-year-old fiddler Joe Lautenheiser, who will perform with the Lautenheiser Family later in the day.
Sunday's musicians include the Late Bloomers with Adele Brown, and the Clark Family, featuring Deanna and Marvin Clark.
Musician Curt Coble is adept at a variety of stringed instruments, but he'll be found this weekend making straw brooms.
The Donald R. Nunley Memorial Mine Museum opened last fall and honors the memory of the late Donald R. Nunley, former United Mine Workers Local Union 1340 president. Area miners who are members of the United Mine Workers of America will be manning the museum throughout the weekend.
The Hocking Valley Scenic Railway, a passenger train restored by railway volunteers, offers caboose rides between Robbins Crossing and the depot in Nelsonville. Don't miss this chance to meander along the streets of the Public Square, where galleries and shops feature the work of local and regional artists.
Robbins Crossing is always a walk through time, but one weekend each year, the time period of the adventure is expanded. Don't miss it!