August 2010 Issue
Routes to the Past
Explore parts of modern-day Ohio brimming with historical charm.
Every August, Ohio Magazine
presents a lineup of some of Ohio’s best historical destinations. Organized according to seven designated heritage areas, these represent some of the better-known and lesser-known sites in a series of driving tours. With a state this geographically and culturally diverse, we promise you’ll find something of interest for every member of your group.
So grab a map, charge your GPS and select your favorite driving tour. Or, schedule a series of trips and explore every corner of the state. Most of the attractions are either free or have a minimal admission charge, so these are trips that will also be easy on your wallet.
LAKE ERIE COASTAL
From cities to coast, the Lake Erie shoreline is jam-packed with historical destinations. Experience the diversity, embrace the heritage and learn about the people and places that make this freshwater coastline so memorable.
Begin your driving tour in the northeastern corner of the state at the Hubbard House Underground Railroad Museum
. Built in 1841, the house overlooks the south shore of Lake Erie and once belonged to abolitionists William and Catharine Hubbard. Today, the second and third floors house an Underground Railroad Exhibit and a Civil War and Americana Exhibit. Corner of Walnut Blvd. and Lake Ave., Ashtabula, 440/964-8168. hubbardhouseugrrmuseum.org
. Fri.–Sun. 1–5 p.m. Admission $5, seniors $4, 6–16 $3.
Your next stop is the Fairport Harbor Marine Museum and Lighthouse
. Originally built in 1825 and then rebuilt in 1871, this was the first Great Lakes marine museum housed in a U.S. lighthouse. Several exhibits showcase the maritime heritage, from marine charts to lighthouse lenses. This summer, see a new permanent exhibit about the Diamond Alkali Company, which employed many people in the area from 1912 to 1976. 129 Second St., Fairport Harbor, 440/354-4825. ncweb.com/org/fhlh
. Summer hours: Wed., Sat. and Sun. 1–6 p.m. Admission $3, seniors $2, ages 6–12 $1, under 6 free.
Continue traveling west to Beachwood, an eastern suburb of Cleveland. Here the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage
tells stories about Jewish history and Cleveland’s Jewish community using state-of-the-art and interactive exhibits, films, oral histories, photographs and artifacts. You will also see the Temple-Tifereth Israel Gallery, an internationally recognized collection of Judaica. 2929 Richmond Rd., Beachwood, 216/593-0575. maltzmuseum.org
. Tues., Thur., Fri. and Sun. 11 a.m.–5 p.m., Wed. 11 a.m.–9 p.m., Sat. noon–5 p.m. Admission $12, seniors and children (12 and over) $10, children (5–11) $5.
In nearby Shaker Heights, the Shaker Historical Society and Museum
documents the history of North Union Village, which is one of 24 Shaker communities nationwide. It also chronicles the development of Shaker Heights, a model streetcar suburb that began in the early part of the 20th century. 16740 South Park Blvd., Shaker Heights, 800/860-6078. shakerhistory.com
. Tues.–Fri. and Sun. 2–5 p.m. Admission $2, ages 6–18 $1, children under 6 free.
Continue west to Fremont and the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center
. The 19th president’s estate, known as Spiegel Grove, includes his 31-room mansion and nearby museum with two floors of exhibit galleries and a research library. A new exhibit, “Hidden Treasures of the Hayes Museum,” begins in August and runs through February 2011. Corner of Hayes and Buckland avenues, Fremont, 419/332-2081. rbhayes.org
. Tues.–Sat. 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Sun. and holidays noon–5 p.m. Admission $7.50, seniors $6.50, ages 6–12 $3, children under 6 free.
MAUMEE VALLEY HERITAGE CORRIDOR
Experience the abundant natural beauty found in the small towns and big-city landscapes that characterize this area. With the Maumee River as your guide, you’ll uncover many historical gems in Toledo and the surrounding towns and countryside.
Begin in Oak Harbor at Magee Marsh Wildlife Area
, an excellent spot for birding. In addition to the paths, a boardwalk and a 42-foot tower, visitors can enjoy the Migratory Bird Center, with its aquariums and terrariums, 300 mounted specimen, a children’s touch table and an activity center. 13229 W. St. Rte. 2, Oak Harbor, 419/898-0960. friendsofmageemarsh.org
. Open from sunrise to sunset. Sportsmens’ Migratory Bird Center: March–Nov., Mon.–Fri. 8 a.m.–5 p.m., Sat. and Sun. 11 a.m.–5 p.m.; Dec.–Feb. Mon.–Fri. 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Free admission.
A short drive west takes you to Elmore and the Schedel Arboretum & Gardens
. Check in at the Brown Welcome Center for a self-guided walking tour brochure and stroll the beautifully manicured gardens. Beginning this year, guided tours of the Manor House and the Shack are available. The Manor House was once the home of Joe and Marie Schedel, and they built the “Shack” as a summer home after the Ohio Turnpike bisected the estate in 1955. 19255 W. Portage River South Rd., Elmore, 419/862-3182. schedel-gardens.org
. Tues.–Sat. 10 a.m.–4 p.m., Sun. 12–4 p.m. Admission $10, seniors $9, ages 6–12 $6, children 5 and under free.
Drive northwest to Toledo to the Art Tatum African American Resource Center
. Located in the Kent Branch of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library, the center provides cultural, educational and historical information about African-American cultural heritage in northwest Ohio. It houses a collection of more than 84,750 books, magazines, DVDs, videotapes, compact discs and photos, making it the area’s best resource for information about the history and culture of African descendents. 3101 Colling-wood Blvd., Toledo, 419/259-5340. toledolibrary.org
. Tues. 12–8:30 p.m., Wed.–Sat. 9 a.m.–5:30 p.m. Free admission.
While in Toledo, drive to Maumee Bay State Park, the best place to view the Toledo Harbor Lighthouse
. Located about five miles from shore, the lighthouse marks the Toledo shipping channel where the waters of Lake Erie meet the shallow waters of Maumee Bay. The M/V Sandpiper canal boat hosts several Sunday afternoon trips to the lighthouse (rides are $25). 1750 Park Rd., Oregon, 419/691-3788. toledoharborlighthouse.org
. M/V Sandpiper, 419/537-1212. sandpiperboat.org
The Butterfly House
is located southwest of Toledo in Whitehouse. This unique facility boasts more than 1,000 different species from North and South America and Asia. Not only will you learn about the life cycle of the butterfly, but you’ll also be able to observe live butterflies in their natural setting. 11455 Obee Rd., Whitehouse, 419/877-2733. May–Sept.: Mon.–Sat. 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Sun. noon–5 p.m.; Oct. open weekends only. Admission $7, seniors $6, ages 4–12 $5.50, children 3 and under free.
MIAMI AND ERIE CANAL CORRIDOR
Relive a bygone era when the canal was king. Capture the Native American history in the area and experience the natural beauty and wildlife in the many parks and outdoor venues. Quiet, small towns are the hallmark of this heritage area.
The Delphos Canal Commission Museum
features exhibits on the Miami and Erie Canal and canal boat history in Allen County, as well as artifacts from life in Delphos from 1851 on. Among the displays, you’ll see a 1902 Sears Buggy Roadster, and antique tools and manufacturing equipment. 241 N. Main St., Delphos, 419/695-7737. delphoscanalcommission.com
. First and third Sunday of the month, 1–3 p.m., second and fourth Monday of the month, 7–9 p.m. Free admission.
A short drive south takes you to Wapakoneta and nearby Fort Amanda
. Located on the west bank of the Auglaize River, this was once a major supply depot during the War of 1812. Today visitors can see the Fort Amanda State Memorial Monument and a cemetery, along with a hiking trail and a small picnic shelter. St. Rte. 198 northwest of Wapakoneta, 800/283-8713. ohiohistory.org
. Open daily from dawn to dusk. Free admission.
Continue driving south to Piqua and the Johnston Farm & Indian Agency
(formerly the Piqua Historical Area). Here you’ll find the former farmhouse of John Johnston, farmer, public official and U.S. Indian agent, along with plenty of hands-on games, crafts and information about the Johnston family. On the banks of a restored section of the Miami and Erie Canal, a museum houses exhibits on the Eastern Woodland Indians. Boat rides are available on a 70-foot canal boat replica. 9845 N. Hardin Rd., Piqua, 800/752-2619. ohiohistory.org
. June–Labor Day: Thur. and Fri. 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Sat. and Sun. noon–5 p.m. Admission $8, seniors and children $4, children 5 and under free.
Your next stop is the Lost Creek Reserve and Knoop Agricultural Heritage Center
near Troy. Pioneer John E. Knoop and his wife first settled on this property, which now features more than 200 acres known as Lost Creek Reserve. Tour the Knoop Victorian-era farmhouse built in 1883, an 1832 bank barn, historic cemetery and cornerstones of the original cabin. 2645 E. St. Rte. 41, Troy, 937/335-6273. miamicountyparks.com
. Open daily, 8 a.m.–sunset. Free admission.
A short drive southeast will take you to the Brukner Nature Center
, which is about five miles west of Troy. Get an up-close look at several wildlife species, from snakes to a bald eagle. The treetop-level bird vista is the perfect way to watch the many bird species in the area. 5995 W. Horseshoe Bend Rd., Troy, 937/698-6493. bruknernaturecenter.com
. Mon.–Sat. 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Sun. 12:30–5 p.m. Admission $2.50 per person, $10 per family, free on Sundays.
OHIO AND ERIE CANALWAY
With a rich tradition of industry and big-city development, this heritage area overflows with both rural and urban history. From Cleveland to Youngstown and beyond, there is plenty to learn about the history of the canal and the area’s industry and natural resources.
Start in Cleveland at the Crawford Auto Aviation Museum
, located in University Circle’s Western Reserve Historical Society. Check out nearly 150 antique, vintage and classic automobiles, from Model Ts to modern-day Jaguars. The museum also houses a dozen historically significant airplanes, showcasing the development of aviation and how it relates to northeast Ohio’s history and culture. 10825 East Blvd., Cleveland, 216/721-5722. wrhs.org
. Tues.–Sat. 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Admission $8.50, seniors $7.50, 17 and under $5.
Travel southeast to Youngstown to visit the Youngstown Historical Center of Industry and Labor
. The museum, which covers labor, immigration and urban history, features a wide range of memorabilia related to the area’s iron and steel industry. Some of the highlights include 30-foot photographs, a reproduction of a company house and a locker room with clothing arranged according to decades (from the ’20s to the ’70s). 151 W. Wood St., Youngstown, 800/262-6137. ohiohistory.org
. Wed.–Fri. 10 a.m.–4 p.m., Sat. 12–4 p.m. Admission $7, children (6–12) $3, children 5 and under free.
Your next destination is the Butler Institute of American Art
, which is also in Youngstown. Known as “America’s Museum,” the Institute is dedicated to preserving and collecting works of art by American artists. It currently houses more than 20,000 art pieces in a variety of permanent and temporary exhibits. The Institute’s original structure, dedicated in 1919, is on the National Register of Historic Places. 524 Wick Ave., Youngstown, 330/743-1107. butlerart.com
. Tues.–Sat. 11 a.m.–4 p.m., Sun. noon–4 p.m. Free admission.
Next on the tour is Exploration Gateway
in Canton. Part park, part library, this amazing, 41,000-square-foot education center overlooks Sippo Lake Park, with hiking, biking and a marina. The Congressman Ralph Regula Canalway Center highlights the significance of the Ohio and Erie Canal and its role in shaping the history of Ohio, with 11 interactive exhibits that let you steer a canal boat or “speak” with a historic figure from the past. 5712 12th St. N.W., Canton, 330/409-8096. starkparks.com
. Tues.–Fri 10–4, Sat 10–2, Sun. 1–4. Free admission (Canalway Center $3, children 12 and under $1).
Just a short drive west to Massillon takes you to Spring Hill Historic Home
, a historic farm and house museum. New England transplants and Quakers Thomas and Charity Rotch built the house in the 1820s and raised merino sheep on the farm. A tour of the house reveals a secret staircase where they once hid slaves. 1401 Springhill Lane N.E., Massillon, 330/833-6749. springhillhistorichome.org
. June–Aug.: Sun. 1–4 p.m. Admission $5, seniors and children $4, children 5 and under free.
OHIO'S HILL COUNTRY
By far the largest heritage area geographically, Appalachia encompasses vast stretches of rolling hills. Hike the trails and learn about the people and their livelihoods — both past and present. With 32 counties, a great deal of diversity exists within these borders.
Begin this part of your adventure in Cambridge at the Degenhart Paperweight and Glass Museum
. The museum houses decorative glass (novelties, paperweights, vases and tableware) from Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Indiana, as well as Degenhart glass and paperweights made in Cambridge. 65323 Highland Hills Rd., Cambridge, 740/432-2626. degenhartglass.com
. Tues.–Sat. 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Admission $1.50, seniors $1, 18 and under free.
The next stop is Roseville, home of the National Ceramic Museum and Heritage Center
. Located in the midst of the Clay Corridor, an area known for producing excellent pottery, this museum features exhibits of several well-known potteries, such as Roseville, McCoy and Hull. The surrounding campus has campgrounds, a shelter house and a picnic area. 7327 Ceramic Rd. N.E., Roseville, 740/697-7021. ceramiccenter.org
. Mon.–Sat. 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Sun. noon–5 p.m. Admission $4, seniors $3.50, children $2.
Drive south to Wayne National Forest
, with approximately 240,000 acres of Appalachian foothills. These rugged hills showcase various wildlife, rock formations and historic sites. A visitors’ center is located at the forest’s headquarters just outside Nelsonville and is equipped with permanent displays and brochures about the region. 13700 U.S. Rte. 33, Nelsonville, 740/753-0101. waynenationalforest.com
. Open from dawn to dusk. Free admission.
Travel north to Logan to visit the Columbus Washboard Company
, the only washboard manufacturer still operating in the United States. Tour the factory to see how the washboards are made, learn their history and discover their many uses. 14 Gallagher Ave., Logan, 800/343-7967. columbuswashboard.com
. Mon.–Fri. 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Free admission.
Complete this tour in Circleville at the Ted Lewis Museum
. The museum features memorabilia of the legendary jazz musician and Circleville native, including his top hat, clarinet and sheet music. A little theater shows tapes of his performances. While you’re there, see Pickaway County’s bicentennial mural just down the street. 133 W. Main St., Circleville, 740/477-3630. Fri. and Sat. 1–5 p.m. Donations accepted.
OHIO'S HISTORIC WEST
This part of the state was once the Wild West, and today much of that heritage still exists in the area’s small-town museums and historical destinations. Explore the historic downtowns, learn about their architecture and attempt to re-create the life of a pioneer as you travel through this unique heritage area.
Begin your exploration at the Mercer County Historical Society and Museum
in Celina. Learn about 19th-century life in Mercer County through various exhibits and archives. Annual exhibits feature prehistoric Indian artifacts, antique guns, and postcards and books, with a special exhibit on Captain James Riley, who surveyed the area in the early 1800s. 130 E. Market St., Celina, 419/678-2614. Call for tour appointments. Free admission.
Next, visit Historic Downtown Greenville
, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Darke County Visitors Bureau will provide a brochure that will guide you on a tour of the major historical buildings in Greenville. 537 S. Broadway, Greenville, 800/504-2995. Free admission.
Travel east to Springfield and visit the Westcott House Museum
. Frank Lloyd Wright designed the house for entrepreneur and industrialist Burton J. Westcott in 1906 — the only Prairie-style home that Wright designed in Ohio. A 45-minute tour and eight-minute video provide an overview of this unique home, its surroundings and the story behind it. 1340 E. High St., Springfield, 937/327-9291. westcotthouse.org
. Wed.–Sat. 11 a.m.–5 p.m., Sun. 1–5 p.m. Admission $10.50, seniors and children $9.
Drive north to Grimes Field in Urbana to see the Grimes Flying Lab
. Learn about Warren G. Grimes, the father of aircraft lighting. View the restored 1950s airplane he used to test his lighting, and tour the hangar that was converted to a museum featuring Grimes products. 1636 N. Main St., Urbana, 937/471-0845. grimesflyinglab.org
. Sat. 10 a.m.–1 p.m. Donations accepted.
Continue driving north to West Liberty, home of the Piatt Castles
— Mac-A-Cheek and Mac-O-Chee. This private, family-owned museum dates back to the 19th century when Judge Benjamin M. and Elizabeth Barnett Piatt relocated here from Cincinnati. Two of their children later built their own homes on the property — the Piatt Castles. The military exhibits are being upgraded for 2011, including exhibits celebrating the bicentennial of the beginning of the Civil War. 10051 Twp. Rd. 47, West Liberty, 937/465-2821. piattcastles.org
. Daily 11 a.m.–5 p.m.; Sept.–Oct. Sat. and Sun. 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Admission (both castles) $20, seniors $18, children (5–15) $12.
SOUTHWEST OHIO HERITAGE AREA
From the rich aviation heritage of Dayton to the skyline of Cincinnati, there is a never-ending list of places to explore in the southwestern corner of the state. Learn about the pioneers of aviation, experience the Civil War era and explore the natural beauty in the small towns and country roads along the way.
Your next adventure begins at the Aullwood Audubon Center and Farm
in Dayton. Visit both the environmental education center and the nearby working organic farm. Participate in some hands-on learning activities or head out to the trails to experience the woods, streams, ponds, prairies and meadows on the property. 1000 Aullwood Rd., Dayton, 937/890-7360. aullwood.center.audubon.org
. Mon.–Sat. 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Sun. 1–5 p.m. Admission $4, ages 2–18 $2.
Also in Dayton, the National Aviation Hall of Fame
is located at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. It honors America’s air and space pioneers, such as Wilbur and Orville Wright, Charles Lindbergh, Amelia Earhart, Neil Armstrong and more. The Hall of Fame Learning Center explores the history of aviation through seven major sections, from the early years to the space age. 1100 Spaatz St., Dayton, 888/383-1903. nationalaviation.org
. Mon.–Sat. 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Free admission.
Drive south to Lebanon to Glendower Historic Mansion
, a Greek Revival-style mansion that once belonged to a prominent Lebanon attorney and later to a Civil War general. Costumed interpreters lead guided tours of the mansion with a focus on the Civil War era. 105 Cincinnati Ave., Lebanon, 513/932-1817. wchsmuseum.org
. Wed.–Sun. 12–4 p.m. Admission $5, seniors $4.50, under 18 $3.50.
Travel west to Oxford, home of Miami University and the McGuffey Museum
. William Holmes McGuffey, professor and author of the McGuffey Readers, lived in this house from 1833 to 1836. Today it is a National Historic Landmark where visitors can learn about McGuffey, Miami University and southwest Ohio. 410 E. Spring St., Oxford, 513/529-2232. muohio.edu/mcguffeymuseum
. Tours by appointment only. Free admission.
The final stop on this tour is Krohn Conservatory
in Cincinnati. Built in 1933 at the height of the Art Deco era, the building is both architecturally and historically significant. Today this giant greenhouse holds more than 3,500 plant species from around the world. 1501 Eden Park Dr., Cincinnati, 513/352-4080. cincinnatiparks.com/krohn-conservatory
. Open daily from 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Donations accepted.