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Ohio Life

Dogwood Pass, Beaver

Get a glimpse of Mike Montgomery’s vision of the Old West at a town he created among the hills of Pike County.

The Dogwood Saloon is not your modern brewpub. The place seems a perfect spot for a high-noon showdown. Down the street, there’s a mercantile, a bank and a bathhouse — all built with a mining-shanty chic — and no cars navigate Dogwood Pass’ unpaved roads. After all, this is the Old West, or at least how Mike Montgomery envisions it.

“Everything here is just kind of built from my head — what I thought it looked like back in the 1800s,” says Montgomery, who created Dogwood Pass on 2 acres of family farmland in Pike County. It all started with the saloon in 2010.

“We’ve always been intrigued with horses and the West,” says Montgomery, who trained horses professionally for much of his career. “My wife [Sharlene] and I decided to build our own saloon up here. It was just going to be for us, a family get-together kind of place.”

It wasn’t long before Montgomery began to build additions to his budding town. In 2012, he and Sharlene hosted a fundraiser at Dogwood Pass to benefit a local child living with cystic fibrosis. Positive feedback from guests led the couple to open their Old West town to the public.

Today, Dogwood Pass is a bustling settlement, with 39 buildings and as many period re-enactors who roam the grounds. The town is open Thursday through Sunday, but it comes alive on Saturdays and Sundays, when Montgomery and his team put on multiple live shows.

“The horses ride through town — the bank robber will ride into town, rob the bank, ride out of town shooting … you name it,” he says. “It’s just constant Old West fun.”

Dogwood Pass operates year-round (except for the month of November, when Montgomery shuts down to decorate for the town’s Christmas season). He hosts a Civil War re-enactment and creates a special ghost-town vibe during October, too. What Montgomery hears most from visitors is appreciation for the chance to step away from the rush of modern society.

“Folks come to the gate and they feel at home here,” he says. “It’s surreal. It’s peaceful. It’s away from the hustle and bustle.”

Visit website for admission, hours and special events. 722 Adams Rd., Beaver 45613, 740/835-1130, dogwood-pass.com

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