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CRYPTOZOHIO: Most Haunted in Ohio II

Cryptozohio - Stories from the Depths

This a continuing list of places that claim to be “The Most Haunted” in Ohio. The location itself might not make the claim, but the claim is made by many people. In our last post (click here) we covered The most haunted City, House, Government Building, Prison, and Cemetery. Today we cover a few more of Ohio’s “Most Haunted”

Most Haunted Museum:

National Museum of the United States Air Force

In our post about the Ohio’s haunted museums we touched on the stories from the museum. Dedicated to the History of a branch of the Armed Service and housing weapons of destruction, the museum is the perfect recipe for ghosts stories and urban legends. The NMUSAF is bound to have a few things that remain long after the battles are fought.

… In the WWII exhibit ghost are said to haunt the planes they once flew. The Lady B Good’s entire crew is said to haunt the area surrounding its memorial stain glass window. Near by the plane is also said to be haunted, but it could just be the crew from the Lady mistaking it , the same model of plane, as their own.  One or two planes have even been said to be “piloted” by ghost who are trying to finish their last mission. Additionally almost all of the Prisoner of War sections of the museum seem to have an eerie feel about them. Almost as if those who never returned have found away back.

This museum is more than just ghost stories though. On July 8th, 1947 something crashed outside of a farm in Roswell, New Mexico. Was it a spy balloon or something else? Some stories say that what ever was found was transferred to the base and stored in Hangar 18. The Base also has stories surround it and the technology it houses. It is said that it has reverse engineered alien tech and that the owners are coming back to claim it.

Most Haunted Island:

Johnson’s Island

Some people say that the “Most Haunted Island in Ohio” is South Bass Island, but with the size of land mass it is more of a haunted town than a haunted Island. Per acre Johnson’s Island is considered the “Most Haunted.” The island maybe small but it played a big role in the Civil War.

Johnson’s Island is located off the coast of lake Erie near Marblehead Lighthouse. The proximity to shore, about 1/2 mile away, made it a suitable location for a Civil War Prison and later Fort. The island is close enough to bring supplies, but far enough to discourage escape attempts. Despite the distance to shore making swimming a challenge in the warmer months, it was not much of a deterrent during the colder months when the lake would freeze over. The frozen lake would also make resupplying the prison a challenge. The harsh winter months were hardest on the prisoners from the south who were use to more mild winters. Disease and weather took a toll. Despite the problems, few prisoners escaped and only 200 men died, making it one of the lowest mortality rates of any prison during the war. But from that 200 men many may have not had easy deaths.

After the war the island was abandoned by the Army. Eventually it was used as a resort, farm land and a rock quarry. From the time the first civilians started to come to the island legends of the former inhabitants had started to be told. In the rock quarry a group of Italian immigrants, many who did not speak english, started singing a strange song one day. It was later found out that this song was Dixie. At the Confederate Cemetery voices can be heard. It is also said the Monument to the fallen soldiers has been seen to move around. The strange sightings are not just confined to the cemetery. While most were buried in the cemetery proper, graves have been found all over the small island. Most of the properties on the now inhabited island are said to be on top of a grave or two.

Most Haunted Inn:

Golden Lamb

Opened shortly after Ohio became a state The Golden Lamb is one of the oldest continually operating Inns in the nation. Over the years many famous people have spent the night there. While it was more famous during the 19th century, with every one from Mark Twain to every Ohio President stopping by, it still sees a good number of visitors each year.

With so many years of operation it is expected that tragedies and strange occurrences will happen.  Probably the weirdest accident to happen was that of lawyer Clement Vallandigham. While in his room trying to show fellow lawyers how his client’s “victim” could have shot himself accidentally, he accidentally shot himself. His client was found not guilty.  Vallandigham was not the only member of court to die in the inn. Charles Sherman, a Supreme Court Justice for the state of Ohio, while doing his required rounds of his district became ill. He was transferred to the Golden Lamb, which is across the street from the courthouse. He died a few days later. His death left his wife and children in dire straights, including future Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman. The ghost that haunts the middle floors is said to be one of these two men.

Probably the most famous Ghost of the Inn is that of Sarah. She was the daughter of a former innkeeper and grew upon there.  Her room has been turned into a museum on the fourth floor. Some say this is to appease her, other say it is just a tourist attraction. It is said that late at night a young girl can be seen wandering around the halls near the room. Some say that the ghost is not that of Sarah however. Having lived to adulthood it is strange that she would come back as a child. The tricks the ghost play are not that of an adult but of childish youth. Many think it could be the spirit of Eliza Clay, daughter of famous senator Henry Clay, who died in the inn of a fever.

The Golden Lamb is open year round as a restaurant and working Inn. The Inn does not shy away from its history but celebrates it. This is one place that can be stayed in at night and one might get to experience the strange happenings. One can also visit during the day and see the historic rooms with a chance at a close encounter. For more stories of the Golden Lamb check out https://www.citybeat.com/home/article/13016077/golden-lamb-inn-ghost-hunt 

Most Haunted Park:

Wayne National Forest – Athens Unit

Wayne National Forest may not be a single park, but the parks within it can run together so much that it is hard to distinguish one from the other at times. The area of the forest that has been most cited in stories and legends is the portion surrounding Athens. This area includes Hocking Hills State Park and Lake hope State Park.

Moonville tunnel ror

As we wrote in our post on haunted state parks of Ohio, Lake Hope State Park  is home to Moonville Tunnel. This tunnel is an old abandoned rail tunnel that has seen it share of tragedies. Tales of former rail workers, citizens who fell from the bridges connecting the tunnel. Even without the stories the modern location is creepy all by itself.

… The tunnel is located off the Moonville rail trail. There is a high water trail down the road. This path will lead around the creek that runs high most of the warmer months. The tunnel itself is a run down popular area. The walls are lined with graffiti and trash. Even in the light of day the area is creepy and scary. The idea that the ghost of a lost railroad worker, or a local citizen, becomes almost a guarantee once one has visited the area. Well worth the hike.

Also located in this portion of Wayne National Forest is the ever popular Hocking Hills. This place is so popular that it draws citizens from across the state every weekend. Some stories are from first time campers who see or hear things that are natural in the deep forest of the region and attribute it to the legends of the park. While this may explain some of the tales told, so many more are told that there must be something lurking in the park.  From the natives who first inhabited the land to the Early explorers who are the name sake of the region, many a visitor has come to the place never to leave.

(These parks only contain a portion of the legends from the region see our post here for more)

Most Haunted Subway:

Cincinnati’s Abandoned Subway

Okay this is Ohio’s only Subway. The creepiness and the abandoned nature of it got it on our list. It is also one of, if not the, largest abandoned subways systems in the nation. The size of the thing has attracted many urban explorers ( We do not encourage trespassing), homeless citizens, and wild animals to visit the tunnels.

The subway system was very well-built and is in good order almost 100 years later. This in part due to the workmanship of the people who built it and in part to it supporting a busy road above. Like most projects of the time, a few workers deaths was not unheard of. But did the workers ever leave, or do they continue to stay and work on a system with little hope of becoming active. Explorers who have gone into the tunnels have said to hear creepy noises and even moaning. Many have also said to have found the camps of the homeless who have made the tunnels home. Most visitors come away from the Cincinnati Subway with an uneasy felling.

A documentary on the System has been produced and airs on PBS from time to time. It is available on Amazon. If you would like to visit the Tunnels of Ohio’s Subway, tours are offered on occasion. We recommend a tour due to the nature of the location and the legality of exploration. Visit https://www.cincymuseum.org/heritage-programs#subway-talk-and-walk for more information.

 

 

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CRYPTOZOHIO: Most Haunted

Cryptozohio - Stories from the Depths

Some place seem to have residents that love the place. Really love it to death. Some places even have a lot of residents that seem to love the place beyond death. In Ohio a number of locations have decided to give themselves the title of “Most haunted…” Are they “The most Haunted”? Can anything really be the “Most.” We will let you decide. Here is a look in to some of them.

Most Haunted City:

Athens

The most haunted city in Ohio, or even one of the most haunted in the nation. Athens is located in the middle of the foothills of southeast Ohio. It is the hub of the area and most of the regions major services are located there. If people needed health care, higher education, or other things, they had to travel in to town. The Athens Lunatic Asylum was a mental health facility for over 100 years that served this purpose. It was known for performing lobotomies, electroshock therapy, hydrotherapy, and the use of psychotropic drugs. The hospital also had a cemetery on site. Around 1930 residents are buried in there. Many without names and just numbers. The facility is now The Ridges and houses the Kennedy Art Museum. As expected from a former mental facility, the location is said to be forever inhabited by many former patients.

The area that is Ohio University has more stories than rooms it seems. We have already mentioned the many stories and legends that the university holds. Some of these stories just don’t add up when looked into. This could be a case of students, wanting to believe in the strange, passing on legends to the newer crowd. Halloween is a big deal at OU with the Halloween block party being one of the largest in Ohio. Despite this large number of story that are made up, many more exist that are based in fact. This could be the former mental facility on campus, the area’s history as an American Indian village, or the fact that the school started almost 15 years before Ohio even became a state.  A place does not get the title of one of the “Most Haunted Universities in America” with a few things happening.

Most Haunted House:

Franklin Castle

Slightly outside of the heart of Cleveland is what some say is the most haunted house in Ohio. Built around 1883 this house was the former residence of Hannes Tiedemann and his family. About ten years after the house was built it saw its first death, the Tiedemann’s 15-year-old daughter. Soon after the family’s grandmother passed away. Within 3 years 3 more children had died. A year later Louise, the family mother, passed away.

Soon the house was sold and used as a German social club for many years. In 1968 the Romano family bought the castle. After a while the family complained of ghost. They performed exorcisms and had ghost hunting groups investigate, all to no avail. After years of hauntings they sold the property to Sam Muscatello. Muscatello had plans for the place but needed cash. To make money he offered haunted tours. Many say that the stories of the location seemed to increase during this time. Muscatello was known for inviting the media to the house and promoting its haunted nature. In one of the towers he even found human bones, which some wonder if he placed there himself. Despite

Over the years many rumors have been attached to the location. Stories of bootlegging, murders, and eerie happenings. Even if the stories are the work of an overactive promoter, many people say they have felt things in the house.

Most Haunted Prison:

Ohio Reformatory

Of course the most famous prison in Ohio is the considered the most haunted.  The Ohio Reformatory, Ohio’s official State Penal Museum. Opened to prisoners in 1896, the prison lasted almost 100 years. The Reformatory saw a large share of prisoners and was closed due to overcrowding.

With such a large population in a small area disease, accidents, and violence were bound to happen. During its time over 200 people died within the prisons walls. the East Cell block, the world’s largest free-standing cell block, was where most of the inmates were housed, but not the location of the most deaths. The 8 most haunted spots seem to be spread out all over the place. The most haunted being the location where men were left to themselves, Solitary Confinement.

Over the years many TV shows and movies have been filmed in the prison. The most famous being The Shawshank Redemption. The most popular thing to film however, besides music videos, is Ghost Hunting shows. Almost every paranormal show has taken time to visit.

Tours are given of the overall prison, the Hollywood history of the location, and the popular haunted areas. Tours can be booked from the Reformatory’s website: https://www.mrps.org/explore/paranormal-programs/ghost-walks

Most Haunted Government Building:

Ohio Statehouse

The cornerstone of the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus was laid in 1839 and the building first opened for business in 1857. During that time many workers were from the nearby prison. Some even died during the construction. Throughout the lower levels and parking garage it is said that sounds of construction can still be heard. During the 1990’s restoration graffiti was found from the workers.

While many government building had been opened before it, the Statehouse is the most famous in the state. With all the people who have worked in the building, and the many famous visitors, it is also considered the most haunted. The most famous visitor said to revisit from time to time is Abraham Lincoln. He first visited in 1859. He returned in 1861 on his way to DC to be sworn in as president. It was inside the statehouse that he learned he had officially won the presidency. His final visit was in 1865 when he laid in memorial after his assassination. Some say that he can be seen wandering the rotunda. Sometimes he is seen with the daughter of Governor Samuel Chase. He is also said to dance with the lady in grey from the nearby Camp Chase cemetery. Along with the 4 working cannons the grounds of the Statehouse are guarded by Civil War veterans who never left their post. Some even say they are even guarding Lincoln to this day.

The most famous worker to have stayed is that of Thomas Bateman. Bateman was a clerk of the senate for over 50 years. Very studious and rule bound, it is said that at exactly 5 o’clock he can be felt moving from the senate floor to the hall way outside and the lights can be seen flickering to indicate the end of the work day.  Along with Bateman many other workers have been heard late at night. Some say it is just the echoing of the stone floors, others say it is lawmakers forever trying to get one last bit of work done long after they should have left.

The State house offers haunted tours yearly along with its daily tours. Ohio Statehouse event page has information on this popular tours and many more things to do at the Statehouse..

Most Haunted Cemetery:

Woodland Cemetery – Dayton

While most cemeteries have a story or two about something “living” among the non-living, this location has a few more than most in the state. We have talked about the many hauntings at this picturesque location before. The most famous is of a dog who is said to return to visit his young owner. The statue of the dog has been said to breath and move the many tributes left beside it. Victims of Jack the Strangler , The Cincinnati Ripper, and many who made their own victims all rest uneasily throughout the grounds. The electric chair is responsible for quite a few of the graves, even as the story goes, one who helped to build it.

Haunted lantern tours and most of the scenic fall tours fill up early in September. To book checkout their website. Many other tours are available throughout the year.  Even without the haunted aspect this is worth a visit.
http://www.woodlandcemetery.org/tours-and-events

 

World A’fair

2018 location: Dayton Convention Center
22 E 5th St, Dayton, OH 45402

https://www.aworldafair.org/

Date: Usually the weekend before Memorial Day (May 18-20, 2018)

Ohio is a melting pot. Over the years people from all walks of life and all parts of the globe have come together to make it a very interesting place. In the beginning most of the immigrants came from Europe. As the Countries involvement in Asia and other area of the world, the diversity of the state expanded too. One city that has embraced this diversity is Dayton. The city has many cultural organizations that help to keep the spirit of the people’s homeland alive and to help to educate the next generations.

For the past 45 years the many organizations have been coming together to celebrate the diversity of its people. Known as A World A’Fair, the event brings over 30 cultural heritage groups from around the region to one large celebration, the largest international festival in Ohio. Housed in the Dayton Convention Centers main hall the event is basically a market and two stages.

The “market” area is the largest section. It consist of one booth from each of the organizations involved. Each year the A’Fair has one aspect of culture that it focuses on. Each booth is required to display something based on that aspect. The single focus does an amazing job of showcasing the diversity of culture, while at the same time showing that all cultures have something in common. At most booth food is served. This is not just some over popularized sampling of the culture, like a fourth grade presentation. This is the real immigrants spending time to make the food of their homelands. While some of the food is common to the palate of the average 21st century American, such as bratwurst, wontons, curry, or pizza, it is all made in the tradition al way. The food is reasonably priced and a great reason to come back over the 3 days. Some booths sell merchandise too. The event is one of the largest fundraising for any group involved. Over 30,000 people attended in 2016.

The entertainment for A World A’Fair is also provide by the organizations. The 3 day event has many dancers, singers, and acrobats spread out over two stages. The Main Stage is where the large presentations take place. It is a large area off to the side of the main floor. The very large bleachers always seem to have space despite the crowds. The Interactive Stage is a smaller area for more, well interactive, presentations. The area is quite small and can fill up fast. Most groups preform many times over the weekend, with multiple chances to see them every day. These are great places to stop and eat, rest during the day, and wait to eat some more.

To help keep the younger ones interested the event has a children’s passport. The passport is a small book with questions that can be answered with information found at each booth. There also is a small child’s area in front of the Main Stage with crafts and demos. There also is a separate fair in the lobby of the convention center. Here many local organizations such as The Humane Society of Greater Dayton, and the Dayton Metro Library have informational booth for people waiting in line to enter. Sometimes the festivities from inside spill out into this area.

Over the years The World A’Fair has become more than a simple high school level presentation of cultures. It is a 3 day explosion of diversity and food, and dancing, and more food.  A must see for anyone looking to expand their understanding of the world.
Tip: Around noon Saturday a Naturalization Ceremony is held to welcome more citizens to the nation. A great chance to see the love that the immigrants coming to the area have for their new home, while still celebrating their old home.

Krohn Conservatory

1501 Eden Park Dr, Cincinnati, OH 45202

http://www.cincinnatiparks.com/krohn/

Down by the river in Cincinnati is  Eden Park. The land is beautiful and the hills rolling. The park it self is quite large. So large it house two of Cincinnati’s hidden gems. The first is The Cincinnati Art Museum. The second is not quite as large or well known but is just as amazing: Krohn Conservatory.

In the 1880’s the first greenhouse at Eden Park were used for growing plants for the park. at the turn of the 20th century a greenhouse was built for public displays. The following year the first plant show was started. Shortly after the park decided to keep the plants in the greenhouses in rotation to keep visitors coming back. About 30 years later the crowds had grown and the park needed a new green house. The Eden Park Greenhouse opened its doors in 1933. four years later it was renamed The Khron Conservatory in honor of Irwin M. Krohn.

A conservatory is a room with a glass roof and walls, attached to a house at one side and used as a greenhouse or a sun parlor. Krohn is more than just a glass room attached to a building. The conservatory is broken up into 4 main rooms with smaller rooms off to the sides. The rooms each encompass an environment for the plants inside. The desert room houses the Cacti and succulent collection.  The tropical room showcases plants from the warmer climates, including ferns and begonias. The palm house is the tallest with palm trees towering above.  This room also includes a waterfall the flows into a river full of fish, turtles, and frogs. Behind the waterfall is a hidden cave. Each of these rooms includes edible plants too. The conservatory is a great place to see where some common, but exotic, food comes from including bananas, vanilla, and cacao.  Off too the sides of these rooms is the bonsai collection. With plants owned by the park and plants on loan from the Bonsai Society of Greater Cincinnati . The other room is a large selection from the conservatories collection of orchids.

The final room of the Krohn is the smallest but grandest. The seasonal flower show room is the where 6 different shows are put on through out the year. During the spring the Krohn Conservatory holds its most famous event, a butterfly show. The room comes alive with the flutter of wings. While the flowers may repeat from time to time, each of the six shows are themed differently. The room becomes whatever the theme is. If the idea is flowers of the bayou, the room is a slice of New Orleans. Visitors are transported not just by the flowers on display but by the music, the decorations, and even the structures and walkways. The theming is not only limited to the seasonal show room. Every time the shows theme changes the Krohn is almost born anew with little hidden gems popping up in the other rooms as well. The changing shows are what make every visit a treat to enjoy with new things to find and sites to see.

TIP: The Cincinnati Art museum is open late on Thursdays and can be fit into a day trip to Eden Park and the Krohn Conservatory.

 

Opening Day in the MLB

For the past 142 (well 141 but who’s counting) one team has not heard the words home opening game. They have not had to. Every season they have opened at home and the home opener was just called Opening Day of Major League Baseball. It might be because they were the first Professional Team. It might be because of their location. It might be because they almost sell out every time. It might be because they are the Cincinnati Reds.

Why Cincinnati?

The Reds started out as the first openly professional team in 1866, just one year after the Civil War. Baseball was in it infancy at the time and over the next 16 years many changes came. In 1876 the team started playing in the newly formed National league. Over the next few years the team moved to a new league, but by 1890 the team had rejoined the National League for good and baseball was on its way to becoming a great american pastime.

Cincinnati was the southern most city in the league. With harsh winters and less experienced grounds keepers, other teams were happy to visit the “warm” city. Before tv, radio, or movies baseball and other live events were some of the only form of entertainment around. This meant that the Reds opening game was almost always a sellout. With a cut of the sellout profits and a better climate visiting teams decided to keep playing in the Queen city on the first day of the season. Be it tradition or an homage to the fact they were the first pro team, the Reds have opened the season at home on the first day of play ever since.

The fanfare and the Parade

At the turn of the 19th century Baseball, like most early years of a sport, had not formed the single major league they are now. The National League was competing with the American Association. To stand out the teams promoted Opening day more and more. If  fan was a fan of your team, the thought went, they would stay all season. To promote the game Cincinnati drove both the Reds, the visiting team, and a marching band down the streets to the field hyping the upcoming game along the way. This lasted until 1902 when the team stopped their parade. The fans decided to continue on their own.

For the next 2 decades local groups, known as rooters, would meet and march towards the game, promoting both the game and themselves along the way. in 1920 Findlay Market joined in on the fun, becoming one of the loudest and largest of them all. After a while the rooter groups stopped marching towards the game. The tradition faded. The only one left marching was the Findlay Market group.  Being the largest of them all changed the event from a tailgate fan event to a full fledge parade, albeit a small one.

Eventually the Ball park they were marching too moved downtown and the parade route took on a new direction and scope. What had once been a group of shop owners heading toward the park nearby became the citywide holiday event that many in Major League Baseball have come to recognize as the start of the season nationwide.

Alas due to a change in the schedule of MLB, and the date of Easter, the 2018 parade will not happen until the 4th game. 

Gift Basket Ideas from Ohio

This is the time of year that the stores are filled with simple stocking stuffers and easy to grab gifts for friends and family.  For loved ones near-by this is fine. For friends or family that have moved out of Ohio, or who live in another state and wonder what’s so great about the great state of Ohio, a little more is needed. Here are a few suggestions (not a complete list add your own in comments below) for perfect way to wrap up Ohio.

We have organized our ideas into regional baskets. Pick and choose or add your own. These are just suggestions. If you have any more suggestions you can add them in the comments below.

Northeast:

Northwest:

Southwest:

  • Cincinnati Style Chili – A little bit thinner than the “other” styles of chili, this classic is known for its ability to turn spaghetti into a regional favorite. Everyone has their favorite place, and all are good.
  • Grippos – if they want barbecue chips they probably crave these.
    Mike-Sells – if they are from a little closer to Dayton these are the choice
  • Ester Price – Chocolates from Dayton
  • Boston Stoker Coffee – Don’t let the name fool you, it’s locally roasted coffee.

Central:

Amish Country:

 

 

A Few Good Ohio Book Gift Ideas for fellow Ohio Travelers

Looking for a simple stocking stuffer for a party? Here are a few good books about Ohio that are the type we use to find our places to explore. We think others might like them too. These are just a few ideas to help inspire you, your family, or friends to get out and explore our great state.

For the ones who want to be outside:

  • A Field Guide for whats living out there so that they know what they are finding:
    • Ohio Nature Set: Field Guides to Wildlife, Birds, Trees & Wildflowers of Ohio Wall Chart by James Kavanagh 
    • Ohio Trees & Wildflowers: A Folding Pocket Guide to Familiar Plants (A Pocket Naturalist Guide) Pamphlet by James Kavanagh
    • Ohio Butterflies & Moths: A Folding Pocket Guide to Familiar Species (A Pocket Naturalist Guide)by James Kavanagh
    • Ohio Wildlife: A Folding Pocket Guide to Familiar Species (A Pocket Naturalist Guide) by James KavanaghWaterford Press, and Raymond Leung
  • Guides to see where to go and find outdoor Ohio:
    • Hiking Ohio: A Guide To The State’s Greatest Hikes (State Hiking Guides Series) by Mary Reed 
    • Follow the Blue Blazes: A Guide to Hiking Ohio’s Buckeye Trail by Robert J. Pond and Steven M. Newman
    • Hiking Ohio by Gary Williams
    • Ohio Rocks: A Guide to Geologic Sites in the Buckeye State by Albert J. Dickas

For the more indoors type Ohio explorer:

  • Guides to see whats outside but not be “outside”:
    • Ohio Off the Beaten Path®: A Guide To Unique Places (Off the Beaten Path Series) by Jackie Sheckler Finch
    • Ohio Road Trips: 52 Trips–more Than 500 Fun and Unusual Getaway Ideas in Ohio! by Neil Zurcher
    • Backroads of Ohio: Your Guide to Ohio’s Most Scenic Backroad Adventures (Pictorial Discovery Guide) by Miriam Carey and Ian Adams
  • Guides for the Urban Explorer:
    • Walking Cincinnati: 32 Tours Exploring Historic Neighborhoods, Stunning Riverfront Quarters, and Hidden Treasures in the Queen City by Danny Korman and Katie Meyer
    • A Historical Guidebook to Old Columbus: Finding the Past in the Present in Ohio’s Capital City by Bob Hunter and Lucy S. Wolfe
    • Lost Toledo by David Yonke
    • Dayton Through Time by Curt Dalton 
    • Secret Cleveland: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful and Obscure by Deb Thompson ,‎ Tonya Prater 
  • Anything by Niel Zurcher:
    • Neil Zurcher – All his books seem to be about the great Ohio road trip

 

Warren County History Center

105 S. Broadway, Lebanon, OH 45036

http://www.wchsmuseum.org/planvisit/warren_county_history_center-2

While not as big as the Cleveland History Center, Carillion Historical Park, or the former Cincinnati Museum of History, the Warren County History Center Museum is large enough to tell the story of a town that once was on track to be larger than Dayton, Ohio.

The museum is more of a collection of historical artifacts than a straight story of the region. This works out well. A straight story would be interesting to some people but not much more than a few founders’ names. The collection of artifacts works to envelope the visitor in the era. The artifacts are so well arranged that they blend together into a theme more than stand out on a pedestal. The overall feeling is walking through rooms and lives from the early settlers to the roaring 20’s.

 

The basement houses the older collections. The first room is filled with early inhabitants’ artifacts and rocks from before any human was in the area. From there one steps forward into the cabin of the Butterworths, early settlers to the area. The cabin is on par with any living history museum in the state. The artifacts so well arranged and taken care of that it felt as if the father of the house was about to come back at any moment for dinner. Outside of the cabin room is a large collection of equipment that the settlers and early farmers would have used to conquer the land and turn Warren County into the agricultural treasure it has become. Surrounding the farm equipment are window displays that house artifacts from the time period. They are themed to every aspect of life from the mundane grooming to the occupational, like journalism, finance, and funeral arts. The lower level also contains the transportation wing with a collection of a few vehicles used to move people around throughout the history of Warren County. On the way out of the basement is the dark and forbidding Underground Railroad exhibit. The dark room only has the sounds of the night time creatures and the light of a distant house. Slowly the lights rise to reveal a display on the work done by Warren county residents to help slaves from the south escape to freedom. Included are maps of stops on the Underground Railroad and displays telling about how Warren County and Ohio dealt with the issues leading to the Civil War. This room is a must see.

The first floor is the one of the largest rooms and is the “Village Green.” This room is set up with display windows around the outside that resemble a town center. Each display recreates a shop that would be found, with real artifacts of the citizens of the time. This is where the theming and curation of the museum really takes off. Each display is surrounded by a facade and filled with artifacts that make it feel like looking into a shop window. The back room of the first floor is the temporary exhibit space with an ever changing collection of exhibits.

Upstairs is a balcony that surrounds the “Village Green” with two main rooms on each side. The main balcony feels like an overflow for not yet used items, but the 2 side rooms are some of the best of the Museum. The front room contains the 1920’s era “house.” The “house” is just a collection of rooms with items from the era. Included are mannequins with period clothing. While the rooms could feel like just a spattering of items, as with the rest of the museum they are so well themed that one is transported to the era and location of a 1920 warren county big wigs estate. The back room is the Shaker exhibit. The exhibit is one of the best exhibits on shaker life outside of a dedicated museum. Each artifact tells the story of Union Village that was just 4 miles outside of Lebanon. “There is great beauty in harmony” was a saying of the Shakers and the exhibit’s simple but well documented form helps to recreate this simple way of life.

One of the greatest parts of the museum was hidden throughout it like a treasure hunt. The “Gruesome but Truesome” exhibit are small placards in the windows that tell the more macabre details of the items inside. The information is well placed and parents with small children do not have to worry about items scaring them. Teens and the more adventurous will love to read about the larger story behind the museum’s collection.

Over all the Warren County Historic Center is a medium sized county museum with nothing extreme or major to set it apart from the larger city museums. As we say “A museum must tell a story, not just be a collection of artifacts.” The center shines with what it does with what it has. Every artifact is carefully placed, maybe not to tell a story, but to transport the visitor back in time to a different era.

See part 2 of this post with the Glendower Historic Mansion.

Glow Jack-o-lanterns

The Stoddard Avenue Pumpkin Glow

October 30 & 31st, 2017
Location: Stoddard Avenue Dayton (Behind the Art Museum)

Off for 2016, The Stoddard Avenue Pumpkin Glow is back this year. The Glow is one the best hidden traditions in Ohio. Aptly  hidden on a hill behind the Dayton Art, in the Griffton hill neighborhood event lights up the night. In 2015 over 850 pumpkins were displayed. That is over 850 different Jack-o-lanterns of ever imaginable variety.

The Stoddard Avenue Pumpkin Glow was started over 20 years ago by Judy Chaffin. She decided that the glow of some Jack-o-Lanterns would help to brighten the dark of here neighborhood. Behind the local Greek Church was a small hill that was perfect. Judy Chaffin, her brother, and sister in law made the few pumpkins displayed in 1994, The after a few year friends and neighbors helped out. Eventually it became an event. In the beginning they had to find the pumpkins at local farms and drive them back on their own. Not to hard for 50 or 60 pumpkins but an almost undo able feat for over 400. Luckilly they found a farmer who worked out a good deal and would deliver, a needed service for over 800 pumpkins.

The Pumpkin Glow is a simple concept. Take a few pumpkins, carve, light, and display. Common ideas start to run out after a few hundred pumpkins and the wackiness that makes The Stoddard Avenue Pumpkin Glow a treat pop up. Everything from movie characters, local attractions, famous landmarks, words, to marriage proposals   have appeared on the gourds. If it can be carved into a Jack-o-Lantern it probably has at the Pumpkin Glow.

Last year the hill was dark. But as the glow idea has caught on around the area and nation the Stoddard Avenue tradition was needed even more. This year the excitement of the lighted hill has grow. The Glow is October 30 & 31st, 2017 and is expected to be one of the biggest. Zombie Dogz and El Meson will be among the food trucks in the area. Over 2000 people are expected to attend the event so expect crowds.

CRYPTOZOHIO: Horror movies from Ohio

Cryptozohio - Stories from the Depths

One, two, Freddy’s coming for you.

Three, four, Better lock your door

Five, six, grab a crucifix.

Seven, eight, Gonna stay up late.

Nine, ten, Never sleep again….

With these lines we know that something Bad is coming. That is the song used in the “Nightmare on Elm Street” franchise. The films are about a man who comes back to haunt the dreams of the children of Springwood, Ohio. He is not the first and won’t be the last monster to live in this state. A lot of horror movies use Ohio as setting. Is it that most of the Midwest looks like Ohio and many people could see it happening in their own town, no matter where it is filmed? Is it because during most of the 19th century Ohio was the population center of America and had a lot of residents, many who never left? Almost every major structure in Ohio has a ghost story or two. Some towns like Athens and Waynesville even claim to be some of the most haunted places in the country.  Sometimes they don’t set the film in Ohio but simply film here. Like setting it here, Ohio can stand in for most of America. With our hilly southeast, our suburb filled southwest, our city filled industrial northeast, and all the farm land in between, Ohio is almost anywhere America. With a state that can stand in for almost anywhere and ghosts everywhere, Ohio is the perfect place for a horror film.
Here is our non-complete list of Horror films set in / filmed in Ohio:

Babysitter Massacare
Deadly Blessings
Finale
The Faculty
Heathers
Howard the Duck
The Manson Family
Meet the Applegates
My Friend Dahmer
Nightmare on Elm Street Franchise
Pi Day Die Day
Salvage
Scream 2
Sella Turcia
The Sleeper
Super 8
Take Shelter
ThanksKilling
Trick ‘r Treat
The Watch
Wednesday Children