I’m working on something for the DH that involves looking at websites for Ohio’s county seats. A lot (most, in fact) are small towns or cities and some are villages and possibly even townships.
Brimfield, where I grew up, has changed some, but not enough to have grown past township status itself. So I’m most comfortable in those kinds of places, where things are quiet, there’s probably a greenspace at the center of the town and there’s a festival, carnival or fair that’s the heart of summer or fall events.
As I go through these pages, I find myself thinking it would be fun to have a whole summer and enough money to go from town to town, enjoy the people, the festivals or fairs (or both) and visit tourist attractions, tour factories (like Longaberger or Sauder) and see the historical sites that we keep saying we’re going to see and never have time for.
You could kick things off early in Hinckley, where the buzzards return every year. Or tour the Seiberling home at Stan Hywet (pronounced Stan You-wet), which has some of the most beautiful gardens imaginable. Same goes for Zoar Village, near Dover, formerly a settlement of German religious dissenters.
There’s a fair amount of history here in Ohio. Of course, there are Native American sites of interest, where the Whittlesey Indians and the Hopewell Indians were, among others. The French traders settled Ohio for awhile, and it was considered part of Nova Gallia (New France), although the property was ceded to the English as part of the Treaty of Paris. Oddly, for a state that was under French control for a time, there’s only a certain amount of that presence left, mostly in NW Ohio (where the French had Fort Loramie) and on the Ohio River in Gallia County and it’s county seat, Gallipolis (meaning, roughly, “French City”).
Besides that, we have Seven Years War, French and Indian War, Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and Civil War sites (the Civil War locations are mostly in Southern Ohio — Morgan’s Raid comes to mind). The Underground Railway ran through Ohio. We have some very good battle reenactments, and preserved towns, railcars and railways, villages and settlements.
The canals also ran through Ohio and pieces of them still exist – at Milan, Ohio (birthplace of Thomas Edison) and Roscoe Village near Coshocton, where you can get a ride on a canal boat, or you could.
There’s the scenic railroad in the Cuyahoga Valley, the glass and ceramic industry near Cambridge in Guernsey County, cave explorations in the Hocking Hills, and Amish country in Holmes County, where you can eat yourself into a stupor (just make sure you save room for the homemade pie).
Ohio’s the home of Presidents (well, mother of Presidents, or so we call ourselves — you can read about that here, if you like). Most of Ohio’s claimed presidents have some kind of visitable presence here, whether it’s Garfield’s monument in Lakeview Cemetary (I know, Cleveland’s not a small town, but this is worth seeing anyway) or his home, Lawnfield, in Mentor. We’ve been to Marion (Harding), Fremont (Hayes) and Canton (McKinley). Grant’s boyhood home and several other historical sites connected to him are in Southern Ohio within driving distance of each other. That’s on our list of to-do things. President Taft has a site in Cincinnati. The Harrisons (Benjamin and William Henry) have the least presence here, but since they’re the ‘debatable’ ones, that’s no surprise.
Each of Ohio’s 88 counties has a fair. Fair season this year runs from June 10th (Paulding County) to October 6 (Fairfield County). You can find a schedule of fairs here.
I probably sound like I’m shilling for the Ohio Department of Commerce, but there’s so much I would like to see here and I’d like you to see it too. If we run into one another, say “Hi!” We’re friendly here in Ohio and we’ll be glad to see you.