Driving across Ohio it is common to see black, cardboard silhouettes of Bigfoot in fields or small statues in gardens. But near Springfield we saw an incredible roadside attraction – a six foot tall, giant, very detailed Bigfoot statue. One hundred thirty miles east of here at Salt Fork State Park in Cambridge the Legend of Bigfoot (also called the Ohio Grassman) looms large with frequent sightings through the years. We were told this statue is a tip of the hat to the legend.
The Olde Wayside Inn in downtown West Union is Ohio’s Oldest Standing Inn Still in Use. Built in 1804 as the Bradford Inn by General David Bradford, it served travelers along Zane’s Trace, the original route from Maysville, Kentucky to Wheeling, West Virginia. Notable visitors to the tavern included President Andrew Jackson in 1829 on his way to his inauguration, Mexican General Santa Anna in 1836 and American statesman Henry Clay. Rooms are only $65 a night!!!
This painting of Jesus carrying his cross on the way to Golgotha along with the ten commandments is painted on the side of a three story building not far from President Ulysses S. Grant’s boyhood home. Painted in 2018, the mural is across from the county courthouse and next to a street of nostalgic 1880 buildings.
After a fun two hour drive through scenic south-central Ohio, we hiked this 4.6 mile out and back preserve trail. Rated moderate due to its many steep inclines, the trail winded through mature wooded areas over a dozen foot bridges where we often saw bunches of the Ohio state wildflower, the large white trillium. At one point the forest opens into a prairie where we crossed several creeks and saw remnants of old shacks. The trail ascended over 300 feet eventually crossing a boardwalk over a crevasse and ended at a dolomite rock cliff overlook providing a panoramic view of the beautiful rural Adams County valley. The overlook is a chunk of Peebles Dolomite Rock that juts out 500 feet above the valley below where turkey vultures ride the air currents. Afterwards, in downtown West Union, we viewed the colorful Buzzardroost Mural and the Olde Wayside Inn, built in 1804, Ohio’s oldest still standing inn still in use.
A new Moraine Historical Marker was recently erected designating Moraine’s First Schoolhouse. The schoolhouse, located at 3562 Vance Road, is now a private residence but has quite a history.
In 1883, county authorities established District 12. The first school was held in farmer Felix Yeasal’s living room, located about 200 yards west of the intersection of Vance and Sellars Roads. The first teacher was Miss Anna Christman who went on to a 40 year teaching career.
In 1885, a brick building was erected on land the township board of education bought from Isaac Lesher and was located on the corner of Vance and Pinnacle Roads at the foot of Pinnacle Hill. This was Moraine’s First Schoolhouse. Albert Patterson was the first teacher and had a special helper, a bearded man called the “hermit” who kept a cabin near the school and visited it frequently. He assisted the teacher and students by starting a fire in the stove each morning during cold weather. In 1890, attendance at District No. 12 school was 14 pupils and in 1891 only six children attended.
Children at the school were treated to quite a surprise in August 1914. A story told years ago by former Moraine Mayor Carl Gerhardt, he remembers when his teacher Mrs. Prass heard that the Wright Brothers were testing their new hydro-aeroplane (seaplane) on the nearby Miami River in Moraine. Mrs. Prass dismissed the class so that all of the students could go down to the river and watch. Mayor Gerhardt commented on how thrilled the students were to see this rare accomplishment of Orville Wright taking off and landing in the river.
In 1924 the smaller school districts throughout the county were consolidated. Many one and two room schoolhouses were closed and combined into larger modern facilities. District No. 12 was dissolved and consolidated into West Carrollton Exempted Village School District. The schoolhouse is now a private residence so the public is asked to respect the privacy of the owners.
This new Moraine Historical Marker is the 16th erected in the city. The first ten markers were dedicated in 2015 as part of the City of Moraine’s 50th anniversary celebration. Pick up a “Moraine Historical Marker Self Guided Tour Brochure” at the Moraine Municipal Building or at both recreation centers and learn the location and history of each marker.
Completed in 1845, the 274 mile canal linked Lake Erie with the Ohio River and canal boats brought pioneers, food and goods to the Miami Valley. The canal ran north-south through Moraine and was located where present day Dryden Road and Arbor Blvd. are. Boats up to 80 feet in length were towed along the canal tow path by mules, horses or oxen at four or five miles an hour.
Canal Lock #22, which lowered or raised the water level, was located at the corner of Dryden Road and East River Road.
What people don’t know is that a toll house for the canal was located at the corner of Dryden & Kreitzer Roads and still stands today. The structure was a small log cabin but it is located within the house that was built around it. The house has been used by a Moraine business.
The individual running the toll house would collect a fee from people or businesses using the canal boat.
The canal was just west of the toll house. The dried out canal bed (Photo#2) served as a small sandlot baseball field in the 1960’s and 1970’s for the local kids that lived next door in the mobile home court.
We began our 17 bicycle ride on the Little Miami Bike Trail in Yellow Springs at the famous HaHa Pizza “paranormal” mural. Biking south toward Xenia and back we enjoyed the tree covered and open areas, saw several deer and stopped at an historical marker at the birthplace of Shawnee Indian Chief Tecumseh in 1768.
For Rosie’s 61st birthday we had lunch in downtown Tipp City at the Coldwater Café, a unique restaurant housed within a former bank building. Our table was located in the former bank vault. Food was outstanding including their famous English tea cake. Afterwards, we changed clothes and hopped on the nearby Great Miami River Recreational Trail for a 15 mile bike ride south towards north Dayton and back. Beside the bike trail at Tipp we viewed an original Canal Boat that used to traffic the Miami & Erie Canal. After the bicycle ride we drove to Possum Creek Metropark and took a nap in her hammock.
Okay, I know it’s not a church but every time we drive from Dayton to Cincinnati on I-75 we would pass the eye catching 62 foot tall “King of Kings” Jesus statue located at the Solid Rock Church. It was built in 2004 for $250,000. Sadly, it was destroyed by lightning in June 2010. A new replacement 52 foot tall statue called “Lux Mundi” or Light of the World was built and dedicated in September 2012. The design has Jesus stepping forward with his arms open with a welcoming gesture which, when driving by, always comforts me, makes me think of the real Jesus and makes me pray.