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Ohio Valley offers variety of museums

February 25, 2014
By BETTY J. POKAS - Area Editor , Times Leader

A DOG-POWERED wheel to operate a butter churn, a movie star with charisma, a boat found in an attic and connected with a dream as well as elegant furnishings, beautiful glassware and items related to the frontier and mining are only some of the features in Eastern Ohio museums and attractions.

The Parry Museum in Woodsfield includes a one-room schoolhouse and a dairy barn on its grounds, and there also is the dog-powered wheel for operating a churn. The museum is open June through September and those interested in touring these varied sites may call 740-472-1933 or 740-472-5371 for an appointment.

Also in Monroe County is the Ohio Valley River Museum, Clarington, 740-458-1873. Paintings, boat models and river-related memorabilia are only some of its attractions, and it also features special events such as a "Dine Like You're on the Delta Queen" dinner tentatively planned for May 17.

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That museum also has a boat on display, and it's the focus of a small book about the boat itself and the Clarington area. The book, "The Boat in the Attic," may be purchased at the museum or from

The boat was part of a dream by museum director Barbara Rush. She said her late husband appeared in the dream and told her that she had a boat in the attic. Rush added that she didn't know where it was supposed to be, but there was nothing resembling a boat in the attic of her home. It later was discovered in a barn in an area not readily accessed or visible.

In Cadiz is a replica of the birthplace of Clark Gable, and the Clark Gable Birthplace and Museum, 740-942-4989, includes memorabilia related to that famous star, who portrayed Rhett Butler in "Gone With the Wind." Items related to his movies also are included.

Elegant furnishings and other items from a bygone era may be viewed at the Belmont County Victorian Mansion Museum in Barnesville. Open on Wednesdays through Sundays from 1-4 p.m. from May to September, the award-winning mansion also schedules special events during the year. Those wishing more information may call 740-425-2926 or 740-484-4716.

Elsewhere in Barnesville is the Watt Center for History and the Arts. The Watt Car and Wheel Co. was famous for its production of mining cars, and other items related to business, industry and agriculture may be viewed there. Open May through September by appointment, center officials may be reached at 470-425-1497.

The Quaker Heritage Museum at the Stillwater Meeting House near Barnesville is open by appointment by calling 740-425-2710 or 740-425-2776.

Another meeting house is the Concord Meeting House on U.S. 250. In the cemetery near that structure, built in 1813, is the grave of Josiah Fox, the chief designer of "Old Ironsides." Call 740-635-2255.

Glassware made by Imperial Glass, known as the Gem of the "Glass City" is on display at the National Imperial Glass Museum in Bellaire. It is open from April through October, Thursdays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and the telephone number is 740-671-3971.

A private museum in Bellaire is the Bellaire Toy and Plastic Brick Museum. Call 740-671-8890 for hours.

The Sedgwick House Museum in Martins Ferry includes items from the early days of area history, including the Zanes, up through the Space Age. Appointments may be made by calling 740-633-5559.

Old-time school days can be recalled at the Great Western Schoolhouse near St. Clairsville, For appointments, call 740-695-4359 or 1-800-356-5082.

Also in Belmont County is the Underground Railroad Museum centering on items related to the Underground Railroad and slavery. Located on High Street in Flushing, museum appointments may be made by calling 740-968-2080 or 740-968-6113.

In nearby New Athens is the Franklin Museum, open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from noon to 4 p.m. in May through September; the telephone numbers are 968-1042 or 968-4066. Franklin College memorabilia, fire department items, printing and households are only some of the areas receiving attention.

Then, in Cadiz, the History of Coal Museum is located on the lower level of the Puskarich Public Library, 740-942-2623. Photos, equipment and the cultural heritage regarding mines are among the features.

Varied subjects including Gen. George Armstrong Custer and the 1889 oil boom are featured in the Scio Historical Museum, (740-945-2172 or 740-945-5561) which is open the fourth Sunday of each month from May to September and during the four-day Fall Festival.

A statue of Custer and markers related to him are in a park dedicated to him in New Rumley. The park is located near his birthplace which no longer stands.

In Jefferson County, the Quaker Meeting House, built in 1814 to house the Ohio Yearly Meeting at Mount Pleasant, is owned by the state and operated by the Historical Society of Mount Pleasant. It's open in April through October by appointment only. More information may be obtained by calling 1-800-752-2631.

Not all features from the past are housed in museums. The Harrison Coal and Reclamation Historical Park with varied mining equipment is near New Athens. A special event is held in September; for more information, call 740-942-1102.

Some areas of communities such as Barnesville have historical districts, but nearly the whole town of Morristown and Mount Pleasant are historical districts.

Although tours sometimes are held in those two villages, the Morristown Historic Preservation Association currently is concentrating on the Black Horse Inn. The oldest part of that building dates from 1807.

Morristown is considered a classic Pike Town along the National Road.

The Historical Society of Mount Pleasant is planning a tour Aug. 2-3 of some private homes as well as the Quaker Meeting House and historical buildings owned by the society. Those include the Free Labor Store, Mount Pleasant Museum and Tin Shop. The village is acclaimed for its connection with the Underground Railroad.

Also in Jefferson County is Historic Fort Steuben, 740-283-1787. A fort was constructed in recent years on the site of the original Fort Steuben, and that historic area is open May through October, Mondays through Fridays, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

These are only some of the sites available for visitors in Eastern Ohio. The area also is noteworthy because the S-Bridge at Blaine was selected as Ohio's Bicentennial Bridge.

Pokas can be reached at



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