The story of the Ohio River has never been straight and clear. Like the waterway itself, the history of the river meanders and rolls, falls and loops about again. This is a river alive with the spirit of Native Americans; moving with the enterprise of frontier families, yet still learning to balance the demands of commerce with the fragility of nature.
Be forewarned – there is a robbers’ lair tucked into the banks of the Ohio River. Named Cave-In-Rock by notorious pirate and murderer Samuel Mason, this once violent site is now a peaceful addition to the Illinois State Park system. Visitors often stay in comfortable cabins while exploring the nearby iron furnace, or the Garden of the Gods.
Located in Clarksville, Indiana, the once impressive 26 foot drop in elevation along two and one half miles of the Ohio River is now an educational site where fossils more than 390 million years old are preserved. Due to the fluctuating water levels of the Ohio River, the Falls of the Ohio State Park is best visited in late summer and through early winter.
The public is invited to learn more about the Ohio River where it flows through Southeastern Indiana when independent filmmaker Dennis Neary presents his film, Take the River, at the Lawrenceburg Public Library on Tuesday, May 10, 2016 at 6:00PM.
Just a short stroll from South Miami Avenue in the Southwest Ohio town of Cleves is tucked an often overlooked piece of history: the Cincinnati – Whitewater Canal Tunnel.
Now a mere mere hint of what it once was and what it once promised for the region, this silt-filled tunnel had been used by canal boats for just thirteen years. Sold to the Indianapolis and Cincinnati Railroad in 1863, soon locomotives thundered through the often flooded tunnel until being abandoned in the late 1880s.
Built during the years of 1839 – 1843, the Whitewater Canal Tunnel linked Hagerstown and Connersville, Indiana to Harrison, Ohio before entering Lawrenceburg, Indiana, until reaching the mighty Ohio River.
One of twelve canal tunnels in the country at the time, today only four such tunnels remain. This nearly forgotten structure was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001.
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On a wintry afternoon in November, I discovered a portal through time – or at least it felt like that as I walked through the Pioneer Village at the Governor Bebb Park in Butler County, Ohio.
The sky was slate gray; the kind of sky that promised snow and hot cider and crackling fireplaces …
… and the air was filled with the earthy fragrance of a blacksmith’s forge.
I savored this escape into the 1800s. The wonderfully cold day was cheered by bright red ribbons and dark green garland. The fresh colors were in stark contrast to the rough wood that had been sawed and hewn, cut and planed hundreds of years earlier.
As I walked through the village, I heard music playing on a dulcimer and couldn’t stop smiling.
What a lovely way to welcome the holidays.