The Dayton Light Guards

During the American Civil War the Dayton Light Guards were some of the first Ohioans to volunteer for military duty with United States Army.

During the beginning of the American Civil War both the U.S. and the Confederacy had to rely on the states to supply the armed forces with men and supplies. As for Ohio, Governor Dennison turned to the Ohio militia to provide the federal government with troops.  However, the Ohio militia had been in decline since the end of the War of 1812. As the British left and the threat from Native Americans waned, no one saw a need to strong support the Ohio militia for the state’s defense.

In April of 1861 President Lincoln called for seventy-five thousand volunteers to help end the rebellion of the Confederacy. Governor Dennison sent Jacob Cox and George McClellan to the state arsenal in Columbus. Unfortunately, it contained only a few old muskets, damaged cannons and useless junk. Even without proper equipment on hand Dennison called for Ohio communities to revive the militia system and form units to send to Columbus, the state capital.

While it was true that militia system had declined, some communities had maintained units. Usually these existed to provide young men with something to do in their spare time and to march in parades.

One of these units was the Dayton Light Guards. They quickly marched to Columbus to heed the governor’s call to arms. The Dayton Light Guards became part of the first to infantry regiments out of the war, Company C of the First Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment.

Governor Dennison sent these regiments to Washington, DC to protect the US capital on April 19, 1861. This was only four days after President Lincoln’s call for volunteers.


Cincinnati’s Famous German-Language Paper: The Westliche Blatter

The Westliche Blatter or Western Paper was created on November, 5 1865 as the Sunday edition of the popular German paper Tägliches Cincinnati Volksblatt or the Daily Cincinnati People’s Paper. It was located in Cincinnati, the center of Hamilton County, Ohio.

Their goal was to entertain and educated German readers (of which there were many) in the area. It also provided readers with political content and other relevant news. Like other papers of its time it also provided regular content like novels, narratives, novellas riddles, anecdotes poems, historical insights, travel news, and essays on fashion, science, literature and humor.

The weekly news paper also included telegraphic news, ads, and community announcements. German owned business were the primary advertisers as the paper was printed almost entirely in German. Though some articles and ads did appear in English.

Like its weekday counterpart the Western Paper was Democratic in its politics but became Independent in 1872 to retain as many of its ever-growing readership.

By 1880 they had 21,000 subscribers. By 1911 they had over 40,000. While the large German-American community was a contributor to the Western Paper’s success anti-German sentiment during WWI and the Prohibition movement caused the paper to cease publication in 1919 with the Daily People’s Paper following shortly after.


The Marion Steam Shovel Company

The Marion Steam Shovel Company was created in 1884 in Marion, Ohio. The company’s steam shovel traded boomed along with railroad construction in the American and Canadian West in the late 19th century.

When the US government acquired the Panama Canal Zone in 1903 they went to the Marion Steam Shovel Company for the machines they would need for the canal’s construction. Marion soon became known as “the city that built the Panama Canal.

The Marion Steam Shovel Company prospered into the early decades of the 1900s. During the 1920’s the company built the largest shovel to exist up until that time. The company made name and manufacturing change as the age of steam ended and became the Marion Power Shovel Company.

During the 1930’s an even larger shovel. It weighed almost 3 million pounds and required 46 railroad freight cars to get it were it needed to go. During the 20th century their shovels were mostly used for building roads and strip mining, however they also were used to help build both the Holland Tunnel and Hoover Dam.

The Marion Power Shovel Company also built the vehicles that transported the Apollo rockets to the launch pad. NASA continues to use these haulers today.

A Wisconsin company purchased the Marion Power Shovel Company in 2003. At its high point the company employed 2,500 workers.


Invented in Ohio: Play-Doh

The Cincinnati-based Kutol Products Company’s Irma McVicker hired her son Joseph McVicker and son-in-law Bill Rhodenbaugh to run the firm which produced soap and wallpaper cleaner. Joseph soon realized that their wallpaper cleaner could also be used as a modeling clay.

In 1955 he tested the product at Cincinnati local schools and daycares. In 1956 Woodward & Lothrop Department Store in Washington D.C. started to sell the clay. McVicker had named it Play-Doh.

Joseph and his uncle Noah McVicker applied for a patent for Play-Doh in 1958 but didn’t received it until 1965.

In 1956 the pair created the Rainbow Crafts Company for the singular purpose of manufacturing and selling Play-Doh. Originally Play-Doh came in just one size, 1 and ½ pound boxes and in just one color, an off-white. The company also quickly came up with red, yellow and blue which each could be purchased in one-gallon cans. The company quickly realized their package sizes were quite large and began to offer their four colors in 11oz packages as well.

Rainbow Crafts Company was purchased by General Mills in 1965 and they later purchased all rights to Play-Doh in 1971. Tonka bought Play-Doh and the related companies in 1987. Hasbro, current producer of Play-Doh acquired the rights and companies in 1991.

Through the years numerous colors and related toys have been created along with the famous children’s toy.


Old Man’s Cave

Old Man’s Cave is located inside Hocking Hills State Park which is located outside of Logan, Ohio. Many consider it to be one of Ohio’s most popular natural attractions.
Old Man’s Cave is situated in a gorge Black Hand Sandstone. Over thousands of years erosion—largely caused by glaciation and Salt Creek, which runs through the gorge—has resulted in the creation of the cave. Sandstone is extremely porous and therefor much more prone to erosion than other kinds of stone.

While the cave itself is fairly small the gorge is about half a mile long and reaches a depth of 150 feet at its deepest point. Notable plant life that favors the gorge are hemlock, black birch and Canadian yew.

Legend tells us that a Richard Rowe lived, at least shortly, in the cave in 1796. He came to Ohio with his family from the Cumberland Mountains of Tennessee. Eventually he settled in Hocking Hills. He is also supposedly buried in the cave. This is where the name Old Man’s Cave comes from.

Archaeological evidence exists that demonstrates various peoples occupied Old Man’s Cave long before Rowe.

Archaeologists have documented that Indigenous Americans visited the region perhaps as long ago as seven thousand years. The Lenape, Shawnee and Wyandot all occupied the region throughout the 1600s and 1700s.

Rowe probably wasn’t even the first European to visit the cave. Two brothers, Nathaniel and Pat Rayon came to the area in 1795 and built a cabin near the cave. Supposedly they are either buried in or around the cave.

The State of Ohio purchased 146 acres of land in Hocking Hills in 1924. The purchase included Old Man’s Cave. The Ohio Department of Forestry were the first to own and operate the cave. In 1949 the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Ohio Division of Parks assumed operation of Old Man’s Cave.