Lafayette’s Famous Hotel

MSN recently rated the “most haunted” hotel in every state. So, what spooky spot did they pick for Ohio? The beautifully appointed Lafayette Hotel in Marietta, OH.

Those who believe the hotel to be haunted often say it is the old owner and that he likes to play tricks on guests by moving around items in their rooms, overturning their suit cases and emptying shampoo bottles.

Yet the real history of the hotel is far more fascinating. Marietta was established as the first permanent settlement in 1788. The hotel was named for the Marquis de Lafayette who was the French hero of the American Revolution who visited Marietta in 1825. Today locals still like to boast that Lafayette was the first tourist to visit Marietta. A plaque near the hotel marks where he came ashore.

Before the Lafayette Hotel was built stood the Bellevue Hotel, built in 1892. It had fifty-five steam heated rooms and was four stories tall. It also included a bar and call bell system in all rooms. Their marketing promised hot and cold baths and the rate was only about two dollars a night. The Bellevue was taken by fire in 1916, Lafayette guests can view pictures of the fire in Gunroom Restaurant.

A Marietta man rebuilt the hotel in 1918 and named it the Lafayette. Today the rooms still have many artifacts from the hotel’s past bringing together this wonderful story from Ohio history.

Explore the Metro Parks

Hampton Hills Metro Park is one of the larger parks in the Akron system at 665 acres. Many of the features of the Hampton Hills Metro Park were formed during the ice age via glacial movement. One such feature is the Adam Run Valley which was home to more than one Native American tribes prior to European settlement in the early 1800’s. The trails are surrounded oak, elm, sycamore and black walnut trees which are the homes of many varieties of birds and other wildlife.

Hampton Hills is well known for spring wildflower viewing. Other featured flora includes several types of ferns and mushrooms. Also, a strange plant called scouring rush lives near the banks of the stream. There is also a man-made flora feature—a grove of white pine, which was planted by a girl scout troop in the 1960’s.

Located in the “Top O’ the World Area” of Hampton Hills Metro Park is the old Adam’s family homestead. The farm fields now lay fallow and have become the home for meadow plants like milkwort, ironweed, Queen Anne’s lace, goldenrod and aster. The area is also home to many butterflies who live among the native plants.

Many birds will hang around the trees and shrubs hunting for insects, including Bluebirds and woodcocks. One may also see wild turkeys. Red-tailed hawks will be seen circling the meadows keeping an eye out for the voles and mice that live in the meadow.

The park includes two of the more challenging hiking trails in the Metro Parks. Both of which have seasonal streams crossing them, making the trails hard to use without getting wet feet!

Lastly, the park maintains a public archery range. The targets are maintained by the park, all other equipment must be brought in by patrons.

Explore Nature in Ohio

F.A. Seilberling Nature Realm is arguably one of the most beautiful Summit Metro Parks and though most of us don’t want to think of winter, the Nature Realm is great all year-round adventure. Many consider the F.A. Seilberling Nature Realm to be a hidden gem known mostly to locals but a surprise for visitors.

F.A. Seilberling Nature Realm is a great day trip destination. The trails range in difficulty though they are all considered to have an easy or moderate so you can bring a variety of friends or family. Mingo Trail, a 3-mile trail, is considered the most difficult at the park.

Patrons should note that the Mingo Trail has a no-dog area which is clearly marked.

One popular destination at the Nature Realm is the Suspension Bridge. It won’t be difficult to find as most of the trails converge at the bridge. To double check, please refer to an online map or paper map available at the park.

The Seneca Deck is a popular winter spot. There is a fireplace where hikers can cozy up and enjoy the landscape after their winter hike.

Spring and summer hikers may want to take the Seneca Trail which winds through the exquisite Rock and Herb Garden.

Families with children will enjoy the Visitor Center, which is open 10am-5pm Tuesday to Saturday. It is also open 12pm to 5pm on Sundays. The Visitor Center includes seasonal exhibits, a kid’s area, gift shop. There are even several live animals they can view. Naturalists are available to answer questions about the park.

Ohio’s Great Industrialist William Whiteley

William Needham Whiteley was an important Ohio industrialist during the nineteenth century.

Whiteley was born in 1835, in Springfield, Ohio. In 1852, his father opened the Whiteley and Fassler Company, a manufacturing establishment for farm implements in Springfield. William Whiteley also joined the business. William eventually assumed control of the company and renamed it the Champion Machine Company.

Under William Whiteley, the Champion Machine Company flourished. Whiteley received forty-two patents for his farming inventions. In 1882, Whiteley opened a new plant in Springfield. It was the largest factory of its kind in the entire world. It was eight hundred by twelve hundred feet. The Champion Machine Company actually owned fifty-four acres of land in Springfield, and by the mid 1870s, employed more than two thousand workers.

The Champion Machine Company was the largest producer of farming implements in the world by the 1880s. The firm manufactured more than twelve thousand reapers each year during this time. Whiteley eventually sold the Champion Machine Company to Warder, Bushnell & Glessner. In 1902, Whiteley’s former business became part of the International Harvester Company.

Whiteley died in 1911.

On Ohio’s Glacial History

Kelley’s Island, as we know, is composed of Devonian limestone and is a remnant ridge which was carved out during the Pleistocene (about 10,000 BC). The original people who lived on the island were likely Cat, Erie or Neutral Native Americans. They would have lived there around the 17th century.

Near the modern downtown of Kelley’s Island is a limestone rock formation which has petroglyphs carved over a span of years by the afore mentioned inhabitants and maybe some earlier indigenous people. 19th Century scholars named it Inscription Rock. The Kelley’s Island Historical Association prefers Henry Rowe Schoolcraft’s investigations. He dated the carvings around 1643. Schoolcraft thought that the rock was used as a message board of sorts by various native tribes who stayed on the island seasonally.

They probably left information about hunting on the island that season and where they were next traveling. Inscription Rock measures about 32 feet by 21 feet. Many of the inscriptions on the rock have been eroded, though some are still visible.

The indigenous people who are thought to have inscribed the rock are thought to have been destroyed by the Iroqouis nation from the New York area. At the time they were conquering new territory to control the fur trade.