Lake Erie: A Profile

Lake Erie has a great many islands, including Catawba, Kelleys, Middle Bass, and South Bass. The islands were formed during the glacial period when massive ice sheets entered Ohio. Glaciers gouged and scoured the bedrock; their tremendous weight left deep depressions which filled with meltwater, forming the Great Lakes.

Lake Erie, the smallest of the Great Lakes, is shallow – where the violent storms with huge waves come from. The lake is divided into three basins. The western basin has an average depth of 25 to 30 feet; the central basin averages 61 feet; and the eastern basin shows an average depth of 120 feet.

Lake Erie has high nutrient levels and warm temperatures which produce greater numbers and varieties of fish than any other Great Lake. Annual catches nearly equal the combined catch of all other Great Lakes. Yellow perch, smallmouth bass, white bass, channel catfish and walleye are dominant species.

The islands are composed of limestone bedrock. Small scratches in the rock surface, known as glacial striations, are common, while major grooves, such as those found at Kelleys Island, are rare but awesome.

Vast stands of red cedar and the presence of underground caverns, both associated with limestone, are found here. The islands and shoreline support a variety of reptiles including the state’s highest concentration of the harmless fox snake. The timber rattlesnake was, at one time, quite prevalent on the islands but is now gone from the area. Rattlesnake Island was so named due to the presence of this reptile, years ago.

Migrating songbirds rest here before winging across the lake. Hundreds of different species have been identified, making this one of the best birdwatching areas in the country. Also, several nesting pairs of the magnificent bald eagle are located in this area – one pair is close to our home and has several viable chicks which we and local and state naturalists have been watching. Another great part of living on the Bay!

McCook House Memorial

The Carroll County Historical Society was created in August of 1963. Initially its goal was to preserve the historic McCook House which is a state memorial owned by the Ohio Historical Society. Currently the Carroll County Historical Society is managing that property through a lease agreement with the Ohio Historical Society.

Located in Carrollton, Ohio the McCook House is now a memorial to the Fighting McCooks. The historic house was once the home of Major Daniel McCook. McCook and his nine sons along with six nephews became known as the Fighting McCooks because of their contribution to the armed services before the Civil War but especially during it.

Daniel McCook erected the brick house in 1837 on the southwest corner of the public square in Carrollton, Ohio. He and his family occupied the home until 1848. The state of Ohio came to own it in 1941 and it was dedicated to the brave Fighting McCooks as a memorial on October 10, 1947.

When Confederate general John Morgan made his raid into Ohio, Major Daniel McCook was stationed in Cincinnati. McCook was part of the party that went out in pursuit of Morgan. As Morgan tried cross again the Ohio river McCook and an advance party intercepted Morgan, it was during this skirmish that McCook was mortally wounded. He died the next day, July 21, 1863. He is buried in the Spring Grove cemetery.





Harriet Beecher Stowe House

The historic home was Harriet Beecher’s house before she married Calvin Stowe in 1836. She lived with her father Rev. Lyman Beecher and his large family. The family were a creative group of educators, religious, writers, women’s right and anti-slavery advocates.

Harriet’s sister Catherine Beecher was an early educator and writer who took part in founding many high schools and colleges for women. Her brother Rev. Henry Ward Beecher was a leader of the women’s suffrage movement—so considered him the most articulate minister of his time. Gen. James Beecher was a Civil War general. He commanded the first African American troops in the Union Army who were recruited from the South. Her sister Isabella Beecher Hooker was a women’s rights advocate.

The Beechers made Cincinnati their home for almost twenty years from 1832 to the early 1850s. They then returned east. It was after leaving Cincinnati that Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin, the best-selling book of its time. The novel, though fiction, accurately portrays the pain of slavery and perilous journey it was to travel the Underground Railroad to freedom in Canada.

Adena Mansion and Gardens

Thomas Worthington, who lived from 1773-1827, was the sixth governor of Ohio and one of the first U.S. Senators from Ohio. Adena was his 2000-acre estate. The house was completed between 1806-1807 and has now been restored to look similar to how it did when the Worthington family lived there. This includes many original furnishings that belonged to the Worthington family.

The house is also one of only three left standing in the country that was designed by Benjamin Henry Latrobe.

Today the property is comprised of about 300 acres and there are five outbuildings remaining along with the formal gardens. The gardens also underwent renovation. Visitors are invited to stroll through the three terraces of flowers and vegetables growing in the gardens and the grove which is built up with shrubs and trees.

From the north lawn of the mansion house, if visitors look east they can see across the Scioto River Valley to the Logan Range—this view became the inspiration for Ohio’s Great Seal.

The museum and visitor center features interactive exhibits which use stories about people connected to Adena to create a picture of what life was like in Ohio in the early 1800s. The grounds also include classrooms and meeting rooms available for rent.



Ohio and the Underground Rail Road

Ohio is well known for its Underground Railroad activity, many private and now-museum historic homes spread over the state were stops for escaped and freed slaves on their way to Canada. One particularly active stop was Hanby House, home of William Hanby and his family.

Hanby was an extremely active community member: Hanby served as the 15th minister of the United Brethren in Christ Church, he also edited The Religious Telescope, the church newspaper; he was co-founder of Otterbein University; Hanby worked with the early Temperance movement against alcohol; finally and most importantly to the historic site he was an abolitionist who opened his home to former slaves as part of the Underground Railroad. However history takes note of Hanby primarily has musician and composer.

During his tenure as a minister, Hanby composed the famous Christmas song “Up on the Housetop.” Chicago publisher George Frederick Root published “Up on the Housetop” and asked Hanby to work for his publishing company, Root & Cady, in Chicago, Illinois.

Benjamin Hanby composed over 80 songs in his lifetime. Among his most popular include “Up on the Housetop,” “Dear Nellie Gray,” and “Who is He in Yonder Stall.”

Built in 1846, the Hanby family occupied the home from 1853 to 1870. The home is part of the National Register of Historic Places as well as a designated United Methodist Heritage Landmark. In 2011, the National Park Service Network to Freedom recognized the home as a significant Underground Railroad site.

The home and tours are managed by the Westerville Historical Society under an agreement with the Ohio History Connection.

The home features many personal items having belonged to the Hanby family. Most notably the collection includes walnut desk crafted by Hanby as well as the original plates for the first edition of “Darling Nelly Gray”. The home also contains a large collection of sheet music and books.