Hope, Ohio and the Hope Furnace

Hope, OH still stands but under the waters of Lake Hope. Hope, OH was flooded up the side of cliff as part of a flood control project. Other Ohio ghost towns met a similar fate. Lake Hope is now part of a state park and recreation area.

Two structures from Hope remain. The one-room schoolhouse isn’t far from the park inside the state forest. It has been renovated and is now used as a community meeting place. Inside the park itself the Hope Furnace still stands which was once used to smelt iron ore that was mined in the hills nearby.

There is a third structure, south of the schoolhouse on Wheelabout Road is an abandonded church which is in very poor condition and it is not recommended people go inside it.

Along with these structures there was once a post office named Hope Furnace which was built in 1865 and ran until 1890.

The Hope Furnace is an important historical marker for the region. Located northeast of Zaleski Village along SR 278 it is one of two extant iron furnaces in Vinton County. It ran for 20 years between 1854 and 1874 to smelt iron ore. It ran on coal or charcoal for fuel. It somewhat resembles a skinny pyramid and is made out of sandstone.

Like other iron furnaces of the time in region, Hope Furnace was once surrounded by a community of hundreds of residents as the production of iron and supplying of goods and services for the area required many workers and small business owners. Now no structures of the community remain; however, many artifacts can still be found in the area.

Warren G. Harding Home & Museum

Visitors can tour the restored home of Warren G. Harding, the 29th U.S. President. The site is best known as the location of his 1920 “Front Porch Campaign.” The home is a National Historic Landmark and includes many of the Harding’s original furnishings. Just a mile away visitors can also visit the resting place of both Warren G. Harding and his wife Florence.

Harding was born in 1865 in Corsica, Ohio but spent his youth in Caledonia, Ohio. In 1882 Harding and a friend bought the Marion Star newspaper from Marion, Ohio. Harding won the Ohio General Assembly election in both 1898 and 1900. Harding, in 1903, became Ohio’s lieutenant governor.

Harding returned to the Morning Star two years later but following his Front Porch Campaign he became President of the U.S. from 1921-1923 and was the first president voted into office after women won the right to vote.

Historians cannot say whether or not his time in office would have been viewed more favorably if he had not died in 1923 not completing his term as president.

Many people don’t know that he did have several important law-making accomplishments. Harding established the first formal budgeting process for the General Accounting Office. This oversees government spending. Also, Harding created the Veterans Bureau which later became the Veterans Administration.



Restored Schoenbrunn Village, Home of Historic Ohio Firsts

The Schoenbrunn Village is the site of many historic Ohio events and many firsts. The first settlement, church, schoolhouse and code of laws were all created in Schoenbrunn. The village has been restored to resemble what it looked like two centuries ago. This includes the original cemetery along with sixteen rebuilt log buildings along with a church and gardens. Non-historical buildings include a visitor center and museum.

Schoenbrunn Village was first founded in 1772 as a Moravian mission among the Delaware Native Americans. It was the first Christian settlement in all of Ohio. The villagers were successful in living there for a few years however encroaching settlers and natives aligned with the British forced the settlers to abandon their village in 1777.

David Zeisberger established the village. He had found a unique pocket of neutral land in a part high tense part of North America as the American Revolution geared up.

Five Native American families and Zeisberger traveled to the Tuscarawas River and found a suitable place for the mission in the Ohio countryside. It was here villagers established a school and a civil code—both the first in Ohio. Toward the end of its short history villagers were hassled by British loyal natives and the frontier folk pushing further west into North America.

By 1777 the villagers could no longer deal with the opposing forces and abandoned their village and ruined their meetinghouse upon leaving so that no harassers could use it in their absence.

The Schoenbrunn Village is currently run by the local organization, Dennison Railroad Depot Museum.



Paul Laurence Dunbar House

Paul Laurence Dunbar was one of America’s greatest poets and spent almost his whole life in Ohio. Along with hundreds of poems he published novels, short stories and song lyrics. For many, he is one of the most important authors and figures in African American and American history. He is often compared to Fredrick Douglass, Booker T. Washington and Oriville and Wilbur Wright.

The Ohio General Assembly dedicated the house as a memorial to Dunbar in 1936 and gave its care over to the Ohio History Connection. The Ohio History Connection was able to open home become museum and monument in 1938.

The turn of the century home exhibits Dunbar’s life through objects such as his personal items and family’s furnishings. Other items included on display are Dunbar’s bicycle which the Wright brothers gifted him; the desk chair in which Dunbar sat to write most of his work; his collection of Native American art; and a ceremonial sword given to him by then President Theodore Roosevelt.

In 2003 a project was completed that restored the Dunbar House to what it would have looked like when Paul Laurence Dunbar and his mother Matilda resided in it. Dunbar spent just two years in the house from 1904-06 (when he died) while his mother resided there until 1934.


The Premiere Bird Sanctuary of Ohio

Ohio Bird Sanctuary is a private non-profit organization that was founded in 1988. The Sanctuary was originally run from the private farm of Chris & Gail Laux.

It started off as just three small enclosures, but over the next 10 years four flight cages were designed and built to condition recovering raptors for release and additional enclosures were constructed to house the growing educational collection.

The Ohio Bird Sanctuary is a safe space for all Ohio’s native birds. It is also a nature preserve and a “living museum”. The dedicated team cares for and rehabilitates Ohio native birds and protect the natural habitat.

They also are creating opportunities to explore nature. The achieve this through educating the public and by providing family-friendly and school-based programs. They also do this by managing a 90 acre preserve and caring for sick and injured birds.

The sanctuary is open Saturdays at 1PM for Bird Encounters. Get a chance to meet an owl up close; watch hawks soar over their handles and land safely on the handler’s arm. The programs vary each week according to the season, however, there is always a chance to meet the birds up close