Remarkable Ohio

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Wooster High School, 515 Oldman Road
Wooster

, OH

Charles W. Follis was born on February 3, 1879, in Virginia. His family moved to Wooster where he attended Wooster High School and helped establish the school’s football team. In 1901, Follis enrolled and played baseball at the College of Wooster and played football for the Wooster Athletic Association where he earned the nickname “The Black Cyclone from Wooster.” In 1904, Follis signed a contract to play football with Shelby Athletic Club, making him the first African-American professional football player. Follis faced discrimination on and off the field leading to many injuries. After a career-ending injury in 1906, Follis played baseball for the Cuban Giants of Long Island. He died of pneumonia in 1910 at the age of 31 and is buried in Wooster Cemetery.

Across from 878 Bayview Avenue
Put-in-Bay

, OH

This 6.5 acre island, named for the resemblance of its dolomite ledges to the Rock of Gibraltar, was the likely observation site for Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry’s naval forces during the Battle of Lake Erie in September 1813. Stone Laboratory, located on both Gibraltar and South Bass islands, is the oldest freshwater biological field station and research laboratory in the United States. Founded in 1895 as the Lake Laboratory, it was named for Franz Stone, whose son Julius purchased the island from the Jay Cooke family and presented it to Ohio State University in 1925. It continues as the research and teaching laboratory for the Ohio Sea Grant College Program. The Jay Cooke Castle on the island is a National Historic Landmark.

Fremont

, OH

The twenty-five acre estate Spiegel Grove was the home of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, the 19th president of the United States. Spiegel Grove received its name from the German word “spiegel,” meaning mirror, describing pools that collect beneath the trees after a rainstorm. Hayes’s uncle, Sardis Birchard, a Fremont merchant, built the home on this site in 1863. The Hayeses moved to Spiegel Grove after Hayes’s second term as Ohio governor ended in 1873. They inherited the estate in 1874. The family left Fremont after Hayes’s election as Ohio governor in 1875, and U.S. president in 1876. They returned to Spiegel Grove in 1881. The Hayeses expanded the home in 1880 and 1889. Lucy and Rutherford Hayes died at Spiegel Grove in 1889 and 1893 respectively. They were reburied at Spiegel Grove in 1915. Their children donated the property to the state of Ohio in 1909 in order to establish the nation’s first presidential library.

W side of intersection of Riverside Drive and Busenbark Road
Trenton

, OH

In 1833, Robert Busenbark deeded land to the directors of School District No. 6 for Busenbark School. Twenty years later, Robert and son David granted a right-of-way on their property for a station on the Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton Railroad (CH&D). One of eleven depots in Butler County, Busenbark station attracted the Kinsinger-Augspurger Warehouse and the Kennel Grain Elevator to the area in the 1860s. The railroad also enabled the cross-roads settlement to host an American championship prize fight in 1867. Fighting with bare knuckles in an outdoor ring, Mike McCoole bested Aaron Jones in a match seen by thousands. The Busenbark generating station supplied power to interurban lines until 1912 and later furnished electricity to local residents. Farmers and the Miami Poultry Yards depended on the trains and interurban to ship produce. The railroad depot disappeared between 1914 and 1916; the school closed after 1937; interurban service ended in 1939. All that remains of Busenbark is Busenbark Road, which was established in 1858.

1562 Clemontville Laurel Road
New Richmond

, OH

The Mount Zion Chapel of the Christian Church was built in 1872 on this hill adjacent to the members’ cemetery outside of Clermontville. The site was part of a two-acre parcel that had been secured from the farm of William R. Clark, Sr. for church and cemetery purposes. The Mount Zion Chapel replaced the Boat Run Christian Church that was organized in 1842 by a sect called the Christians, or the New Lights. Their first meeting house in Clermontville was dedicated on June 4, 1843 and damaged by floods in 1871. Worship was first held in the new frame church with the new name on October 6, 1872 and the church remains active today.

2012 Washington Boulevard
Belpre

, OH

As a shareholder of the United Library Association in Pomfret, Connecticut, General Israel Putnam amassed a large collection of books, which was called the Putnam Family Library. The collection was divided among his heirs after his death in 1790. His son, Colonel Israel Putnam brought part of that collection with him to Washington County, Ohio, in 1795. Education was a foremost concern to settlers in the Ohio Country and was reinforced in article three of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. Accordingly, the Putnam family’s collection circulated among neighbors and provided the means of education for the people of Belpre and surrounding communities. By 1796, a group of subscribers, paying ten dollars a share, fully organized a public library. Later known as the Belpre Farmers’ Library, it was the first library established in the Northwest Territory. The library operated under the management of the shareholders until 1815.

3201-3537 Burlington-Macedonia Road, Lawrence County Road 120
South Point

, OH

Macedonia Cemetery (circa 1840) belongs to Macedonia Church, Ohio’s first Black Church. Those buried include settlers of the Macedonia Free Black Settlement, built by free people who assisted freedom seekers along the Underground Railroad. Also interred are soldiers of the Civil War’s United States Colored Troops (USCT), most of whom served in the 5th Regiment, Ohio’s first Black Regiment (1863). The Polley family also rest here. Emancipated slaves, the family continued their freedom struggle when their children were kidnapped from Ohio and unlawfully sold into slavery. Macedonia’s extant burial grounds include this sacred site and another 1/2 mile north.

601 W Benton St
Wapakoneta

, OH

Stephen and Viola Armstrong moved their family, including 13-year-old Neil and his younger siblings, June and Dean, to the house at 601 West Benton Street in 1944. Here, Neil explored his fascination with flying by reading aviation magazines and building model airplanes. Neil completed flying lessons at nearby Port Koneta airport and earned his pilot’s license on his sixteenth birthday, even before receiving a driver’s license. Neil graduated from Blume High School in 1947 and studied aeronautical engineering at Purdue University on a Navy scholarship. The Korean conflict interrupted his studies, but he left the Navy as a decorated combat pilot, flying 78 missions. After graduating from Purdue in 1955, Neil worked at what would become the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. Soon after he became a test pilot at Edwards Air Force Base in California. (Continued on other side)