Tour 8, section B – East Liverpool to Marietta (part 2)

For the first part of Tour 8 section B, click here.

Downtown Steubenville

When the steel industry collapsed, it took Steubenville’s accompanying retail business with it.  No longer were the streets “thronged with people from surrounding communities seeking business and social contacts.” As Leonardo and I walked throughout the heart of the commercial district, we were met with more “out of business” and “call for an appointment” signs than open doors (though the Chinese restaurant and a gyro shop that are the entirety of the dining choices in downtown Steubenville are both surprisingly good). Today, Steubenville residents earn $4,000 less than the national per capita average and over 20% of its 18,000 residents are unemployed.

Despite this depression, there is an ineffable beauty to Steubenville.  As TOG acknowledged seventy-five years ago following a different economic collapse, “there are in town strange glimpses of beauty that are foreign to Steeltown: an unexpected view from  the steep green slopes above the mills; of the sun creeping up over the West Virginia hills; or of a steamer, bound down the river at sunset, churning a long golden wake past the stark walls that line the banks.”

Beyond the picturesque, the urban infrastructure of Steubenville has an unmistakable charm that can be found under the veneer of disrepair. Because Steubenville simply does not have the money to either renovate or raze unused structures, many of the streets are lined with wonderful old buildings. A few of which, most notably the Grand Theatre, have attracted local preservationists, but most lie empty, waiting for better times to come along.

Grand Theatre and National Exchange Bank and Trust Building, @1940 / copyright OHS

Grand Theatre and Chase Bank, 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

The corner of Sixth and Market Streets has seen some drastic changes however, much to its detriment, including the destruction of the Imperial Hotel (Notice on the far left side of the newer image, a mural of a street scene reminiscent of the the original photograph).

Sixth and Market Street, @ 1940 / copyright OHS

Sixth and Market Streets, 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

That the only civic construction project we ran across as we walked through the city was one lonely hammer pounding away inside the Grand Theatre highlights one of the ironies of Steubenville. As the collapse of the steel industry became a reality in the late 1970s and early 80s, a small group of artists began to decorate the walls of crumbling downtown building with murals celebrating the city’s history. Steubenville was soon re-christened the City of Murals as tourists brought much-needed dollars to the depressed town.  Over the past ten years, various organizations have donated money to help restore and maintain the murals.

Yet it is difficult to ignore the fact that Steubenville’s economy has not moved much beyond the period these murals represent. It is as if the town is nostalgic for a period it can’t quite escape. As I walked by a hand-painted sign for Coca-Cola, I wasn’t sure if it was a new mural or simply an old ad that had not yet given in to the ravages of time.

Coca-Cola Ad, 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

Steubenville Rotary Club Mural, 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

Bakery Mural, 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

Cars Mural, 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

Steubenville Recreation Center Mural, 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

These murals  are not in TOG of course, but the one above represents a building that is in the manuscript guide. The following passage gives us a small but intriguing glimpse into race relations in Steubenville in 1940: “On the southwest fringe of the business section is one of the negro districts of the city. Two other negro centers are on North Eighth Street and Wells Street. …[D]uring the World War and the consequent labor shortages, there was a marked increase in negro population. The City Board of Recreation maintains the Central Recreation Center at Tenth and Adams streets exclusively for the Negro population.  It consists of a large recreation hall, swimming pool, game and picnic sites.” Nothing is left of the recreation center itself which sat at the corner of Adams and Tenth Streets.

In addition to its commercial history, Steubenville has also tried to highlight aspects of its residential heyday.  In contrast to East Liverpool in which wealthy business owners lived above the dust of the clay mills in the hills south of town, Steubenville’s elite lived in what were once lovely victorians in the heart of the city. Like the murals, however, the celebration of the “Historic North Fourth Street” district walks a fine line between acknowledging the city’s history and highlighting its inability to escape it.

Historic North Fourth Street District, 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

Historic North Fourth Street Victorian, 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

Door in Historic North Fourth Street, 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

One downtown building that is in good shape is the main branch of the Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County. TOG refers to it as the Carnegie Public Library after its primary benefactor, but regardless of the name, it remains a handsome building “built of trick and terra cotta in mission style with a dash of Tudor in the trimmings.

Steubenville High School did not make the final cut of TOG, but the manuscript guide points out that it was the largest single unit of the Public Works Administration in the state of Ohio in 1939. Built at a cost of $1,000,000 with beautiful art deco details, the school was expanded to include the adjacent War Memorial Building sometime since the manuscript guide was written.

Main Branch of the Steubenville Public Library, 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

Steubenville High School, 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

Art Deco Inscription on Steubenville High School, 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

 

1937 Ohio River Flood in Steubenville

Between January 13 and January 25, 1937, 12 inches of rain fell on the watershed of the Ohio River. The river, nearly 30 feet above flood stage in some areas, wreaked havoc on towns stretching from Pittsburgh to Cairo, Illinois, killing 385 people, and causing $500 (1937 dollars) worth of damage. The Ohio Guide Photograph Collection has a wonderful assortment of images documenting the disaster, including those below of Steubenville which I have rephotographed.

1937 Ohio River Flood of Steubenville, 1937 / copyright Ohio Historical Society

Wheeling Steel from Steubenville Railroad Bridge, 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

1937 Ohio River Flood - Pennsylvania RR Bridge, 1937 / copyright OHS

Steubenville Railroad Bridge, 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

As I post the above picture of the Pennsylvania Railroad Bridge, I realize that I was not in the same location as the 1937 photographer.  I should have been standing another twenty feet behind where I was, which would have given me 15 feet more elevation.  The earlier shot must have been taken from the old Route 7 which may have sat a few feet lower than it does now, but certainly higher than the spot on Water Street from where I took my picture. In fact, despite being a good 12 feet above the river when I took the shot, I would have been quite wet in 1937. The guard rails of Water Street are clearly visible in the old picture, as is the telephone pole that would have been on the river side of Water Street, essentially marking the spot where I would take my picture nearly 75 years later.

Perhaps the most dramatic picture of the Steubenville flood in the collection is not of the Ohio River at all, but of Willis Creek, a tributary of the Ohio on which the Steubenville Pumping Station sat. The photograph is not that dramatic until one visits the site. The pumping station sits a few hundred feet above the Ohio River, so all of the water visible in the photograph was from a creek that is so inconspicuous that I was never able to find it, despite knowing its location (though the sheer bulk of the new Route 7 was also to blame).

The pumping station itself is also easy to miss as it is largely hidden by the new road.  In fact, the only shot I could manage that was reasonably close to the Ohio Guide photograph was taken from Google street view.

1937 Ohio River Flood - Steubenville Pumping Station, 1937 / copyright OHS

The scene seemed so impossible that it took may comparisons to verify that they were indeed taken at the same location.  Despite the missing roof and entire second story of the building however, one can still make out where the second set of windows were, as well as the words “Steubenville Water Works” above the door. The location of the building and the landscape itself also reaffirms the conclusion that this was the pumping station, “2 miles north of Steubenville” as the back of the original photograph informs us.

Close up of Steubenville Pumping Station

Steubenville Pumping Station, 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

 Jefferson County Courthouse

The pumping station is not the only building that has lost some of its height. In fact, buildings losing their upper portions seems almost epidemic in Steubenville.  The Jefferson County Courthouse, TOG informs us, was a “soot blackened Romanesque building of sandstone, 150 feet long as it is high.” The building is now neither soot blackened nor properly proportioned.  Completed in 1874, the six story structure included a massive clock and bell tower which visitors could enter via a beautiful spiral staircase. After the tower collapsed during a snow storm in 1950, county officials decided to cut their losses and replaced it with a flat roof. The bell now sits in a park across the street and it is the statue of Justice which still sits atop the peak of the pediment that is the focal point of the building.

The building was the third to sit on this site, according to the manuscript guide. “The first was a structure of logs and the second was a fine brick building.” The building of the new sandstone courthouse, “foretold the coming of a new and different age, the passing of an agrarian and handmade goods economy, and the coming of a mass production in which steel would be the leading factor.” If the construction of a new Jefferson County Courthouse foretold the coming of  “new and different age” based in steel, the collapse of its’ bell tower illustrated the tenuousness of that industry.

Jefferson County Courthouse-Base of Tower, @1940 / copyright OHS

Jefferson County Courthouse, @1940 / copyright OHS

Jefferson County Courthouse, 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

 Steubenville Churches

It was not just the courthouse and the pumping station that lost towers and roofs. After the losing its four-sided peak, the naked tower of what was originally the Hamline Episcopal Church now resembles the crenelated walls of a Medieval Times restaurant. The church was built in 1847 as a home for breakaway parishioners  of the South Street Methodist Church which was itself first established after an 1803 visit of Bishop Frances Asbury.  It now holds the Sycamore Tree Church, one of thirty-seven Methodist churches in the Steubenville metro area according to usachurches.com.

Hameline Episcopal Church, @1940 / copyright OHS

Sycamore Tree Church, 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

TOG does not usually include churches in its points of interest and Steubenville is no exception. Perhaps because of the sheer number of them however, (usachruch.com list 48 within the city limits) the OHS Guide Photograph Collection contains what seem to be an inordinate number of pictures of Steubenville houses of worship. There is a photograph, for example, of the “First M.E. Church of the Seven Gables, built in 1814,” according to the note scribbled on its back. Cavalry Methodists worshipped there at the beginning of the twentieth century before it became the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in 1946, making it first Greek church in town (sometime after which it too lost the top to its tower). The Second United Presbyterian church similarly changed its name to Covenant Presbyterian Church though did not lose its tower, mostly because it never had one to lose.

First Methodist Episcopal Church of Seven Gables, @ 1940 / copyright OHS

Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

 

Second United Presbyterian Church, Steubenville, @1940 / copyright OHS

Covenant Presbyterian Church, Steubenville, 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

Despite the number of churches, at least one person thinks that the residents of Steubenville could use further affirmation of their faith. There seemed to be no direct correlation between the quickly descending numbers on the sign across the street and the poster taped to the call box, but Leonardo and I crossed the street  before it struck zero just to be safe.

"How To Know For Sure 100% That You are Going To Heaven!", 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

Angel’s Trail and Ohio Valley Lookout

While its name was Angel’s Trail, TOG tells us that the path whose entrance was “opposite 274 Belleview Blvd” was used for more earthly concerns. It was “an old lover’s lane given modernity by concrete steps.” Leonardo and I searched in vain for the entrance as Belleview Blvd is a maze of turns, starting and stopping for no apparent reason at various points on the hills above Steubenville. Google maps was no help as there is no 200 block of Belleview listed.  I ultimately found the steps on my second trip to Steubenville by climbing up from the bottom of the hill, past an abandoned Catholic church at the end of North 9th street. After I understood what I was looking for, I would notice other paths criss-crossing the hills above the city.

These paths were once well used, both by people walking to and from town and by visitors who want to take in “the panorama of Steubenville.”  According to the manuscript guide, the panorama from the top of Angel’s Trail included “a medley of church spires and towers, smokestacks, and the barren bluffs of West Virginia rising abruptly from the waters edge.”  At some point in the last twenty years, however, the city simply couldn’t afford to maintain the trails.  Signs now clearly spell out the fate of Angel’s Trail, though their placement and irregularity indicate only a half-hearted attempt to deter people from entering, .

"Closed" 2012, copyright David Bernstein

Angel's Trail, 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

Angel's Trail #4, 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

Climbing the first hundred feet of the trail, the steps are cracked and uneven but they are relatively useable. After that, however, the trail becomes an obstacle course of downed trees, broken slaps of concrete, and mud. When I reached what appeared to be the top, there was no longer an “entrance surrounded by hemlock and second-growth trees,” but a pile of concrete that fizzled out into the property of a private residence.  Where one once viewed the “panorama of Steubenville,” I saw a few feet of the path I had climbed.

"Panorama of Steubenville", 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

Steubenville Looking Toward Ohio River Postcard, @1940 / copyright OHS

This was not always the case. The Ohio Guide Collection contains a postcard with a vantage point nearly identical to the above photograph.  Similarly, the manuscript guide informs us that the “Ohio Valley Lookout,” half a mile south of Angel’s Trail, affords an even grander view;  “To the north can be seen the winding Ohio River, spanned by the railroad bridge, Market Street Bridge, and backed by the hills of West Virginia and further south, the private bridge of the Wheeling Steel Corporation.”  While I was able to glean a partial view by climbing down an embankment behind Trinity Hospital, it was not easily accessible and certainly not something TOG would have recommended. The larger implications of these stunted views would not be clear to me until the we reached Marietta the next day.

Ohio Valley Lookout with Market Street Bridge, 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

Beatty Park

Though its creation in 1930 was one of the events that were  “dwarfed and incidental” to Steubenville’s steel industry in the estimation of TOG’s editors, they still included Beatty Park as one of the city’s twelve points-of-interest.  Along with its “100 acres of picnic sites and camps for auto-trailers,” the park provided “a full-time worker” to take charge of the city’s recreation programs which included “baseball, swimming, golf, and other sports.”

For most of the last twenty-five years, Beatty Park faired as poorly as other public spaces such as Angel’s Trail and the Ohio Valley Lookout:  the pool was filled in; the picnic spaces and camping spots were over-taken by weeds; and the shelter built by the Civilian Conservation Corps was reclaimed by the hill it sat on.  However, thanks to the work of a few dedicated individuals and the Steubenville Parks and Recreation Department, Beatty Park opened to the public once again in 2007. Though its formal activities are much more limited than they were, the addition of a highly-acclaimed disc golf course has brought some life back into this once-popular recreation area.

Beatty Park Swimming Pool, 1937 / copyright OHS

Beatty Park Shelter Lodge, 1939 / copyright OHS

Remains of Betty Park Shelter, 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

Beatty Park Shelter, 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

Union Cemetery 

The most scenic of Steubenville’s public spaces is Union Cemetery.  It is now at least 25 acres larger than the 121 acres listed in TOG, but is still “covered with virgin timber.”  The cemetery is made up of dozens of unique sections, some of which are tucked into hollows while others command views of the river. “Among those buried here are three of the ‘Fighting McCooks’ of Civil War fame,” TOG explains, though I had to go to Wikipedia to find out that the McCooks were a family of fifteen who gained fame for their deeds (and deaths) for the Union army.

As you may expect for a cemetery, the entry gates have not changed much in the past 75 years. Very soon after the below picture was taken, however, a row of “oriental plane trees” was planted and a “rough sandstone bearing a metal plaque inscribed with the names of those for whom the oriental plane trees were donated,” was placed a few feet west of the entrance. I do find it difficult to believe that this rock tucked under the trees just out of the frame to the right is a “3,000 pound boulder,” as the manuscript guide claims.

Union Cemetery in Steubenville, @1938 / copyright OHS

Union Cemetery in Steubenville, 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

"3,000 Pound Boulder," 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

Bridges

After Angel’s Trail and Union Cemetery, the next two points-of-interest in TOG are the Fort Steuben Suspension Bridge and the Pennsylvania Railroad Bridge.  Bridges have become so ubiquitous that we don’t give them much thought, but their frequent inclusion in TOG reminded me just how massive these projects were.  When the the Pennsylvania Railroad Bridge was put in a single unit in 1936, its 1,000 foot span had to be fabricated and welded on the spot.  It was then lifted into place by 10 hydraulic jacks and placed on new piers.  The massive metal riveted cantilever through truss bridge looks very similar to what it did when it was installed.

Steubenville Railroad Bridge, @1940 / copyright OHS

Steubenville Railroad Bridge, 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

The Fort Steuben Suspension Bridge did not fair so well. Almost twice as long as the PRR Bridge, the fate of the Fort Steuben Bridge was perhaps foreshadowed by the fact that it was build in 1928 at a cost of $2,500,000 but was sold to the state of Ohio for $1,000,000 just ten years later.  It served as the main thorough fare over the Ohio in the region and by the nineteen eighties had begun to show structural damage. In 1990, the six-lane Veterans Memorial Bridge was built just to its north and in 2006 a weight-limit was put on the two-lane bridge. There were some attempts to turn it into a pedestrian walkway once it was clear that the Fort Steuben Bridge was no longer viable for motor vehicles, but these plans never materialized.   When we drove into town, signs indicating its 2009 closure still remained, though it had been demolished three-weeks earlier.  One of the piers was apparently left standing for posterity.

Sign With PRR Bridge and Veterans Memorial Bridge, 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

Fort Steuben Bridge, @1940 / copyright OHS

Fort Steuben Bridge Pier, 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

Many of the bridges connecting Ohio and West Virginia face a similarly tenuous fate. With fewer economies based on either side of the river, and highways in both Ohio and West Virginia making travel north and south much less taxing, there is no need to maintain so many crossings. While some have been demolished, others like the Bellaire Bridge remain in legal limbo and have become literal bridges to nowhere.

Bellaire Bridge, 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

Ohio River Dam #9 and #10

Like its bridges, the locks and dams of the Ohio River have also changed since TOG was published.  In 1910, congress enacted the Rivers and Harbors Act which allowed for the canalization of the Ohio River to a constant depth of nine feet. Completed in 1929 at a cost of over $100 million dollars, the  project necessitated the production of 51 wooden wicket dams and 600 foot by 110 foot lock chambers along the length of the river. These structures included a brick powerhouse and two lock keeper houses. According to the manuscript guide, these were the the largest such locks in the United States with a total tonnage of over 15 million in 1925.

During the 1940s, a shift from steam propelled to diesel powered towboats allowed for tows longer than the 600 foot locks could contain. The barges now needed to be locked in two phases, which quickly proved untenable.  In 1950, Corps of Engineers initiated the Ohio River Navigation Modernization Program which replaced the outdated wicket dams with structures of concrete and steel. Attached to each non-navigable dam were two adjoining locks, the larger of which being a 1200 foot by 110 foot chamber to accommodate fifteen barges that can lock through in one maneuver.

The new Pike Island Dam made the both Government Lock and Dam #9 (just a few miles south of the Ohio Edison site in Toronto) and Dam #10 (Steubenville) obsolete when it was completed in 1965. The older dams were demolished in 1975. Nothing remains of site #9 but the remains of site #10 in Steubenville include two sets of steps, a large ramp, and the lock esplanade. Pike Island Dam, meanwhile, has become a favorite spot for local fisherman.

Government Lock and Dam Site #10, 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

Pike Island Lock and Dam, 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

Click here for Tour 8, section B (part 3).

Tour 8, section B – East Liverpool to Marietta (part 1)

For Section A of this tour, click here.

State Route 7

Making our way down State Route 7 from East Liverpool in the late afternoon, it is easy to understand why TOG refers to Wellsville as a “dingy city” where “boxlike houses stand beside redbrick sidewalks.” Though the new Route 7 necessitated the removal of the “dwellings [which] thrust themselves out from the steep hillsides,” the tops of those hills are still there, throwing the entire town into shadows much earlier than the admittedly similar-looking West Virginia hamlets on the opposite shore. As we passed above the town on the elevated highway, Wellsville seemed anything but. To be fair, if we had been traveling the same route in the morning when it was the Ohio side enjoying the healing sunlight, we may have been more inclined to investigate TOG’s claims of dinginess.

Ohio in Shadows while West Virginia Glows, 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

There are a few spots between East Liverpool and Marietta where one can find remains of the old Route 7, but generally the road no longer “dodges along the Ohio River…sweeping around jutting headlands, throughout fertile bottoms, past scores of towns and cities.” Instead, it is often a raised four-lane highway that cuts through the landscape as if it can not be bothered with such needless sight-seeing.  If I lived along the Ohio, I would certainly be thankful for the improvements that allows one to get from East Liverpool to Steubenville in twenty-minutes rather than the hour or two it took before the road improvements began in the 1960s . But unlike the writers of  TOG who seemed to be constantly aware of “the moods of the river which change with the season and the weather,”  we drove above it without giving it much thought.

Old Route 7 near Yorkville, 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

Just how different the road is can be illustrated by the fate of Memorial Point (whose existence I found evidence of in the manuscript files, rather than TOG). When the road was completed in 1932, a “tall, steel flag pole” was erected on the “highest point on S 7 along the river.” At this point, approximately six miles from East Liverpool, drivers were “afforded an expansive view of the river and the valley.” Today, there is no indication of the flag pole or even the specific hill on which it stood.  In fact, as the picture below shows, the upgraded Route 7 roadway cuts through what appears to be the highest point in the area just before it crosses Yellow Creek.

Possible Site of Memorial Point, 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

Before the new roadway was put in place, this Yellow Creek crossing was memorialized in postcards for being a picturesque site where interurban, train, and roadway  bridges all spanned the river. Run by the Steubenville East Liverpool and Beaver Valley Traction Company, the interurban was part of a massive system of public transit that covered the state. One can imagine how different this stretch of Ohio might look if, rather than investing money in the expanding of Route 7, the transportation authority had put its efforts  into revitalizing the interurban rail system. Rather than isolated hamlets whose exits one can easily ignore because of uninviting light, towns like Wellsville, Empire, and Toronto might have enjoyed consistent visitors and commuters, sharing populations and resources, creating a more dynamic regional economy. As it happened, the rail line stayed, the road was upgraded, but all that is left of the interurban that crossed Yellow Creek is some concrete rubble lying between the other two bridges.

Three Bridges Crossing Yellow Creek, 2012 / David Bernstein

Yellow Creek

In addition to being the location that James and Daniel Heaton first set up their smelting furnace (see section A of this Tour), Yellow Creek, as TOG tells us, was the site of Mingo Chief Logan’s cabin. Logan, identified variously as Tah-gah-jute, Tachnechdorus (also spelled “Tachnedorus” and “Taghneghdoarus”), Soyechtowa, Tocanioadorogon, James Logan, and John Logan, was the son of Shikellamy, an important Iroquios diplomat. When he moved to the Ohio Valley in the 1760s, Logan took up residency with other Iroquois, mostly Senecas and Cayugas, who became known as Mingos to the white settlers in the area.

In 1774, a Virginian named Daniel Greathouse lured about a dozen Mingos across the Ohio  River to the cabin of Joshua Baker, a trader in the region. Here Greathouse murdered the Indians, including Logan’s brother, as Greathouse’s men repelled the canoes sent from Yellow Creek to aid the stranded Mingos.  In response, a number of war parties, including one led by Logan, attacked settlers along the Virginia frontier prompting the Royal Governor, Lord Dunmore, to send an expedition against the Mingos and Shawnees. The Indians eventually agreed to peace after the only major battle of “Dunmore’s War,” but Logan refused to participate. Instead, according to many colonial newspapers and Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia, the war chief issued the following statement:

I appeal to any white man to say, if ever he entered Logan’s cabin hungry, and he gave him not meat; if ever he came cold and naked, and he clothed him not. During the course of the last long and bloody war, Logan remained idle in his cabin, an advocate for peace. Such was my love for the whites, that my countrymen pointed as they passed, and said, Logan is the friend of the white men. I have even thought to live with you but for the injuries of one man. Col. Cresap, the last spring, in cold blood, and unprovoked, murdered all the relations of Logan, not sparing even my women and children. There runs not a drop of my blood in the veins of any living creature. This has called on me for revenge. I have sought it: I have killed many: I have fully glutted my vengeance. For my country, I rejoice at the beams of peace. But do not harbour a thought that mine is the joy of fear. Logan never felt fear. He will not turn on his heel to save his life. Who is there to mourn for Logan? Not one.

Beyond incorrectly pointing the finger at Col. Cresap, Logan’s speech was most likely not spoken by Logan at all, at least not in this form. Instead, it was probably one of the first examples of a genre that became known as “Aboriginal Eloquence.”  Thomas Guthrie argues in a recent volume of Ethnohistory that the celebration of Indian oratory –systematically referred to as ‘eloquence’ by nineteenth-century Americans – was in and of itself a form of subjugation.

The way Euroamericans interpreted and celebrated Indian speech and produced and circulated texts of Indian oratory precisely positioned Indian subjects in this predetermined framework. Indian eloquence, inextricably tied to primitiveness, confirmed that Indians as a race were doomed and dying; the more eloquently they spoke, often uttering their own elegies, the more certain was their passing. In other words, Euroamericans set up an Indian that they could justifiably defeat by putting words in his mouth.

–Good Words: Chief Joseph and the Production of Indian Speech(es), Texts and Subjects,” Ethnohistory 54 no.3 (2007), 536.

Regardless of the speech’s veracity, Logan became an important historical figure in Ohio’s origin story and there is now a monument at the approximate location of his cabin imploring readers to remember his past:

Lest We Forget Chief Logan
“Tah-Gah-Jute”
A Chief of the Mingoes
A Friend of the Whites
From near this place in 1774, all the family of Logan was lured across the Ohio River and massacred by whites thus sending Logan and Ohio Indian nations on a path of war for vengeance now known to history as Cresap’s War.
“Who Shall Mourn”

There is no date on the monument and its exclusion from TOG indicates that it was unveiled after the guide’s publication, though its creation would not have been a surprise for TOG’s creators.  According to James Bishop who wrote one of the manuscript guides for the area, the spot is “second only to Mingo Junction in historic lore.”

I only ran across the monument’s existence because of a great site called the Historical Marker Database. Even with the information on the database, however,  it took me fifteen minutes to locate the marker in a rest stop about the size of a baseball infield. Lets see if you can do better in the picture below.

Logan's Monument, 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

Still can’t find it? How about this one?

Logan's Trash Can, 2012 / copyright 2012

Standing at the shelter, looking west toward the monument and the trash can placed equidistantly from the path, there is nothing to indicate that there is anything of note on the front of the squarer of the two cement posts. If the idea was to make the monument blend into the landscape, the caretakers have done an excellent job.

Directly across Route 7 from the rest area is a small field separating the road from the railroad tracks and the Ohio River. This field was the backyard of the McCullough -Jefferson County Children’s Home which cared for over 2,500 kids between 1914 and 1958 when it was torn down to make room for the new road. According to James Bishop’s manuscript guide, the “light colored brick home was made possible because of the philanthropy of William G. McCullough who donated the old homestead farm for the purpose of a home for destitute children and supplemented the gift with $40,000 in 1909.”

McCullough Children's Home of Jefferson County, @1940 / copyright Ohio Historical Society

Former site of McCullough Children's Home, 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

Power Plants

The towns of Stratton, Empire, and Port Homer were, at the time TOG was published,  known as clay-manufacturing towns, the latter two home to the Empire Sewer Pipe Company and the Peerless Clay Manufacturing company respectively (According the the manuscript tour, Empire was originally named in 1850 when “captain James Young came to the village and brought with him a flock of Shanghai chickens and the town was given that name.” One  must assume that the author meant that the town was named in honor of the fowls’ city of origin rather than the birds themselves, but I can’t imagine a better name than “Shanghai Chickens, Ohio”). These towns have essentially merged into one community where the local economy is still based in extractive resources, but those resources consist of coal rather than clay.

Power Plant across from Martin's Ferry, 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

W.H. Sammis Power Plant #2, 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

W.H. Sammis Plant #7, 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

The scale of the industrial structures on both sides of the Ohio is impressive. Between the blast furnaces, refineries, and power plants, the magnitude of engineering is awe-inspiring.   Sprawling steel and concrete forms cover the landscape as if a massive seven-year-old boy has left his erector-set creations scattered across the valley after being called in to supper by his equally-massive mother. Yet even in this industrial landscape, the size of the W.H. Sammis power plant in Stratton is jaw-dropping. As you approach the structure which straddles Route 7, you can imagine how Jonah might have felt if his whale was made of concrete and it spouted smoke instead of water.

Since coal was discovered in the region in the beginning of the nineteenth-century, it has shaped the economy and the environment of northeast Ohio.  This is still the case. FirstEnergy, which owns the W.H. Sammis plant, comprises the nation’s largest investor-owned electric system, serving 6 million customers within a 67,000-square-mile area of Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey and New York. In 2007, FirstEnergy ranked 212 on the Fortune 500 list of the largest public corporations in America. It also ranked as the 58th largest polluter in the country, according to a study done by the University of Massachusetts.

Ohio Edison, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy which owns the plant, eventually reached a settlement with the EPA and the justice department requiring them to spend $1billion to reduce harmful emissions. Ultimately, the scrubbers and selective catalytic reduction equipment cost $1.8 billion and five years to install but has been successful reducing emissions of sulfur-dioxide by 95 percent, nitrogen oxides by up to 90 percent, and mercury by about 75 percent. The retrofit was named Construction Project of the Year by Platts Global Energy Awards in 2010 and received an honorable mention from Power Engineering magazine.  Cardinal Power Plant (owned by AEP, FirstEnergy’s rival) a few miles down the road in Brilliant has also gone through a number of retrofitting projects

Cardinal Power in Brilliant #5, 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

Cardinal Power in Brilliant #1, 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

A few good 3-irons south of the the Sammis plant is the site of the former Ohio Edison plant  it replaced. When it was completed in 1926 at a cost of $8,000,000, the Ohio Edison was one of the largest power plants int the country with an  capacity of 350,000 horse power. Today, the Sammis Plant’s capacity of 2,233 megawatts is equal to 2,994,502,326,066 horse power.  On google maps, the Ohio Edison plant still stands but when we reached it, only a few outbuildings remained.

Toronto

Looking south from the Ohio Edison site is a smokestack at a much more human scale than the towering Sammis’ monoliths. Though it was once part of the “largest plant of its kinds on the Ohio river,” the 40-ft smokestack of the now-abandoned Kaul Clay Company virtually invites you to explore what lies at its base.  Unlike the anonymous cement tower of the Sammis Plant, the stack of the Kaul Company proudly displays its ownership with the word “KAUL” built directly into its brick. According to the manuscript guide, the stack was part of the 25 kilns that fired 100 tons of raw clay every day, “making pipe that varies in size from three to thirty six inches as well as sewer pipe, flue lining, and conduits.” Three hundred men were employed in the entire operation at its peak.

Today, a sign at the entrance to the site informs us that Jefferson County is applying for a Clean Ohio Assistance Fund Grant to pay for an environmental assessment of the property.    The town of Toronto could certainly benefit from developing this site that now offers only bored teenagers and wildlife a place to congregate (A beautiful coyote bounded into the bushes as I made my way up the main path to the stack). Yet, unlike those who have a reason to grow nostalgic over the loss of the actual clay-factory and the economy it supported, I found myself lamenting the possible passing of this liminal site that was neither in-use, nor fully reclaimed. There is something wonderful about walking the grounds of such a site, feeling like the first one to find a pile of clay piping or the filled-in entrance to one of the clay mines behind the kilns, imagining how the whole operation might have come together. Unlike running across the furnace in East Liverpool which, even with its minimal signage, felt as if we had stumbled across a neat historical monument, walking around the Kaul furnace felt more like discovering history.

As someone who feels very strongly about the importance of public history, I am certainly not advocating the removal of historical markers or arguing that there should be less attention paid to maintaining historical sites.  There is a certain thrill, however, of creating your own, unencumbered vision of what might have happened in any given spot before you arrived there. Like the junky lot behind Mr. Sneelock’s store in which  Dr. Seuss’s Morris McGurk created his imaginary Circus McGurkus, the remnants of the Kaul Clay Company give us just enough reality to let our historical imaginations run wild.

"Kaul", 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

Kaul Clay Company, 2012/ copyright David Bernstein

Pipe Remains from Kaul Clay Company, 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

Notification of Proposed Environmental Impact Study, 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

Further downtown was the site of the Toronto Fire Clay Company. Spread over sixty acres, TOG informs us that  “grey dusted factory and storage rooms and the behive looking kilns,” produced an array of clay products including Toronto Faced Brick; the much-sought after brick “used around the plaza of the Supreme Court … the American Federation of Labor, both of Washington, D.C.” Just as significantly, according to author and Toronto historian Bob Petras, Toronto Fire Clay was the first  company to manufacture sewer pipe in the western hemisphere, after which the region became known as the sewer pipe capital.

However, epitomizing the narrative the manuscript guide gives us in 1939 of a “fading clay industry” giving way to  “giant electrical power plants,” many of the independent clay companies were razed to make way for the Ohio Edison and Toronto Power plants. By the middle of the nineteenth-century, only a few of the larger companies remained. The last of these was the Kaul Clay company which closed its doors in 1981, unable to compete with new plastic and fiber pipes.

While the remains of the Kaul Company still exist, the area at the end of Fifth Street that was the site of the Toronto Fire Clay Company has been partially developed into low-income housing and the municipal building, though a large, mostly abandoned structure was probably part of the industrial site.

One site that is still in use is that of the Follansbee Brothers Steel Mill. According to the manuscript guide, Follansbee brothers was “an ideal and complete unit for the production of sheet steel produced by the Drop Forge method,” when it was built in 1918, but is “waiting modernization.” Those changes have certainly taken place as the site now houses Timet, one of two titanium manufacturing companies in the country.

Half Moon Bend Near Steubenville, @1940 / copyright Ohio Historical Society

Half Moon Bend North of Steubenville, 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

Steubenville

“Steubenville,” according to TOG, “has a historical depth that extends beyond the almost legendary period when Fort Steuben was erected in 1787 to protect the survey of the Seven Ranges….Like Marietta and Chillicothe, it was one of the mother towns of the state.”    Yet by 1940, that history had been largely forgotten under the weight of the booming steel industry. “Steubenville speaks the language of the metropolitan Pittsburgh area: the talk of steel mills and the river, of polyglot Irish, Welsh, English German, Slavs and Latins, and the baseball fortunes of the Pittsburg Pirates….Events outside the circle of mills are dwarfed and seem incidental.” In 1940, half of the cities 40,000 residents worked in steel mills, driving a retail business consisting “over five hundred stores…stocked with three million dollars worth of goods from the markets of world, sufficient in volume and variety to meet every  consumer demand,” according to the manuscript guide.  This trade “employs more than two thousand workers who make shopping attractive and pleasant.”

Covering over a mile of the Ohio riverfront was one of the Wheeling Steel Corporation Plants. Here, nearly 7,000 workers produced coils, bars, and sheet pipe. In addition to the two blast furnaces, 11 open-hearth mills, and hot-strip mill, the company owned its own railroad cars which traveled back and forth over the Ohio River on the company-owned bridge to a byproduct plant on the West Virginia side. Despite its size, however, Wheeling could not avoid the fate of so many other steel mills and, after a series of mergers and take-overs, Wheeling Steel closed the doors to its Steubenville plant in August of 2009.

Bridge and former byproduct plant of Wheeling Steel, 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

Wheeling Steel Through Trees, 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

Perhaps the closing is temporary, as the company (which is now Severstal) contends. Unlike the barbed wire and “no trespassing” signs which clearly indicate the state of the Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company, the former Wheeling Plant looks as if it might simply be closed for the weekend. As such, I did not hold up much hope that the owner of the security truck parked beside gatehouse would simply wave me through. Much to my surprise, there was no one around. After waiting a few minutes to see if someone was going to come question me, I let myself in. Below is some of what I found.

Wheeling Steel #3, 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

North Blast Furnace, 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

Blast Furnace, 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

"Treadwell", 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

Inside Wheeling Steel, 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

North Blast Furnace Stack, 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

Wheeling Steel #10, 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

Pipes, 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

Wheeling Steel #7, 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

Wheeling Steel #5, 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

Work Bench, 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

Hats, 2012 / copyright David Bernstein

"J Bird", 2012/ copyright David Bernstein

Click here for Tour 8, Section B (part 2)