|Tour of Belmont County, Ohio|
This entry briefly describes locations and features that can be experienced during a day-trip that circles Belmont County -- and that extends, in places, briefly into several neighboring counties. Much of interest is not included in this brief account. For other sites of interest, see Area Attractions on this Website.
Stratton House Inn is located at the southern edge of Flushing, Ohio, a southeast Ohio "ridge" town. Flushing is located in the midst of rolling farm land and "coal country". Originally, Flushing was the site of numerous underground mines, and the land on which Flushing was built is honeycombed by mine shafts. Many of the homes in Flushing were built originally by and/or for miners. Those underground mines have long since been closed, but the location of entrances to the mines can still be pointed out by old-timers in the community. One such location is "just over the hill" from Stratton House Inn. The underground mines have been replaced now by surface mining, and some of the largest coal shovels in the world have worked in this area.
Numerous historic towns are located in Belmont and neighboring counties. To the north of Flushing is New Athens, a town named with great expectations, and once the home of Franklin College, which was a "hotbed" of anti-slavery sentiment (see Museums on this Website).
Farther to the northeast is Mount Pleasant, the location of a large, historic Quaker meeting house. Today, the rich history of the community is reflected in several museums, which tell the story of early life in the area and the role of the community in the underground railroad. At least three homes in the community were stops on the underground railroad. The book Beautiful Belmont (see Belmont County on this Website) makes numerous references to Mount Pleasant.
Still farther to the east -- along route 250 -- the hills grudgingly give way to the river bottom along the Ohio River at Martins Ferry. This was the location of an historic river ferry that connected Ohio with Virginia at what today is Wheeling, West Virginia. This ferry played a major role in a slave escape, which is vividly described in the book Beautiful Belmont.
George Washington came down the Ohio River by boat during 1770, looking for land for Virginia soldiers. He recounts this trip in his diary for that year, and records stops bother farther upriver and downriver. At Powhatton point, in southeast Belmont County, he made his way up Captina Creek about "eight miles" to the location of Grapevine town, an Indian village. Today the probable location of Grapevine town can still be seen (look for the grapevines along the road) as you drive route 148, which follows Captina Creek upstream.
Route 148 and a number of side roads lead to Raven Rocks, which is totally in Belmont County -- just north of the Monroe County line. Raven Rocks is a ravine and rock shelter that was used for thousands of years by area Indians. An extensive archaeological study has been made of this site, and the curious patterns of Indian use that has been revealed by this research. Raven Rocks have been preserved by the Raven Rocks Community, a small group of committed ecologists and environmentalists who are building nearby a model alternative community, which is characterized by passive energy technologies. Potential visitors should make advance arrangements to visit the community (see Links on the Website).
Routes 148 and 800 head northwest into Barnesville, Ohio, the site of Olney Friends School and the large Quaker Stillwater Meeting House, which is still in use. Barnesville was the location of Watt Wheel and Car company, which owned a patent for a ball-bearing wheel used in many underground mine cars. Barnesville has many attractions (for details, see Area Attractions on this Web site).
Continuing north out of Barnesville on route 800, the road crosses Interstate 70 and meanders west and then northward to Piedmont Lake. Along this road, Johnny Appleseed had one of his early orchards, which he used to produce apple tree seedlings and apple seeds, the planting of which made him famous throughout the midwest.
Beautiful Piedmont Lake is 15-20 minutes west of Flushing. Piedmont is one of seven manmade lakes that are part of the Muskengum Conservancy District. Other lakes lie both to the north and south of Flushing.
Turning right at the 800 / route 22 intersection, 22 soon interconnects with 331, which leads to the old railroad town of Holloway, once the site of large roundhouses and switching yards. Continuing through Holloway, Flushing, Ohio, soon emerges out of the valleys to command the ridges.
Welcome back home to Stratton House Inn.
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