Head to Columbus for Appalachian Heritage Luncheon @ the Statehouse

Register now (click here) for Appalachian Heritage Luncheon at the Statehouse!

On Tuesday, December 12, Ohio’s Hill Country Heritage Area and Heritage Ohio will welcome honorees and guests to the Atrium at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus to celebrate and reflect on Appalachian heritage and history. The list of honorees includes historic preservation organizations, cultural groups, and individuals dedicated to preserving and showcasing various chapters of Appalachian Ohio history.

OHio statehouseBeginning at noon, the luncheon will feature success stories from the honorees before the award ceremonies, which will conclude at 1:30.

A new award will be introduced this year, recognizing individuals for outstanding citizenship.   It will be named after and given to Sam Jones, of Glouster in Athens County.  Sam is recognized for his work with youth in the Glouster Area at the historic Sam’s Gym, Ohio’s oldest boxing venue established in the 1930’s.  Sam’s brilliant support for his community includes diverting many Trimble Township youth from the streets of this Little Cities of Black Diamonds coal mining community and teaching them to believe in themselves, as well as raising thousands of dollars for textbook and supply purchases at Trimble Local Schools via his annual Boxing for Books matches.

Museums being honored at the event include the Welsh-American Heritage Museum, and the Underground Railroad Museum in Flushing, Ohio. Read more about the Welsh-American Museum and the history they have worked hard to preserve in the story on Page 2. Dr. John Maddox, the founder and curator of the Underground Railroad Museum, will be honored at the luncheon for his tireless work collecting the articles, memorabilia, and other publications that make up the museum’s collections.  His work in organizing the exhibits at the museum which tell what we know of slavery and the Underground Railroad in Ohio and explain the 1800s culture around them.

Another honoree that has preserved a chapter of the 1800s is the Historic Zoar Village. Established by German immigrants in 1817, the village thrived for more than 80 years and its current residents still live in some of its original buildings.

The New Straitsville History Group will also be honored at the Statehouse for their work preserving the abundant history of this coal mining community. Visitors to New Straitsville can see Robinson’s Cave,  the meeting place for the founders of the United Mine Workers saved by this organization, or visit their museum filled with local history artifacts collected by members.

Other honorees include Adena Health System, for their revitalization for the Carlisle Building in the heart of downtown Chillicothe and the Appalachia Ohio Alliance, which focuses on conservation and preservation of Ohio’s land resources.

Murphin Ridge Inn founder Mary Cosset will also be honored at the event and tell her success story about preserving a beautiful inn on 142 acres of farmland and opening it up for visitors who can also  get a taste of life among the  Amish who build furniture and sell baked items nearby..

Registration for the luncheon is $35. Ticketholders who arrive early can enjoy free tours of the Ohio Statehouse with architect Bob Loveridge and historian Nancy Recchie, which will begin at 10:30 am.

This event is sponsored by AEP Ohio, the Burr Oak Lodge & Conference Center, and the Hocking Valley Bank.  Register on-line by clicking here! See you in the capital city at the center on December 12th.Appalachain Success Stories @ Statehouse Luncheon

Recipients of the 2016 Statehouse Luncheon Awards

National Museum of Cambridge Glass (Guernsey County)
Edge of Appalachia (Adams County)
Nelson T Gant House (Muskingum County)
Trumpet in the Land (Tuscarawas County)
Yearly Quaker Meeting House (Jefferson County)
McArthur Spring Literary Festival (Vinton County)
Historic Roscoe Village (Coshocton County)
Buckeye Trail Association
(Perry County Headquarters/Trail Passes through Multiple Counties)
Fly Ferry (Monroe County)
Village Bakery (Athens County)
Sewah Studios (Washington County)


Winding Road Network Moving Forward

High Rock Adventures Pic

Steve Roley of High Rock Adventures in the Hocking Hills shared the story of his outdoor adventure business with fellow entrepreneurs at the Burr Oak Meet Up which was devoted to “building community around product and business development.”

Over 50 persons gathered at Burr Oak Lodge near Glouster for an “All-Sector Meet Up” in late October, meant to stimulate business and product development around The Winding Road: Ohio’s Rising Appalachia (a sub-region of Ohio’s Hill Country).  Organized by Winding Road stakeholders, Heritage Ohio and Ohio’s Hill Country Heritage Area, the event shared the entrepreneurial success stories in the outdoor adventure, guiding, local foods, destination tourism related businesses, heritage and arts sectors.  Morning break-outs focused on success stories, networking and product development within the various sectors which have been engaging in “meet-ups” during the past year.  After a lunch address by State Representative Jay Edwards (R-Nelsonville), afternoon round tables connected participants with useful resources in a Winding Road Cafe setting where locally produced coffee, legal spirits and snacks were available to participants as they visited information tables and networked with experts and colleagues.  Among the resource persons available at the tables were representatives of financing, electronic media marketing, ticketing, and packaging of experiences.

The event was facilitated by Tracy Kunkler, of Circle Forward Consulting who is working with organizers of this collaborative network of stakeholders to establish a system for planning, decision making and governance.  Kunkler has a deep understanding of collaborative networks and how contemporary strategies are needed to make them successful.   winding-road-logo-ohios-rising-appalachia-no-catalog-textKunkler will be working with the coordinating group formed around the Winding Road network to help plan the next steps for initiative, including funding proposal development, interpretive guide training and creation of shared services.   Current strategies include growing, refining and marketing the brand, increasing experiential products and tourism-related businesses around authentic assets, and the growth of interpretive programs and guides.

OHCHA sees the future of it’s efforts, in part, being tied to helping networks and brands form that can produce an experiential economy around authentic assets in Appalachian Ohio.  These networks can be organized around geographic sub-regions, thematic trails and sector related experiences that can value and share the unique sense of place we experience in the hill country of Ohio.  For more information about our Winding Road effort and developing networks similar to this in our 31-county region, e-mail us at ohioshillcountryheritagearea@gmail.com, or call 740-394-2852.  Our capacity to directly assist these networks is limited due to paid staff capacity, but stakeholders in the Winding Road region are abundant and many are willing to share ideas and strategies that might stimulate leadership around your ideas to organize an initiative and/or brand around a theme, or sub-region that highlights assets in our greater region.