Love History? Love Steubenville & Jefferson County!

The past becomes more meaningful as you journey along the historic trails of Jefferson County in eastern Ohio. Begin with one of the earliest settlements, in Steubenville: Historic Fort Steuben. A visit takes you back over 200 years to a time when hot showers and microwaves were never imagined. One of only two fully reconstructed forts in the state, Historic Fort Steuben recreates life on the early Ohio frontier in the ten wooden buildings within its picket walls, in the adjacent First Federal Land Office (an original log structure from 1801), and in the exhibits and programs in the Visitor Center.

Built on its original site overlooking the Ohio River, the Fort has an active archaeology dig and displays depicting the process of excavating, uncovering and recording the artifacts. A visitor can learn about early military drill and discipline, the skills and tools used by the frontiersmen, the hardships of camp life, and the methods of surveying that were critical in the first great mapping of land for sale and settlement. A more domestic picture is captured in the Land Office where early land owners registered their deeds. Besides the Exhibit Hall and the Museum Shop, the Fort Steuben Visitor Center is also home to the Steubenville/Jefferson County Visitor Center and is a resource for information on the attractions, dining, shopping and events in the area. On Thursday evenings from May 21 to July 30, free concerts are held in the Berkman Amphitheater in Fort Steuben Park, drawing hundreds to hear live entertainment.  Be sure to plan a trip around the annual festival, Ohio Valley Frontier Days June 6-7, 2015 when the Fort swarms with soldier, settler, surveyor and Native American reenactors who vividly bring the period to life. Music, games, dance, crafts and food add to the fun. Get more details at www.oldfortsteuben.com.

The past is also depicted in the larger than life Murals of Steubenville, 23 artful presentations of important as well as everyday events and people of the city’s history that are painted on buildings throughout the downtown. A self-guided tour can be obtained at the Visitor Center. One of the most photographed is an enormous mural of Steubenville’s native son, entertainer Dean Martin along with some of his Rat Pack buddies. Dean’s memory lives on in the annual Dean Martin Festival (June 18-20, 2015) through musical tributes and entertainment. It culminates on June 20th with the Steubenville Hometown Celebration in the downtown with a classic car show, fun and games for the kids, balloons, mini-train rides, Trolley rides down Historic North Fourth Street, tours of historic mansions and churches and an Oldies Concert in the Berkman Amphitheater.

Downtown Steubenville is a busy place but you can find green space and a walking trail in Beatty Park or sit along the Ohio River and watch the barges and boats float by. Information on other recreational opportunities can be found at the Visitor Center.

Want to take a ride in the country? It’s only a few minutes away down St. Rt. 7 along the Ohio River before you find rolling green hills and rural back roads. The Jefferson County Scenic Byway begins at Rayland and is a combination of a greenway, a recreation trail and an area of historic interest. The 15-mile route follows Ohio 150 from Rayland on the east to US 250 on the west. Of particular historic interest is the village of Mount Pleasant, heavily involved with the Underground Railroad and the anti-slavery activities in the 19th century. The village contains a National Historic District which includes the Friends (Quakers) Yearly Meeting House, built in 1814, and the Free Labor Store, which refused to sell products made by slave labor. An annual open house and garden tour is held there the first weekend in August.

After strolling the quaint streets of Mount Pleasant, you should be ready for a hearty meal at the nearby Farm Restaurant in Adena which features delicious food as well as charming décor. Or maybe you would like to stop by Black Sheep Vineyard to enjoy a glass of their hand-crafted wine in a cozy country setting.

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Steubenville Hometown Celebration Plans Underway

Although it is only spring, plans for this summer’s Steubenville Hometown Celebration are well underway. The one day event on Saturday, June 20th is the finale for the community’s popular June festivals: Ohio Valley Frontier Days (June 6-7), Holy Trinity Greek Food Festival (June 16-19) and the Dean Martin Festival (June 18-20).

“We are planning to have an expanded event this year,” noted Judy Bratten, director of Historic Fort Steuben and the Steubenville/Jefferson County Visitor Center. “As in the past there will be activities at Fort Steuben Park: Trolley rides on Historic Fourth Street, mini train rides, Amazing Nick’s Balloon Art, Kurt James’ Fun n’ Games for the kids, and entertainment around the Veterans’ Memorial Fountain. But in addition there will be a Safety Rodeo on Market Street and the Dean Martin Classic Car Cruise In on S. 4th Street along with vendors and game booths. A Steubenville Murals Scavenger Hunt with a Hometown Celebration Basket as a prize will add to the fun.”

The day will begin with a Dino Dash – 5k run through the downtown – and a Pancake Breakfast at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, famed for its Tiffany stained glass windows. Visitors can enjoy Dean Martin Karaoke and entertainers at the Spot Bar, including a Rat Pack Show in the evening. Proceeds from the Dean Martin Festival go to music scholarships and the Tony Teramana Cancer Center.

The Grand Theater – still in the process of restoration – will have entertainment. The Jefferson County Historical Museum on Franklin Avenue will be open as well as the recently renovated Means House on North Street. Historic Fort Steuben will have reenactors demonstrating 18th century military drill and weaponry. Restaurants and shops will feature Hometown Celebration Specials and an Ohio Valley Talent Show will be held in the Berkman Amphitheater from 11 to 2. Among the Talent Show performers are Leah Bowman and The Allegheny Angels. Plans for a film fest and dance at Froehlich’s Classic Corner are also in the works.

“Music, comedy and crazy antics” are the specialty of oldies rock’n’roll band The Avalons who will be performing in the Berkman Amphitheater that evening at 6:30 pm. Tickets for that performance will be available at the door or in advance at the Visitor Center for $10 (adults) and $5 (6-12 yr. olds) and a portion of the proceeds will go towards supporting the educational programs at Historic Fort Steuben.

“This event would not be happening without the support of our major sponsors: WTOV9/Fox9, WMC’s All About Women, and Steubenville Electrical LMCC. We are grateful to Franciscan University of Steubenville for their donation toward the Performing Arts programs at the two high schools in honor of this celebration,” added Bratten. “It’s not too late to sign up to participate in this year’s festivities. There is plenty of space for more vendors and we invite organizations to set up game booths or information tables. Donor and sponsor packages are also available.”

For more information, call the Visitor Center at 740-283-4935.

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