Sunday, August 19, 2012

Henry County Ribfest 2012

How many pigs can you fit inside a Wildcat? …the answer: 26 (Give or take a few)
And that number gets bigger and bigger as we have concluded yet another successful finger lickin’ evening. What are we even talking about here? We are talking about the Henry County Ribfest. The Ribfest takes place in the crossroads of downtown Napoleon; West Washington and Perry St. This is the same intersection that has become the canvas for a giant Wildcat Mascot that is painted on the asphalt.

I know, this sounds like an interesting event; you bet!  My husband and youngest son ventured on down to get our “grub” on. There were 13 different rib vendors and the pressure was on to find the perfect rib. We couldn’t lose no matter where we visited. Because, every vendor was a not for profit organization that got to keep one hundred percent of their earned proceeds for the evening. Some smoked their ribs while others grilled them. There were all sorts of preparations happening…for the love of pork!

So you don’t like ribs, no worries, there were pulled pork sandwiches, french fries and ice cream. Perhaps, you wanted to come for the suds. Not soap, but an ice cold beer. No matter what your flavor was you would be sure to fill your belly.  And for dessert you would find your way to the south end of the venue and be entertained by live music by the Menus. The band played for hours while the lead singer kept us anticipating the next song or “creative” costume.

Needless to say, every boy and girl, young and old experienced a fun filled evening.  They were laughing, singing, dancing and sending their pallets into sensory overload. Yes, it was as much fun as it sounds and I can’t wait to do it all over again; next June!

Article and photos submitted by Teresa Hillis

Monday, May 14, 2012

Bicycling along the Maumee

There are many places along the Maumee River to Bicycle. Either on- road or off-road.
The views of the river are inspiring, and many bicyclists love to cycle in the Northwest Ohio River Region. See for yourself by watching the brief video !

Monday, March 12, 2012

Prairie Des Mascoutins

Historical Marker at junction of
US Route 24 and State Route 109.
Photo provided by Bob Morrison
As I hike along the Old Towpath Trail- now known as the Buckeye Trail and The National Park Service’s North Country Trail- in Henry County Ohio, I am continually immersed in the scenic beauty of the natural surroundings. The glimpses of the State Scenic River, the bare woods, the musty scent of the damp earth finally unlocked from its frozen state, and the sounds of twigs and leaves snapping and crunching underfoot makes me appreciate winter’s yielding, and the promise of springtime emerging. Warmer temperatures ride the southern breezes that rattle and shake the barren timber canopy overhead, as if to say: “Wake you trees from your silent winter slumber!”

As I continue my hike, and appreciate the natural beauty of the Trail, I have also come to appreciate the rich history surrounding the Tow Path Trail, as teamsters once drew canal boats through the Miami & Erie Canal  here with their teams of mules and Oxen. I can visualize Nineteenth Century  life here that was centered on transportation and commerce around these canals- the “super highways” of their time.

Occasionally, I am reminded of more history which even predates the Canals! It is documented that the French were the first Europeans to explore this area.  The Maumee River was a historical Trade Route used by the French. As the French traders and trappers explored this part of the continent in the 1600 and 1700’s, they came to discover that this river was part of a water transportation route connecting their settlements in Quebec with their settlements on the Gulf of Mexico- including New Orleans.

Traveling from Quebec by boat west up the St Lawrence River and across Lake Ontario. Then to Portage up Niagara Escarpment and around the Falls, all the way to the western end of Lake Erie. Then entering the Maumee River (Miami of the Erie) and ascending it all the way to its headwaters near Kekionga- an Indian town (present day Fort Wayne, Indiana) Then a brief five mile portage to the headwaters of the Wabash River. From here, traveling downriver clear until it empties into the Ohio River, then into the Mississippi River, and down to New Orleans. The entire distance by water- save 2 land portages totaling less than 50 miles!
Historical Marker at Junction of
US Route 24 and State Route 109.
Photo Provided by Bob Morrison
So it is not a surprise that French and Native American settlements occurred here along the Trade Route known as The Maumee River. One such settlement was named “Prairie Des Mascoutins”. As I read the text on the front of the historical marker, I am so amazed to contemplate the events of those days, and the fact that here I stand over 250 years later on the same piece of ground! The text on the rear of the marker tells a yet more recent history as much armed conflict and strife occurred here as European settlement of the Maumee Valley unfolded. It was not a peaceful process, as the Native Americans, The French, The British, the New American Continental forces engaged in many conflicts in both the French & Indian Wars, and finally the second war of independence- The War of 1812. Not until the conclusion of the War of 1812 did the North Coast of the United States, and our Northern border become established.   The Historical Marker here at this site bears witness to much of what happened here! Click here to
 Read the Text of the Markers. 

Contained in The Henry County Historical Society's Oral History Collection, is a transcript told by Genevieve Eicher- a Wyandotte Indian Decendant- as to the location of this settlement.  Click Here to Read the Transcript of the Oral History narrative.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

While Hiking on the Buckeye Trail...

New Historical Marker, Ritter Park, Napoleon
Civil War Camp Latty
was all around Me!

On Saturday, October 8, 2011, while hiking along the Buckeye Trail / North Country Trail through Henry County Ohio, I came upon the leg of trail that goes through the city of Napoleon along the Maumee River. Here along the River, the trail goes through Ritter Park and the boat docks area. As I hiked through there on that crystal clear autumn afternoon, the sun was bright, the sky was blue without a cloud in it, and the temperature was unseasonable but pleasantly warm- near 80 degrees!

As I hiked west past the boat docks, I continued into Ritter Park, where an amazing event was taking place. Just being unveiled and dedicated, was a brand new Historical Marker which now and hereafter will note the location and significance of "Camp Latty". This camp was a famous Civil War camp which was used to muster the 68th Ohio Volunteer Infantry during this tragic war. The new marker tells the amazing story, which plants a curiosity in viewers to want to learn more of this famous place. This marker and great event was sponsored by the Henry County Historical Society.

Civil War Era Encampment
As I continued my hike, I came upon a number of historical reenactors, who were dressed in civil war era clothing. There were men who dressed in soldiers' attire, and women and children who tended to the homes while the soldiers were away at war. They occupied various tent structures which were authentic replications of those actually used. In addition, there were various demonstrations and exhibits of various aspects of what life was like during the civil war era. Complete with many accoutraments of the time, the exhibit was facinating, informative, and entertaining.

Civil War Medical Equipment Display
It seemed as though I was a time traveler and had hiked backwards in time to a life very different that what I am used to now. I decided to end my hike for the day here in Ritter Park. As I spent some time here with the re-enactors, I enjoyed the experience and wondered about what it was like at Camp Latty. 2011 marks the first year for the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. There are many events happening around Ohio for the sesquicentennial of the Civil War. I will visit the Ohio Civil War 150 web-site to discover more Civil War events around Ohio. Until Then... see you on the trail!  Also to learn more about other Ohio Civil War Events for the sesquicentennial, Click Here! ....Photos supplied by Bob Morrison and Bill Morey.

Monday, August 29, 2011