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3 heritage trails in Southeast Ohio offer adventures for families

Published: April 13, 2017 2:18 AM
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CAMBRIDGE, OH – Guernsey County, Ohio is home to three unique heritage trails that are sure to offer adventure and fun for the entire family. Discover the nation’s first highway (circa 1806), a Civil War raid by Confederates that zigzagged through Ohio, and the beloved 1950s television cowboy Hopalong Cassidy.

1. The National Road -  Long before it was hip to take a trip on Route 66, the National Road (Route 40) served as America’s first highway to adventure. Visitors come in search of an idyllic America in which Main Street U.S.A. is the heart of a community and life moves at a more relaxed pace. Often billed as “the road that built a nation,” the National Road stretches nearly 700 miles across six states—from Maryland’s seashore to Illinois’ farmland. Thirty-two miles of the road pass through Guernsey County, traveling along Wheeling Avenue. The National Road began as a simple wilderness footpath connecting Kentucky and Ohio and was used primarily by Native Americans and frontiersmen. In 1806 President Thomas Jefferson signed legislation enabling the construction of the first federally funded national road. The road took nearly 30 years to construct from east to west, reaching completion in Guernsey County in 1828. In the 1960s, the road was eclipsed by the creation of Interstate 70, but has since been designated as an All-American National Scenic Byway and is gaining the attention of travelers once more for those seeking a less hectic driving route. The National Road offers adventure seekers today a great road trip just as it did two centuries ago. More than 30 key attractions and points of interest, specific to the history of the road, are located throughout the county. From the famous “S” bridges to stagecoach stops and tollgates, the route is lined with picture perfect sites. Stop by the Tourist Information Center for a free Historic National Road driving tour brochure.

2. John Hunt Morgan Heritage Trail - For Civil War buffs, the 557-mile long John Hunt Morgan Heritage Trail of Ohio is a must-see. The trail consists of 56 interpretive signs and over 600 specialized directional signs. John Hunt Morgan and his Confederate Cavalry of 2,000 men entered Ohio on July 13, 1863 spreading fear throughout the villages in Ohio. Morgan and his men entered Guernsey County near sundown on July 23. The uninvited guests visited homes and demanded food and rest. The local population complied with these demands, seeking only to remain uninjured as trepidation spread throughout the region. By 10 p.m., the raiders had vacated Cumberland. With the forced aid of local men as guides, they traveled east through Point Pleasant, (now Pleasant City), Hartford, (now Buffalo), and arrived at Senecaville in the early morning hours of Friday, July 24. With reports of Union reinforcement to the east, the raiders turned north towards Campbell’s Station, but not before acquiring more food and horses from residents. Near dawn, Morgan and his men arrived at Campbell’s Station, (now Lore City), inflicting the harshest damage of the raid. They burned a bridge, several railcars, a tobacco warehouse and stole nearly $4,000 from a safe. From there, the Confederates thundered north to Washington, (now Old Washington), and commandeered meals from the proprietors of the American Hotel. Many of the raiders spread out through town to rest, or ravage the local stores of wares and supplies. This respite proved dangerous for Morgan’s men as Union Cavalry had now arrived at Washington, shelling the city from a hill south of town and attacking the surprised Confederates, Morgan and his men escaped both North and East…to fight another day. As you travel Guernsey County’s portion of the Morgan Heritage Trail, be sure to stop in the Tourist Information center for a free driving tour brochure about the four interpretive signs to learn more about this great and historical period.

3. The Hopalong Cassidy Trail - Guernsey County’s newest heritage trail, the Hopalong Cassidy Trail, recognizes the impact of William Boyd, Cambridge Ohio’s beloved cowboy hero. A collection of Hopalong Cassidy items are on display throughout Historic Downtown Cambridge at various locations:

• In the display window of COUNTRY BITS located at 700 Wheeling Avenue.

• The history of William Boyd, from Hendrysburg to Hollywood, can be seen in a mural at the LONGINIE-GIBSON AGENCY building located at 122 Southgate Pkwy on the corner of Southgate Parkway and Turner Avenue with a visual exhibit inside.

• A remarkable six- foot bronze statue greets visitors and residence alike at the GUERNSEY COUNTY SENTIOR CENTER located at 1022 Carlisle Avenue.

• The site of the school attended by William Boyd at Wheeling and Highland Avenue is home to a monument and the Hopalong Cassidy walk dedicated to his memory at the corner of Wheeling Avenue Highland Avenues (150 Highland Avenue).

• An exhibit is also displayed at the Cambridge/Guernsey County Tourist Information Center located at 627 Wheeling Avenue where a brochure highlighting the Hopalong Cassidy Trail is available.

To begin your exploration at VisitGuernseyCounty.com or stop by the Tourist Information Center in downtown! For more information, contact the Cambridge/Guernsey County VCB office at 627 Wheeling Avenue, Suite 200 in downtown Cambridge, call 740-432-2022, email info@VisitGuernseyCounty.com, or log on to VisitGuernseyCounty.com.

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