Historic Fort Steuben lures lots of visitors

Last year more than 8,000 people came to Historic Fort Steuben to enjoy a variety of educational and entertaining activities at the facilities located at 120 S. Third St., Steubenville.

Judy Bratten, its executive director, affirmed that when the Old Fort Steuben Project Inc. held its annual membership meeting and dinner May 1 at the Steubenville Country Club.

Among those visitors are area residents who take advantage of the free Berkman Memorial Summer Concerts, outdoor music fests offered at the Berkman Amphitheater.

Those are coming up again, with the 2013 concert series kicking off May 23 with Oldies Night and a classic car cruise-in. There will be performances by One-A-Chord and the Original Fantasy’s. All concerts on those Thursdays to come begin at 6:30 p.m.

A moment of silence was observed for Louis Berkman, who recently died and was a big supporter of Historic Fort Steuben where the amphitheater bears his name.

The evening included welcoming remarks from Jerry Barilla, president of the Old Fort Steuben Projects Inc., and the presentation of awards to three area residents for their contributions in making Historic Fort Steuben an educational and entertaining place for visitors to have in their midst.

They were Hancock County residents Rick and Deb Witkowski of Weirton and Frank Gutierrez of Chester. Gutierrez was singled out as a behind-the-scenes yet “major player” in the fort’s annual Ohio Valley Frontier Days, with this year’s installment set for June 8-9.

The Witkowskis, the owners of Studio L, help make the fort’s summer concerts something that area residents enjoy on Thursday evenings at the amphitheater.

In her annual report, Bratten spoke to the fort’s theme of “Now More Than Ever,” including the need for “positive and uplifting educational and cultural activities” at the fort.

That’s the theme for this year’s membership drive and programming.

The guest speaker was Thomas Besch, University of Akron professor, who gave a historical perspective on the evolution of surveying.

Old Fort Steuben Project Inc. is a nonprofit organization committed to the preservation and promotion of Historic Fort Steuben and its place in the history of Ohio and the United States. Memberships, sponsorships and contributions to maintain the buildings and develop historical, educational and cultural programs are always welcomed, and all donations are tax-deductible. Annual membership levels begin at $25 with checks made payable to Historic Fort Steuben.

For information on Historic Fort Steuben, call (740) 283-1787 or visit the website at www.oldfortsteuben.