It has been a busy summer with many visitors to Historic Fort Steuben from as far away as France and as nearby as South Fifth Street.
It's amazing to me how many people from the area have never been inside the fort and seen the quality of exhibits and the abundance of history that are on display. We are grateful to all our members and supporters who bring family and friends to tour the fort, who are proud of the good things we have in this community. We also are pleased to have teachers who bring their students - year after year - because they know the educational value of hands-on history.
The comments we get from those who tour the fort are encouraging, too. We recently had several groups of motorcyclists stop by, and they said, "There is nothing else like this in Ohio." Yes, there are museums, and, yes, there are other forts and historical buildings, but the authenticity of our site truly makes history come alive.
Some may question the value of preserving our history as we do at Fort Steuben. It does take a great deal of energy and resources to maintain these wooden structures and develop meaningful educational programs. But as a nation built on democratic and republican principles (not political parties), it is essential that citizens know and understand our foundations. To this end, in our displays and tours, we emphasize the transformational ideas of the Land Ordinance of 1785 and the Northwest Ordinance and the rectilinear land surveys that began here in the Ohio Valley as well as the great themes of the Constitution, which we will be highlighting at our exhibit this month.
True, all these concepts can be found in textbooks and history books, but our interpreters help visitors see the connections between the past and present more effectively than simply reading about them.
Historic Fort Steuben will be open through October so consider stopping by, bringing a friend and learning more about our heritage. Our history is your history, too.
VISITORS CENTER MARKS 10 YEARS
In all the bustle of the summer, the anniversary of the opening of Fort Steuben Park and the Fort Steuben Visitors Center simply slipped by.
The award-winning visitors center has been serving travelers and locals for 10 years, providing information as well as space for exhibits, conferences and meetings. As part of the Ohio River Scenic Byway - that runs from East Liverpool to Cincinnati - the visitors center is a valuable resource for tourism and attracts hundreds of byway travelers each year.
For information on the byway and other byways in the state, check out www.ohiobyways.com. Traveling a byway is a pleasant way to explore an area, especially when the fall colors are on display.
THIS MONTH IN HISTORY
As the summer draws to a close, we have much to commemorate in September. As noted below, we recall that Meriwether Lewis began the eastern portion of what was to become known as the Lewis & Clark Expedition.
It was on Sept. 2, 1752, that the British ended their use of the Julian calendar, switching instead to the Gregorian calendar, resulting in a major adjustment as Wednesday, Sept. 2, was followed by Thursday, Sept. 14. The correction resulted in rioting by people who felt cheated and demanded the missing 11 days back. It also caused confusion of birthdates, as you can imagine.
Two months after declaring independence from Great Britain, the Continental Congress changed the name of the new American nation from the United Colonies to the United States on Sept. 9. And it was in September of 1783 that the Treaty of Paris that ended the Revolutionary War was signed.
Sept. 17, 1789, is the date when the Constitution of the United States was signed by delegates of 12 states. Little did those signers realize what a transformative document they had developed.
And on Sept. 29, 1789, the U.S. Congress created the U.S. Army, consisting of 1,000 officers and enlisted men, including those who had served at Fort Steuben. Even today, the soldiers use the military handbook of Baron von Steuben.
CONCERT SERIES SURVEY
Historic Fort Steuben not only preserves history, but we also provide cultural offerings to the community through our free summer concert series. Thanks to all the sponsors, volunteers, performers, support crews and audience members who made the 2013 Berkman Memorial Summer Concert Series a success. In spite of unsettled weather and the rescheduling of four performances, hundreds of people enjoyed the concerts that were presented this summer.
If you attended any of the concerts, please take a few minutes to complete the survey here: www.surveymonkey.com/s/YMD6X79
Planning for next year has already begun. You can send comments and suggestions to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your feedback is valuable as we develop the schedule and as we raise the funds necessary to keep these concerts free.
And please support all the businesses and organizations that are listed in the program. It is their generosity that makes this annual series possible.
CELEBRATE THE CONSTITUTION
Every year the Daughters of the American Revolution partner with Historic Fort Steuben to commemorate Constitution Day, the day the Constitution of the United States was signed on Sept. 17, 1787 - 226 years ago.
The two-week event includes an exhibit on the Constitution, a video, a scavenger hunt and the opportunity to "Sign the Constitution." The free program will run from Sept. 9-22, Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For those on Facebook, watch for our Constitution Quiz.
SPONSOR A DAY AT THE FORT
Fort Steuben is dependent upon donations to operate - and our general operating costs average about $250 a day.
We are grateful to those individuals, groups and businesses that support us by sponsoring a day at the Fort. On Labor Day, for example, we were sponsored by the Steubenville Electrical LMCC as they commemorated "The Men and Women of the American Labor Movement Who Sacrificed Themselves that We May Enjoy the End of Child Labor, Heinous Working Conditions and Unsafe Work Sites."
A certificate acknowledging their contribution is on display in the visitors center.
Interested in becoming a full day ($250) or half-day ($150) sponsor?
Give us a call at (740) 283-1787.
FOUNTAIN & MEMORIAL BRICKS
You may have noticed that the Veterans Memorial Fountain had been shut down for most of the summer due to major repairs. Several motors, valves and pumps had to be replaced - the fountain has been operating for almost 10 years.
The proceeds from the brick sales go toward regular maintenance of the fountain, but this year we were grateful to the Charles M. and Thelma Pugliese Charitable Foundation for a major grant to cover the extensive work necessary to get the fountain going again.
Our latest order for engraved bricks has arrived, and we hope to have them put in place by October. An engraved brick is a unique and lasting way to honor a loved one or commemorate an event. Bricks are $65 ($50 for members). Any bricks ordered in the next six months will be put in next spring.
Brick forms can be obtained in the visitors center or on the Internet at www.oldfortsteuben.com/Brickform.
LEWIS & CLARK - IN THE MUSEUM SHOP
Did you know that Meriwether Lewis stopped in the small town of Steubenville in September 1803 while on his way to meet William Clark and the rest of the Corps of Discovery in Louisville?
Lewis was traveling down the Ohio River from Pittsburgh with supplies for the expedition when the boat they were on got stuck on a "riffle" (sand bar) in the river just south of Steubenville. They disembarked and went into the town to hire some oxen to pull the boat free.
In his journal, Lewis noted: "Steubenville - a small town situated on the Ohio in state of Ohio about six miles above Charlestown in Virginia and 24 above Wheeling - is small well built thriving placehas several respectable families residing in it, five years since it was a wilderness."
The journals of Lewis and Clark are available on-line: lewisandclarkjournals.unl.edu and make fascinating reading.
The museum shop has a collection of books on the Lewis & Clark Expedition, from coloring books for youngsters to biographies and histories for adults.
Books, toys and lots of Steubenville and Ohio souvenirs also are on sale in the museum shop. We carry bracelets, mugs, key chains and magnets for your favorite high school team. The shop also is a resource for teachers with posters, charts and maps to supplement classroom material.
The Department of Natural Resources has provided us with lots of guides, brochures, maps and other items for exploring the great outdoors.
Interested in attracting butterflies to your back yard? Or building bird nesting boxes? Or learning the state rules for hunting, fishing and trapping?
Stop by and pick up some information at the visitor centerand it's all free.
LEAVING A LEGACY
To ensure that Historic Fort Steuben will continue to offer educational, historical and cultural programs in years to come, please consider including the fort in your estate planning.
Tri-State Financial Services has put together simple legacy plans that fit any budget. Give Ken Perkins or Suzanne Kresser a call at (740) 264-4466 to see how you can contribute to "Keeping History Alive!"
WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING?
Today: Third-annual Pam Shoemaker Golf Classic, in partnership with Women In Action Against Cancer Coalition; 9:30 am, Spring Hills Golf Course, 7231 state Route 43, East Springfield, contact: Sandy Gotschall at (740)317.9241.
Sept. 20: AMVETS Post 275 National POW/MIA Recognition Day, 11:30 a.m., flagpole at Historic Fort Steuben Park, 120 S. 3rd St., Steubenville;
Sept. 25: Prime Time Senior Expo, Prime Time Center, 300 Lovers Lane, Steubenville; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; (740) 314-5197.
Sept. 25: JCHA annual meeting and dinner, Steubenville Country Club, Lovers Lane, Steubenville; speaker: Frank Hoagland; $30; (740) 283-1133 (leave a message if no answer)
Sept. 30: Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce annual dinner, St. Florian Hall, Wintersville; speaker: Chris Spielman; $70, (740) 282-6226 or www.jefferson county chamber.com
Sept. 27-Nov. 2: The Goucher Haunted Hotel, Toronto; Friday and Saturday nights, 7 p.m.; $13, to benefit Coats for Kids, (740) 537-0235 or www.thegoucherhotel.com
Sept. 27- Nov. 2: Wells Township Haunted House, Brilliant; 7 p.m.; $12; (740) 598-9602 or www.wellstownshiphauntedhouse.com
Sept. 28: Quaker Days, homemade vegetable soup and cobblers, local vendors and musicians, Crew House Museum, Richmond, (740) 765-4534.
Oh, my! So many neat places to go and things to do. Be sure to make time to enjoy these late summer activities.