Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Wow! Have you seen the price of gas these days? Late next week I'm heading to Iowa for a graduation. I love a road trip, but I'm not looking forward to the dent this one will put in my bank account.
Road trips are always fun because there is potential for exploring places and their history that you wouldn't see or learn otherwise.
One year while driving across Nebraska, my mom and I got off Highway 80 and found a Pony Express landmark to explore. We also saw a reconstructed sod house as a bonus. (You just never know what you'll find off the main road.)
I'd love to someday do more research about my family's history in both Kansas and Mississippi, travel the route of the Oregon Trail, or research pioneer life on a Montana ranch. Just thinking about it makes the ideas for writing start to flow. But in my desire to go west, I'm bypassing some great history and adventure right in my own county.
Ohio is rich in history. Right here in Tuscarawas County we have two original settlement sites of the first white missionaries who came to minister to the native tribes. There is an outdoor drama that relives the story of a tragic massacre involving the first Christian Indians.
Other history in the area involves the Ohio-Erie Canal, former stagecoach stops, old mills, Fort Laurens, a German separatists communal village, the Underground Railroad, the National Road, birthplaces of General Custer and Clark Gable, a 1928 Spillman Carousel, a canteen stop along the railroad during WWII, and more.
So why do we often think we need to go exploring history miles away from home? This summer, especially when the conservation of money and fossil fuels is so important, let's take another look at the treasures in our own back yards. You may just surprise yourself and find the makings for a terrific story.
And it doesn't have to be historical. Just around here we have Amish tourism, alpaca farms, buffalo farms, pick-your-own orchards, Christmas tree farms, Warther's carvings museum, government built water conservation lakes, cheese makers, a small town philharmonic orchestra, coal mining, etc. There is bound to be some sort of modern industry or hobby or such to write about.
So do you have a story that was inspired by something in your own home town?
Editor Du Jour Becky