Welcome to GuernseyCountyHistory.Com: Jonathan Bye Days Memories!

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90’s “Bye Days” Style

I remember growing up in the village of Byesville back in the 1990’s and everybody getting excited about the “Annual Jonathan Bye Days” festival. After driving my Mom crazy for $10, I can remember cutting through the wind on my bike to get to the park and then trying to decide what I was going do from there. I remember that hot–almost wet air– from the humidity we get in Ohio during the summer months combined with the smell of concession food stands permeating the wind as it passed through the basketball court. The more brave and wild kids, filled my ears with the sounds of pop snaps, as they ran about smashing box after box on the concrete. The sights of people walking with golf caps on backwards, over their sprayed red hair, wearing baggy Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren t-shirts with even more baggy JNCO jeans. A kaleidoscope of taste, sound and sights percolated through the fun: talent shows, basketball tournaments, Elvis impersonations, concerts, and skydivers.

I remember my stepdad commenting on the festival and how ridiculous he thought it had became, “Every year they try to do something bigger and better than the year before to get people to show up down there.” The gossip was rampant: “Who was boyfriend and girlfriend with who?”, “Why were those two headed off to the dugouts earlier?”, and “Why did so and so get into a fight with so and so?”  We spent our days running out energy in as many different ways as we could find: I feel a bit tacky and even old for saying I remember when only rich people had cell phones. In Byesville nobody was really rich so there was not anyone walking around with a phone to their face. We were social animals not social media animals and because of it our lives were very animated. A story about a fight could start off with, “John” breaking, “Doe’s” jaw and by the time that same story made it’s way around the park, “Doe” broke “John’s” nose and now the police were looking for them both. In all this craziness, the question hardly even crossed my mind, “Who is this Jonathan Bye guy and why am I celebrating him?” After asking the question one time before and being told “Jonathan Bye was the founder of Byesville”, my curiosity was satisfied.

As I have gotten older and learned to love history, I still wonder, “Who was Jonathan Bye, really?” I get that he supposedly “found” Byesville, but beyond that I knew nothing. Despite being such an important person–we celebrate him over 150 years after he passed away–you cannot “Google” him and find a Wikipedia page. The village of Byesville has a festival every year to honor the man, but there is not a shred of information out there about him unless you are willing to dust off old books at the local library and research him. So I decided to take this project and do the research for you and I hope a few more knowledgeable members of the community will help me. Not only do I want to know, “Who is Jonathan Bye ?” I’d like to find someone that knows something about the railroad history in Cambridge and have them write an article about it’s hey day. I’d like to see a, “Top 10 torn or burnt down buildings” list and a, “Top 10 gone out-of-businesses of Cambridge.” I could do all this research myself, but it would take me forever, so I’m asking you–the community–to help me make this site as good as it can be for future generations. I’m open to any idea’s anyone wants to throw my way.

Which brings me to my next point, the reasons for this site. The morale towards the area is not so high, at least not from my experience. After some controversial “Top Ten” articles that have painted our county seat as a post-industrial ghetto, people have felt confirmed in talking badly of our home. One article places Cambridge and our next door neighbor Zanesville on the, “Top Ten Worst Places to Live in Ohio”; meaning–according to roadsnacks.com–our little region here makes up 20% of Ohio’s worst places to reside. Another website put Cambridge on their “Ten Most Dangerous Places in Ohio.”  Unfortunately, I don’t believe a lot of people my age are real proud of their connection to Guernsey County. Actually, it’s too often the butt of the joke. Honestly, I have even been guilty of it myself. It is my hope to change this negative view of our home. I want to act as a neutralizer to these bad articles and give people something positive about their community to point at and say, “That’s where I am from and it’s a great place.”

You see nobody has ever educated my generation about what there is to be proud of in Guernsey County. Nobody told us about the fascinating people here before us, or that we were unique because we have a first generation American town. So how could we feel a sense of pride? All we have ever heard about is how the area has, “gone down the tubes.”So I have decided to build this site for a couple of reasons, the biggest of which is to boost that morale and pride of our citizenship. The truth is, it’s not the best of times in Guernsey County but I think history can make us forget about our problems for a little while. With history we can escape into our imagination and paint a picture of what used to be here.

History is an important tool to have while going through life. I know some people would debate that but I don’t believe it’s debatable. The Founders of the United States were learned in history and they used it to build the greatest nation the world has ever seen. History is the most under utilized tool in our society today. Dr. Phil says something like, “The best way to predict the future is too look at the relevant past.”  When we put relevant history under a microscope we can better predict the future. With history we have an accurate tool that tells us consequences before we make the mistakes. Relevant history gives us an idea of what the future will hold when we are weighing important decisions in life. So, despite what scientists and mathematicians think; history is important.It is my mission to give the people of my community a little more relevant history to use in their day to day lives and even more history of which to be proud.  

You see, unlike large cities who have their history all over the internet; small rural villages and towns do not have the luxury of easily accessible history. Nowadays if it isn’t on the internet, kids don’t give a hoot about it. It’s my hope that I may gain a few fans of history by making it more available to future generations while also enlightening the rest of us… Including myself. I have barely scratched the surface, I have to tell you I have been surprised at how much has been left behind to us in our libraries.

I am standing on the shoulders of giants in this field. There are more books on the history of Guernsey County than I expected I would find; one of which was written and published in 1911 by COL. Cyrus P.B. Sarchet, a man who’s grandparents were among the very first settlers here. I have found a book on Guernsey County’s African American history by Wayne L. Snider published in 1979, and published in 1943, “Stories of Guernsey County, Ohio” by William G.Wolfe is truly the holy grail on this topic as anyone who has done research on the history will tell you.

On top of the the Daily Jeffersonian, there are also numerous out-of-print newspapers from the small towns that make up our great county. When material is in the public domain I will scan and credit the source. If I feel I have an experience or idea that can add to a subject then I will write an article myself. I will often use my own photography and graphics and eventually I would like to add short video documentaries and interviews. If you’re curious or have a question in regards to any of this this feel free to ask me, you can add me on Facebook here or click the link at the bottom for other ways to contact me. Obviously, there is an enormous wealth of information and research to be done, and I for one am excited to know the information is out there for us to find and bring back to life! Let’s start off with, “Who was Jonathan Bye, really?”/“A Movement West: The Settling and Founding of Cambridge, Ohio” and “3 Year Old Girl Captured by Indians: the John Chapman Story.”

Please feel free to converse by making comments. Thank You.

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Unique Local Newspaper Notices and Advertisements

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Make sure your rotation feature is on and flip your phone sideways to enjoy reading the page in a more pleasing format.

The following are excerpts from the the book Stories of Guernsey County, Ohio by William G. Wolfe. They are a collection of unique notices and advertisements he found while researching our local history. You can enlarge on mobile devices by using your thumb and index finger as well as flipping your phone sideways as shown in the image above.. Enjoy. 😀

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“Rocks-That-Burn” To The Gilded Age: How Coal Mines Built Guernsey County


Pre-1800’s     

Indians

The history of Coal Mining in Guernsey County goes back further than Euro-American settlers. Indians that once used Wills Creek for fishing, also knew of the great resource coal could be to keep warm throughout the winter. Before any mining operations were setup, veins throughout the county resulted in coal being on the surface. Early settlements found in the area were said to have proved the Native Americans use of the coal. You could literally pick it up off of the ground as easily as a rock. According to Dave Adair, the Guernsey County Historical Societies foremost coal mining historian, the Indians of the area did just that, collected the coal for fires and called it “rocks-that-burn.”


Pioneer Days—1800-1850

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Despite the great amount of wood provided by our areas vast wilderness—there was so much wood trees had to be chopped down in order to plat the different surrounding towns—early settlers of the area, in the pioneer days, also made use of the abundance of coal. William G. Wolfe ponders that the first settlers must have found it a novelty, or at some point they must have found the coal was much easier and efficient to obtain than cutting down trees in times when labor and wood were scarce. Whatever the reason, farmers begun setting up “coal banks” where they would gather the easily accessible coal on their land for their own use or maybe even sold to neighbors for a little profit.


Industrial Revolution—1850-1870

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C&M Group Picture

It wasn’t until technology such as steamboats and railroads were developed that these black rocks were seen as lucrative. In the 1840’s Trains and Steamboats had established themselves as premiere technologies that would catapult America on to the world scene of commerce and industry. Railroads were being developed along routes that were never considered previously as having any potential economically. Steamboats made rivers and the great lakes yet even more valuable for transporting commerce long distances. Guernsey County none-the-less was caught up in this great national phenomena known as the Industrial Revolution. Thus the demand and price for coal skyrocketed and here little old Guernsey County was with it literally bursting at its seems. In the 1850’s a series of mines were established. The first was on an old “coal bank” on the farm of George Scott sitting just east of Cambridge near the National Road (Route 40) between Lore City and Cambridge. The enterprise become so large it was no longer deemed a “coal bank” and the name was changed to the “Gaston Mine.” Following the Gaston Mine, the Scott Mine and the Norris Mines were established nearby. The location of the railroads alongside the mines made them extremely efficient and very profitable for investors.

In an interview with Dave Adair, I learned of a Ghost Town located where Reservoir Road meets the crossroads near Coal Ridge today. The town of Scotts was one of many towns established for keeping the miners near their work site and when the coal mines went out of business some years later, the location and the towns were completely and totally abandoned. Today there is almost nothing in the area to reflect the daily life of the miners. I cannot help but think of the men waking early, drinking coffee to start the day, going to the mine to work a tough shift, and then hitting a small tavern at the end. The different jokes and smiles they must have shared, the different daily toils that were common of the time, and the conflicts that might have arisen because of working rivals, different languages, or them being forced to live among each other in a small collection of buildings with nowhere to escape. All of this now long forgotten about with not a single trace of their lives and what they consisted of, all vanished by space and time.

Norris Newspaper

A Daily Jeffersonian article dated for February 20th, 1991 gives us insight into the early mines as a part of a piece for black history month, it reads as follows: BLACK SETTLERS ARE FOCUS — The Guernsey County Historical Society will a slide presentation depicting black settlers of Guernsey County between 1860 and 1920 at 2 p.m. Sunday at St. Paul CME Church, 123 Gomber Ave. In Part, the presentations will give the viewer a glimpse of ealry settlements, schools, churches, houses, and places of employment. Pictured is a portion of the Norris Mine, four miles east of Cambridge along the B&O Railroad, as it looked 100 years ago. Many of the miners at Norris were children and former slaves who moved to Guernsey County at the close of the Civil War and lived in some forgotten coal mine towns such as Danford, Craig, and Scotts. Sunday’s presentation is part of Black History Month. 

The Norris Mine was the last of the early eastern Guernsey mines to be established in the 1850’s. It was also maybe the most financially successfully as we can see in the picture from the Historical Societies research room dated from the 1880’s, it was open for some time. Also I should note in a book about the history of African Americans in Guernsey County by Wayne L. Snider, and as documented in the newspaper clipping in the photograph, early African American communities were established near Four Mile hill by Lore City, and it was not until employment near Cambridge did they leave their residences and move into the county seat. The Coal Mines are likely the reason for these early segregated settlements in eastern Guernsey County. As were the small towns of the county established for people off all nationalities. In fact, in the book written by Russell Booth you can find a long list of different European nationalities that traveled to and worked in the Guernsey County Coal Mines, some coming from as far away as Russia. The very growth of surrounding towns like Byesville, Lore City, Kipling, Walhounding, Buffalo, Pleasant City and so on, owe their existence to the attraction of our coal mines.

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A copy of the original photograph of the Norris Mine from the Historical Societies Research Room.

Norris Clipping

A closer look at the information given by the Historical Society, it reads as follows: “Norris Coal mine located near “MS” Telegraph Tower and South of the railroad seen in the background used a trestle to reach it’s opening approx. 300 yards away. “Bock and Berry” were used to (Shove/Pull) loaded cars away from the coal tipple. Photo dates circa 1890.”

Lore City

Black Top Mine located near Lore City on Cherry Hill Road

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The Buffalo Mine

If you would like to see more pictures you can click this link to go to an album uploaded by Tom Severns to the Facebook group “You know You’re From Guernsey County When…” 

The Gilded Age—1870—1920’s

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Downtown Cambridge in front of the Courthouse

As wealth and civilization grew in the surrounding area’s so did wealth and civilization in the counties seat of Cambridge. After the Civil War the growing population of the area gives rise to a growing manufacturing and retail base. With a small amount of money to spend, immigrants from the surrounding coal mining towns would have traveled by horseback to Cambridge to buy things they could not otherwise buy in their small villages. Retail stores in Cambridge boom as a result, and with so much money pouring in to the area manufactures of glass and other industries are built and provide yet even more jobs and wealth and thus a row of extravagant mansions are erected along 7th Street. Despite the world growing in population by 700-800% since 1900, there were more people in Guernsey County then, than reside here now. Thus it is true, the manikins designed and put out on display each year by the Dickens Village folks, are truly an accurate representation of the people in Cambridge at its height in the Gilded Age. Cambridge is a classic Victorian era city. Our history is very reflective of the history of the entire nation. We were not much more than an outpost in the wilderness at the beginning, our area grew greatly with the industrial revolution and with the introduction of coal mining and technology, we reached our economical heights at the turn of the 1900’s. There was not a soul in the county that could not find work if they had a shred of virtue or ambition. A massive beautiful courthouse was erected, an elegant monument to salute veterans of the Civil War, there were multiple newspapers, and even a street car on Wheeling Avenue. Almost every town in the county owes its infrastructure to the coal mining era. All this growth and history from what the Indians once called “rocks-that-burn.”

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Coal Mining brought get wealth and prosperity to Guernsey County


Dave Adair’s Coal Mining Exhibit At The Guernsey County Museum

Dave Adair

 

Dave Adair, whom I have mentioned a few times in this article, has worked long and hard to make a Coal Mine Exhibit at the Guernsey County Historical Society Museum. A part of the exhibit is a great collection of photographs documenting many of the different mines around the area. According to Dave, all told there were as much as 1,500 different coal operation sites within our county lines at one point or another. Some of the most prominent companies include: Cambridge Collieries, Akron Coal Company, and the Old National Coal Company. You should at some point come in and check out this exhibit, to get an idea of how influential the coal mines were to the development of your community. You get to experience firsthand the darkness and isolation these men must have felt working underground.

Exhibit


For Museum Opening and Hours for this summer you can click here. 

History of the Train Stations and Railroads

The railroad industry was very volatile. The truth is, too many of them were built, and this gave some people, most famously robber baron Jay Gould, an opportunity to make a living off of buying up small railroad companies, selling off their assets and then shutting them down. Railroads often changed names as they were bought and sold by numerous companies. This is why we refer to the same railroads with different names.

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Let’s imagine a day without the interstate highway. Let’s imagine a day when Southgate Parkway is nothing more than wilderness with deer’s running about the weeds in open fields. Imagine when Wheeling Avenue is a dirt road; that get’s trampled on by horses as they carry behind them carriages of people. The sound of a freight train chugging and chooing as it carries on it a very important person.

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Teddy Roosevelt circa 1902

The year is 1912 and people have started to gather near the old covered bridge at Union Station (more widely known today as Ameridial)—the old log bridge would not be replaced by a viaduct for another 12 years—people are awaiting the arrival of the beloved former President turned candidate Teddy Roosevelt. Excitement and anticipation fills the air, people are telling the terrible story of Mr. Roosevelt’s first appearance in Cambridge a decade earlier. “His face was terribly bruised” says one bystander. Another person agrees, “He was hardly recognizable.” Mr. Roosevelt appeared in Cambridge in 1902 shortly after an accident in New England. Another eyewitness complains of the speech, “One would think with the President coming to town, preparations would have been made better so that we could hear him speak.” On the first visit, steam engines at the station were so loud the President’s words were incomprehensible. It was so bad, the President become frustrated and left Guernsey County early to get ahead of schedule.

 

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Teddy Roosevelt 1912 Campaign

But here we are now ten years later, people are awaiting the arrival of the most famous man to set foot in Cambridge, again. They’re pouring out of the Depot Hotel and bar, many more coming down Wheeling Avenue all of them traveling over to the station to catch a glance at the head of the newly formed Bull Moose Party. It’s said some 6,000 people awaited his arrival and in the afternoon on May 20th, 1912 he appeared. This time the counties officials had done their due diligence by setting up an event at the courthouse where the former President could give a speech. Some 2,000 more people joined at the courthouse, for a total of 8,000 people gathering to hear Teddy. He started his speech with “Splendid, looks like victory!” he went on to make a persuasive argument to the counties republicans, convincing many of them—but not enough of them—to give him his vote over the current President and his protégé, William H. Taft. When the speech was finished Teddy went back down to the Union Station, hopped back on his train and continued north on the Pennsylvania Railroad.

The Central Ohio Railroad/The Baltimore & Ohio (B&O) Railroad

I tell you this story because I think it’s reflective of the history of the railroads and the train stations of our area. Rather than bore you with a bunch of historical facts I would much rather challenge your imagination. There were two important railroads that come through Cambridge of which all others branched off of at later dates. First the Central Ohio Railroad Company/B&O Railroad that went east and west, and secondly the Cleveland and Marietta Railroad/the Pennsylvania Railroad that went north and South. Both have interesting histories but in order to tell you that history, I need you to hop into our time machine once again and travel back another 60 years from 1912 to 1847, on this journey you’ll need to erase the Union Station and the Depot Hotel, you’ll have to erase many advancements and building brought on by the industrial revolution, and you have to imagine Cambridge, as not much more than a large collection of wood cabins, along with some taverns and civic buildings. On February 8th 1847, a special act by the Ohio Congress, gave authority to build a railroad from the Ohio River to Columbus, Ohio. The path was outlined roughly by the state and included naming Cambridge at the center of the project.

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The B&O Entered Guernsey County Near Quaker City and Leaves in New Concord

At this time the industrial revolution is in mid swing. Steam boats had made it quicker to travel across large bodies of water. Ports in New York City, collected products sent them up the Hudson Bay through the Erie Canal and onto the Great Lakes where they could be distributed to midwest urban centers like Buffalo, Cleveland, and Detroit. In response to the steam boat technology, cities that weren’t fortunate enough to have a body of water taking them into the west were getting crushed in the market and they decided to start investing in technology that would give them steam power over land. Thus the railroad was born. Initially the project in Ohio was headed by The Central Ohio Railroad Company. They were the ones that sold stock to have the railroad built and subsequently the route it would take. A short battle ensued in Guernsey of where the railroad would enter the County, however, a prominent Quaker from Millwood (Quaker City) named John Hall was able to make this battle a somewhat short one by pledging $23,000 to the project, $10,000 from his own pocket. So it was decided the train would enter the county at Quaker City, go through Cambridge, include a tunnel and exit in New Concord heading towards Zanesville. Though the project set out in 1847, the first passenger train to arrive in Cambridge was not until April 27th, 1854. The significance of the event can be found in the books History of Guernsey County by C.P.B. Sarchet, Stories of Guernsey County by William G. Wolfe, and the Guernsey Times: a predecessor of the Daily Jeffersonian. Most people were very excited to ride a train, others swore they would never ride such a dangerous monstrosity.

Sarchet says in his book:

“The arrival of the first regular passenger train over the road now known as the Baltimore & Ohio, from Columbus was on April 27th, 1854. It consisted of six coaches and it was welcomed right royally. The march from the station to the public square was a long, enthusiastic one, was under marshalship of Loll Lordon I. of land and an address was made by Hon. Nathan Evans. Military Companies from Columbus and Zanesville were present.”

Wolfe includes this excerpt from the Guernsey Times (on mobile devices use index finger and thumb to zoom):

Guernsey Times excerpt (2016_03_02 21_24_35 UTC)

Tom Severans

B&O Car Credit Daniell Adair

Photo Credit: Daniel Adair

B&O caboose at Union Station Tom Severns

Photo Credit: Tom Severns

The Cleveland and Marietta Railroad/Pennsylvania Railroad

I’m going to have to ask you to jump in that time machine once again. We have to take a ride pass the bloody Civil War, and pass Lincolns assassination to the era known as “Reconstruction.” Shortly after the war a wave of prosperity passed through the nation.  Interest and enthusiasm rose in Guernsey County when a survey was taken for a railroad going north and south from Marietta to Cleveland by a former General named A.J. Warner. There was already a railroad from Marietta to Caldwell so it seemed and was a logical idea to continue that route up through Guernsey County. Once again the county had to raise money through selling stock. Meetings were scheduled at the courthouse to explain the potential investment. It’s said John H. Sarchet had a song he would sing when the town’s excitement turned to skepticism. The song was titled, “Buy Another Share or Two,” and he went about the old courthouse singing this to get people interested again. Just before the deadline the quota was met to build to the railroad.

Soon after the money was raised, a feud arose between the leaders of Cambridge and the leaders of Marietta. Leaders from both the communities understood the economical significance of the location of the machine shops. The machine shops meant jobs, and for local economies jobs meant money, a higher standard of living, and further community development. After the railroad was built, the machine shops would mean a servicing center in Cambridge for trains. Cambridge leaders took the initiative and called for a special election. The election was to entice voters into paying for a road from the proposed machine shops to the building sites of the railroad. The deal was that the road would be leased to the railroad company for free until the project was finished and begun seeing returns. This was ideal for the railroad company and so the shops were built in Cambridge.

Marietta officials were furious. They opened a case against Cambridge, claiming the special election was against the law. The case went all the way up to the Supreme Court of Ohio, they ruled in Marietta’s favor claiming the special election unconstitutional. However, since the shops were already built and the project already underway, Cambridge got to keep the machine shops and no other damages were awarded. Cambridge leaders must have toasted to this win in jest while the citizens did the same at the taverns across town. We have to be proud of not just the leaders who made this happen, but our ancestors who without the vote would not have been possible. And so the Marietta and Cleveland Railroad was built entering the county near Pleasant City and leaving the county pass Liberty City (later named Kimbolton.) In 1873 it was finished and celebrations again occurred as two engines were placed on the tracks. One named “Cambridge” and the other named “Liberty” commemorating the town’s most prominent in having the railroad built.

1875

There Was a Political Battle Between Cambridge and Marietta Leaders Over Where These Shops Would Be Located: Cambridge Won the Battle

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Cleveland & Marietta Shops

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Trains being serviced at C&M Shops

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C&M Group Picture

Pennsylvania Railroad

Pennsylvania Railroad

The Economic Significance of the Railroads

As I mentioned in the beginning of this history, the Central Ohio Railroad/the B&O Railroad and the C&M Railroad/Pennsylvania Railroad laid the foundation for smaller tracks to branch off of to our county’s smaller towns. They weren’t the only tracks laid in the county, they were just the first and all other tracks led back to them. Before the railroads came to Guernsey County our towns weren’t much more then small groups of cabins connected by paths through the wilderness. After the railroads were built, our towns become markets for industry. Byesville owes it’s existence to the coal industry, which depended on the railroad to export its product to bigger American metro’s like Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati. The buildings that make up Byesville are there because there was a coal industry to attract workers, which ultimately made a village that needed stores, schools, and churches. While Cambridge was luckier in that it had a more developed community before, it wasn’t until after the railroads were put in that Cambridge generated enough wealth to become a classic Victorian era city. Company owners were wealthy enough to build “Boardwalk and Park Place” like mansions down 7th Street. From 1890 to 1910 Cambridge’s population increased by 177%, an unprecedented number in its history.  There were more people living in the Cambridge City limits in 1910 then there were in 2010. Likewise there were more people living in Guernsey County as a whole in 1910 then what live here today.

Byesville

Byesville Main Street

The Train Station

Our ancestors failed to see the significance the Depot Hotel had to our history. Before it was a hotel and a bar called the “Bloody Bucket” or “Bucket of Blood” it was our area’s first train station. Think about how cool it would be to travel back to the 1800’s, where you would get off a train at the Depot, get a room for the night, and travel down stairs to the bar for a drink and bite to eat. The Depot fell into bad shape, gained a terrible reputation, and was torn down. Before that, it gained so much traffic as a train station a new station had to be built to take on that traffic. We’re lucky that station and its history are still available to us all to see with our eyes. However, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned. For years this building held the telemarketing company Ameridial. It’s now sitting doing nothing and it’s my fear eventually this building will see the same future as the Depot. It’s my fear it will be seen as a public or commercial scar instead of a gem and it will be sold off to a buyer that intends to tear it down and replace it with something new. This would be a tragic situation for our area and future generations. I don’t think I have ever seen a building more fit for a museum then this one. It is my hope that somehow people will begin to see the value of this property and the history behind it and something can be done to save it from the same fate as the “Bloody Bucket.”

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Think about how cool it would be to travel back to the 1800’s, where you would get off a train at the Depot, get a room for the night, and travel down stairs to the bar for a drink and bite to eat.

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“The Depot” When it Operated as a Train Station and a Hotel

Blood Bucketbloodbloody bucket SeveransThe Bloody bucket Depot Hotel Bill Quarles

For well over a century, from 1850 to 1961, the railroads and the local train station symbolized a connection to a much larger world. It was real proof to the citizens of this area; proof that they were a part of a society greater than their eyes could see from day to day. Real living and breathing Presidents came and gave speeches at the station. Many events started with people waiting for trains to come in with important people on them and followed with a trip to the town square. When the nation called and it was time to go to war, throughout many generations our citizens didn’t sit at the train station awaiting an important person; they were taking an important person to the station to send them off to defend America against the evils filling our world. When the war was over, once again the community paraded to the bottom of Wheeling Avenue to celebrate the return of their children. Some sat home to mourn a loss that would not show up there. In any case, the train station that sits at the bottom Wheeling Avenue was not only the heart of the city of Cambridge; it was the heart and soul of the entire county for many, many, generations and it saddens me to drive by today and see an empty post-industrial building with a for sale sign instead of something reflecting what it truly symbolizes.

Train Station

The Union Train Station

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Train Station Jim Fite

This Appears to be Soldiers Leaving or Coming Home From War. Photo Credit: Jim Fite

I did my best to photo credit the correct people. If you feel you should be credited please feel free to contact me via Facebook. 

Take the Poll: Help us Decide What is Next!?

cropped-800px-morganwashington.jpgThere are many great events in the history of Guernsey County. I am curious from you, the readers, of what it is that interest you all the most? So far I have placed most of my energy on the pioneers of the area. If I am just going to continue forward chronologically–which I have no problem doing–the next project would be on the War of 1812 or the first County Courthouse built in 1810 and subsequently, the two current ones we have. However, I do wonder if I shouldn’t just first cover some of the major events in our history, such as Morgans Raid, and/or the building of the Railroads or the early economic boom from coal?

I have also reached out to members of the community, to help me provide you all with more content. Despite it being rather time consuming, I love researching and writing these articles. And I would also like to expand this work into video documentaries that feature photography, videography, and interviews of citizens that have much more knowledge than myself. I certainly don’t have all the knowledge there is to have on our local history. I’m learning a lot of this stuff myself as I write it. If anyone is interested in writing an article, giving an interview, or being a part of a piece to be featured on the blog, please by all means contact me via Facebook messages here or here! Heck you can even comment on this article and I will find a way to get back to you! Anywho, I ask you all what is next?

Without further ado please participate in the poll! I have made it possible to pick more than one answer and if the answer you want isn’t provided you can write in an answer for your  vote! Thank you all again for reading! 😀