I grew up in the Price Hill/Western Hills area of Cincinnati, Ohio. As a kid back in the 1960s and 1970s it was fairly common for me to jump on my 10 speed bicycle and take a day trip around the area. The trips started out visiting other neighborhoods in Cincinnati and gradually I expanded my trips further into northern Kentucky, Versailles, Indiana and Oxford, Ohio. Back then it wasn’t uncommon for me to rack up over 100 miles on a Saturday bicycle ride to explore the hidden treasures of the tri-state area.
At the time I really didn’t realize the significance of the buildings surrounding me on these rides. It wasn’t until later in life that I became obsessed with discovering these hidden treasures. I was literally amazed with what I could find within 10 miles of my home once I moved to Sunman, Indiana. With just a little research I discovered one room school houses, former mills, old blacksmith shops, Sears and Roebuck homes, stone bridge abutments from covered bridges washed away over 100 years ago, former railroad beds that were now being used for automobile roadways, Ghost Roads and Phantom Bridges, former general stores and taverns, Civil War sites, historic churches and more!
I discovered these sites everywhere I went. Once I knew what clues to look for, the sites literally popped out at me!
All of these sites are now disappearing at a very rapid pace. I can understand losing structures to fire, flood, tornados, etc. But when we openly demolish a structure that is restorable or can be used for residential or commercial purposes, that my friends is a crime.
I have decided that we need a national clearinghouse to let everyone know about the history in their own backyards before these jewels disappear forever. I believe that thru using digital videos, this is the best way to currently promote these sites. Once the word gets out about these hidden treasures, maybe we can save a few from the demolition crews.
My hero who drove the point home regarding the hidden treasures is George Ade (1866-1944) who in 1921 wrote: “All of our motorists are rushing past the things worth seeing, instead of stopping to enjoy them. There is no township, however remote, but has within its boundaries some exhibit which will instruct or entertain the caller. In order to insure more leisurely habits of travel and arouse a proper interest in the varied charms of all outlying regions, we need in this country an entirely new sort of guide book for motorists. The kind of book now in use devotes too much attention to the roadway, instead of giving spicy information about what may be seen from the roadway.“
It is now my mission to document these structures and sites via digital video for the world to see first hand. I know that we can’t save every site but if enough people are aware of what we could possibly save, we can have a world rich in history for our great grandchildren to explore and enjoy.
If you are interested in this project and would like to help, we can produce a series of videos to promote the historic sites in your: