Ohio history

The 1996 CompuServe team

Digital pioneer

  

Wilhite invented the GIF while he worked at CompuServe, an early tech company that was based in central Ohio. Although the name may not mean much to anyone under 40, CompuServe played a pivotal role in the early days of the Information Age. Digital breakthroughs still in use today originated there, including online shopping, stock research, and self-serve airline tickets.

Langsdon Mineral Collection, Celina

A little of everything

Popcorn and pencil sharpeners, minerals and merry-go-rounds, Great Lakes, and great-big cuckoo clocks: Ohio has a plethora of pretty amazing things to explore. Here’s just a sampling of our state’s perhaps lesser-known museums, collections, and interesting sights. 

1. Langsdon Mineral Collection, Celina 

Back in 2006, local collectors Ron and Ruth Langsdon donated much of their extensive collection of rare minerals to the Mercer County District Library in Celina. The Langsdon Mineral Collection includes more than 900 stunning specimens of minerals from all over the world — from a peacock-colored bornite and raspberry garnet to azurite, amethyst quartz, and an enormous, polished piece of jade.

Warther Cutlery

A sharp business model

Ernest “Mooney” Warther began carving with his first pocketknife at age 5. A dozen years later, in 1902, he crafted his mother a kitchen knife as a gift. Her friends and neighbors liked it, so he made more. 

American steel, American hardware, American wood, Ohio labor, and blades with an amazingly attractive (trademarked since 1907) finish pattern create loyal customers who return regularly to add to their collections. If you visit the company’s new 15,000-square-foot showroom, factory, and office, you’ll find plenty of American-made kitchen products, including cookware and a small army of specialty foods, spices, and condiments. But you’ll quickly see that knives made by fourth-generation craftsmen are the star of the show.

Paul Brown: Gridiron Great

Cleveland native and Hollywood actress Patricia Heaton of Everybody Loves Raymond and The Middle once told a joke about pro football coach Paul Brown: “A football player died and went to heaven.

The joke slyly illustrates the enormous impact and legacy Paul Brown had on the game of football. Pre-Brown, it was characterized mostly by brute force, with little intellectual finesse. Brown’s genius for innovation transformed it into the mental and analytical game that it is today. 

Grandma Gatewood Memorial Hiking Trail

Who was Grandma Gatewood?

Do you like to hike? Emma Rowena Gatewood sure did.

Known for her minimalist, no-nonsense approach to hiking, Gatewood used a homemade sassafras walking stick to help steady her on the trail and carried a cloth sack slung over her shoulder, filled with only 18 pounds of food and equipment. Today’s hikers often carry twice that much weight if not more, and they do it with high-tech backpacks. Instead, she had the following advice for would-be AT hikers: 

Inside The Anchorage

Haunted Marietta

Did you hear that?” my daughter, Rosie, asks as we climb a wooden staircase in the Anchorage, a former mansion on the outskirts of Marietta, in southeastern Ohio. “It sounded like a low grumble.”

History and hauntings

A healthy respect for the “other side” is well advised during a visit to Marietta, which dates to 1788 as the first permanent settlement in the Northwest Territory. History and hauntings go hand in hand here, as the city’s storied, well-preserved past provides ghosthunters a spooky year-round playground.

Ground Zero at World Trade Center Tower South

The day that changed the nation

At the Tiffin Police and Fire All Patriots Memorial, a daylong observance occurs on each anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States.

The Tiffin memorial’s centerpiece is a 17.5-foot-long steel beam recovered from the World Trade Center. It weighs more than 3 tons and rests on a pentagon-shaped piece of granite that alludes to the strike on America’s military headquarters. Positioned at an angle of 9.11 degrees, the beam sits low to the ground so people can touch it. “When rust particles drop off that beam, they almost seem like tears,” observes Gosche.

J.M. Smucker Company’s headquarters in Orrville, OH

With a name like...

Whenever merchandise manager Kate Fox welcomes tour bus groups to the J.M. Smucker Co. store and café, she asks visitors to guess Smucker’s first product. “Everyone always answers, ‘strawberry preserves,’” says Fox, “but the company actually started with apple butter.” 

Located near U.S. 30, the store sits along a rural road in Wayne County just minutes away from the J.M. Smucker Company’s headquarters in Orrville. The town’s population is less than 10,000, yet it’s home to a Fortune 500 corporation with some 7,000 employees who work in offices and manufacturing facilities spread from Quebec to California. Why Orrville? In 1897, local farmer Jerome Monroe Smucker opened a cider mill there and began making apple butter from concentrated cider.

Riding the Miller Ferry with Mitten Kitten was on Lindy Brown’s bucket list, as is evident in this ferry cool selfie.

Silver bullet

Wally Byam’s childhood was spent immersed in nature. He worked on a West Coast sheep farm, where he lived in a donkey-towed wagon that was outfitted with a stove, food, water, and just about everything else he could possibly need. 

Byam’s love of camping and the outdoors, combined with American ingenuity, resulted in a product that lasts for decades and is instantly recognizable around the world.

Perhaps best of all, it’s made in Ohio — Byam moved the production to Jackson Center in rural Shelby County right after World War II, and workers there build upward of 120 of the iconic silver bullets every week, all by hand.

The HardTackers, a sea shanty singing group

HardTackers: A decade-long journey of seafaring lore

Ohio is the only state in the union with a burgee flag — a shape usually associated with a boating organization.

Shanties date to the mid-1400s era of tall ships, when sailors’ work was grueling and labor-intensive. The rhythms of the call-and-response style of shanty songs helped the crew push and pull, hoisting sails and hauling lines in a synchronized effort. Often adapted from familiar folk tunes and ballads of the day, shanty lyrics were flavored with nautical terms and names of places the sailors had been — or hoped to see. ]