Monthly Archives: March 2014

Recent Acquisitions to the Museum

Two recent acquisitions to the New Indian Ridge Museum have been made, continuing to fulfill our goal to collect and curate locally important prehistoric artifacts and those that were once a part of Col. Vietzen’s Indian Ridge Museum.

A 3/4 grooved Archaic style stone axe from the Elyria area, Lorain County, Ohio, with Col. Vietzen’s original tag was added to our collection (seen below).

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The other artifact we acquired is a large blade of obsidian, or ancient volcanic glass.  This piece was most likely not found on a local site.  However, it was in Col. Vietzen’s Indian Ridge Museum collection. unnamed

Thanks to the Rounds family for donating these important, unique artifacts.

Annual Watershed Open House

Col. Nahorn will once again participate in the annual Watershed Open House this year, held at the Historic Vermilion-on-the-Lake Clubhouse.  The Watershed Open House provides a great educational opportunity.  Col. Nahorn will represent the Beaver Creek Watershed at this event, with educational display boards, and he will be available to answer watershed- and environmental-related questions.  Please plan to stop out for this informative event.

See flyer below for all pertinent information – please click to enlarge 

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Spring Projects Begin at NIRM Wildlife Preserve

We will update you on this posting as various parts of our outdoor wildlife maintenance programs begin or continue here at the Homestead. 

A great view of the floodplain wetland along Beaver Creek at the Historic Shupe Homestead.  Note the buttonbush, on left, and the green dragon wildflowers in front of and behind the fallen oak tree.  Green dragons are comparatively rare and indicate that the original forest floor cover is still intact.

A great view of the floodplain wetland along Beaver Creek at the Historic Shupe Homestead. Note the buttonbush, on left, and the green dragon wildflowers in front of and behind the fallen oak tree. Green dragons, a relative of the jack-in-the-pulpit, are comparatively rare and indicate that the original forest floor cover is still intact.  (6/2014)

Floodplain and Beaver Creek at Historic Shupe Homestead.

Floodplain and Beaver Creek at Historic Shupe Homestead.

As seen below, native wildflowers, the white and yellow trout-lilly are prominently featured in the Historic Shupe Homestead Wildlife Preserve woods, along the Beaver Creek in Amherst.

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Spring is here, and that means numerous outdoor projects are planned, and some are already underway, here at the New Indian Ridge Museum’s Wildlife Preserve at the Historic Shupe Homestead.

Pure stand of may apples at the Preserve.

Vernal Pool information and Headwaters of Shupe Creek:  IMG_1023

April 29, 2014  A relatively small infestation of the non-native and invasive lesser celandine plant has been found in the floodplain of the Beaver Creek here at the Wildlife Preserve.  We have been actively working to eradicate the non-native invasive garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata), and while doing that, we noticed the lesser celandine (Ranunculus ficaria).  This plant will grow into large mats and not allow any native plants to grow in that area.  The mat growth pattern of this invasive plant can become enormous.  Complicating the plant’s removal, it has tubers and reproduces through these structures.  Therefore, in order to successfully eradicate the plant, it must be dug out, including surrounding soil, and all components completely discarded.

Shown here is the infestation of lesser celadine.

Shown here is the infestation of lesser celandine.

April 13, 2014 We took a tour of the preserve today in order to assess the initial situation with regard to the invasive garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolataplant.  Some plants were removed, and we will continue to work to work on this project.  Invasive rose bushes, Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), and grape vines (Vitis spp.) will also be part of the continuing removal project.  It was noted that trout-lily (Erythronium spp.), spring beauty (Claytonia virginica), trillium (Trillium spp.) – Ohio’s state wildflower, and even may apple (Podophyllum peltatum) wildflowers are popping up all over the rich woods.  The vernal pools are full, and more rain is expected.

Native may apple wildflowers are already popping up on the forest floor.

Native may apple wildflowers are already popping up on the forest floor.

Vernal pool at the preserve.

Vernal pool at the preserve.

March 17, 2014  We have already begun pruning fruit trees in the Orchard section of the property.  Care will also soon be given to our native trees collection in the property’s Arboretum.

Soon we will also embark on our non-native, invasive species program in order to inhibit growth of those species while promoting growth of native plants, wildflowers, trees, &c.  This program is designed to promote spring wildflowers, which are especially vulnerable.  By doing this, we are aiding in maintaining biodiversity and species richness.

Fruit tree pruning has begun in the Orchard section of the property.  March 17, 2014.

Fruit tree pruning has begun in the Orchard section of the property. March 17, 2014.

Elyria-Vietzen Paleo Artifact Preserved

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The New Indian Ridge Museum has acquired an extremely important, locally found, prehistoric American Indian artifact.  This Paleo projectile point may be the oldest human artifact to have been found in Elyria, Ohio.  It has an exceptional, documented history.  This is our second Paleo artifact from Lorain County, Ohio and could date as far back as 15,000 years.

Col. Vietzen operated his Indian Ridge Museum in Elyria from 1930-1995.  It was located on a corner of the Vietzen family homestead at the southwest corner of West Ridge and Fowl Roads.  In 1931, while digging fish bait to go on a fishing event with his wife, Ruth’s father, his shovel brought a fluted Paleo projectile point into the light – and Vietzen was the first human to touch it in thousands of years.

The Paleo people are believed to be the first people to have come into the Americas, who, as nomadic hunter-gatherers, migrated to this land via a land or ice bridge over what is today the Bering Strait area.  The Paleo point or “Clovis point” style is the oldest stone tool type that is found in America, and is attributed to these early people.  Not much from their time remains today, save for these stone tools.

View showing near where the Clovis point was found.  Note West Ridge Road in the background.  Fowl Road's turning lane and its relatively new sidewalk now occupy a portion of where the Indian Ridge Museum was located.

View showing near where the Clovis point was found. Note West Ridge Road in the background. Fowl Road’s turning lane and its relatively new sidewalk now occupy a portion of where the Indian Ridge Museum was located. Looking east.

The flint tool was uncovered on a portion of the Vietzen property over which his Museum building eventually expanded.  Today, on the southern portion of the road, the right turning lane of Fowl Road and its accompanying sidewalk, now occupy the space on top of which the projectile point was found.  The artifact rested in Col. Vietzen’s Paleo display case for the next 64 years, next to a Woolly Mammoth jaw (also from Lorain County) that we also have at the New Indian Ridge Museum.  The artifact is of dark Coshocton flint and beautifully fluted.  Most likely, it was longer when originally made but was sharpened down in later times through use.

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The artifact is attached to a handwritten tag by Col. Vietzen, describing the artifact’s provenance.

The “South Ridge” (now Ohio State Route 113) is located just to the north of this area where the artifact was found, which was at one time the terminus of a much larger version of today’s Lake Erie.  Paleo man hunted along this Ridge and just south, taking advantage of the natural offerings from the large and rich East Marsh and natural springs located very nearby the site where Vietzen found the artifact.

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This photo from 1976 shows Col. Vietzen’s Paleo display case at his Indian Ridge Museum. The artifact, attached to the provenance card, is noted by the red arrow.

The type-written account below is from Col. Vietzen’s last book, entitled, “Prehistoric Indians from Darkness Into Light” (1995, p. 74) and  highlights the background story of this artifact: (click to enlarge)

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We thank the Nahorn family in their generosity for aiding in the acquisition of this piece.  March 2014.   

What and where was the East Marsh?   

The East Marsh mentioned above is an important historic and ecological piece of Lorain County history.  It was located between West Ridge and Murray Ridge Roads, south of the South Ridge, or Ohio State Route 113.  It eventually flowed into the Black River.  Today, this area has been cleared and drained and either built upon and developed or is farmed.  Today the water in this area drains through the straightened and dredge Haag Ditch.  Some individuals have been concerned about flooding issues in this area recently.  However, it is important to remember that this area was a rather large marsh or wetland area.

There was also a West Marsh.  It was located to the southwest of the East Marsh.  Even with its close proximity to the East Marsh, it was in a different watershed.  The West Marsh flowed into the easternmost section of the main branch of the Beaver Creek main stem.  Just as the East Marsh, the West is largely drained and the land is farmed today.  Some remnants remain, and the streams that feed in and out have either been slightly or greatly dredged to increase flow and efficiency in acting to drain the land.

Click Maps to Enlarge: 

This detail view from an 1857 Township map for Lorain County shows the locations of the East and West Marshes.

This detail view from an 1857 Township map for Lorain County shows the locations of the East and West Marshes.

A detail from an 1857 Township map for Lorain County showing the East Marsh.

A detail from an 1857 Township map for Lorain County showing the East Marsh.

A detail view from an 1874 Elyria Township Map showing the area where the East Marsh was located.  Note the number of "Spring" notations that are marked on the map.

A detail view from an 1874 Elyria Township Map showing the area where the East Marsh was located. Note the number of “Spring” notations that are marked on the map.

Detail view from an 1896 Elyria Township map showing the Haag Ditch that is still used today to drain the remnants of the East Marsh.

Detail view from an 1896 Elyria Township map showing the Haag Ditch that is still used today to drain the remnants of the East Marsh.  Notice the Vietzen name on the map.

Vietzen area aerial

A present-day aerial view of the area under scrutiny. This shows the historic location of the East Marsh, prehistoric Lake Whittlesey, and the location where Col. Vietzen found the Clovis point on his property.