Monthly Archives: July 2014

New Drain Cover at Old Spring

We snaked out the drain at Amherst’s Old Spring and added a secure drain cover, tightly affixing it to the basin floor so that it could not be tampered with at any time.  This should solve a few of the recent drain issues.  Thanks to Bill Nahorn for his aid in engineering this project.  See past posts and the page on this website regarding the history and ongoing restoration of the Old Spring.  July 2014.

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Historical Marker & Preserved Land Signage for Shupe Homestead

A cast aluminum historical marker is planned to be placed at the Historic Shupe Homestead.  It will commemorate the Historic Homestead, focusing particularly on Jacob Shupe and his house, which still stands today as the oldest in Amherst on its original foundation.  We are very excited to get this plaque made and placed at the Homestead, in order to properly recognize the property and its significance.  Thanks to Museum Contributor Jeff Sigsworth for his assistance in reviewing the text for the marker.  We will be going through the Southwell Co. of Texas to manufacture the marker.  July 2014.

The text will read:

Shupe Homestead

Jacob Shupe, Amherst’s founder, settled atop this hill in 1811, soon constructing the first sawmill, gristmill, house, and distillery in this vicinity.  Participant in first funeral, father of first native-born pioneer child, and first farmer in Amherst.  His house, the oldest in Amherst, still stands today as a private residence.

A shop drawing of the historical marker as planned for the Shupe Homestead.

A shop drawing of the historical marker as planned for the Shupe Homestead.

Furthermore, a “Preserved Land” sign, provided by the Western Reserve Land Conservancy, will be placed in the front portion of the property, near the entrance to the property.  In Sept. 2008, we signed a land conservation easement through the Western Reserve Land Conservancy, in cooperation with the New Indian Ridge Museum and Nahorn family, in order to conserve the unique and important natural resources of the Historic Shupe Homestead, along the Beaver Creek, in perpetuity.  A rendition of this sign is shown below:

natural 24x24 Final Revised Proof

Local Petrified Wood Specimen Preserved

A piece of locally found petrified wood is now preserved at the New Indian Ridge Museum.  It was found in 1972 on the Vietzen Homestead, at the corner of West Ridge and Fowl Roads, in Elyria, Ohio, by Col. Raymond C. Vietzen.  This is a relatively rare find, and we are very pleased to be able to preserve this important piece of local geological history.

The stone is complete with a tag in Col. Vietzen’s handwriting.  It was displayed for many years in his Indian Ridge Museum, located on the Vietzen Homestead, where the stone was found.  It was purchased and donated to the New Indian Ridge Museum by the Rounds Family, July, 2014.

The locally-found petrified wood specimen, found at the Vietzen Homestead, now at the New Indian Ridge Museum, is complete with Col. Vietzen's hand written tag.

The locally-found petrified wood specimen, found at the Vietzen Homestead, now at the New Indian Ridge Museum, is complete with Col. Vietzen’s hand-written tag.

Re-collecting the Elk Lick Cache

In 1964 Col. Raymond C. Vietzen, of the Indian Ridge Museum, recovered 70 flint blades on the farm of Dr. Brake, located in southwestern Kentucky, approximately 50 miles north of Nashville, TN.  The 70 cache blades of a blue-grey nodular flint were placed in the ground as a ceremonial offering.  They ranged in size from the longest at 12″ and widest at 6.”  This nodular flint material is native to the limestone cave and cliff walls from the southern tip of Indiana and Illinois through Kentucky and Tennessee.

The Hopewell man made the cache and placed these blades in the ground, in a shaft 33″ deep and 17″ wide, around 100 B.C.  Red sand and red ocher were carefully placed in between the blades.  The ceremonial blades were covered over, and an offering of burned animal remains was made on a small limestone alter constructed over the blades.  A small mound was then constructed over top of the ceremony.

The 70 cache blades reposed in Col. Vietzen’s Indian Ridge Museum from 1964-1995, when the Museum closed and collection was sold, during which time the cache was broken up, each blade being sold separately.  Since 2000, we have been working to reassemble the cache and have recollected 4 of the original 70 blades here at the New Indian Ridge Museum.

Four blades of the original 70 from the Elk Lick Cache.

Four blades of the original 70 from the Elk Lick Cache.

Ash Tree Treatment Successful So Far

The 20+” Ash (Fraxinus spp.) tree at the Wildlife Preserve here at the Historic Shupe Homestead has been treated for a second time in two years, on schedule (June 2014), in order to protect it from the invasive Emerald Ash Borer, which has been literally decimating native Ash trees throughout the United States.  The borer, introduced in 2002, quickly spread across the country.  The Emerald Ash Borer attacks the cambium layer of Ash trees, interrupting the flow of water and nutrients up and down the tree from the crown of leaves and roots and back and forth.   The unseasonably cold winter we had (2013-2014) devastated a portion of the Ash borer population, which has given a reprieve to some Ash trees.

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The Ash tree we treated here has a nice, full crown, and we continue to maintain this specimen.  Note the dead Ash tree (untreated) on the left, behind the treated specimen.

Eastern Prickly Pear Added to Preserve

Interestingly, the Eastern Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia humifusa) is a native Ohio plant, to select, sandy-soil areas within the state.  The plant “comes alive” in late Spring/early Summer, with large yellow flowers, located atop the large cactus pads.  Oftentimes, the pads will shrivel in the wintertime as a defense mechanism against the cold, only to enlarge during warmer weather.  They have become a somewhat popular ornamental or decorative plant in many flower gardens, even though many individuals may not realize their native status.

The plant is listed as potentially threatened, as plant collectors continue to dig specimens from its native habitat, which is located from southern New England to the eastern tip of the Great Plains.  Particularly in Ohio, it is restricted to sandy dunes and very well-drained, rocky soils in the northwest counties and scattered across southern Ohio.

The particular pad specimens that we planted here at the Historic Shupe Homestead Wildlife Preserve were salvaged from a road construction project site and acquired for conservation here at the Preserve.  We are pleased to add this native, unique specimen to the Preserve.

E. Prickly Pear cactus at N.I.R.M. Wildlife Preserve.

E. Prickly Pear Cactus at N.I.R.M. Wildlife Preserve.