Vermilion Souvenir Spoons Acquired

Two antique Vermilion souvenir spoons have been acquired and added to the Museum’s Vermilion display.  One has a unique Native American theme, while the other displays an engraving of the old Vermilion High School, with an education theme.  The school building on Route 60, now empty, is certainly an historic structure worthy of restoration and reuse.  Our spoon collection highlighting Vermilion now numbers at three.  August 2019. 

Wildlife Abounds at Wildlife Preserve

Wildlife truly abounds at the Historic Shupe Homestead Wildlife Preserve in Amherst.  The protected property, bordering Beaver Creek, is home to diverse habitats and associated wildlife.  In August, we spotted a box turtle with unique markings on its shell in the woods.  

As part of the Nahorn Arboretum, located on the Preserve property, we’ve established a native wetland/rain garden in a seasonally wet area.  Among many of the native plants included, is swamp/marsh milkweed, a favorite of honeybees and Monarch butterflies.  

August 2019. 

Front Door Restored!


The front door to a structure tells quite a bit about that structure, and when attempting to keep an historic house looking “period” and correct, it is imperative that the front door is just right.  We are quite pleased to announce that the door that greeted those here at the Historic Shupe Homestead for many years “is back!” We worked closely with talented woodworker Jeff Racy, who did a superb job on this project from start to finish.  Jeff’s knowledge and talent are excellent.  The glass selection really makes the door!  It’s perfect.  July 2019.

Morrison Flint Ridge Cache Preserved

The Flint Ridge flint (chert) material was highly prized by early Native Americans, and today it is Ohio’s state gemstone.  The material is naturally occurring in southeastern Ohio and is a sedimentary structure, mostly being of silica.  It was formed millions of years ago, when what we now know as Ohio was covered in a warm, shallow ocean environment.  As sediments and microscopic ocean life collected at the base of these waterbodies, over millions of years of heat and pressure, the beautiful colorful Flint Ridge material was formed.  Native peoples traveled and traded for it because of its beauty and the very fine way that it chips – with its unique conchoidal fracturing, very similar to the structure of our modern-day window glass.  They would walk miles and miles utilizing ancient foot-pathways high above the rivers and also use waterways with dugout or birchbark canoes to gather this material.  Trading for it was also common.

Here we see a fine cache of 21 unique blades of Flint Ridge material.  Note the variety in texture and color that is exhibited in this collection, which is offered by this material.  At the quarry sites, where the Flint Ridge outcroppings were encountered by the native peoples, blocks of this material were reduced to blades such as these. The blades were then taken back to their campsites, stored, and usually buried for future use.  They were stored for safekeeping (in case their camp was ambushed, and sometimes they never came back to finish them) and also, to keep the material fresh and from becoming hard and brittle and so that it may be more easily worked in the future, it was kept out of the general environment.

As is noted on the tag, handwritten by Col. Vietzen, this collection was found by Col. Raymond C. Vietzen, of the Indian Ridge Museum, on the P. Morrison Farm in Licking Co., Ohio in 1945.  Licking County is directly in the heart of what is today known as the area that produces the Flint Ridge material.  The Flint Ridge general area encompasses about five and one half miles wide by seven and one half miles long in the Licking and Coshocton County area.  The important collection was displayed at Vietzen’s Elyria Indian Ridge Museum for many years, until its closure in 1995.  It was recently acquired and donated by the Rounds family, to the New Indian Ridge Museum.  We are very pleased to be able to preserve and document this important collection.

Museum Recognizes 17 Years…& An Important Acquisition

The New Indian Ridge Museum recognized seventeen years of preservation and education on November 24th.  With that, we are also pleased to report the acquisition of an important flint knife, from Col. Vietzen’s original Indian Ridge Museum.  It is a fine example of a notched knife, with calcium deposits.  The knife was found by Col. Vietzen and his team during archaeological work in the Kentucky area.  It was acquired and donated by the Rounds Family to the N. I. R. M. in honor of our seventeen years anniversary.    

Updates from the Museum & Such

Below we are publishing several small articles to ensure you are updated with the most recent news from the Museum, Homestead, and other projects in which we are involved: 

Sycamore Flooring Installed

Last year we acquired two sections of a sycamore tree from the original front yard of the Onstine-Warner-Miller Homestead just west of town, on the North Ridge.  A dollar store is now constructed on this property, which necessitated the removal of the sycamore tree.  We milled the two logs into boards and turned them into flooring.  In July 2017, we installed this flooring in the addition to the Historic Shupe House, where it now acts as the main feature of the dining room.  The variation in color and grain pattern is quite unique and intriguing.  We are very glad to preserve and maintain this local historic wood and not let it go to waste.  (The sycamore flooring, seen below, is surrounded by oak flooring we repurposed from a house in Vermilion years ago.)

Old Spring Sign Made, Donated, & Installed; Benches Installed

We are most thankful to Kevin Rathwell and KJ, who fabricated and donated a metal sign for Amherst’s Historic Old Spring site.  It was designed after metal signs that August Nabakowski originally created for this site.  On August 1, 2017, Kevin and KJ installed this yellow painted sign, to match the green background, an Amherst “green & gold” color scheme.  With this, our semi-annual cleanup efforts (see photos), and the installation of two wooden planks as benches, the Old Spring Historic Site continues to be improved.  We acquired a large local silver maple log, which we milled into planks to fit the previous pipe-holders for the benches.  

Below: before & after views of old Milan Ave. access to the Old Spring Historic Site

Below: Kevin Rathwell & KJ stand beside the metal Old Spring sign they made for this Historic Site

Below: Silver maple wood is milled into planks which we installed at the Old Spring area, to occupy metal pipes where benches previously were located 

Flint Ridge Specimen Donated

A fine specimen of Flint Ridge chert was donated by Richard Cherney, who purchased it at one of the sales to disperse the Vietzen collection and Indian Ridge Museum in 1999.  We were able to meet with Mr. Cherney and provide a tour for him and his family.  Flint Ridge material, Ohio’s state gemstone, was highly prized by the local Native Americans for thousands of years, and they traveled and traded for it.

Wells Fargo Guard Badge Acquired

At a local house sale, we acquired a unique metal “Wells Fargo Guard” badge.  It goes well with the small Wells Fargo stage coach diorama we preserve from Col. Vietzen’s Museum.  

Col. Vietzen Hopewell Painting Acquired

We have acquired many paintings done by Col. Vietzen, and the most recent one, donated by the Rounds Family, was done in 1966 and depicts a likeness of a Hopewellian Native American Indian.  We are pleased to preserve yet another painting from Col. Vietzen’s extensive collection of artwork he created.  The Hopewellian people (Middle Woodland) here in Ohio are known for their beautiful artwork and use of exotic materials, such as copper, mica, obsidian, and pipestone.  Here is a “personal conception of Hopewellian likeness” as Col. Vietzen titled it:

Dean Electric, Elyria Phone Acquired 

The Dean Electric Company, of Elyria, produced telephones in the early 1900s.  On August 6, 2017, we attended a local auction sale and acquired one of these early phones made somewhere c.1900-1915.  We are still conducting research in order to determine a more exact time frame for the production of this particular wall mount phone.  We are making a few restoration efforts to the piece and plan to hang it soon – it is operable.  We are proud to preserve this great piece of local manufacturing history.

Most Recent News

Our most recent news will all be compiled and presented in the latest July edition of NIRM Quarterly newsletter to be posted within the next two weeks.  Please find it under the “Newsletter” tab.  There are many newsworthy items, and we look forward to having everything centrally located in our latest newsletter!  Some of these items include: Spring & Summer here at the Historic Shupe Homestead; the Black River Cleanup; Demolition of the last of the Hollstein barns; Memorial Day parades participation; Shupe Homestead gatepost update; Allen Art Museum in Oberlin centennial; Kayak excursions on the Vermilion & Black River Kayakathon events. 

(Posted July 9, 2017) 

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Antler Match Set Found at Preserve

While beginning our annual task of the removal of non-native invasive garlic mustard plants from the nature preserve at the Historic Shupe Homestead, Col. Nahorn spotted a match set of deer antlers not more than 5 feet from each other.  The antlers are sturdy and quite heavy duty in form.  Of course the bucks lose their antlers each season, shedding them across the landscape.  We are very excited about this antler shed find right here at the Homestead!  April 5, 2017

Well-Preserved Bottled Donated

This well-preserved, Civil War-era ‘medicine’ bottle, with original tag and cork still in place, was found and donated by a local Amherst resident while working on their home basement foundation.   

A “nostrum,” developed by Dr. Jacob Hostetter, of Lancaster, PA., his son, David, put the formula into large-scale production in 1853.  Soon it became a best-seller.  It was used heavily during the Civil War and was marketed as “a positive protective against the fatal maladies of Southern swamps and poisonous tendency of impure rivers and bayous.”  The original formula contained about 47% alcohol and was 94 proof.  Often it was served in Alaskan saloons by the glass.  The alcohol was sweetened with additives of sugar, aromatic oils, and vegetable bitters to provide medicinal ‘flavor.’

The bottle, dating to the early to mid-1860s, was found and donated by Kevin and son Nathan Henceforth, while excavating in their basement on Park Ave., Amherst.  January 10, 2017. 

Watershed Awareness Annual Open House


What is a watershed?  How does land-use affect water quality and stream bank integrity?  These were some broad-based questions we tried to address in the annual Watershed Open House held at the Historic Vermilion-on-the-Lake Community Clubhouse.  The building, once a bustling dance hall among several like it along the Lake Shore, this one in the style of a rustic log cabin, is nearly a century old.  The event was long-organized by the late Bob Sasala, now Barb Brady has taken a lead role in holding this important, educational event.

Col. Nahorn once again represented the Beaver Creek Watershed Group, an affiliate of the New Indian Ridge Museum, at this event.  We displayed maps, documents, and graphics highlighting watershed awareness and particularly what landowners can do to reduce impact on area creeks and rivers.  “Education is key,” Nahorn stated, as he shared voluntary actions landowners can take around their property, such as maintaining a well-vegetated riparian buffer along all streams (both regularly and intermittently flowing); reducing lawn fertilizer use; installing a rain barrel; using permeable surfaces and pavers instead of concrete; and using native vegetation in landscaping.  We were very pleased with attendance both regarding display participants and those who came to visit the displays. 

(Photography courtesy Jean Rounds, NIRM)   April 1, 2017

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