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) 

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

Vietzen Family Homestead Demolished – Acquisition Update

The original Vietzen Family Homestead outlived Col. and Mrs. Vietzen’s house and museum by more than 15 years.  The original Homestead and barn were demolished March 28, 2017.  Col. Nahorn visited the site to document this historic event.  Some background history ought to be presented for future documentation: 

The original Vietzen Family Homestead on the West Ridge in Elyria, as seen in August 2016.

John Vietzen and Friederika Vietzen came to the United States c. 1868 from Northern Germany.  Their son, Frederick Vietzen (b. 1864, was about 4 years of age when his parents brought him to America) then married Elise Von Zimmerman c. 1890, inhabiting the Vietzen family homestead on West Ridge Road, at that time.  The house may have (likely) been built before this date, and the Vietzens then purchased it in 1890.  This is noted because, upon further inspection, a few structural beams were hand-hewn, bolstering the opinion that the structure likely pre-dated the 1890 inhabitation by the first of the Vietzen family.  The location was 8772 West Ridge Road, Elyria (originally Township), on the west side of the East Marsh, a remnant of an ancient glacial lake fragment.  The fragment – a representation of a time when the lake was much further south than today, thousands of years ago. 

The Vietzen Family Homestead barn was remodeled and enlarged c. 1913.

Raymond Vietzen, the 7th of 8 children of Frederick and Elise Vietzen, grew up at this Homestead.  He later purchased the corner lot at 8714 West Ridge Road from his parents.  More precisely, located on the corner of West Ridge and Fowl Roads, where he and his wife Ruth built their home and Indian Ridge Museum in 1930.  The Museum closed and disbanded in 1995 with the passing of Col. Vietzen, and their homestead was demolished in late 2000.

A unique door knob that was in the original Vietzen Homestead.

The original Vietzen family house and barn, where Raymond grew up, was in the Vietzen family for many years, and Col. Nahorn had the opportunity to visit this original Homestead on August 16, 2016, when it was being offered for sale.  The house was in disrepair and rough shape at that time.  On March 28, 2017, Col. Nahorn was contacted by Bruce Bishop, photographer, of the Chronicle-Telegram, who alerted us of the demolition of the House.  Diane Nahorn and Col. Nahorn made a quick jaunt out to the property and gained permission to enter the property via Gregory Trucking, the company in charge of the demolition.  The house was demolished at the time of our arrival, but material was still strewn about as the area was in the stages of clean up, and a few bricks and such were collected from the site for preservation.  The sandstone block foundation was still in place. A sandstone well-cover still in-situ in the basement, was evidenced as well.

A well with sandstone cover that was in the basement of the house.

A link to a Chronicle-Telegram article highlights the demolition of the structure.  However, for the most recent research, please refer to the history recorded in the information posted above on our Museum website.

Acquisition Update:

On March 29th, we were contacted by Gregory Trucking after we had expressed interest in preserving the sandstone well-cover at the New Indian Ridge Museum (as seen above).  They agreed to donate it, and we are very thankful for their generosity.  On March 30th, Bill and Matt Nahorn loaded and moved the stone to the New Indain Ridge Museum at the Historic Shupe Homestead.  A special thank you to Gregory Trucking for this important donation so that this piece of history may be preserved for the future with other Vietzen Homestead artifacts.

Just before we loaded the original sandstone well-cover from the Vietzen family homestead for preservation at the New Indian Ridge Museum.

Museum Outreach

As a part of the Museum’s continuous educational outreach programming, this postcard, as seen below, has been developed and is in the process of being distributed to the greater Amherst-area.

Residents of the Amherst area may have seen Col. Nahorn or will see him around town this Fall season personally passing out this postcard – it is a way of introducing himself to our community as a local historian & environmental steward.
Most of our area residents are aware of the Museum, but not everyone is aware of the free quarterly newsletter posted on this website and the educational lectures Col. Nahorn has developed.  The goal is to widen our community outreach and let area residents know about this newsletter and the educational programs that the Museum offers.  A special thank you to local photographer Jason Shaffer for his aid in creating this postcard!


If you are interested in receiving the newsletter and being notified that it has been posted on the website, please visit our Newsletter page to sign up and learn more!  A listing of program offerings is also listed on the Newsletter page.

Oldest in Amherst, Lorain County

The Jacob and Catherine Shupe Homestead, like some serene elder statesman, full of years and confidence, sits well back from the road that was just a narrow trail cut by Jacob Shupe through the woods, more than two hundred years ago.  The previous statement was adapted from an article written about another early Lorain County house, but it fits perfectly here with the Shupe Homestead.  It is further an excerpt from, “The Founding of Early Amherst,” which Col. Nahorn compiled in 2014.  This document, with historically accurate stories, anecdotes, and other researched information describing the early days of Amherst’s founding, is the first of its kind to aggregate such information focusing precisely on the Shupe family; their important contributions to the early years; and the creation of their homestead.  It is available for viewing as a pdf on this website here:


On Sunday, September 25th, at 2pm, while standing on the original sandstone steps of the Shupe Homestead, Col. Nahorn delivered a speech to a group of local historians and other interested individuals gathered directly in front of the house.  The weather was beautiful and perfect for a dedication.  The group was gathered to dedicate and officially unveil the cast aluminum historical marker that has been erected at the base of the Shupe Homestead driveway.

The Nahorn family took possession of and moved into the Shupe House in 1992.  Most people did not know or appreciate the history behind this important site.  Beginning in 1998, spending years of historical research while sifting through tax records, detailed histories, and maps, Col. Nahorn along with his core group of researchers from the New Indian Ridge Museum, including Diane Nahorn and Jeff Sigsworth, determined the Shupe House is the first frame house to have been constructed in Amherst and is likely the oldest frame house in Lorain County, being inhabited for over 200 years.  The Shupe House was built between 1812-1814 – a time before Lorain County was formed, and this location was rather Huron County.  Giant bark-covered logs serve as floor joists supported by a hand-cut sandstone foundation.  Many original aspects of the house remain today and have been carefully restored and maintained.

The early post-and-beam frame structure was built with the help of Shupe’s early up-and-down sash style thundershower sawmill operated by an undershot waterwheel powered by Beaver Creek.  The sawmill, started in 1811, was expanded with a gristmill operation in 1813 (we maintain one of the original granite gristmill stones or mill buhrs here at the Homestead).  Jacob Shupe was responsible for starting industry and spurring development in this northern Lorain County area and ought to be recognized for such.  Previous to this, area settlers would have to travel great distances to get their grain ground or lumber sawn.  Mr. Shupe shortened these settlers’ trips and allowed the log house to give way to a more modern frame house.  Mrs. Shupe was quite a pioneer woman herself, raising a family of 11 children, making many items for the family homestead, and helping her husband operate the mills.  Jacob Shupe was killed in an accident while making an extension to his mill when a piece of lumber fell on him in 1832.  He was 54.

After the address by Col. Nahorn to unveil and dedicate the historical marker, visitors were welcomed to stand within the walls of the oldest area house; tasty refreshments were enjoyed by those in attendance; and an open house at the New Indian Ridge Museum ensued.  The Museum’s collection of antique tractors and hit-and-miss engines was also displayed, and some engines were demonstrated.  It is an honor and pleasure to live at this historic homestead.

“Chronicle-Telegram” reporter Steve Fogarty captured well the reasons for the historical marker and dedication ceremony:


“What is a Watershed?” Learn all about it!

A well-vegetated riparian buffer at the Historic Shupe Homestead in Amherst.

A well-vegetated riparian buffer at the Historic Shupe Homestead in Amherst.

Want to know what is a watershed?  Want to know how the ways in which you use your property affect water quality and stream issues, such as erosion?  Please plan to attend this upcoming program!  Col. Nahorn (B.A., Environmental Studies, Oberlin College), Director of the New Indian Ridge Museum & 1811 Historic Shupe Homestead Wildlife Preserve, Vice President of the Amherst Historical Society, and an environmental issues consultant will present, “What is a Watershed: Landuse Affects Water Quality & Stream Bank Integrity” for the Pittsfield Historical Society’s General Membership Meeting.

Please plan to attend the 7pm Thursday, October 13th meeting at the Pittsfield Township Hall near the corner of Routes 58 & 303 in Pittsfield.  We hope you can join us!

Learn more about watersheds by following this link, below:

Beaver Creek Watershed


Longtime “Angelo’s Pizza” Building Demolished


The southeast corner of Church Street and Tenney Avenue in Amherst has been home to numerous businesses over the years.  Most recently, from about 1973-2001, it was home to the famous Angelo’s Pizza restaurant (301 Church St.).  Col. Nahorn recalls enjoying many tasty pizza-related meals in that establishment over the years.  Previously, the building – and the lot itself – was home to several other businesses.

Years before, a grain elevator operated on this spot.  The first grain elevator-grist mill combined operation was built on this site c.1858.  It has been noted that farmers came there to grind, store, and sell their grain from this operation, which was steam-powered.  It is documented in early newspapers that that building burned down in 1864 when a coal-fired train engine came by, spewing out sparks, leading to a fire.  (The newspaper article appeared in the Thursday, June 9, 1864 edition of the “Cleveland Daily Leader” under the headline “Fire in North Amherst.”)  At this time, the train tracks were still at ground level.  The steam grist mill and saw mill, owned by Mr. M. S. Hitchcock, of Elyria, and the Foundry and Plow Factory, of the Kendeigh brothers, were completely destroyed by fire “Tuesday night” (June 7, 1864).  The loss, at that time, was estimated to be $10-12,000, and they were uninsured.

The grain elevator was then rebuilt in a different building style, as an impressive three-story steam gristmill.  In May of 1897 this structure, owned by John Gerlach, caught on fire and was also destroyed.  It had been rented from Gerlach to Ben Wiegand (Wiegant), and Kinsey and Bivins had had interest in the operation.  The area was cleaned up, and a building was moved to this site, likely from next door, to the east.  It is possible but not confirmed that this building was the original Amherst Fire barn, where the Fire Department once operated (originally, however, located on South R.R. St. and Lewis St. – the area now known as Maple St. – and moved from that site c.1880) and dated somewhere in the mid-1800s.

Brucker’s Blacksmith shop then occupied this “new” building.  Later, “heavy and light trucking” was operated out of this spot, according to a 1919 advertisement for Zilch Transfer Line in the “Amherst News-Times.”  (The original front portion of the structure (peaked roof portion) likely dated to the mid-1800s).  This building was remodeled into Dangle Dairy, operated by Wm. Dangle, who later sold it to Wm. Baetz.  Baetz Dairy operated here from about 1922-1952.  A few other businesses operated here, including Amherst Photo Studio, Brown’s Studio & Camera, Evan’s Photo Studio, Tommy’s Rec (block section of the building), Elaine Kay Beauty Shop, The Beauty Nook, Ace Interiors, Turner’s Music, and also Amon’s Music, until Angelo’s Pizza and Restaurant opened in 1973.

The building, empty for several years, was condemned by the City of Amherst.  On July 12-13, 2016, demolition occurred.  A group of interested citizens and local historians gathered to witness the event.  Square nail construction was found in the front portion, during demolition, confirming beliefs in the age of the building.  Further, the window located in the peak of the oldest section of the building, facing Church Street, was able to be salvaged by Col. Nahorn for the Museum, and upon inspection, it was noted the glass is quite wavy, confirming suspicion of an aged window.  We are most pleased to have the window now preserved at the New Indian Ridge Museum, as it was often prominently featured in photographic views of the building over the years.

A special thank you to D. & L. Construction, Charlie Marty, Jim Wilhelm, Mark Haff, and Bill Nahorn for aiding in the salvage of the window.  Thanks also to Jim Wilhelm, Joan Rosenbusch, and Fay Van Nuys Ott for aiding in the historical research leading to the completion of this article.



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