Category Archives: Ohio Exploration

Sunday In Amish Country On Motorcycles

Riding Motorcycles In Amish Country On A Sunday

Lucky To Live Near Amish Country

Living near Amish country gives me a different perspective on life. I don’t study it too much, but simple observations reveal more than anything else. There’s a different smell and feel around farms that use old methods. It’s a different world.

Sunday is the day to ride motorcycles in Amish Country if you’re doing it for the sake of riding. Tourist traps are closed and the traffic is light.

On the way up to Millersburg, I noticed this small prayer chapel in Greer, Ohio. The plan was to do some trick of photography with it, but I’ll have to go back and try again. While I was trying to find a unique angle, there was a child’s voice belting out hymns in the backyard of the house next to the church. He was singing with all he had and it was actually very good singing. I didn’t want to embarrass the little guy so we quietly left.

Honda Goldwing parked next to a tiny church in Greer, Ohio.
Large motorcycle, tiny church.

We went down state route 557 just outside of Millersburg, Ohio. The area is so beautiful and the farms are so full of life that it makes you wonder if God doesn’t give extended protection to this area. The farms used contour farming and it creates an interesting pattern on the hillsides. The woodlands and creeks are dotted in between the patchwork. Haystacks dotted the fields.

I didn’t spend much time taking photos. The ride was just to pleasant to stop this time. I was planning how I would approach photography here. Amish beliefs often cause them to shy from cameras so it’s not polite to photograph them. On the other side of that, it’s a free country and we can photograph almost anything in the public view. I try to use that freedom in a refrained manner.

Ragersville, Ohio tavern.
Tavern Of Ragersville.

We ended up at the Tavern Of Ragersville. I like bars with history. Some may consider these old bars “dive” bars. Whatever the vernacular, The Tavern Of Ragersville had character and I enjoyed the cold beer and good food.

After leaving, I headed home and the ride continued to be full of curves and fun. We found State Route 751 which led us back to State Route 16. A short break in Roscoe Village, then a ride down a familiar favorite road, State route 541 to Martinsburg, Ohio near home.

A highly recommend the area for riding, but I’ve found that Saturday is not favorable due to traffic. There are a few non-Amish restaurants that do keep short Sunday hours.

The Tecumseh Theater In Shawnee, Ohio.

I’m learning something about photography and that is that if you want the really cool shots, you have to keep returning to the really cool places. Everytime I return to Shawnee, Ohio, I meet more people and learn more things.

This Winter I went to Shawnee a few times. I met Jason, a friendly native of Shawnee a few times. He keeps a good an eye on things and is quick to direct you to whoever you need to talk to if you want more information. He said he left Shawnee for a while, but returned and bought the house he grew up in.  Then there’s Charlie and his friendly(and very large) Burmese Mountain Dog. This last visit, there was George Biggs. He gave us the grand tour of the interior of The Tecumseh Theater.

George Biggs gave me so much information that I’m not sure I got it all straight. A can refer you to the Tecumseh Theater website or the Tecumseh Commons Facebook page for more information.  The rest of this post is a collection of photos I took of the interior.
The first big site George showed us was the old marquee for The New Linda Theater.

New Linda Theater Marquee Sign In Shawnee, Ohio.
The marquee sign from The New Linda Theater in Shawnee, Ohio.

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The Tecumseh as a lot of antiques from around the town too. There is a wall of bottles that were from the drugstore that closed across the street. Corby’s Whiskey was probably a stable of the working man then too.

Antique Corby's Whiskey Bottle.
Old Corby’s Whiskey bottle.

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Leaving the main floor, we headed up a flight of stairs to the ticket booth. 35 Cents per couple for admission.

The ticket booth at The New Linda Theater in Shawnee.
The ticket booth. 35 Cents per couple.

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As we entered, the antique remnants of the film days were displayed. These are the old film reels and canisters. Each one could hold about 20 minutes of a movie. The plastic reels were used for shipping for cheap shipping weights and the metal were used during the operation of the projector.

Old movies film reels.
Old movie film reels.

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This is an old Peerless Magnarc movie projector. The “arc” in the name Magnarc comes from the fact that the old movie projectors operated by arcing 2 welding rods together to create light for the projection. The pipe on top was needed to vent out the gasses from the burning welding rods.

Peerless Magnarc movie projector.
An old Peerless Magnarc movie projector.

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The RCA Photophone Super Simplex soundhead worked with the project to play the soundtrack with the movie.

RCA Photophone Super Simplex sound
RCA Photophone Super Simplex sound equipment.

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The stage was in bad shape. The curtain is stuck half way down. Props were still there and an old antique sign were laying around on it.

Stage at New Linda Theater in Shawnee, Ohio.
Stage at the New Linda Theater

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It wasn’t hard to imagine events in the theater when I turned around to look at the balcony. Movies were only part of the theater’s use. Basketball and dancing were common too.

Balcony of The New Linda Theater in Shawnee, Ohio.
Balcony in The New Linda Theater in Shawnee, Ohio.

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The balcony view gives a good feel of what a show might have been like so long ago. It also shows more detail of the work that needs to be done and the work that has been done.

Balcony view of the New Linda Theater.
Balcony view of The New Linda Theater.

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I thank George Biggs for his hospitality and the tour. The Tecumseh Theater is an ongoing project that history buffs may want to take more interest in. George explained that the geographic location of the town kind of keeps it off the radar for many and they’re working to change that.

If you’re in the area, stop and do some exploring of your own in Shawnee. The Tecumseh is just one building in a group of that are worth exploring.

Another Visit To Shawnee, Ohio

Shawnee, Ohio is an old boom town that went bust in the “Cities Of Black Diamonds” area of Southeast Ohio. There’s a lot of history to it, but I have yet to talk to a true expert on the subject. A Google search will give you the history. I’ll tell you my experience from what it’s like now.

As you can imagine, a ghost town is susceptible to trespassers of all sorts. It wasn’t surprising to see signs warning visitors away. The place had deteriorated so far that I wondered if the sign was really needed anymore.

Keep Out sign in dilapidated stairway.
An eerie “Keep Out” sign posted on a makeshift door on a fire escape.

I didn’t find anything to lead me to believe the place was haunted. I would say that it was haunting. There were so many things that were just out of place.

There were children running around playing, then they would disappear. They weren’t harming anything, but they didn’t speak when I greeted them. It just seems that children would face a lot of dangers in the area and that you wouldn’t see them.

There were many things out of place. Store windows were loaded with antiques as if at some point, the owners had tried to recreate what the stores would have sold. Kind of a museum effect. The thing was, the museum style setups had also got really old.

Broken glass was common, but it was not from vandalism. The buildings had settled so bad that it was popping out of the frames.

A look up gave this view of a somewhat intact porch with windows and a door, but no building behind it.

Sky seen through the windows of empty buildings.
Sky seen through upper floor windows of Shawnee, Ohio buildings.

For reasons unknown to me, a broken statue of Jesus was kept in this store window. The peeling paint revealing red and the missing arms  made it very odd and haunting.

Broken statue of Jesus Christ in a storefront window.
Broken statue of Jesus Christ in an old storefront window In Shawnee, Ohio

Someday I want to talk to a person who really understands the history. I’m curious about the future of a place like this too. It would seem the entire town fits the bill for historical significance.

For more photos of Shawnee, there are a few from a past visit in the Perry County Section of my Ohio Photography Project.