Ohio Chautauqua 2012 Special Programs and Experiences

A Taste of Champaign County History

URBANA, Ohio (June 22, 2012) - Ohio Chautauqua 2012 in Champaign County will offer some extra programming and experiences during the five day event from Tuesday, June 26 thru Saturday, June 30.

The Johnny Appleseed Education Center & Museum will be open for special hours- Tuesday, June 26 – Friday, June 29, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on Saturday, June 30, from noon to 6 p.m. The center on the campus of Urbana University holds the largest collection of memorabilia and written information about the life of John "Appleseed" Chapman known to exist in the world. A computer database is also available for research purposes for retrieval and identification of information. A National Registry of Johnny Appleseed's relatives has also been established for those interested in genealogical heritage. Special items on display at the museum include a cider press (circa 1850) that was used by John James to process apples from trees planted by Johnny Appleseed in Champaign County, commemorative plates from festivals held in his honor, wood and bark from original trees planted by Johnny Appleseed in Ohio and Indiana, photos of monuments and markers dedicated to Johnny Appleseed and a portion of the many publications about Johnny Appleseed's life and legend that have been collected. For more information on this museum, click on http://www.urbana.edu/resources/community/johnny-appleseed.html .

The Ohio Caverns offers a discount for a Tour of the Caverns to those who attend the Youth Workshop on Tuesday, June 26. The Ohio Caverns just celebrated the opening of a new section of the caverns and one not open to the public since 1925. Concealed beneath the rolling farmland and wooded countryside of Champaign County, Ohio, the caverns were formed thousands of years ago when an underground river cut through ancient limestone and created vast rooms and passageways that later filled with countless crystal stalactites, stalagmites and other amazing formations. The caverns remain a steady 54 degrees year-round, regardless of the surface temperature. The humidity is always above 90 percent, and the air inside the caverns is cleaner than the air above ground — filtered by the water that formed the caves and still drips today. Follow the signs to Ohio Caverns located on 2210 East State Route 245 in West Liberty or visit their web site at www.ohiocaverns.com .

On Thursday, June 28 at noon, the Cedar Bog Nature Preserve offers a special program and discount for Ohio Chautauqua participants. Learn about the geography and topography of the region. Participants may bring a lunch and eat during the presentation and, afterwards, enjoy a tour through the preserve. The discount for this time only, is $4 for adults and $3 for children. Cedar Bog is located 4 miles south of Urbana off U.S. Route 68.

The Cedar Bog Nature Preserve is the largest and best example of a boreal and prairie wetland complex in Ohio. It is a haven for scores of rare plants and animals common after the Ice Age, as well as a wealth of orchid, prairie, and woodland wildflowers. A nearly mile-long boardwalk guides visitors through the 450-acre preserve, a National Natural Landmark. Cedar Bog Nature Preserve is an Ohio Historical society site. The quiet location is a rare natural treasure. For more information on Cedar Bog, visit their web site at www.cedarbog.org .

Dr. J. Michael Rhyne, assistant professor of history at Urbana University, will present a program on “Meriwether Lewis in the Ohio Valley: the Making of a Discoverer” on Friday, June 29 at noon at the Miller Center for Visual Arts in Browne Hall on the campus of Urbana University. Those interested in attending this program are invited to bring a Brown Bag lunch. The Miller Center is located just northwest of campus on West Reynolds/College Way. For a map of the campus, visit the University web site at www.urbana.edu .

Meriwether Lewis was a native Virginian, but his name is forever associated with the Ohio Valley and American exploration of what lay beyond it. After briefly assuming the management of this family’s Virginia plantation, Lewis joined the state militia in 1794 to help put down the Whiskey Rebellion in Pennsylvania.

He continued his military career as an officer in the regular army, serving on the frontier in Ohio and Tennessee. While in the army, he met and befriended William Clark, commander of the rifle company to which Lewis was attached. Clark had to resign his commission soon thereafter due to family and health issues, but Lewis remained in service and by 1800 had risen to the rank of captain.

In 1801, he accepted an invitation from recently elected President Thomas Jefferson, an old family friend, to serve as his private secretary. Jefferson seems to have selected Lewis for this post with a view to placing him in charge of an already-contemplated transcontinental expedition. When Jefferson had proposed such an expedition in 1792, Lewis had been among the first volunteers, although his youth and inexperience disqualified him at the time. But in the intervening years, Lewis traveled to Fallen Timbers to join the ranks of Anthony Wayne’s Legion of the United States, was present at the signing of the Treaty of Greenville, had served as an officer in a rifle company, and had been a regimental paymaster, the duties of which took him to many of the frontier posts in the Ohio Valley. Not only did he know the terrain that the expedition would encounter in the initial phase of its journey, but Lewis was a proven leader and also on friendly terms with many of the officers commanding the frontier forts. Lewis therefore made a perfect candidate in Jefferson's eyes to lead the expedition.

Captain Lewis’s experiences in the Ohio Valley thus may be seen as invaluable in terms of setting him on the path by which he would become the official leader of President Jefferson’s Corps of Discovery.

For more information on OHIO CHAUTAUQUA, visit the web site www.urbana.edu/ohc or call Christina Bruun-Horrigan at 937-484-1354. The week of June 26, take a step back in time and come enjoy the experience of When Ohio Was the Western Frontier.

OHIO CHAUTAUQUA 2012 is presented in partnership with the Ohio Humanities Council, Urbana University, City of Urbana, and the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce and with major financial support from the Urbana Moose.

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