The Lockmasters of the Muskingum

 

Muskingum_River_Canal_at_Zanesville

Muskingum River Canal at Zanesville (Wikimedia Commons)

Atlas Obscura is running Dylan Taylor-Lehman’s really interesting piece on the canals of the Muskingum River in Ohio and the lockmaster who run them.  Here is a taste:

 

THE MIGHTY MUSKINGUM RIVER WINDS 112 miles through southeastern Ohio, from Coshocton to Marietta, where it flows into the Ohio and, in turn, the even-mightier Mississippi. The Muskingum was, for decades, a critical route for the movement of people and goods in the region, though today it’s almost exclusively used by pleasure boaters. As the river bends around downtown Zanesville, a small city with an emerging art scene in the gentlest foothills of the Appalachians, there’s a dam, one of 10 on the river. Boaters who want to pass it need to steer toward an old but well-maintained canal on the eastern side of the river, and grab the attention of a man sitting in a small wooden shack. That’s Tim Curtis, and he’s one of the few full-time lockmasters still manning America’s waterways.

A boat that wants to get past the dam has to rise or drop 15 feet, so the canal is equipped with locks. The Muskingum’s locks are some of the last period-correct examples in the country, Curtis says, and his job has barely changed in 170 years.

Curtis’s shack sits on a narrow, verdant island, approximately 600 yards long, formed where the canal splits off the river and accessible from the town’s three-way Y-Bridge. As a boat approaches, Curtis dons a small lifejacket—“we have to wear these even if we’re mowing”—and grabs the crank handles from the shack, where they are kept under lock and key.

Read the rest here.

Returning to the Roots of the Civil Rights Tour: Day 9

Clearview 3

For previous posts in this series click here.

We began Day 9 in Middletown, Ohio and ended it back in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania.   It was an amazing trip and I was blessed to have experienced it with my wife Joy and my youngest daughter Caroline.  We spent a lot of time in the car on the drive home to the Harrisburg area discussing all that we learned.

Thanks to Todd Allen and the staff of Common Ground Project for all of their work in making this tour a success.  I am also happy to report that Messiah College will be the new base of operation for the Returning to the Roots of Civil Rights Tour.  Todd will be joining us in the Fall as a professor in the Department of Communications and special assistant to the president for diversity affairs.

Our only stop on Day 9 was the historic Clearview Golf Club in Canton, Ohio.  The golf course was designed and constructed in 1946 by William “Bill” Powell. When Powell returned to Minerva, Ohio after serving in the Air Force during World War II he was banned from all-white golf courses and could not obtain a bank loan to build his own course.  (Powell learned the game as a boy from working at a golf club in Canton. He went on to captain the golf team at Wilberforce University).  He eventually found two doctors willing to help him buy a piece of farmland in East Canton and went to work on building Clearview Golf Club.  He worked on the course during the day and, in order so support his family, worked as a security guard from 3-11pm.  In 1948 Clearview opened as an integrated course–the only course in the United States designed, constructed, owned, and operated by an African American.  Here is a USGA video on Powell and Clearview:

Our host at Clearview was Powell’s daughter Renee Powell, the club professional.  Renee spent thirteen years (1967-1980) on the LPGA tour and was the second black golfer to play on the tour. (Althea Gibson was the first).  Since then she has been an ambassador for golf around the world.

Here are some more pics:

Clearview 1

with Renee Powell at Clearview Golf Club

Clearview 2

Clearview 4

J.D. Vance for Senate?

vanceSome members of the GOP are encouraging J.D. Vance, author of the best-selling Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, to run for Senate in Ohio.  They think he can defeat incumbent Sherrod Brown.

Here is a taste of a report from The Hill:

Vance, a 32-year-old venture capitalist and Marine veteran, rose to fame last year with his book “Hillbilly Elegy,” which recounts his life and family in Ohio. The book, however, is widely seen as illustrative of the white working-class and rural voters who voted for President Trump in 2016.

Vance, a graduate of Yale Law School, moved back to Ohio following the success of his book to start Our Ohio Renewal, a nonprofit geared toward addressing social and economic issues discussed in “Hillbilly Elegy.”

Vance told The Washington Post in December that he was not yet eyeing a run for office but would not rule it out in the future.

“I think that I need to live in the state for a while and get to know these problems a little better before actually doing something like that. Never say never, but it’s certainly not something I am thinking about over the short-term.”