Black Swamp Driving Club Enjoys History

July 2015 Newsletter, by Mary Thomas


Black Swamp Driving Club members have been delving deeply into history lately.  May 16 found them at the Overland Stagecoach Inn, McCutchenville, OH, one of only two still existing in Ohio.  Now owned by the Wyandot County Historical Society, it has undergone restoration and redecorating to give visitors the experience of 19th century stagecoach travel. The day, hosted by Julie Emmons, featured a guided tour of the inn, built in 1829 along the Harrison Trail, a former Indian route from the Scioto River near Columbus, OH, to Lake Erie.  General Henry Harrison’s troops used the trail during the War of 1812, making improvements to what is now SR 53.  Beautiful antiques fill the rooms, including the original reception and bar room where guests were registered for a night’s stay.

Al and Angie Hohenbrink along with Mike and Jackie Minges participated in the Spring Fling held May 29-31 at the Kentucky Horse Park.  The event, put on by the National Drive organizers, offers lots of driving around the park and educational opportunities.

Infirmary Mound Park, near Granville, OH, was the scene for a combined Black Swamp – Western Reserve Carriage Asso. drive June 6.  Hosted by WRCA members Michele Steven and Sheri Olecki, the day began with a potluck before several turnouts took to the trails. More history was on tap as nearly two dozen BSDC members met to enjoy the Carl Casper collection at the Kruse Horse Power and Carriage Museum, Auburn, IN, June 13.  The carriages dated as far back as 1737 and included beautifully restored royal coaches as well as Buffalo Bill’s Abbot and Downing stagecoach, still in original condition.  A dogcatcher’s wagon, a pie wagon, several Rockaway family use carriages, a mail delivery wagon, a small omnibus, a dray with an unusual turning mechanism, a couple of pony vehicles, and an assortment of buggies gave members an opportunity to see a variety of carriage springs, body types, hardware, and furnishings.  President Grant’s carriage and the hearse used for President McKinley’s funeral were also on hand and in excellent condition. The museum contains not only the carriages collected by Carl Casper, but also his movie and TV creations—the Batmobile, the Duke of Hazards’ General Lee, the A-team’s van, and a Mission Impossible armored truck.  Many of Casper’s award winning street rods are on display as well as his customized motor cycles.  The Carriage Association of America has established the Carl Casper Award for excellence in the restoration of carriages.

Members gathered for lunch after touring the museum.  President Roger Higgins, Jr. held a brief meeting afterward to thank Julie Emmons for organizing the trip and to inform members of upcoming events.  The carriage display at the Wyandot County Historical Society’s Ice Cream Social is set for July 11.  Carriages need to be in place by 11 a.m. at the museum, located at 130 S. 7th Street, Upper Sandusky, OH 43351.  A photographer will be on hand taking pictures of the carriages.

More history is upcoming with the trip July 18 to the Lafferty Funeral Museum, 205 S. Cherry St., West Union, OH.  Members will meet at 11 a.m. at the museum to view the large collection of horse drawn hearses.  For more information, check with event organizer Julie Emmons at 740-361-3885.

On July 25, Ronald and Sharon Hayhurst are holding a drive. Check the Black Swamp website for more details.

A fun day is planned for BSDC by Gary and Connie Gillfillan at Indian Lake on Aug. 8.  Boat rides on the lake will begin at 10:00 a.m. followed by a noon cookout and potluck.  The area around the lake is a busy place, offering lots of things for member to enjoy.  From Roundhead, OH, take SR 235 west about five miles to Indian Lake State Park Campground. After passing the campground, watch for the Cherokee Landing sign.  Turn left at the drive and follow it until reaching a metal gate.  Park on the grass area to the right and walk past the gate to the clubhouse.  Call 567-674-0151 if lost.

Upcoming events:
Aug. 22:  Unger Park Drive, Bucyrus, OH
Sept. 20: Parker Bridge Drive, Upper Sandusky, OH
Sept 27:  Coon Hunters Drive, Tiffin, OH