Big Muskie

A recent weekend took me to a roadside attraction in Morgan County – the remnants of the Big Muskie.

The Big Muskie was an enormous piece of machinery used in coal mining. As big as a sky rise, this was the largest dragline ever built.

Dedicated in 1969, this machine could move millions of pounds of earth and rock every hour. It operated until 1991 and sat quiet as a tourist attraction for several years. In the late nineties, the Surface Mining Reclamation Act required its removal. However, one piece remains – the bucket which landowner American Electric Power turned into the centerpiece of a park with interpretive signage, picnic tables and restrooms.

The bucket is enormous and the chains attached to the bucket are unimaginably large.

Have you ever seen a chain so large? Can you imagine the piece of equipment necessary to lift all this? You don’t have to. Here’s an image courtesy of The Herald Star. Look how small the bucket is compared to the machine. Now scroll back up and look at how small the people are compared to the bucket.

This is one of those roadside attractions that’s worth a stop if you’re in the area. I wouldn’t build a road trip around it but there are other things to see and do in the area. The Morgan County Bicentennial Barn is just down the road, there are covered bridges in the area, and The Wilds is about twenty minutes north. Downtown McConnelsville has small town charm complete with some cute small businesses, the Ohio Valley Opry and a fantastic square with a statue and county courthouse.

Adventure Day

I went on an adventure the other day. A pal took me driving back roads that I had never been on and to caves and bridges and churches that I had never seen. Little makes me happier than an afternoon spent this way. He’s a darn good adventure partner, not caring to get his truck muddy and patient with me and my camera.

It was an overcast day so not the best for pictures but I did manage a few. Here’s a few from this trip through Morgan and Washington counties.

It’s Just A Neat Picture

fb6bI don’t really have anything to say today but love this picture and wanted to share it. This is the Civil War Memorial in the McConnelsville, Ohio town square. The Morgan County Courthouse clock tower is seen in the background. I took it during Morgan County Heritage Day back in October. Isn’t the sky great?


Ohio Passport: Big Bottom Memorial Park

d17Yesterday I began my Ohio History Connection Passport journey. In case you missed it, I wrote about this project a few days ago and you can read all about it here. This weekend’s stop was at Big Bottom Memorial Park in Morgan County. This was the site of a 1791 attack on settlers by American Indians. It marked the beginning of four years of warfare in the Ohio territory.

This is a beautiful park on the banks of the Muskingum River. Enormous old trees provide shade and all sorts of birds are prolific here. You’ll find a historic marker, a small monument and a large park area with some picnic tables for relaxing.

This isn’t a site I would go out of my way to visit. I happened to be visiting the area and had time to swing by for my passport project. However, it is a super place to picnic and it wouldn’t be too far down to Marietta to visit the Campus Martius Museum and other sites like Blennerhasset Island in West Virginia.

There isn’t a lot to see or do here but I have to say – it feels like hallowed ground. It felt important that I be there and know what happened. I suppose this is what the passport project is all about.