2021 Belmont County Rubberneck Tour to feature St. Clairsville area
The 48th Annual Belmont County Rubberneck Tour returns this year. The free, drive-it-yourself tour is sponsored by Belmont County Tourism and includes seven stops in the St. Clairsville area. This year you will discover a beautiful covered bridge, historic one-room school house, the birthplace of the “Super Bowl of Country Music”, one of Ohio’s oldest privately owned and operated, public use airport, and much more! Experience live demonstrations of painting, dulcimer playing, falconry, miniature airplane flying, and take an airplane ride. For more information call the tourism office at 740-695-4359 or download a brochure.
Stop 1 is the Shaeffer Campbell Covered Bridge, CR 1518 (Ohio University Eastern campus). Shaeffer Campbell Covered Bridge was once located in Fairfield County, and was built in 1875 in the multiple kingpost truss style. The bridge was damaged when a farm tractor fell through the floor in 1973, and it was donated to Belmont County in 1975. Belmont County did not have any covered bridges at the time, as its last covered bridge over Captina Creek had collapsed under the weight of a coal truck in 1953. The 68-foot-long (21 m) wooden bridge sits atop wooden slat-pressured trusses that reach into the muddy bottom of the College Pond. The railings of the approaches to the bridge are designed to mirror railings found on the home of famous American writer Mark Twain. The flat wooden floor of the bridge was built to support loads of wagons and horses, but has not been reinforced for automobile usage, leaving it closed to vehicular traffic but open to pedestrians, such as a cross country event for local high schools every year. The bridge is normally painted red and is visible from both lanes of Interstate 70, which runs less than 1,000 feet (300 m) south of the bridge.
At this stop: Dr. Robert Kroeger, a native of Youngstown is a second-generation artist and his professional art career blossomed later in life. His latest book, Historic Barns of Ohio was published by History Press in March, 2021. The book preserves Ohio history through oil paintings and essays. His next goal is to capture 5,000 old barns and their stories. A largely self-taught artist, Dr. Kroeger paints with a palette knife in oils and in thick impasto. He will be demonstrating this as he paints the historic Shaeffer Campbell covered bridge. Raffle tickets for a painting of the bridge will be sold for $1 each or six for $5. Dr. Kroeger will also tell barn stories and sign books.
Stop 2 is the Great Western School, 45101 National Rd. West. The Great Western School, located on Ohio University’s Eastern campus, along the National Road, was built in 1870 by the Clark Construction Company. The bricks were hand-made from the clay of a nearby pond. The school was used continually until 1952 when it was closed due to declining student enrollment and school consolidation. It eventually fell into disrepair until National Trail #348 of the International Questers took on the restoration of the building as a Bicentennial Project. An open house was held in July, 1976, recognizing this historic building. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. It also displays a plaque recognizing the Bicentennial of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. The Quester Chapter continues to maintain the school and provides tours to the community throughout the year. This “working museum” provides students from Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio an opportunity to “spend a day reliving the past” with the interactive, hands-on educational program conducted by the “schoolmarm”. Visitors will find period-style furnishings in this one-room school. The iron bell, weighing over two hundred pounds is still rung when visiting groups arrive. Guests are welcome to “come and sit a spell” to hear the history and numerous stories of this one-room school.
At this stop: You can enjoy music played on a hammered dulcimer as well as watch the craft of spoon carving. There will also be traditional schoolhouse games played outside.
Stops 3 and 4 are located at the Belmont County Fairgrounds, 45300 Roscoe Rd.
At this stop: Enjoy the Ohio Valley Farmers Market in front of the Carnes Center. In 1978, a group of area citizens and farmers met with the Belmont County Extension Agent and began the process of forming a farmers’ market. It opened for its first season in July of 1979. The market is located along the Ohio River in Bellaire. A second market is located at the Ohio Valley Mall in St. Clairsville. The OVFM encourages the growth and support of local farms and small businesses by educating consumers on the benefits and importance of supporting the market’s vendors. Visiting the Ohio Valley Farmers’ Market allows consumers to meet face-to-face with the farmer or craftsman who made the products they purchase. Since 2003, the OVFM has adopted the slogan “Know your Farmer. Know your Food!” Their goal is to continue to make the market a viable and integral part of the communities and vendors they serve.
Since 1849, residents of the county have celebrated the harvest of farm and home through a fair sponsored by the Belmont County Agricultural Society. The event was staged at the old fairgrounds in St. Clairsville until 2010 when it moved to a new location at 45420 Roscoe Road. The object and purpose of the organization is to promote and encourage agriculture, industry, schools, science, art, and other interests of Belmont County.
At this stop: Master Falconer and president of the Ohio Falconry Association, Mick brown of Martins Ferry, will be on hand demonstrating the ancient hobby of falconry. Falconry is the pursuit of wild game in its natural state with a trained raptor.
The Belmont County Soil and Water Conservation District will also be at the fairgrounds with an exhibit, as well as the Master Gardeners of Belmont County. The Master Gardeners, a program of The Ohio State University Extension Agency, are trained volunteers available to educate the residents of Belmont County with timely researched based information programs and public service.
Stop 5 is the St. Clairsville RC Flyers, Pogue/Girl Scout Rd. The St. Clairsville Radio Control Flyers are dedicated to the development and enjoyment of the hobby of building and flying radio control miniature airplanes of all types: Fixed wing, Helicopters, Sailplanes, and Old Timers. A few members also have cars, boats and rockets. They welcome spectators and as a general rule most flyers are there on Saturday and Sunday or any nice weather evening during the summer. Stop by to watch, and bring your lawn chair with you.
Stop 6 is the Capstone Event Center & Soccer Complex, 52139 National Rd. In the fall of 2002 Capstone Holding Company deeded 23.8 acres at the intersection of County Roads 80 and 82 to the St Clairsville Area Soccer Association. On February 20, 2003, the St. Clairsville Area Soccer Association proudly announced the groundbreaking of the new soccer complex. This facility consists of three large playing fields and features the Capstone Rotary Pavilion that seats up to 200. The building can be converted into an open-air facility and can be enclosed within minutes. There is also one large 32 by 48 storage facility, covered outdoor grill, and a stone entrance sign. An additional parking lot was added through another gift of 2-acres by Capstone Holding. The goals of the organization have been to promote and financially support the development of soccer in the Belmont County area. Activities through the current time have been the procurement of equipment, fields, coaches, referees, and resources to help in the training of soccer players. They continue to sponsor soccer camps in the summer. Pavilion rentals also help with financial support of the organization. Take a tour of this beautiful facility and speak with members of the St. Clairsville Area Soccer Association.
Stop 7 is Alderman Airport, 676160 Elm Station Rd. Alderman Airport is one of Ohio’s oldest privately owned and operated, public use airports. Take a tour of the airport office and lounge and a restored 1800s log cabin. Before leaving, be sure to walk the grounds that was the original home of JAMBOREE IN THE HILLS.
At this stop: Flying Squirrel 2P7 Aviation will be offering airplane rides. There will be food trucks including Holey Rollers Donuts. You can see a Blackhawk helicopter from the West Virginia Army Reserve National Guard. A 1946 Piper J-3 Cub and a restored, rare, 1940 Aeronca T will be on display. Enjoy conversation with local airplane owners and pilots. Members of the Civil Air Patrol, Wheeling Detachment will talk about their important role in search and rescue.