Travel the Drovers' Trail
Belmont County is the only county in Ohio that has three scenic byways - The Ohio River Scenic Byway, the National Road (see previous blog), and the Drovers' Trail Scenic Byway. By traveling this 39-mile route through the county, you will see recreational, cultural, archaeological, and natural sites along the way and travel over much of the old route the drovers did when livestock was droved from the frontier to Baltimore, MD a century and a half ago.
The byway begins in Bellaire at the corner of 23rd and Belmont streets. In Bellaire you can visit the National Imperial Glass Museum, 3200 Belmont St.
This museum is dedicated to preserving the history of the Imperial Glass Corp., paying tribute to its employees, educating the public, and providing research opportunities. For 80 years Imperial was one of the largest handcrafted glass companies in America and was located at Imperial Plaza on Belmont St. NIGM is a “must visit” for glass enthusiasts
On display at the Museum are many fine examples of Imperial glassware created from 1904 to 1984 including Candlewick, Cape Cod, carnival, milk glass, slag and more.
The Great Stone Viaduct, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is a mid-1800s stone structure that stands as a symbol of the heyday of railroads in the valley. This viaduct made it possible for trains to to cross the Ohio River. Going south on Belmont St., you can drive under this historic structure which is being preserved by the Great Stone Viaduct Historical Education Society.
The small towns of Key, Jacobsburg, and Centerville along the scenic route remind travelers that many Belmont County residents live a rural life and enjoy country living. Near Centerville is the Historic James Kinney House. Now open to guests on airbnb, the two-story brick farmhouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and once served as a drove station.
Also located off SR 147 (61961 Dysart Woods Rd., Belmont) is Dysart Woods, the largest known remnant of the original forest of southeastern Ohio. An Ohio University land laboratory, Dysart Woods is 455 acres in total and includes a central tract of 50 acres of old-growth white oak-beech-tulip tree forest surrounded by a mixture of second-growth forest, old-fields, and pastures. The oldest trees exceed four feet in diameter and have been dated to well over 400 years old. Two trails are available for walking.
Continuing on into the village of Belmont you will pass the Dr. Schooley House (private residence), a log house, and a historical marker about Belmont native, the late Harley Warrick who was the last of the Mail Pouch Barn painters.
In Bethesda you will pass the Bethesda Clock Tower & Memorial Plaza, 112 S. Main St., and historic Epworth Park. Established in 1870, the park contains 61 quaint Victorian summer cottages nestled among a grove of majestic oak trees.
Following the Drovers' Trail Scenic Byway into Barnesville, you pass the historic Plummer House that was once a drover's station. By turning off 147 onto Sandy Ridge Road, you can find the Stillwater Meetinghouse built in 1878 and the campus of Olney Friends Boarding School founded in 1837. The college preparatory high school with students from around the world, also has a working organic farm. Visit www.olneyfriends.org for more information.
At the corner of East Church and Mulberry streets you will find the historic B & O Depot built in 1916. Nearby is the Watt Center for History and the Arts, a former office building of the Watt Car & Wheel Company that now serves as a museum of Barnesville's agricultural, retail and industrial history. Visit them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/WattCenterforHistoryArts/
The historic Bradfield building is located on the corner of Main and Church streets, and you will see the First Presbyterian Church on Chestnut Street. The church was built in 1902 in the "Chinese Gothic" style using native red sandstone bricks. It also contains magnificent stained glass windows imported from Belgium. Located across the street from the church is the Barnesville Antique Mall, offering three stories of antiques and collectibles.
Built by the Bradfield family in the late 1800's, the magnificent, 26-room Belmont County Victorian Mansion Museum is also located on Chestnut Street. Visit https://belmontcountymuseum.com for more info and to schedule a visit.
If traveling the byway the last full weekend of September, you can partake in the Barnesville Pumpkin Festival. Visit www.barnesvillepumpkinfestival.com for more information.
Located on SR 800 just outside of Barnesville is Dickinson Cattle Company. The working ranch is open to tours in the summer and fall where you can get up close views of Texas Longhorn, BueLingo, and Watusi cattle and purchase meat and other products in the Longhorn Head to Tail Store. Visit http://longhorntours.com.
The north end of the Drovers' Trail Scenic Byway ends on the historic National Road at Hendrysburg. This small village was the birthplace of actor William Boyd who played cowboy hero "Hopalong Cassidy" in the serial movies which he had syndicated for television.
To request a Drovers' Trail Scenic Byway brochure, call 1-740-695-4359 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. The byway is also featured in this video about fall in Belmont County https://youtu.be/4OndIBiQGrY .