2019 Appalachian Heritage Statehouse Luncheon Success Stories

On December 18th, we are celebrating Appalachia’s Culture, Nature, & Heritage at the 9th Annual Appalachia Heritage Luncheon in the Statehouse Atrium. This event is presented by Heritage Ohio and Ohio’s Hill Country Heritage Area, and will showcase the “inspiring practices” of people living and working in Appalachian Ohio. Below, you’ll find short descriptions of this year’s success stories. It’s not too late to register for the event — you can do so here.

2019 Appalachia Success Stories
Sugar Bush Foundation – Hylie Voss – Athens County
D-Day Reenactment – Betsy Bashore (CEO) – Ashtabula County
Rankin House – Betty Campbell – Brown County
Linda Showalter – Marietta College Librarian – Washington County
Leetonia Coke Ovens – Bill Merdich – Columbiana County
Dickens Victorian Village – Bob Ley – Guernsey County
Ivan and Deanna Tribe – Vinton County

Sam Jones Award: Bruce and Gay Dalzell (see our other post on the Dalzells here)

The Sugar Bush Foundation works with Ohio University to improve the quality of life for people living in Appalachian Ohio. They have helped fund many projects, from recycling in Chillicothe and Rural Action’s Zero Waste initiative, to supporting Habitat for Humanity in Millfield, to creating new pigments from acid mine drainage in Corning. Most recently they have lent support to the launch of the Winding Road Network, a project OHCHA manages. These projects share their beliefs in creating cultural shifts to sustainable practices, both economically and environmentally.  

D-Day Conneaut, located in Ashtabula County, is an annual, highly realistic, and educational reenactment of the WWII European Theater of Operations and the D-Day Normandy invasion. Hundreds of re-enactors from across the United States and Canada assemble on the 250 yard long beach and sloping adjacent terrain, which closely resemble Omaha Beach in Normandy, France. This project, along with the North Coast WWII History Museum, invites visitors to take part in living history as a way to learn about, remember, and honor the sacrifices made on D-Day.

The John Rankin House is one of the best-documented and most active Underground Railroad “stations” in Ohio. Located in Ripley, Ohio, and built in 1825, The Rankin House was home to abolitionist and Presbyterian minister John Rankin, his wife Jean, and their 13 children. It’s estimated that over 2,000 slaves seeking freedom stayed with the Rankins, sometimes as many as 12 at a time. Here, visitors can learn how the Rankin family and their neighbors in Ripley and other nearby communities helped the enslaved on their path to freedom via the Underground Railroad.

As the Special Collections Manager at the Library of Marietta College, Linda Showalter has worked to preserve and share the history of the College and Marietta. She has helped students, faculty, community members, and scholars, including Pulitzer Prize-winning author David McCullough, whose recent book The Pioneers features the history of the establishment of the Northwest Territory.

The Leetonia Coke Ovens is a complex of 200 Coke Ovens constructed around 1866 by the Leetonia Iron and Coal Company, which was later renamed the Cherry Valley Iron Works. The beehive coke ovens were built to turn coal into coke by removing impurities from the coal. The coke was then used as fuel for the furnaces that produced iron and steel. The Cherry Valley Coke Ovens site was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1993. 

Located in Cambridge in Guernsey County, Dickens Victorian Village celebrates Victorian Era culture each holiday season, from November to December. This innovative public art exhibition is enjoyed by families, couples, and groups alike – an experience that engages the senses as you explore the charming streetscape, striking historic architecture, and eclectic shops and eateries of Cambridge. Visitors are invited to stroll amidst over 92 scenes of 180 lifelike figures representing classic scenes, including Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim, the town crier, groups of carolers, a bucket brigade, lamplighters, school children, street peddlers, and Father Christmas.

Individually, Deanna and Ivan Tribe have had distinguished careers with Ohio State University Extension and the University of Rio Grande, respectively, and whether in the field or in the classroom the two have spent their time sharing the culture of Appalachia. Born in Vinton County, Deanna’s passion for Appalachian culture is nowhere more on display than in her book Vinton County, published by Arcadia Press. For Ivan, the cultural story has also been reflected in his writings, particularly those involving Appalachian and country music. He’s authored or co-authored 12 books all related to the heritage, culture, and music of the region. For over 32 years, the two have hosted on WOUB-FM radio both the bluegrass program, D28+5, and the country music show, Hornpipe and Fugue. The Tribes continue their commitment to the region through involvement in the Vinton County Historical and Genealogical Society.

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