Monday, May 26, 2003

Bicentennial Notebook

'Uncle Tom's Cabin' inspiration headed for listing

By Randy McNutt
The Cincinnati Enquirer

PISGAH - In this bicentennial year, a house that helped inspire the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin has been recommended for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Ohio Historic Site Preservation Advisory Board recently recommended that the Spread Eagle Tavern, 9797 Cincinnati-Columbus Road (U.S. 42), be nominated. The former stagecoach stop and one-story brick house - built in the early 1840s - is known as the "house of seven chimneys."

It is owned by Roy C. Vaught, whose family has helped research the building's history. The house is "a significant example of Jeffersonian Classicism, an architectural style that is rarely found in Ohio," said Mary Ann Olding, a professor at the Union Institute and University, and an historic preservationist.

"The house has numerous ties to the Underground Railroad through James D. Conrey, a Methodist minister who owned the house in the 1840s," Olding said.

According to oral tradition, the Ohio Historical Society said, the tavern is the stagecoach stop mentioned in chapter nine of Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852) by Harriet Beecher Stowe.

PERRYSBURG - The first siege of Fort Meigs was recreated Sunday as the Fort Meigs State Memorial hosted its War of 1812 encampment and lantern tours.

Today, a Memorial Day commemoration will be held at 2 p.m. in connection with the Ohio bicentennial celebration. The state recently finished a $6.2 million renovation of the fort.

Re-enactors will demonstrate American, British and Indian weapons, trades and music.

Fort Meigs was built by William Henry Harrison's troops during the War of 1812.

Fort Meigs will be open from noon to 5 p.m. today.Admission is $6 for adults and $2 for students. Lantern tours require reservations and additional cost. Information: 419-874-4121.


XENIA - A new bicentennial historical marker on Church Street recalls "the largest tornado ever recorded in the continental United States" - on April 3, 1974, at 4:40 p.m.

The mile-wide twister destroyed hundreds of homes, schools and businesses in Xenia, Wilberforce and Cedarville. It killed 33 people and injured hundreds. Losses exceeded $100 million.


HAMILTON - The State of the Arts: A Celebration of Ohio's Rich Artistic Heritage will be displayed from June 1 to July 26 at the Fitton Center for Creative Arts, 101 S. Monument Avenue.

The exhibit was organized by the Ohio Arts Council's Riffe Gallery with support from the Ohio Historical Society and the Ohio Bicentennial Commission.

Gallery hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to noon Saturday. Closed Sunday except for special events. Tours by appointment only.

Information: 863-8873.

Items for Bicentennial Notebook may be sent to Randy McNutt, the Enquirer, 7700 Service Center Drive, West Chester, Ohio 45069. Telephone: 755-4158. Fax: 755-4150. E-mail

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