Belpre Historical Society celebrates city’s history with Heritage Day

Photo by Wayne Towner Doug Unsold, of Waterford, demonstrates leather working Saturday at the Farmers Castle Museum Education Center in Belpre.

BELPRE — The Belpre Historical Society held its annual Heritage Day program Saturday at the Farmers Castle Museum Education Center on Ridge Street in Belpre.

The free event featured an antique tractor, a pink tractor, blacksmithing and leather working demonstrations, quilters, spinners, a display of old train photos, dulcimer playing and costumed participants.

Doug Unsold, of Waterford, was giving leather-working demonstrations and selling leather hunting pouches and other items earlier settlers might have used.

Unsold travels throughout the region as a living history re-enactor, including visits to Pennsylvania, Maryland and Ohio. He last participated in Belpre Heritage Day as part of the Lewis and Clark Expedition program several years ago but was glad to be participating in an event so close to home on Saturday.

“I haven’t really had a whole lot of stuff that I’ve done locally. I’ve done a lot of stuff at Fort Frederick, Maryland, Fort McHenry, Boonesboro down in Kentucky,” he said.

Photo by Wayne Towner Joan Coffey, a member of the Belpre Historical Society, demonstrates spinning on Saturday during Belpre Heritage Day.

Ed and Sherri Lowers, of Belpre, were among the visitors Saturday at Belpre Heritage Day. They were interested in the craft demonstrations and also like to look at the old photographs at the museum.

“We have a house that was up on Frame Drive here in Belpre that was built in 1860. We usually come down and try to find pictures of what our house looked like,” Sherri Lowers said.

A new addition to this year’s Heritage Day was a free van tour of historical sites in Belpre at noon, 1 and 2 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, said Charlotte Powell, historical society president, as well as curator and genealogist of the museum.

The tour visited locations around Belpre which were important in its earlier history. Sections of Main Street and Blennerhassett Avenue were known as sites for early hotels and livery stables, along with banks and stores. Areas along Barclay and Depot streets and Washington Boulevard were known for their ties to the railroad which runs through Belpre.

“I think its very important because a lot of people just don’t take the time to come to the museum,” Powell said of Saturday’s event. “When we have an open house like this, it can draw people in and they will see things that they did not realize that happened in Belpre and items that were used in Belpre.”

Photo by Wayne Towner Caleb Givens, of Belpre, gives a blacksmithing demonstration Saturday during Belpre Heritage Day at the Farmers Castle Museum Education Center in Belpre.

The Farmers Castle Museum features a General Store, the Exhibit Barn, a gift shop and a Victorian era room. The Belpre Historical Society accepts donations of historical artifacts that belonged to a Belpre area family, have some significance as to time and place, and/or would be acceptable within an exhibit that the society is developing, such as the General Store.

Every item has a history and the donors are always willing to share the stories with the volunteer staff, who in turn share the history with visitors. The society is increasing its genealogy resources and would like to have copies of family histories.

The Farmers Castle Museum Education Center is open Wednesday and Saturday afternoons from 1-4 p.m. through the end of October. It is open other times by appointment. Groups are especially welcome. Memberships for students, individuals, families and for businesses are available.