My Town Destination: Steubenville, OH Jefferson County
Trip Type: Weekend Trip
Date of Visit: 5/30/19-5/31/19
Town Ambassador/Contact: Judy Bratten | Phone: 740-283-1787 | email:firstname.lastname@example.org
Driving along the mighty Ohio River on OH-7, you pass several small towns in the area that have sprung up over the past two hundred years. Town’s that once thrived engaging in commerce in and around the Ohio River Basin during the Industrial Era. It is mesmerizing to see the bridges stretching across the river to West Virginia, and picturing all the busyness and beauty that surrounds the unique river towns. But as Steubenville appears in the distance, your minds starts to imagine all the possibilities and opportunities to be found there.
Identity In The Land
There are several contributing factors to the current depressed state of many small towns. Among the many town specific factors-local, state, and federal politics have played a significant role, especially in town’s whose heyday was during the Industrial Era. Steubenville Ohio was once known world over for its generous wealth in natural resources. Located on the banks of Ohio River, and only thirty three miles from Pittsburgh PA, it was once a site with generous amounts of work and wealth. Due to the investments of several entrepreneurs, and influence from notable politicians such as Edwin M. Stanton (secretary of war under President Lincoln), Steubenville thrived through its foundrys, coal mines, and quarries. Today, towns such as Steubenville, are reinventing themselves by preserving their unique past, and using its current highlights to create new commerce. You can read more about the fascinating history of Steubenville here.
History Preserved In Beauty
Steubenville is currently the county seat of Jefferson county and home to nearly 20,000 residents, classifying it as a My Town Small City to visit. Known as “the city of murals”, Steubenville has a lot to offer due to its history rich in steel, coal, and quarries. The history of the city is captured in the 24 murals adorning the city walls. The murals tell of city favorites, from Ferry Steam Boats to the origins of Hang on Sloopy (this ones for you OSU fans!). There’s also a collection of historic churches in Steubenville you must check out if you love old architecture.
Famous and Fun
Did you know that OH-7 surrounding Steubenville has another name? Officially dubbed the “Dean Martin Highway,” the 50’s crooner can be found all over his hometown of Steubenville. You can find “all things Dean” at the Steubenville Vistor’s Center, the Historical Museum, and at several establishments-such as: Dean’s old hang out The Spot Bar, and Naple’s where you can catch a glimpse of him eating spaghetti!
The century old Market Street Bridge, is another fun activity, as long as you’re not afraid of heights! This bridge to West Virginia also has a walking path so you can walk across the Ohio River! An incredible experience if you have not walked across a river the size the Ohio. The bridge is located behind the Visitor’s Center amphitheater, and is only steps from the downtown fountain, where you can relax and grab a hotdog from the local vendor.
A Walk Through History
Another “off the map” activity for the history buff, is what’s locally called “The Means House”. This local treasure is completely curated by resident James Ludewig, who has a vast background in history, art, and culture. The home itself is a mid 1800’s treasure, and the period furnishings range from local must sees to an entire civil war room. The Means home was built by James Means who was the proprietor for the Steubenville Foundry, which was located directly in front of the home. Many features of the home were made right on site at the foundry. You can see the current home and where it’s located in the pictures above and below. This experience is by appointment only, Call the Visitors Center to make arrangements for a private tour.
Inns and Institutions
The highlighted Inn for Steubenville is Bayberry House Bed and Breakfast. Located on Historic 4th Street, the Bayberry’s history and interiors are truly spectacular. Owned and operated by local entrepreneur Scott Dressel, there are currently 3 historic homes in the Bayberry family. My Town stayed in the Garrett House.
The innkeeper has truly thought through each detail. It makes you feel at home, when a historic Inn has been renovated to also accommodate creature comforts. The house boasts private luxury bathrooms, ceiling fans( super important to a traveler in my opinion, as it helps with noise and air comfort), beautiful period furnishings, and an incredible homemade breakfast from Scott. When I say beautifully furnished and an incredible breakfast, I mean real eggs, sausage and fruit, not continental, and hand picked items for the space. Bayberry House is the place to stay in Steubenville for a historic and comfortable experience during your visit.
Having Fun with History in Steubenville
Right around the corner from The Bayberry is the Jefferson County Historical Association Museum and Vivian Snyder Genealogical Memorial Library. Located inside the Sharpe Mansion, this beautiful industrial era home boasts all the architecture, charm and artifacts you could hope for. Make sure to ask for a tour from Mike, who will give you lots of fun “what is it” knowledge along the way! A few fun rooms in this museum are the Dean Martin Room, and the dining room, adorned with locally made glass from Acme Glass Works, which was located in Steubenville.
Another must see location is Union Cemetery. This is a Pre Civil War cemetery with tons of character. Its beautiful setting and serene feel make this a great stop to see Civil War graves, lavish family crypts and maybe a ghost!
There are many eye-catching features in Steubenville, but the most prominent is Historic Fort Steuben. Sitting on the land where the original 18th century Fort stood, now sits the recreation of Fort Steuben, the History Museum, and Visitor’s Center.
Fort Steuben was originally built in 1786 by the 1st American Regiment to protect surveyors sent by the government from hostile Indians. Today, it serves as a cultural center to educate about the history of the Fort, Steubenville, and Jefferson County. When visiting you can experience a day in the life of soldiers at the Fort on the frontier, and learn about how surveying in the 1700’s was done. Furthermore, you can see how this important site opened the Northwest Territory. The Fort is now a landmark in Steubenville, and an important site for festivals and events. Also, while visiting the Fort make sure to stop in to see the First Federal Land Office. This is the original log structure that housed the land office, and a must see if you love historic structures.
The Unique, Interesting, Yours Of Steubenville!
There are several great places to eat and shop in Steubenville . Here are a few you don’t want to miss:
Drosselmmeyer’s Nutcracker Shoppe– You may have heard that Steubenville is home to the Nutcracker Village each Christmas season. But did you know that a local family owns and operates several of the businesses that make the nutcrackers, and several other unique gifts? Read more on their story here. In addition, make sure while shopping on historic 4th street, that you stop in at Drosselmeyer’s Nutcracker Shoppe, that is uniquely Steubenville.
Yorgo’s – Offering awesome gyros and giant potatoes! My Town’s favorite is the spinach pie. You also have to experience Steubenville Popcorn Company, and for more town favorites- Naples Spaghetti House delivers Italian specialties, local history, and fourth generation hospitality. And, Di’Carlo’s Pizza is a Steubenville staple that has honed a unique baking strategy, making this pizza, a My Town Must.
The industrial history of the past is being preserved and promoted in Steubenville, making it a destination for travelers to see its marvelous works. In addition, its preservation and location on the Ohio River, is also opening up opportunities for new entrepreneurs to try their hand in Steubenville, just as they did hundreds of years ago.
MTT Antique And Market Finds
Great Antique Shops and Farmers Markets are familiar sights in small towns. This can include Thrift Shops, Local Eats, and the like! Here are some great MTT Antique and Market Finds from Steubenville.
My Town Today has started a referral section of each article. It’s based on the fun of visiting a town, and finding out what town the majority of its citizens would recommend for My Town to visit next.
The referral for this entry is: Wintersville, OH. Stay tuned for My Town Today to pop up there soon.
Steubenville Photo Gallery Click Here: