Madison on the Ohio

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September 9th 2021
Published: September 19th 2021
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Crossing the Ohio was a milestone. I felt the Midwest taking shape, defined by the river, invisible to the eye but always present. Parkersburg was large and surprisingly industrial. Barges traveled the waterway. A huge lock lined the Eastern Shore. I felt I was moving into new territory. The road gradually flattened and the forests diminished as I drove West, still in the Alleghenies. Half way to Cincinnati I came upon the town of Chillicothe, former capital of Ohio back when it first became a state in 1803. The Europeans who settled there in the late 18thcentury chose a central location that had already been favored by the local Native American tribes from 500 BCE, over 2000 years ago.

The mounds of the Hopewell and other peoples who lived there all that long ago, are a mystery. One longs to dig, and find out what’s inside… destroying them in the process. This is what happened in the early 20th century. It was done very methodically of course, and a lot was learned of the social and artistic characteristics of these early inhabitants by destroying one of the mounds. I visited the Seip Earthworks site, SW of Chillicothe, one of many.
Checking my visibility on the roadChecking my visibility on the roadChecking my visibility on the road

much improved thanks to guidance from Steve and Kevin Schmidt.
Made me think of similar mounds visited in the UK. They had seemed more important there, as everything is always older. Great that these ancient sites are now receiving recognition and creating awareness.

When the Europeans arrived the location was occupied by the Shawnee, who had given it the name Chalakatha. The name morphed, and so did the town, and now it boasts a college, a paper mill, and one of the best coffee shops West of the Ohio – rost coffee. Its position on the West bank of the Ohio also made it an important location in the Underground Railroad moving escaped African American slaves North to Canada.

My route tracked the Ohio to Madison, Indiana, touted as one of the best restorations of a riverside town. Houses, hotels and RV camps line the shore, except for where the road runs right above the water. I had booked a “good” hotel in Madison, to make a meeting of our Conventicle book group. It was a lot of fun to discover that Madison was a town well known to Susan Cutshaw, member of our group, who used to go there regularly from her home in Kentucky to do
Not my styleNot my styleNot my style

but an interesting bike and rider. Both of us stopped at the Seip mounds.
the weekly shopping. The renovation was funded and carried out by a coalition of public and private organizations. The town looks really good, with an attractive riverside park.

Additional photos below
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More on moundsMore on mounds
More on mounds

yes, I found them fascinating
Returning from the moundsReturning from the mounds
Returning from the mounds

to discover I had been found.
The power plant chimneys line the Ohio riverThe power plant chimneys line the Ohio river
The power plant chimneys line the Ohio river

which I followed for many miles.

21st September 2021
The power plant chimneys line the Ohio river

Pictures of your traveling companion
Love how many of your pictures feature your constant companion, your trusty bike. It never complains its eyes were closed or that you didn't photograph its good side.

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