Nelsonville Plans History Tours

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People who want to learn more about Nelsonville’s past can take part in history tours that will be held this coming Friday and April 24.

Students in the Natural and Historical Interpretation program at Hocking College will tell tour participants about the sites visited, imparting information they have compiled and researched. That research included talking to knowledgable people in the community.

For the seven Hocking College students involved, it is a Capstone Project allowing them to put into practice what they have learned in school.

“We’re all excited for people to show up. Come join us,” said student Emily Garnich.

Final Friday, Nelsonville’s monthly arts celebration, will also be taking place those evenings.

Deciding what to include in the tours involved talking with people in the community — including Nelsonville history buff Tom Steenrod.

“We did a tour of the town. Bill L’Heureux gave us a tour,” said Gary Bergstrand, who teaches in the college’s interpretation program. He noted that help also was received from Sarah Milligan, director of the Rocky Community Involvement Fund at Rocky Brands.

“I think it’s important for history to be reconnected to today, for the people living there,” Garnish said of her interest in historical interpretation.

“Giving historical tours gives people a sense of self,” said student Halie Popovitch, adding that making people more aware of their past will help ensure that historical sites are preserved. Not only preserved, but improved, Garnich said.

In addition to Garnich and Popovitch, participating students include Hannah Capannari, Jon Dudo, William Smith, Nora Steele and Kathryn Zeppernick. They also do historical interpretation, in period 1850s clothing, at the Robbins Crossing village on the Hocking College campus in Nelsonville.

Those who would like to take the tours should be at the arch over Rocky Boot Way at 5:30 p.m. on the dates of the tours.

“I think those who do show up will be pleasantly surprised at the history of Nelsonville,” Bergstrand said.

More than a dozen sites will be visited and discussed, including the Dew House, Stuart’s Opera House, the former YMCA building, Fort Street Cemetery, Rocky Boots and the Mine Tavern.

On Friday, the students did a practice tour. Bergstrand said it took about an hour and a half.

This is the first year for the tours, but Bergstrand said he hopes to do them again next year.

Weather will not cancel the tours, unless something severe occurs like a lightning storm.

“If it rains, bring an umbrella,” Garnich said.