Photo by Airielle Farley
The byways along the Heritage Corridors of Bath boast walking trails, lessons in nature conservancy, fully operational organic farms, historical customs of country life and superbly acted plays. But the locals are happy to share a few lesser-visited spots you’re sure to love.
Tucked into the rising and falling roads and rich forest resembling New England backcountry is the Thomas Pierson house at 800 Wye Road. Likely constructed in 1837, today it’s home to The Bake Shop in Ghent, a full-service bakery. The pastries are priced just right. Try a piece of blueberry pie with a scoop of ice cream, take it out to the porch and rest on a rocking chair. Enjoy a tranquil moment as you enjoy good sweets and listen to the sound of Yellow Creek as it flows nearby.
When you’re finished, walk around back to the two-story Octagon Bee House. Built by Pierson prior to 1859, the Bee House was once fully functional and housed honeybees. Today it’s a rare building, but octagon structures were popular in the U.S. and Canada from the mid-19th century until nearly 1900. Records kept by the Bath Historical Society state that Pierson wintered 13 swarms of bees from 1858 to 1859. According to beekeeping experts at the University of Nebraska, a swarm of bees can have 1,500 to 30,000 bees. If the record book is accurate — and even if there were only a minimum of bees in each swarm — that’s still nearly 20,000 bees! The outside was painted just this summer, so it looks as good as new.
Within walking distance of the Bee House, drop in on the Woolen Mill on Granger Road, noted with an Ohio Historical Marker. Just head north, cross the Wye Road Bridge and hang a left. This mill functioned throughout the 19th century and is the oldest such mill still standing in Ohio. During the Civil War era, the mill processed up to 10,000 pounds of wool yearly to manufacture cloth and yarn. The sign also notes that in its heyday, relying on work at the mill was a risky proposition since the area was teeming with wolves that took their toll on the sheep population. Visitors aren’t likely to see any wolves near the mill today, and that’s all the more reason to get out and stretch your legs in Ghent. If you’re coming just to see the mill, there’s parking on site.
The National Register of Historic Places includes among its numbers Bath Town Hall, which was built in 1905. The building is restored and functions as the Township Museum. Next to the building is the Bath Center Cemetery, which includes the grave of Alonzo Coffin (1816-1883), who, at one time, owned the Ghent Woolen Mill. The Bath Township Historical Society has pamphlets that offer a self-guided tour of these burial grounds. In fact, there are several cemeteries in Bath Township rich with historical relevance and beautifully kept grounds that are excellent reminders of those who have gone before us.
Another gem in the area is the old covered bridge at Everett and Oak Hill. To avoid construction, head east from Bath Center and travel up Riverview Road — past farms and barns, lovely old homes and the Ohio Erie Canal Towpath Trail. On Everett, you’ll find a large parking lot and a short walk to the bridge. Though it’s wide enough for a car, the bridge is blocked from traffic, unless you count horses and pedestrians. You won’t be rushed while walking the 115 feet to cross it. This bridge is another opportunity to visit a structure that harkens back to another age.
Bygone times and the alluring, natural world are as close to home as the byways of Bath Township. Get out there and investigate. You’ll be glad you did. For more information, contact the Bath Township Historical Society at 330-659-4211.
/Charles Parsons is a professional writer who lives with his cat. In addition to writing, he reads, indexes and edits manuscripts for a living. He is happy to be contributing to akronlife on a regular basis.