Early Marietta: A blog by Dave Baker – local historian and Campus Martius & Ohio River Museum volunteer – that offers facts, photos, opinions, and commentary about life in the Marietta area over the years.

  • Stopping by the Woods on Snowy Afternoon
    by David Baker on January 14, 2018 at 7:31 pm

    This Early Marietta blog is usually about events decades or centuries ago. But history is made every day. This article is about history made on January 12, 2018 - nothing exciting or earth-shaking - just a mostly ordinary day. It was time for the afternoon dog walk with our two Old English Sheepdogs. Sophie is technically a puppy at 7 months, […]

  • The Silver Bridge Disaster
    by David Baker on January 2, 2018 at 4:30 pm

    December 15, 2017 marked the 50th anniversary of the Silver Bridge collapse in 1967. The iconic 1760 foot long suspension bridge, built in 1928 on the Ohio River, connected Gallipolis, OH and Point Pleasant, WV. Its aluminum paint earned it the “Silver Bridge” moniker. Early photo of the Silver Bridge from WikipediaCLICK TO […]

  • Brickmaking in Marietta: The Captain, The Doctor, and Miss Lillian
    by David Baker on November 27, 2017 at 9:40 pm

    Brick streets and stately brick buildings are one of Marietta's defining characteristics. Brickmaking began in 1788 and continued almost without interruption until the 1930's. Native clay soil made the area a natural for brickmaking. The Ohio Company in 1788 authorized purchase of supplies, including bricks, for the block houses at the Campus […]

  • 1788 Thanksgiving in Marietta
    by David Baker on November 27, 2017 at 9:03 pm

    I scanned through the entries of James Backus' journal in Marietta during December of 1788. It was mostly routine stuff - Ohio Company agents met, he bought a barrel of pork, warm days were followed by cold as December wore on. Both rivers froze "thick." Sunday, December 21 had an unexpected comment: "A few people assembled at Battle's […]

  • John Quincy Adams visits Marietta
    by David Baker on August 11, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    Shortly before 2:00 pm on November 15, 1843, the bell tolled at the First Congregational ("Two Horned") Church in Marietta. Crowds rushed towards the church, others to the Ohio River landing. They were eager to see former President John Quincy Adams who would arrive by riverboat and speak at the church."JQA" (Adams referred to himself this way) […]

  • The Woman's Home, a Pioneering Charity
    by David Baker on July 14, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    The term "pioneer" is synonymous with Marietta's founding and early years. Mariettans were also responsible for establishing two pioneering charitable organizations. One was the Washington County Children's Home, the first government-funded home in the country. It was founded through the pioneering (there's that word again) efforts of Catherine […]

  • July 4, 1788..."We were one great family."
    by David Baker on June 27, 2017 at 2:03 pm

    July 4, 1788 in Marietta, Ohio, dawned warm, humid, and windy. Rain threatened. Joseph Buell was a soldier in the garrison at Fort Harmar. His journal entry for July 4, 1788 was matter-of-fact: "This day was celebrated with thirteen rounds from the six pounder, and repeated again at four o'clock. The troops received an extra […]

  • Burr Conspiracy and the Battle of the Muskingum
    by David Baker on May 15, 2017 at 12:45 pm

    Two shots rang out in the early morning mist above the towering Palisades on the Heights of Weehawken NJ. It was July 11, 1804. Alexander Hamilton lay mortally wounded, shot by Aaron Burr in a duel. Hamilton died the next day. The aftermath of the duel would soon be felt in the Ohio Valley.CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGEAaron Burr Portrait, from […]

  • Marietta College and the Floating Dormitory
    by David Baker on February 17, 2017 at 3:49 pm

    Colleges are struggling to maintain enrollments these days, primarily because of fewer college age students in the population. Marietta College ("MC"), for example, has seen its enrollment decline in recent years. That forces a grim balancing act - cutting back and conserving resources while maintaining a quality experience for students.Imagine […]

  • WPAR, Radio Pioneer
    by David Baker on January 13, 2017 at 4:21 pm

    My tennis friend Stev Pitchford sent me a photo he took as a photographer for WTAP TV news in the mid-1950s. It was a fire in downtown Parkersburg: WPAR studios were engulfed in flames. His photos (seen later in this blog post) prompted me to research WPAR history.First, some radio background: The radio phenomenon exploded on the scene in the […]

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