In this edition of Road Trippin' we are turning back the clock and learning some local history!
Butler County, Ohio always makes for an unforgettable road trip experience. Whether you're coming to adventure for a day trip, weekend getaway, or staying a week, there's a lot to do while you're here... including a long list of historical significance throughout our cities. Even if you don't consider yourself a history buff, our county's diverse variety of monuments, museums and memorials are sure to keep you captivated, while teaching you a thing or two along the way. While planning your road trip, these 7 historical stops all make a great addition to any itinerary.
1 S Monument Ave | Hamilton, OH 45011
This monument in Hamilton proudly honors those who have served for our country and also the first settlers of Butler County. Alongside the large stained glass windows and military displays, stands a 17 foot bronze statue weighing over 3,500 pounds. Created by Rudolph Theim, this statue entitled Victory, displays Civil War private "Billy Yank" raising his cap in celebration. The monument is available for tours Thursday-Saturday 10AM-4PM.
Road Trip Tip: If the weather is nice during your trip, check out the Historical Walking Tours created by the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce and the Hamilton Visitors Bureau. There are multiple free tours to choose from that will show off all of the history Hamilton has to offer. Learn more about the tours here.
63 S Main Street | Middletown, OH 45044
The Sorg Opera House is one of the longest standing and historic buildings that has been in downtown Middletown since 1891! Up until the 1920's, Sorg entertained Middletown natives with shows from entertainers from New York and Chicago. After then, Sorg opera House operated as a full-time movie theatre and was renamed the "Colonial" in 1947. Live performances were brought back in the 1980's and stayed until 2010 when a water break caused the Opera House to close down. SORG (Sorg Opera Revitalization Group) now operates the Opera House and with many renovations is on its way to host cultural events and live performances.
Road Trip Tip: Across the street from The Sorg Opera House is a pretty cool duo— check out The Swire Inn for lunch or dinner or shop a few of the local boutiques right next door. Charlie + Will Provisions and Rosie Moose Boutique share the same building, and offer a variety of vintage items, clothing, home decor and antiques.
650 Western College Drive | Oxford, OH 45056
This outdoor memorial on Miami University's Western campus commemorates the events and people involved in Freedom Summer 1964. The location of this magnificent stone memorial was once home to The Western College for Women, where over one thousand volunteers from around the U.S. trained to prepare for registering Black voters in Mississippi during the summer of 1964— the events later became known as Freedom Summer, which led President Lyndon B. Johnson and congress to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Learn more about the history of this memorial and these events here.
Road Trip Tip: Located across the street from the Oxford Community Arts Center is a vibrant mural that also pays tribute to Freedom Summer, as well as other lesser-known civil rights history in Oxford. Read this blog for more information and check it out on your way to or from the Freedom Summer Memorial.
8558 Beckett Road | West Chester, OH 45069
In the early 1900s before prohibition went into effect, breweries overwhelmed Cincinnati on every corner and Butler County was home to the hops and grain that the city needed to make their brews. One of the region’s earliest and largest breweries was the Mulhauser-Windisch Brewing Company, whose legacy can still be felt and seen today at the Muhlhauser Barn in West Chester. The Muhlhauser beer barn was built in 1881, and the original barn stood on the Muhlhauser property on Seward Road until 2004. With the backing and generosity from the Muhlhauser family, the barn and its tile roof were dismantled by renowned barn restorer David Gaker and moved to Beckett Park. Learn more about the barn and brewing history here.
Road Trip Tip: In the winter months, West Chester holds their farmers markets here at the Muhlhauser Barn. If you're visiting on a weekend, consider looking into the farmers market schedule and checking one out while taking a look at the barn. In the warmer months, you can find the markets right down the road at The Square. The markets are always full of local vendors offering fresh, locally grown produce, artisan goods and more.
6010 Princeton Road | Liberty Township, OH 45011
This beautifully preserved and architectural maven in Liberty Township is like a moment captured in time. The Hughe's Schoolhouse is a one-room schoolhouse from the 1800s. Inside, you'll find a lot of the original woodwork and furniture; including about a dozen rod iron desks featuring the desk carvings of daydreaming students. The Hughes Schoolhouse was a passion project for the history keepers of Liberty Township. Tour this spectacular relic by contacting the Liberty Township Historical Society.
Road Trip Tip: After touring the schoolhouse, a five minute drive down the road can take you to The WEB Extreme Entertainment, which is a great spot to get a bite to eat and burn off some energy. With nine different attractions all under one roof, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
701 Wessel Drive | Fairfield, OH 45014
Dedicated on Memorial Day 2001, Fairfield's Veterans Memorial Park commemorates the men and women who fought for freedom with a variety of monuments. It features a path of remembrance made from brick paver stones purchased by community members and engraved with the names of loved ones who have served in all branches of the armed forces, as well as the bronze statue Poppies. At its focal point, the park also has this 105 mm Howitzer cannon. The 4,980-pound cannon was designed to provide the tactical commander with light filed artillery capable of supporting infantry units in combat.
Road Trip Tip: In addition to the bronze statue Poppies located at Veterans Memorial Park, the city of Fairfield has also installed 12 other bronze sculptures. A lot of them can be found a short distance from the park at Village Green Park, which is also home to the Community Arts Center and the Fairfield Lane Library. Discovering all 12 of the sculptures is a fun way to explore Fairfield.
4995 Cincinnati Brookville Road | Shandon, OH 45063
Whether you're a fan of classic cars or not, The Salty Dog Museum is a one-of-a-kind experience that takes you through the full history of automobiles. Some of the cars even date back to the early 1900's! Guests can check out antique Fords, firetrucks, and much more. One of the best parts about this museum is that it's a tactile museum— meaning guests are encouraged to hop in the cars, touch them, and to take a trip down memory lane.
Road Trip Tip: If you plan to visit in the summer, Shandon hosts their annual Old Fashioned Strawberry Festival to celebrate summer’s favorite berry in a big way. On the other hand, if you're visiting during the winter, Shandon's Christmas in the Country is a beloved holiday tradition. Travelers are treated to a market of homemade offerings, signature Welsh cakes, antiques, gifts, and furniture. Both events are treasured throughout Shandon and make a fun getaway experience!