Roscoe Village, a living history community located along what was once the Ohio & Erie Canal, aims to preserve, restore and interpret Ohio’s heritage during the canal era. The village represents life as it was in a mid-1800s canal town through costumed interpreters, artisan demonstrators and old-fashioned shops and restaurants, offering visitors an experience from the past.
Local and national changes at the turn of the twentieth century hit the village hard. A port town, Roscoe’s prosperity declined with the Great Flood of 1913 and the growth of national railroads. The history of the port town was almost lost forever, until Edward and Frances Montgomery viewed a mural by Dean Cornwell in 1968 that depicted Roscoe Village as it may have looked during the canal days of the mid-1800s. Inspired, the Montgomerys began restoring Roscoe Village through the not-for-profit organization that continues today. The historic village is a living expression of the dedication the Montgomerys had for the town they called home.
To both educate and entertain, the village provides school tours, adult groups and leisure guests with living history tours, festivals, holiday activities and hands-on learning. Activities include candle dipping, tin punching and weaving with artisan demonstrators, as well as blacksmiths, weavers, coopers and broom makers. Debbie McDonald, marketing and PR manager for the village, says Roscoe is “able to touch student groups and adult groups, along with the leisure market [because] all ages love to interact with the artisans and interpreters in the buildings actually working as they would have in the 1800s.” McDonald is always proud when guests come to her and say “what a wonderful time they had and what a beautiful place we have here.” Knowing that she was one part of making that happen has led her to continue working with the village as a part of the small, but effective marketing/PR staff consisting of two employees (one full time and one part time) and many dedicated volunteers.
A unique arrangement for a not-for-profit organization, the Roscoe Village Foundation’s living history exhibits are housed in buildings owned by the foundation; the shops, restaurants, Johnson Humrickhouse Museum and Monticello III canal boat are independently owned. Even more unusual, Roscoe does not only house the foundation’s buildings and old-fashioned shops and restaurants, it is also home to a community college and residents who live peacefully together with the historic village. The village invites both local and out-of-town guests to experience a unique period in Ohio’s history firsthand.
To contact Roscoe Village, call (740) 622-9310 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn about visiting hours, check here.