Saturday, August 05, 2000

The old way Stagecoach line is new attraction

        WAYNESVILLE — The Accommodation Line, designated an Ohio Scenic Byway earlier this year, will soon feature signs and later an interpretative center.

        “The signs will be installed in a couple of weeks to highlight key areas of interest and direct people off the beaten path,” said Kevin Harper, village manager. “They'll use our stagecoach logo.”

        The Scenic Byway designation, about 12 miles of U.S. 42 from just south of Waynesville north to the village of Spring Valley in Greene County, honors the route of the old stagecoach line.

        (A byway differs from a state Scenic Highway in that it takes into consideration local culture and history, as well as scenery.)

        In the 1820s and 1830s, the Accommodation Line operated in Butler, Clark, Hamilton, Greene and Warren counties. The company was started by Col. Billy Werden, owner of the National Hotel in Springfield, and John Satterthwaite, a Waynesville businessman and Quaker farmer.

        Their line connected Springfield and Cincinnati, but when Mr. Satterthwaite died in 1837, the line declined.

        When the railroads arrived in the 1840s, the stage lines suffered. Today, the company's old routes encompass Old Clifton Road, U.S. 42 and U.S. 68, through Cincinnati, Reading, Sharonville, Mason, Lebanon, Spring Valley, Xenia and Springfield.

        Ed and Adah Andres of Waynesville know them. Several years ago, they researched the company and published a booklet about it. Soon after, Mr. Harper suggested making the Accommodation Line route an attraction.

        Originally, it was a dirt road with log bridges. Travelers stopped for the night in the Holloway Tavern, which is now a house.

        Although few other stagecoach sites remain, there are historic places along the way, including Waynesville's old lockup.

        The original jail is now being studied by architects, who will help rehabilitate it as an Ohio Scenic Byway interpretative center.

        “We hope to open it next summer,” Mr. Harper said. “We're thinking about applying for a grant to put up displays there that will show local history and the Accommodation Line.”

        HAMILTON — The Fort Hamilton Hospital has 120 new children's books for its playroom, thanks to Terry and Sharon Weekley and friends.

        When the couple celebrated their 25th anniversary March 22, they asked guests to bring children's books instead of gifts.

        Mrs. Weekley, a teacher at Pierce Elementary School, wanted to donate the books to the hospital's children's unit.

        This week, the hospital announced the donation. Ellen Covert, vice president of patient care services, described it as an unselfish act.

        “Our guests were very excited about this and said they enjoyed going into the children's sections at various bookstores to select their book,” Mr. Weekley said.

        HAMILTON — A free concert will be held at 7 p.m. Sunday at Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park on Ohio 128.

        Paul Stanbery will conduct the Hamilton-Fairfield Symphony Orchestra and Chorale, with guest Alex “The Fiddler” DePue.

        Randy McNutt's column runs on Saturday. He may be reached at 860-7118 or at The Cincinnati Enquirer, 4820 Business Center Way, Cincinnati, OH 45246.


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