historic Wolf Creek/Pine Run Grist Mill built in
1831 was built in 1831 but moved in 1969 to a spot
near Mohican State Park near Loudonville, Ohio.
Ohio — My bike ride on the Richland B&O Trail in
north-central Ohio got off to a pretty shaky start.
pulled into the trailhead parking lot off state Route 97
between Bellville and Interstate 71 in southern Richland
County. Several other bicyclists were there, all looking
at the broken glass that was everywhere. It was obvious
that six or perhaps as many as eight vehicles had gotten
their windows shattered very recently.
vehicles were gone from the parking lot that was
surrounded by corn standing 6 feet high, but the glass was
evidence of what had happened. Two of the cyclists figured
that the odds were against the thieves returning and
proceeded to lock up their vehicles before pedaling off.
Two others said they were going home. I headed east to
Butler to find another trailhead where my vehicle might be
18.4-mile crescent-shaped trail stretches from Mansfield
at the northern/western terminus to Hitchman Park in
Butler in southeast Richland County, the southern/eastern
runs along the Clear Fork of the Mohican River, past
cornfields, through wooded tracts and rolling hills,
behind factories and through small towns like Bellville
and Lexington. It is seven miles from Mansfield to
Lexington, six miles from Lexington to Bellville and five
miles from Bellville to Butler.
trail is about 71 miles from Akron, with easy access off
part of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, the trail drops
about 222 feet between Mansfield and Butler. The high
point is 1,292 feet at Atta and the low point is 1,070
feet at Butler.
10-foot-wide trail is popular with in-line skaters because
it is asphalt paved. Work on the trail began in 1986 and
it opened in late 1995. The trail is owned and managed by
the Richland County Park District.
was one of the first trails in the United States to be
developed under the federal Rail-to-Trail Act. It survived
lengthy legal challenges from landowners unhappy with the
prospect of losing what they thought was their land in the
rail right of way.
are 19 road crossings and the trail parallels state Route
97 in some places. There are 18 bridges, nine parking
areas, five stream crossings and four public restrooms
along the trail. Attractions include the Gorman Nature
Center and the Richland County Historical Society. In
season, bike rentals are available at several locations.
bicyclists favor the six miles between Bellville and
Lexington because of the rolling terrain and the fact that
trail passes under I-71.
present, the northern terminus is North Lake Park off West
Fourth Street on Mansfield’s southwest side. There have
been proposals to extend the trail farther north to the
old Ohio State Reformatory, a former prison with an
imposing castle-like structure. There is also talk of
extending it east into Ashland County and to Loudonville.
trail information, contact the Richland County Park
District at 419-884-3764 or http://gormannaturecenter.org.
For tourist information, call 419-525-1300 or 800-642-8282
or go to www.mansfieldtourism.com.
attractions include Malabar Farm and Mohican state parks.
Malabar Farm was once the home of Pulitzer Prize-winning
author and conservationist Louis Bromfield.
32-room mansion is known as The Big House. It is
surrounded by a working farm that preserves Bromfield’s
farming philosophies. Hollywood celebrities Humphrey
Bogart and Lauren Bacall were married in the house.
can see farm animals, fish in farm ponds, hike 12 miles of
trails, tour the farm on wagon rides and more. For more
information about Malabar Farm, contact the park at
419-892-2784 or www.ohiodnr.com.
State Park is located at the edge of Loudonville, the
canoe capital of Ohio. You can paddle canoes and kayaks or
float in inner tubes on the Mohican River.
1,110-acre park includes a very popular 96-room lodge and
a scenic tree-lined gorge with seven miles of hiking
trails. The park includes camping and cottages.
are 25 miles of mountain bike trails in the state park and
the adjoining Mohican-Memorial State Forest. There is also
the 29-acre Clear Fork Gorge State Nature Preserve in the
heart of the gorge.
state park information, call 419-994-5125 or go to www.mohicanstatepark.org.
are lots of campgrounds and tourist-based activities in
and around Loudonville.
Wolf Creek / Pine Run Grist Mill is a gem. It was built
about 1831 north of Loudonville off what’s now state
Route 60 by Isaac Meanor, powered by springs where Wolf
was moved, piece by piece, starting in 1969, by Ed and
Lavern Pennell. Reconstruction was completed in 1975. It
sits on state-owned land off state Route 3 south of
Loudonville and across the highway from Mohican State
Park. The mill is owned and operated by a nonprofit
friends group, Friends of Wolf Creek / Pine Run Grist
County once had more than 60 grist mills; today the Wolf
Creek Mill is the only one left. In 1840, Ohio had 1,861
buhrstone mills. There were only 94 still standing in
2 1/2-story mill has an overshot waterwheel affixed to the
mill’s south side. The waterwheel is 16 feet in diameter
and powered by water from Pine Run that is transported on
a wooden flume.
the mill are two sets of French granite buhrstones. There
is also a bullwheel that is 14 feet in diameter plus
original gears and iron teeth.
is a pretty impressive place for the $1 admission.
friends’ group was formed in 2000 when it looked like
the old mill might be demolished by the state after years
of neglect. It has been slowly restored to operating
condition by the volunteers.
historic structures have been moved to the mill site: the
1815 Fromme log cabin, the Frick’s sawmill from the
1880s and the Schenck Farmstead from the 1820s. A real
historic village is growing at the edge of Loudonville.
are noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from May through
October. Other times are offered by appointment. For
information, call 419-668-2497 or www.wolfcreekmill.org.
Loudonville tourist information, call 1-87-2MOHICAN or go
can also visit the Ohio Bird Sanctuary, a 72-acre preserve
with trails and captured and injured raptors. It is at
3774 Orweiler Road between Mansfield and Lexington. Hours:
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m.
Sunday. For information, call 419-884-HAWK or go to http://ohiobirdsanctuary.com.