By Jim Gibson
There is something for everyone to enjoy at the newly expanded Knox County Historical Society Museum, no matter whether you are interested in Knox County’s distant past or more recent times. The Museum is located at 875 Harcourt Road, which is also Route 3 and U.S. 36, at the southwest edge of Mount Vernon.
The Museum represents many aspects of Knox County’s history, including industry, arts and entertainment, transportation and communications. Specific exhibits tell the story of our educational, religious, business, military, industrial, financial, social and cultural institutions.
The recently added Gene Miller Wing features a 70,000 pound Cooper-Bessemer GMV-4 gas line compressor-engine, which highlights the Museum’s collection of Cooper Co. farm steam engines and many other products from their beginnings here in 1833 through present-day operations as Rolls-Royce Energy Systems Inc.
The outstanding “George Tanner Telephone History Collection,” includes telephones, switchboards, test equipment, insulators, photographs and local directories from the late 1800s to the present. Our religious history exhibit is built around the beautiful circular stained-glass window, which had graced the First Baptist Church building since 1884.
“Spanning the Century” is the Mount Vernon Bridge Co. exhibit. Mount Vernon Bridge Co. produced many beautiful highway and railroad bridges across America for nearly 100 years, as well as the structural steel work for both the Ohio Stadium and St. John Arena at The Ohio State University.
“The Musical Heritage of Knox County” exhibit features many important artifacts and photographs of such native entertainers as Daniel Decatur Emmett, fiddler John Baltzell, the musical Snowden family, and actor and comedian Paul Lynde. The Emmett Collection alone includes Dan’s handwritten musical compositions and orchestrations, personal musical instruments and song sheets, business contracts and handbills, his handmade quilt, minstrel show chairs and family portraits.
The KCHS Museum is open from February through mid-December on Wednesday evenings from 6 to 8 p.m. and Thursday through Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m. Schools and other group tours should be scheduled in advance. An admission donation is appreciated. Additional information is available by calling (740) 393-5247.