Roscoe Village in Coshocton, Ohio is more than an 18th century era canal town. This quaint village with historic buildings, costumed interpreters and unique and eclectic shops, has quite a success story. After falling into disrepair, as popularity of the canals declined and rail travel became more affordable and practical, it was doubtful that Roscoe Village would ever be the bustling community that it once was.
My husband and I recently spent some time exploring along the old lined sidewalks of Roscoe Village, learning how the village, devasted in the flood of 1913 after the demise of the canal era, was restored.
Edward Montgomery, a local inventor began experimenting with covering cotton gloves with vulcanized rubber in 1933, creating the first surgical gloves widely accepted. In 1934, he established the Edmont Manufacturing Company, which eventually settled in Coshocton after emerging as the world’s largest producer of coated gloves. Montgomery retired in 1966, sold his business and with his wife, Francis, used the proceeds to establish the Roscoe Village Foundation whose goal was to restore Roscoe Village and recreate the canal town.
Their plan was a success and today, Historic Roscoe Village offers tourists an opportunity to step back in time, visiting museum buildings and learning about life along the Ohio & Erie Canal during the 1800’s.
Our visit began with a stop at the Roscoe Village Visitor Center where tickets can be purchased for the village, the Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum and the Monticello III canal boat ride.
The Visitor Center has a museum on the bottom floor that traces the history of the canal with a replica of a lock and an area for hands-on demonstrations. On the main floor, you’ll find ‘Ditches of Destiny’, a short 20-minute movie that offers an overview of the canal era days, the Founders Hall, which tells the story of the restoration of Roscoe Village, a gift shop and a craft area.
For a small fee of $2.50, your child can try their hand at tin punching, candle dipping and top painting. Plus, little ones will enjoy dressing up in some of the available clothes items.
Visitors can explore the 19th century buildings at their leisure, watching local artisans and craftspeople, learning how a blacksmith works, how brooms are made or what it was like to be a doctor or go to school in the 1800’s.
As my husband and I strolled along the tree-lined street, I couldn’t help but wish that our older kids were with us on this trip- especially our boys’ who love history and enjoy visiting historical attractions.
Some of the buildings along Whitewoman Street are part of the historic Roscoe Village living history exhibits and will require a visible arm band for admission (which you may purchase at the Visitor Center or Toll House). These include the Village Smithy, Hay Craft & Learning Center, Dr. Maro Johnson’s Office & House, the Roscoe School and the Craftsman’s House. Guided tours are available Monday through Friday at 1 p.m. during the months of September and October. With special guided tours during November and December (which I hope to check out).
Other buildings, like Roscoe Village Sweets & Treats, Medbery Marketplace, Ohio State of Mind, Canal Cargo and Annin Flagmakers Showroom, which doubles as the Tourism Office, are retail shops open to the public.
I explored some of the village on my own on Friday before my husband joined me on Saturday and I was glad that I had that opportunity. While my husband enjoyed visiting the village, it was clear that we were interested in very different things. I wanted to browse all the shops and soak up all the history in Roscoe Village, while he had another in mind. Chocolate. Lucky for him, we found an awesome candy store at Roscoe Village Sweets & Treats. We bought the best Caramel Turtles ever and I found Black Taffy, a blast from my past.
My husband really enjoyed learning about the restoration and techniques used to restore the buildings through a series of short videos in the Toll House. As a contractor, I think this was his favorite part of the day and we watched all of the short videos.
After learning about the restoration process, we popped into the Medbery Marketplace, for lunch at the Cafe at Medbury, before continuing our exploration. Roscoe Village has a couple other restaurants, Uncorked and The Warehouse Steak ‘n Stein & P.R. Nye’s Lock 27, if you’re looking for something other than deli foods, but we weren’t disappointed.
The Cafe at Medbury opens into an outdoor courtyard that I found especially charming.
We made our way towards the opposite end of the historic village to explore the Caldersburg Pearl, a life-size replica of a three-cabin cargo ship that is on display across from the Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum.
The collection was presented to the city of Coshocton by the David and John Johnson, bachelor brothers who had relatives in the city. The museum has an impressive collection of American Indian artifacts, an Asian Gallery with Samurai Armor and swords, an inside look at a Pioneer home, Victorian furnishings, a tribute to the coal mining heritage and a special exhibit area.
By this time, my husband was tired of learning history and wanted to get out of the shops and on to a walking trail. We walked back to the end of the street, towards the Visitor Center and followed the walkway to the Monticello III for a ride on the canal boat.
Things to know before you visit Roscoe Village:
1. Plan to allow a minimum of two hours to experience Historic Roscoe Village.
2. Wear comfortable walking shoes to explore.
3. Tickets to Roscoe Village may be purchased at the Toll House and Roscoe Visitor Center.
4. The Visitor Center offers plenty of free parking.
5. The Toll House shop is open year round, the Visitor Center April through December and other properties are open for special events and Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day Weekend for self-guided tours.
6. Check the operating hours of the buildings before you visit so you don’t miss what you’re most interested in.
7. Special events are offered throughout the year, Homeschool Days, Apple Butter Stirrin’ Festival, and Christmas events- tours and candlelightings.
8. The shops and dining options are open 7 days a week, year round.
9. This is a great stop for homeschool families, families with school age children, multigenerational families, couples and seniors.
10. You don’t need to buy a wristband to explore Roscoe Village, but if you want to enter any of the historic buildings, you’ll need to pay admission.
11. Don’t miss the Monticello III canal boat ride- a perfect complement to Historic Roscoe Village.
Address: 600 N. Whitewoman St. Coshocton, Ohio 43812
Hours: Vary, see website.Cost: $9.95 for adults, $4.95 for children (under 5 free)
Social Media: Roscoe Village on Facebook or Roscoe Village on Twitter.