June 2008 Issue
Tour Ohio's Best Hometown - Miamisburg
Visit any river town and you’re likely to find residents who embrace the historical beauty of their city. Miamisburg, located about eight miles south of Dayton on the banks of the Miami River, is no exception. Visitors are welcomed by a life-sized bronze sculpture of a Miami Indian cupping water in his hand, a tribute to the town’s Native American heritage.
Miamisburg’s roots date to 1000 B.C., when the Adena Indians occupied parts of the Ohio River Valley. During that time, they constructed the burial ground that is now known as the Miamisburg Mound. It stands 65 feet tall and 877 feet in circumference, making it the largest conical earthwork in Ohio. Visitors can stop by Mound Park, located about a mile from town, and climb the 116 steps for breathtaking views that stretch to the Miami River.
History enthusiasts will also want to tour the Gebhart Tavern Museum, built by 19-year-old Daniel Gebhart in 1811. What was once a popular spot for farmers and stagecoach and boat travelers is now a museum filled with artifacts from that era, including antique farming tools such as a scythe and hay saw, plus tobacco implements like cigar molds and hand choppers, reminiscent of a time when Miamisburg played a central role in the tobacco industry.
If the historical tour has made you hungry, swing downtown for a bite to eat at the Hamburger Wagon on Central Avenue to sample the famed fried patties that have been served since the flood of 1913. From there, the Baum Opera House is easily accessible by foot, and offers a glimpse into the town’s theater scene back in 1884 when it was built (call 937/865--0897 for tour details). Currently, it serves as a banquet hall that also houses a small collection of historic firefighting equipment.
A walking tour of the downtown area is a must, if only to see the late-19th- and early-20th-century buildings that give this area its place on the National Register of Historic Places. And if you’re lucky, one of Miamisburg’s many annual festivals might be in full swing. This July, watch top amateur and professional criterium racers compete in USA Cycling-sanctioned races during the fourth Tour d’Burg. Looking for something a bit slower paced? Come in September for the Miamisburg Starving Artists show, held the weekend after Labor Day, to purchase everything from jewelry to photography, all under $50.
When it’s time to turn in, the English Manor, a Tudor mansion built by toy manufacturer William Schieble in 1924, is the perfect way to end your historical tour of Miamisburg. The home was converted into a bed and breakfast in 1992, and still possesses the leaded-glass windows and red oak floors from that time. Visitors can rest their weary heads in rooms with Rookwood fireplaces, four-poster beds and period furnishings.