Visitors are welcome everyday, except major holidays, at the Thurber House, dedicated to the life and work of author and cartoonist James Thurber (1894-1961). The house has been “restored to reflect the period the Thurber family lived here (1913-1917)… Rooms on view include the formal parlor, the living room and its alcove, the dining room, five bedrooms, and the bathroom Thurber hid in to avoid the ghost running up the back stairs.” A “reading garden” and museum shop are also on the grounds; next door is the Thurber Center and Gallery. For visitor information, see the Thurber House website.
Described in his memoirs, the home where Ulysses S. Grant spent his childhood and youth, along with the school he attended, are open to visitors Memorial Day through Labor Day, Wednesdays through Sundays, noon to 5:00 p.m.; and from the day after Labor Day through October, Saturdays and Sundays, noon to 5:00 p.m. “During his youth in Georgetown, Grant attended school, worked in his father’s tannery, and spent hour upon hour in his favorite pastime – working with horses.” Saved from demolition in 1977, the home “was restored and furnished” before opening to the public in 1997. Travel information is available on the Grant Boyhood Home website.
In June, 1821, my father, Jesse R. Grant, married Hannah Simpson. I was born on the 27th of April, 1822, at Point Pleasant, Clermont County, Ohio. In the fall of 1823 we moved to Georgetown, the county seat of Brown, the adjoining county east. This place remained my home, until at the age of seventeen, in 1839, I went to West Point. – from The Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant
Then I had a setting — Depression-era Cleveland, in a neighborhood based on the neighborhoods where my grandparents had grown up. Most importantly, I had a group of characters who felt to me like real people: a bricklayer, a seamstress, a teenaged boy, a very old and very talented covert abortionist, and a criminal (the man on the stairs) who commits the crime that sets the whole thing spinning. – from “Seven Questons with Salvatore Scibona,” Los Angeles Times
Poet, novelist, playwright, short story writer, essayist, etc., Paul Laurence Dunbar spent the last two years of
his life in the “Italianate turn-of-the-century” home he purchased for his mother in 1903. Some of the items on display include Dunbar’s writing desk and chair, and his book collection. A visitor center offers a look at Dunbar’s life and times. For directions, hours, and fees, visit The Dunbar House website.
The Harriet Beecher Stowe House is open to the public as a “historical and cultural site.” Stowe lived in the house with her father, Rev. Lyman Beecher, and his large family prior to her marriage. While the historic site focuses on the life and work of the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, it also “includes a look into the family, friends, and colleagues of the Beecher-Stowe family, Lane Seminary, and the abolitionist, womens rights and Underground Railroad movements in which these historical figures participated in the 1830's to 1860's, as well as African-American history related to these movements.”
Letters from Eden: a Year at Home in the Woods, Julie Zickefoose (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2006)
Through essays, paintings, and drawings, Julie Zickefoose transports readers into the Appalachian foothills of southeast Ohio where she lives. Paying close attention to the “movement through the year,” winter through fall, Zickefoose records the changing landscape and the lives of the humans, plants, and creatures sharing her place on earth.
“There is nothing really extraordinary going on in this bit of forest. The creatures who live here go about their affairs much as they do anywhere else. Box turtles roam a seasonal route, showing up at the same place year after year at the same time. Bullfrogs leap from the water to snap up birds. Bluebirds and Carolina wrens sometimes have threesomes. These are extraordinary only if we know they happen. My work is to notice them.” – from “Preface,” Letters from Eden: a Year at Home in the Woods, by Julie Zickefoose
The National Road / Zane Grey Museum is located in Norwich, Ohio, not far from Zanesville, where Zane Grey was born on January 31, 1872. One of the three sections of the museum is dedicated to Zane Grey. “Numerous items of interest including books, movie posters, fishing items and several recreations of Zane Grey settings,” are on display. Another section on the National Road also links to Grey. His ancestor, Colonel Ebenezer Zane, “was commissioned by the Continental Congress to develop a road through the [then] Western Wilderness” of Pennsylvania and Ohio. The museum is open seasonally, Wednesday through Sunday. For current information, visit the museum’s website.
My Home is Far Away, by Dawn Powell (South Royalton, Vermont : Steerforth Press, 1999)
While working on her novel, A Time to Be Born, Dawn Powell came down with a fever that “brought back so many childhood memories with such brilliant clarity” she began writing, “from 3 to 5 am,” what would become My Home is Far Away. The “most precisely autobiographical” of her novels, My Home is Far Away places readers in small-town Ohio at the turn of the century where the young Marcia Willard, five-years-old when the novel begins, faces both family and cultural struggles.
Dawn Powell was born in Mount Gilead, Ohio on November 28, 1896. During her life, she wrote fifteen novels. Six are considered her “Ohio novels,” “melancholy and compassionate in their depiction of frustrated lives.” In recent years there’s been a revival of Powell’s work, including two volumes published by The Library of America.
“This was the month of cherries and peaches, of green apples beyond the grape arbor, of little dandelion ghosts in the grass, of sour grass and four-leaf clovers, of still dry heat holding the smell of nasturtiums and dying lilacs. This was the best month of all and the best day. It was not birthday, Easter, Christmas, or picnic, but all these things and something else, smething wonderful, something utterly unknown. The two little girls in embroidered white Sunday dresses knew no way to express their secret joy but by whirling each other dizzily over the lawn crying, ‘We’re moving, we’re moving! We’re moving to London Junction.'” – from My Home is Far Away, by Dawn Powell