Indian Ridge Museum

May 18, 2008 at 11:06 pm 12 comments


by Loraine Ritchey thatwb@yahoo.com

In the Forgotten Now Gone series found here and here I was put in touch with Col. Matt Nahorn of the Indian Ridge Museum. Parts of Captain Flints home Gone

are on display at his musem.

I asked Matt how this museum began :
The New Indian Ridge Museum
Historic Shupe Homestead
& Wildlife Preserve
“Over 12,000 Years of History on Parade”

Col. Matthew W. Nahorn,
Director/Founder/Operator

I opened my museum, The New Indian Ridge Museum, on November 24, 2000. The second room opened on June 8, 2002. The third room opened in 2008. It is a collection of prehistoric and historic artifacts. The museum is in memory of Col. Raymond C. Vietzen (1907-1995). He and his wife Ruth founded and curated their museum, Indian Ridge Museum (“12,000 Years of History on Parade”), at the intersection of West Ridge and Fowl Roads in Elyria, Ohio, on a portion of the original Vietzen family homestead.

Col. Vietzen, a Kentucky Colonel, started his museum in 1930 and was the last living individual who was associated with the founding of the Archaeological Society of Ohio (at the time of its founding it was the Ohio Indian Relic Collectors’ Society). His wife Ruth was the first woman officer in the society. Many of the artifacts in my museum are from his collection. One of the goals of the museum is to bring back the Vietzen’s collection and recreate the museum.

I became interested in history when my family took down an addition that had been made to our home. When we were digging the basement for the addition, I found historic pottery pieces, an historic trade pipe, a powder flask, and other artifacts. I had also found a German belt buckle in the creek near my home. The creek is called Beaver Creek.

The Beaver Creek Watershed is the largest watershed that is located entirely within Lorain County. Having found these pieces, I began to believe that our home was very old. My Mom, Uncle Zack Dolyk, and I went to the County Courthouse to research the deeds to our property. The deeds went so far back we had to trek to the basement of the Courthouse! The last deed went all the back to the year1816. We learned that Jacob Shupe (1778- 1832) had purchased the land from Elijah and Maryann Boardman for $600.00. This sum of money bought 300 acres. The property extended all the way to Lake Erie! Jacob first built his home as a one story cabin. Soon after that he built the frame house that stands today. The house is the first to have been constructed in Amherst and one of the oldest of its kind still standing in Lorain County. Its construction was finished by 1827 (research confirmation through tax records).

Jacob Shupe was the founder of Amherst. He had the first lumber mill, distillery, and grist mill in the area. He really began industry in the area. Jacob and his wife had eleven children; he was the father of the first white born child in Amherst, Betsy. Unfortunately when he was 54 years old, a log fell on him in his sawmill, and he was killed.

Then in 1963 a family moved into the Shupe Home and remodeled it to the “1963 style.” Up until then, the house was in its original state more or less. The house was partitioned off and new drywall took the place of the wood lath. At this time the 300 original acres had been reduced to a little over 8 acres. At this present time, we are currently preserving 15 acres along the mainstem of the Beaver Creek. The property contains an older growth forest with one tree about 250-300 years old. The preserve contains critical floodplain land and wetlands.

After I had completed my research, I applied for and was granted the Landmark Plaque through the Amherst Historical Society of which I am a member. The site has been recognized as a Lorain County Historical Landmark.

When I found that Col. Vietzen supposedly had the original Shupe Cabin, I became interested in his museum. In one of Col. Vietzen’s seventeen books, he wrote that he had found the cabin on Russia Road. When I found out that Col. Vietzen had prehistoric artifacts, I wanted to learn more about these prehistoric artifacts. I have always been interested in history.

I met a good friend of Col. Vietzen, by the name of Ron Sauer. Mr. Sauer is the President of the Amherst Historical Society (AHS), and collects prehistoric and historic artifacts. Having a friend like Ron has helped me learn about “fake” artifacts and learn more about the history of the artifact. He is also a member of the Sandusky Bay Chapter of the Archaeological Society of Ohio (ASO). I am a member of this society and am the youngest member. Being a part of these societies has opened up a whole new world for me. I have met many ASO members who were good friends of Col. Vietzen. They have shared many stories with me.

I have gone to and worked many archaeological sites. One of which is in Vermilion, Ohio. I have also had the opportunity to walk fields and find artifacts. At a site near Norwalk, I found abrasive tools, flint pieces, a bifurcated arrow and a grooved axe. These artifacts suggest an archaic site. I enjoy attending artifact shows and auctions. All of the money that is donated to the museum is used for buying artifacts and essentials for the museum.
My museum is always growing and changing. In my museum I have four pillars from Col. Vietzen’s home which he built himself. The Colonel’s museum and home were located right next to each other. I also have two cases from his museum. The door that led into the entrance of his museum, now leads into my office/lab. Many other artifacts are exhibited in my museum. Before the house and museum were demolished, I was able to save a few things. I found many things at the site of the museum, including broken arrow points, flint and bone fragments, a large celt pottery pieces and a preform for a bannerstone. The bannerstone was found by my mom!

One of Col. Vietzen’s seventeen books is called The Saga of Glover’s Cave. Glover’s cave is a cave in Christian Co., Kentucky. Col. Vietzen excavated in the cave and around that area from the 1930’s –1980’s. In early July 2002 my family and I contacted the owner of the cave and received permission to explore and search the cave for artifacts of prehistoric man. We have made five trips since. The cave entrance is 31 feet wide then the room opens up to72 feet wide. Prehistoric people only live about152 feet back. The original cave floor is 6 feet under the present floor. Prehistoric “garbage” and burials have made the cave floor higher. We found many festinating and exceptional artifacts. They are all on display in the museum.

Currently, the museum is not open to the public on a regular basis as it is in our home. I usually conduct tours for local historical organizations in the summer time.

Col. Matthew W. Nahorn, Curator/Director, New Indian Ridge Museum

P.S.
As of this date, I have curated the museum to the following groups:
The Archaeological Society of Ohio (Sandusky Bay Chapter)
The Amherst Historical Society
The Amherst Women’s League
Lake Ridge Academy –Sixth grade
-Seventh grade
-Eighth grade
The Brownhelm Historical Association
Boy Scout Troop
The Elyria Chronicle-Telegram
The Amherst News-Times
Many others

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12 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Paul Harmon  |  December 1, 2008 at 4:55 am

    My wife’s grandmother was Raymond Vietzen’s sister. Would like to contact Matt Nahorn
    coveylane@eastlink.ca

  • 2. thatwoman  |  December 1, 2008 at 10:07 am

    I will forward you email to Matt Loraine

  • 3. thatwoman  |  December 1, 2008 at 11:37 pm

    Paul I forwarded your email to Matt and he has responded directly to you Cheers Loraine

  • 4. William Moody  |  February 9, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    I have a number of artifacts from the Col. Vietzen’s original Indian Ridge Museum, and I would like to be in touch with Matt Nahorn about these. Perhaps I can help with his work to build his new museum. Thanks, Bill Moody

  • 5. thatwoman  |  February 9, 2009 at 4:25 pm

    I will forward your comment to Matt thanks Loraine

  • 6. Loraine Ritchey  |  February 10, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    Mr. Moody I contacted Matt and he has sent you an email hopefully this will benefit both of you and the museum- please keep in touch and let me know how things progress Cheers Loraine

  • 7. Daniel Turcus (Col.) as of 1962  |  February 24, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    I have an Indian sand painting by C. Myerson of Shiprock, NMex.
    that I bought at Col. Vietzens place during one of my trips there.
    He had an Idian group that danced and had booths that sold fry bread and crafts. I also have about 24 arrowhead that came mostly form this area. Ifound some as kid in the Black River area
    in South Lorain. My departed wifes uncle some when he plowed his fields, which was near Baumhert Rd. & 113.
    Im 85 yrs. old and Id hate to see how these might be disposed when Im gone. So Id like to donate them if you will have them.

  • 8. thatwoman  |  February 24, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    Hi I will forward your email to Matt and I am sure he will be in contact Loraine

  • 9. thatwoman  |  February 25, 2009 at 1:07 pm

    Daniel I have forwarded your offer and Matt has sent you an email Cheers Loraine

  • 10. Robbie  |  May 29, 2010 at 2:20 am

    I read somewhere Ruth Vietzen was originally from Plymouth Ohio. I don’t know if that is accurate. My grandmother would have known her perhaps.

    I am fascinated with archaeology of Northern ohio and I am interested in protecting Burial sites and village sites that could be destroyed if no one takes action or notices them.

    I come from Huron Indian blood and probably Erie as well. They were intermarried due to constant immigration from the Haudenosaunee Nation (Iroquois). The Eries,Hurons,Wenros,Neutrals all were intercultural and spoke similar languages.

  • 11. thatwoman  |  May 29, 2010 at 11:36 am

    I am afraid locally in Lorain, they are just discovering the importance of their history and so much has already been lost to ignornace. It is the people of the Black River Historical Sociiety and Indian Ridge Museum and people like our own Diane Wargo Medina, Renee Dore ( all volunteers) that have thankfully preserved and help preserve what little we have left. Hopefully TPTB especially in this area will finally realize that the Lake isn’t their only asset.

  • 12. colmatt  |  August 12, 2010 at 12:24 am

    We are currently building our website at:

    http://www.newindianridgemuseum.org

    Please visit this site to learn more about our preservation efforts. Thanks!

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