Muskingum County, with an estimated population of 86,000 residents, is located in east central Ohio. The county was created in 1804 and is known for the Muskingum River, a tributary of the Ohio River that nearly bisects the county and was a busy commercial shipping route in the 19th century. The river also played an important role as an Underground Railroad route, helping slaves travel from the South to the free states and Canada. "Muskingum" is a Native American word thought to mean (roughly) "near the river" or "a town on the side of the river."
Zanesville, the county seat, is a city of about 25,400 residents that is about one hour east of Columbus, Ohio. The 673 square miles within the county boundaries make Muskingum the fourth largest by land area in Ohio. It is predominantly rural, with the majority of the population living in the greater Zanesville area and a countywide destiny of about 129 people per square mile.
Zanesville has the unique claim to fame as one of the
few places in the United States to have a three-way bridge. The famous Zanesville Y-Bridge was originally constructed in 1814 to provide a land route across the confluence of the Muskingum and Licking Rivers. Materials and construction methods improved over time, and the fifth — and current — version of the bridge was built in 1984.
Interstate 70 crosses through Muskingum County and Zanesville, allowing for easy travel east and west of the area. Other major roadways in the area include US highway 22 and state highways 60 and 16. A little east of the county, Interstate 77 provides north-south access from Cleveland to close to Columbia, South Carolina. The South East Area Transit system (SEAT) provides bus transportation on routes across Zanesville and elsewhere in the county. John Glenn International Airport and Rickenbacker International Airport offer flights from Columbus to many North American destinations.
Attractions and Entertainment
Residents of Muskingum County and Zanesville celebrate the arts and local history through numerous attractions and events:
The Zanesville Museum of Art showcases astounding and thought-provoking works by local, national, and international artists through its programs, collections, special events, and summer camps. It even offers free admission! ZMA is a proud member of the Ohio Arts Council.
Thanks to an abundance of clay in its soil, Zanesville was once home to several pottery companies and was considered the pottery capital of the U.S. In 2005, a new community art project called Vase in Place began: 100 oversized vases were created as canvases for residents with artistic aspirations. Vases were painted with different themes and are still enjoyed throughout the community.
Visitors to the Alan Cottrill Sculpture Studio and Gallery are often invited to watch the talented sculptor in action in addition to viewing his entire body of work — an enormous collection of bronze sculptures that is astounding in both scope and size.
The monthly First Friday Art Walk is a chance to see many more artists and their galleries in Zanesville's Art District, while also enjoying live music and refreshments. The c
ommunity also comes together for the Y-Bridge Art Festival, an annual two-day event in August that features the works of local artists and offers more live entertainment, family-friendly activities, and delicious food.
Since 1938, the mission of the Zanesville Concert Association (ZCA) has been to bring world-class performing arts to Zanesville and nearby communities. ZCA concerts are performed throughout the year at the Secrest Auditorium in Zanesville. Besides concerts, the Secrest Auditorium hosts many other events such as dance recitals, theatrical performances, author talks, and other special events.
The Southeastern Ohio Symphony Orchestra performs concerts ranging from children's music to classical favorites to holiday fare at the Secrest Auditorium, the Zanesville Museum of Art, and other locations.
Community theatre is alive and well in Zanesville, with performances from the Zane Trace Players and Zanesville Community Theatre leading the way.
The Zanesville Memorial Concert Band and Muskingum University Arts Department also provide the community with wonderful, memorable performances and arts events.
At the John and Annie Glenn Historic Site in New Concord, Astronaut and Senator John Glenn's restored and relocated boyhood home is a living museum that offers a glimpse into the life of the Glenns, circa 1962. Visitors can tour the house, watch a movie about John and Annie, see memorabilia from Glenn's childhood and careers, and buy souvenirs. The site also manages the National Road and Zane Grey Museum.
Muskingum County's oldest building is the Dr. Increase Matthews House, a beautiful stone cottage that was home to the first physician in Zanesville. Today, the house and gardens are open for tours and are home to the Pioneer & Historical Society, which operates both the house and The Stone Academy. These structures are located in the Putnam Historic District, an early Ohio settlement that played a significant role in the Underground Railroad.
People in the Buckeye State enjoy outdoor activities and celebrate the seasons with a variety of outdoor activities:
There's nothing more Midwestern than a county fair. In Muskingum County, the Blue Ribbon Fair is a weeklong celebration complete with great entertainment, competitions, exhibits, livestock events, and delicious food.
Scientists study threatened and endangered species of animals at The Wilds, one of the largest living laboratories and conservation centers in North America. The nearly 10,000 acre preserve, managed by the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, welcomes visitors and educational groups and includes a Visitor Center, overnight accommodations, recreational opportunities, and habitats for more than 500 animals, birds, and insects. Its success and growth has become a nationally recognized model for conservation advocates.
The Lorena Sternwheeler is a riverboat anchored at Zane's Landing Park in downtown Zanesville that has a 75-passenger capacity and offers public rides on the Muskingum River, lunch and twilight cruises, and bookings for special occasions.
Mission Oaks Gardens is just one of many beautiful properties that make up the Muskingum Valley Park district. Mission Oaks is an "urban garden" that provides visitors with a beautiful and peaceful place to wander amidst a wide variety of plants, trees, and other natural delights. The gardens are pet friendly and do not charge admission.
Parks in Zanesville, Dresden, New Concord, and elsewhere in the county offer residents places to swim, fish, play sports, and take classes. It's also ideal for golfers, with a number of great courses to choose from.
Several Ohio State Parks are located in or near Muskingum County. These parks, forests, and preserves provide animals and plants with safe habitats, and allow people to enjoy places to exercise, relax, and enjoy nature.
Children who reside in Muskingum County may attend one of these public school districts:
East Muskingum Local School District
Franklin Local School District
Maysville Local School District
Tri-Valley Local School District
West Muskingum Local School District
Zanesville City School District
Options for colleges and universities include:
Zane State College
Ohio University Zanesville
Mid-East Career and Technology Centers (Zanesville Campus)
….and others in the Columbus region
For more informations, please visit these links:
Touring Ohio : Muskingum County and Zanesville
Ohio Southeast Non-profit Economic Development
Greater Columbus Convention & Visitors Bureau
Zanesville Times Recorder
Photo attributions: Zanesville-Muskingum County Convention Visitors Bureau