The communities along the Ohio River Scenic Byway are rich in art and diversity with many opportunities to explore works old and new. Architectural wonders, sculptures and murals color the vibrant byway.
In East Liverpool, the downtown area is home to a lovely example of Beaux Arts architecture in the famed Museum of Ceramics. Just across the street is the notable Carnegie Library – one of the first in the nation. Along the Ohio River, you will also find a beautiful tall clock tower.
In Wellsville, the floodwall is cleverly concealed by a series of murals depicting landmarks and historic events including a Valentine’s Day whistlestop from President-elect Abraham Lincoln.
Steubenville has long been recognized as the “City of Murals” for the series of 25 murals celebrating the city’s storied past – including one heralding the city’s favorite and most famous son – entertainer Dean Martin.
In Belmont County, Martin’s Ferry features a walking tour of historic churches illuminating the architectural style and purpose of their time from the early home of a Welsh congregation, a German church, and a house of worship used as part of the Underground Railroad to shelter slaves seeking freedom in Ohio.
Marietta features historic murals celebrating the gateway to the Northwest Territory and the Pioneer City’s railroad heritage. A national treasure lies in East Muskingum Park in the form of statuary by Gutzom Borglum – the artist behind Mount Rushmore. The Memorial to the Start Westward depicts three of Marietta’s founding fathers and an Indian woman. Walking tours of the historic district and churches show off the bold and varied European architectural influence evident throughout the Pioneer City.
In Gallipolis, a regional arts center, the French Art Colony is housed in Riverby – an 1855 Greek revival home, which features exhibits and events showcasing the creative spirit of Appalachia.
In Scioto County, Portsmouth features a series of floodwall murals. The ten-year project was completed in 2002 and covers 2,000 feet of floodwall. The 50 Portsmouth murals run the entire length of the historic district portraying the history of the area from the mound builders to the present day.
Quilters and art lovers alike will be delighted by Brown County’s tour of nearly 20 quilt barns – each one decorated with a painted heritage quilt block. Quilt tours are an Appalachian Ohio invention that began in 2001 and have since become popular nationwide. A double quilt block can be seen along the byway at Higginsport.
One of the most spectacular and meaningful works of public art along the trail can be found in the heart of Cincinnati in Fountain Square. The Fountain familiar for many from the opening of television’s 1970’s comedy WKRP in Cincinnati, is a tribute to water designed to rival the great fountains of Europe. The bronze and granite structure glorifies the blessings and pleasures of water and its practical uses.