Saturday, July 23, 2011

"Our House" in Gallipolis

Dedication marker on "peanut rock" - downtown Gallipolis
I believe that so much of America's historical treasures are quietly hidden in the backwater towns that litter this beautiful nation. Yes, there's the grandeur of Philadelphia, the quaintness of Williamsburg, and the intrigue of Salem, but more often than not, I am delighted to discover that amazing history is in the least expected or realized places. No, these reserved attractions (which harbor so much of our American culture and identity) may not always have the volume or the painstakingly preserved artifacts of say the Smithsonian, however their collections are unique to the people and history of the area, illustrating a complex mosaic of events and circumstances that have shaped the local culture over time. Gallipolis, Ohio is one of those little backwater towns that has a deep-rooted history and a big story to tell. My mother's people (a racial blend of Welsh, African, and Native American peoples) found safety from bondage there, fought Morgan's Raiders there, and lived, loved, and died there - all in a little town just north of West Virginia and over the Ohio River.

If you ever happen to visit Gallipolis, I recommend that you take a drive up Fortification Hill (nicknamed Fornication Hill for all the obvious reasons - lol!) - the view of the town and the Ohio River is breathtaking!

Gallipolis, Ohio as seen from Fortification Hill

During my visit there a couple years ago, I had the pleasure of visiting Our House Hostelry in downtown Gallipolis, a tavern which boasts an extended visit from the (General) Marquis de Lafayette in 1825. The Hostelry is dedicated to Lafayette and the French descendants, known as the French Five Hundred, who founded the town in 1790. Our House even has one of Lafayette's silk brocade jackets displayed in a glass case. Below are some of the pictures I took from my trip - needless to say, pictures can only provide a tiny taste of what can be experienced with a full day's visit - so go visit!  (As a side note, Gallipolis is also the home of Bob Evan's Farm and restaurant chains - I have to tell you, if you know anything about Ohioans, we love our Bob Evans sausage gravy and Homestead breakfasts - lol!)

One of the many guest rooms in the hostelry

Lafayette's silk brocade jacket

Gallipolis' "French Treatise" - hostelry ballroom

A side chair in the hostelry's ballroom

Mirror overlooking the ladies' dining room

Painted green and gold floral china c. 1810 - ladies' dining room

The hostelry's summer kitchen

For more information on Gallipolis, Ohio and its attractions, including Our House Hostelry ("like" Our House on Facebook!), please click here...

Happy sewing!

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