Mount Vernon 2011 Trip Day 2

Sunday June 5





Travel 231 mile today


Sixteen Sided Barn

The sixteen sided barn is located on 75540 Skullfork Drive outside of Freeport.  The two-story barn is the only one of its kind in Ohio and only one of three in the United States and Canada.  It was completed in 1924, and measures 60' high by 60' across.  It is privately owned and operated by Oliver and Judy Workley.  Visitors are welcome.   The barn received a new roof and fresh paint in 2008.

It is privately

owned and operated by Oliver and Judy Workley.

Visitors are welcome with or without prior notice at


Harrison County Courthouse
Cadiz, Ohio

Harrison County Courthouse

The Harrison County Courthouse in Cadiz, Ohio was constructed during 1893 to 1895 by Joseph W. Yost. The courthouse mirrors others of his design, with large arched windows, mansard-roofed towers and a central clock tower domed and topped with a statue Justice. The porches to the entrances are covered with a balcony.

After the building was constructed, a mechanic's lien was filed by the Greer family to prevent the county from taking possession of the property. The issue was finally resolved and the county officials moved in.

Like other courthouses, the Harrison County courthouse fell into disrepair. In 1993, the courthouse saw renovations of the premises, including an elevator, replacement of the roof, dome, and stairs, as well as other much needed repairs.

Clark Gable


Clark Gable Foundation of Cadiz Ohio


Tour Info

Visit rooms identical to those in which Clark Gable was born February 1, 1901.The birthplace home is furnished in the style of the day, including several of The King's belongings, such as his boyhood sled. Then check out one of Gable's actual automobiles, a classic 1954 Cadillac! Our well informed staff also on hand to answer most any of your Gable related questions. If you are an ardent Gable fan then these humble beginnings of the King of Hollywood are a must see!

Tuesday through Saturday - 10 a.m. till 4 p.m.
Sunday 1:30 p.m. till 4 p.m.

    $5.50 per person
    Seniors $4.75
    Children $3.00
    Groups of 10 or more $3.50 per person


The Clark Gable Foundation
Origins and Aspirations

On February 1, 1983 a radio disc jockey from Quincey, Ill. called the United States Post Office in the small Eastern Ohio town of Cadiz. The question to postman Pat Frazier was, "Do you know whose birthday it is today?"

Pat answered honestly that he did not and was informed by the deejay that Feb. 1 was Clark Gable's birthday! He then asked what Cadiz, Ohio was doing to commemorate the birth of its most famous son.

That was the last time "nothing" was the answer.

The following year a local women's organization, DISTAFF, organized the first annual "Clark Gable Birthday Celebration," held Feb. 1, 1985. Despite a terrible ice storm the day before, the party was a smashing success with over three-hundred townspeople and devoted fans in attendance.

The 1985 celebration was the first organized attempt to commemorate Gable's hometown connection. However, some time prior to that a group of local citizens concerned with the terrible economic slump enveloping the town and county, met to discuss tourism. Cadiz, once known as "The Proudest Small Town in America" because of its many famous sons including Gen. George Armstrong Custer, was highly dependent on the bituminous coal industry.

In the late 1970s due to a softening demand for ecologically polluting high sulfur coal, the mines began to close. At one point in 1985 the unemployment rate for Harrison County reached over 25%! The town experienced all the social problems that occur with high unemployment and population loss.

Some were convinced that the tourism potential of its beautiful topography, historical figures and strategic location near several major population centers was ripe for development. They were also quite embarrassed that no memorial to Clark Gable existed in his hometown. In fact they couldn't even point out the house in which he was born. That house on Charleston Street in Cadiz was razed in the early 1960s.

Three business and professional men from Cadiz, Mike Cope, Jon Kirkland, and Chuck Peterson were friends and concerned about the decline of the community. Meeting informally one evening in 1984 they dreamed of an organization dedicated to preserving Gable's memory. They believed this would spur tourism interest in Cadiz and Harrison County and they set about forming what Jon thought should be called "The Clark Gable Foundation."

Not long after that other members were enlisted.

The group's first goal was to erect a monument on the site of his birth. With this in mind and through the cooperation of the Worley family who owned an interest in the land on which the house once stood, the Foundation was granted an interest in the property.

In a few months, over seven-thousand dollars was raised locally and Saturday Feb. 1, 1986 with great expectation and national media attention, the monument was dedicated!

The following year the Foundation assumed the birthday celebration from DISTAFF and the momentum began. Since then it has hosted thirteen birthday celebrations and three "barbecues."

In December 1988 the Foundation was able to make contact with Mr. Fred Crane who accepted an invitation to attend the next Birthday Celebration Feb. 4, 1989. Fred played Brent Tarleton in Gone With The Wind. That contact with Fred and Anita Crane opened the door to its "California Connection" including Mr. Bill Tomkin who had worked for many years at MGM Studios in the film archives department. These people helped us make contact with other members of the GWTW cast which made Foundation events even more successful. The next event was "The Twelve Oaks Barbecue" in June 1989 commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Gone With The Wind. The Foundation was able to host four of the original cast members including Cammie King, Butterfly McQueen, Patrick Curtis, and Mr. Daniel Selznick, son of legendary director David O. Selznick. Since then the Foundation has invited celebrities from Gable's films to attend as guests of honor for each of its "Birthday Celebration" held the Saturday nearest his birthday, annually. In 1991 the guests were Gable's only son John and his stepdaughter Joan Spreckels. In 1992 the guests were Ann Rutherford and Rand Brooks, the actress and actor who played Careen O'Hara and Charles Hamilton in GWTW.

The next event was "The Twelve Oaks Barbecue" in June 1989 commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Gone With The Wind. The Foundation was able to host four of the original cast members including Cammie King, Butterfly McQueen, Patrick Curtis, and Mr. Daniel Selznick, son of legendary director David O. Selznick. Since then the Foundation has invited celebrities from Gable's films to attend as guests of honor for each of its "Birthday Celebration" held the Saturday nearest his birthday, annually

In 1991, the nonprofit Clark Gable Foundation received a sizable bequest from a local woman's estate. Isabelle Clifford was a Gable contemporary and lived just down the street from the house where he was born. She loved her hometown and was proud of its history. Her generosity and forward thinking gave the Foundation the seed money so essential to reach its goal.

On Jan. 31, 1998, the Foundation hosted another dedication. On that Saturday Mr. John Clark Gable stood on the front porch of the reconstructed birthplace! He said, " I can't believe its finally built. I'm just ecstatic!" He then cut the ribbon and entered the house, to see the second floor bedroom in which the man he never knew was born.

The Foundation recognizes the continuing national fascination with Clark Gable and his films. Time-Warner/ Turner Entertainment owns the rights to most Gable's 67 talking pictures. He and his legacy will be constantly renewed with each viewing of classics like It Happened One Night, San Francisco, Call of the Wild, and the greatest motion picture ever made the immortal Gone With The Wind !" Through his motion pictures, his heritage can be preserved and enhanced by concentrating that history in Cadiz, Ohio, for all to view, learn, and enjoy!

Turner Entertainment though its chief operating officer, Mr. Roger Mayer, has agreed to provided stills and films for the Foundations use at the house! Soon a photographic display of his cinematic triumphs will grace the walls of the house in which he was born.

How fitting that the man who died nearly 40 years ago is even today helping his home town! Undoubtedly that reflects the reality of the man....Clark Gable. His success in large part came because he was real. He personified the image that America and Americans believed was theirs. He was a "man's man" and though at times a bully, always real and compassionate. He was the "King of Hollywood" and unlike many of the icons before and after, his image has never been tarnished and he never disappointed his fans.

It was very fortunate for tiny Cadiz, Ohio, the American Film Industry, and America itself that William Clark Gable was born Feb. 1, 1901 on Charleston Street

West Virginia State Penitentiary Tour

Moundsville, West Virginia

West Virginia State Penitentiary Tour

818 Jefferson Ave., Moundsville, WV
On the south side of Moundsville, at the corner of 8th St. and Jefferson Ave. Jefferson is a couple of blocks east of Hwy 2.
Apr-Nov T-Su 10-4. There's no heat, so it's too cold for tours in the winter. (Call to verify)

Tours start at 11am Tuesday through Sunday
The last tour leaves at 4pm

: $10.00

Seniors: $8.00

The West Virginia State Penitentiary sprawls across 11 acres. The prisoners built it, heavy rock by heavy rock, beginning in 1866. When you watch someone sentenced to "hard labor" in a movie, this place is what the judge had in mind.

That approach to justice lasted until the mid-1980s, when the West Virginia Supreme Court ruled that the prison's 5x7 foot cells were cruel and unusual punishment -- particularly because two or more convicts were often crammed into them. It was the beginning of the end for the prison as a prison. The WV State Pen closed in 1995.

Tom Stiles, WV Pen tour guide.
Tom Stiles, WV Pen tour guide.

Now the penitentiary is open again -- as a tourist attraction. It also occasionally stages mock prison riots (for guard training), and hosts a surprisingly popular sleepover "ghost hunt" once a month, where people spend the night in the empty, unlit buildings.

Our guide, Tom, loves his job. He can easily stretch the standard 45-minute tour into one twice that length, peppered with stories of prison riots and revenge murders and of how the inmates in North Hall -- known as "The Alamo" -- would hurl urine and vomit onto the guards.

For such a vast, empty place, the prison is loud -- concrete and steel don't muffle sound. It's clean but ugly, even if some prisoners did try to spruce the place up a bit. We notice a framed painting on the wall depicting the world's longest single arch steel span bridge (which is downstate in Fayetteville). "Danny Lehman painted that," Tom tells us. "He got stabbed through the eye in North Hall. Punctured his brain."

Indian Mound display created by a prisoner.
Indian Mound display created by a prisoner.

Another prisoner, a "trustie," built a lifelike life-size Indian family out of paper-mache for an exhibit at the big Indian Burial Mound Museum across the street. It looks great, but it was rejected because some Christians complained about the nearly-nude Indians. Now it's on display in the old cafeteria. "This cafeteria triggered the prison's last major riot," Tom tells us. The governor ended the standoff by striking a deal: 16 hostages for a new cafeteria with heating and air conditioning -- the only building in the whole prison that would ever have such luxuries.

Our tour continues, past the "protective custody" yard where the rapists, child molesters, "rats," and "snitches" would exercise; past the "old man colony" (you had to be at least 65 and in poor health to live in it), past the open-air toilets that used to be enclosed -- until an inmate was beaten in it. The warden ordered the outer walls knocked down as a punishment.

Gallows in the Wagon Gate.

Tom takes us back to the Wagon Gate, the oldest part of the prison. This is where he likes to stop the tour, pull an inconspicuous lever, and watch the visitors scream in horror as a dummy drops through an overhead trap door, swinging by its neck from a noose. 85 men were executed by hanging at the prison -- a public spectacle until one was accidentally decapitated. From 1949 on, "Old Sparkie" the electric chair took over.

Tom shows us The Wheel House in the administration building, a revolving door with iron bars instead of glass, which separated the Warden and his family -- who by law had to live at the prison -- from the inmates (The law was finally abolished in 1959.) .

Revolving entryway to the Warden's Family quarters.
Revolving entryway to the Warden's Family quarters.

We then enter North Hall, where the "bad, bad guys" were housed, according to Tom. This is a classic prison nightmare -- a human warehouse where the men would freeze in the winter and broil in the summer -- tier after tier of tiny cells stacked to the lofty ceiling, open-air showers on the concrete floor, prisoners fed through slots in the cell doors called "the bean hole." Tom tells us that he likes to lock his tour members in cells, then let everyone out except the most skittish person. "When everybody else's cell opens up and theirs doesn't, they really do freak out."

We wind our way through several more cell blocks (the prison has ten) and yards and end the tour at the small prison museum, a fake-wood-paneled room that somehow seems more creepy than the rest of the penitentiary. Here is a display of confiscated hand-made weapons, a replica death cell, and a hand-written letter from Charles Manson, requesting a transfer to West Virginia. (It was denied.)

Old Sparkie the electric chair.

Here, too, is "Old Sparkie," built by a prisoner in 1950, and for which he had to be moved to another prison in order to prevent his being killed. You can't sit in it, although Tom admits that people always ask to. Above the chair is a glass-fronted box holding the leather bag that was dropped over the condemned prisoner's head. It wasn't just for privacy. "The electricity would go down through the head," Tom explains, "and then exit the cavities of the face: the eyes, mouth, nose, and ears. It was gross to see."

Tom may enjoy his work, but he can't understand people who leave here thinking that they could handle life in a place like the West Virginia State Penitentiary. "You get people who think that, 'Oh, I could live like that'," he says. "Yeah, you could live like that for 90 minutes while you're with me. But you try it for 20 years and see if you can live like that."

West Virginia Penitentiary Maps

Below are detailed maps of the prison layout. You can print these out to help you when you go on your Ghost Hunt - Night Tour - or any other events inside the prison.

North Yard










South Yard