Zanesville, Ohio

History, pottery, and a bridge that’s shaped like a Y. Located in Muskingum County, the city of Zanesville, Ohio has all of the above and more. To find this little-known Ohio gem, follow the rivers to Zanesville, Ohio.

The Basics:photo-4

In the 1790’s, Colonel Ebenezer Zane, a Revolutionary war veteran, was sent by the U.S. Congress to blaze a trail into the Northwest Territory, and the forests of the Ohio Valley. He was trying to establish ferry crossings at three major rivers including the Muskingum. His settlement on this river quickly grew, and in 1801, was named Zanesville in honor of Colonel Zane. Some other prominent Americans have called Zanesville and Muskingum County home, including Astronaut John Glenn and author Zane Grey. Zanesville even served as the temporary capital of Ohio from 1810 to 1812.

What to Do:

“Go to the middle of the bridge and turn left?’
The Y Bridge. The name says it all. The bridge was developed in 1812, and was to connect Zanesville with Putnam, Natchez and West Zanesville. (All three towns are now part of Zanesville) The brainchild of Colonel Zane, it opened to traffic in 1814. The brides have had to go through renovations and complete reconstructions through the years, and today the fifth Y-Bridge stands. It’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places. (To get the best view of the Y Bridge, head to the Putnam Park Overlook. It will also give you a panoramic view of the entire city)   740-455-8282

Yes, it really is a Y.  (Image:, Creative Commons

Yes, it really is a Y. (Image:, Creative Commons)

The town’s history is rooted in the Y Bridge, and Zanesville has no shortage of historical sites. There are several museums – hours vary at each location so check ahead. A few musts are the National Road/Zane Grey Museum, the John and Annie Glenn Museum and the Zanesville Museum of Art. or 800-743-2303 (museums of Muskingum County)

Stroll downtown Zanesville, and you feel as if you have traveled back in time. There are buildings from 1840, and the church steeples (no less than a dozen of them) greet you as you stroll down the streets. Unique shops can be found from Fifth Street to Seventh Street, but also head down Market Street and check out the Freight Station, which is located in the railroad yard of downtown Zanesville. The community renovated the old station, and it houses many local businesses. The Olde Towne Antique Mall, right on Main Street in downtown Zanesville, offers three levels of rooms of historic treasure – including antique Buckeye bar glasses, pottery (Zanesville was once known as the Pottery Capital of the world due to its large number of pottery manufactures) glass and wonderful old books, many on the rich history of the area.  740-453-8694 – The Olde Town Antique Mall

Local artistic talent abounds, and numerous artist studios checker the downtown streets. There’s an Artist Colony’s “First Friday Gallery and Studio”, where on the first Friday of every month in downtown Zanesville the studios have an open house. Watercolor artist and local, Mary Ann Bucci is known for immortalizing Zanesville’s many stoic and historical structures, and her “Zanesville – A Community of Churches” painting captures the beauty of the town’s many church steeples.

Cheetahs in Ohio?  At The Wilds, you bet!  (Image: Flickr Creative Commons)

Cheetahs in Ohio? At The Wilds, you bet! (Image: Flickr Creative Commons)

One might not think of giraffes and rhinos when roaming the hills of Ohio, but think again. The Wilds is a must-see spot while you’re in the area (although keep in mind it’s seasonal: The Wilds is open April through October) It spans 14 miles, and is a wildlife conservation center, housing endangered animals including cheetahs, giraffes, and camels.  740-638-5030

Where to Stay:

On the banks of the Muskingum River sits a wonderful piece of history that now operates as a B&B. The Buckingham House is in the Putnam Historic District and was built in 1819 by prominent abolitionist, Alva Buckingham. He had a specific purpose in mind for the house, which helped hide slaves as they made their way from the Plantation south toward Canada and freedom. The Underground Railroad was the only ride to the north, and the Buckingham house is one of a network of stops spread across the country. When guests get the tour of their beautiful, spacious room, owner Cassandra McDonald reveals the secret room that was added into one of the closets. Up a dark staircase that’s hidden behind a wooden panel, the attic space is big enough to fit 20 people. McDonald said at least 400 slaves passed through this home during a 15-year period.  1-888-204-4277

Where to Eat:

Hidden in downtown Zanesville, across the street from the site of the city’s original farmer’s market, is the staple eatery The Old Market House Inn. Complete with rich, dark woodwork, it has the instant feel of a comfy supper club. A 6 oz. Filet Mignon is the Inn specialty, and they also offer a Seafood Feast, including South African Lobster Tail, Canadian Sea Scallops, King Crab Cake and Orange Roughy. or 740-454-2555

Welcome to Zanesville!  (Image:  Creative Common)

Welcome to Zanesville! (Image: Creative Common)

If you’re looking for a great river view while sipping a favorite microbrew, check out the Weasel Boy Brewing Company. It is the first and only brewery to operate in Zanesville since 1918, when the state instated Prohibition. The taproom is welcoming and cozy, and the House Specialties include The Albino pizza, the Carnivore and a spicy pizza called The War Dance. Fun micro brews include Ornery Otter Blonde and White Weasel Wheat Ale. or 740-455-3767

Another local favorite is Adornetto’s Pizzeria, located right on Maple Avenue. Known for their fresh pizza dough and cheese adorned salads, you can either pick up and take out, or head inside to the cozy Tuscan inspired rooms.

If You Go:

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