The leader of the Shawnee Indians always came from the Chillicothe clan within the tribe. The Indians gave the name Chillicothe to their capital, which was the home village of their leader. As one leader died and another was selected, Chillicothe moved round the Shawnee territory in modern day Ohio. The current Chillicothe was never a Shawnee capital, instead it was established by Nathaniel Massie in 1796. The town grew fast and In 1798 it became the county seat of the newly incorporated Ross County. Just two years later it became the territorial capital and from 1803 it was the first capital of the state of Ohio. In 1810 the  state government moved the capital to Zanesville only to return it to Chillicothe just two years later.  In 1816 Columbus took over as capital.   Chillicothe was initially an agricultural centre but during the early 1800s papermaking started a trend towards the city becoming increasingly  industrial. The Ohio and Erie Canal arrived in 1831 and the railroad in 1852, providing transport links that helped Chillicothe’s industries to grow even faster. When we visited in October 2010 we found it to be a fairly typical US city, so rather than pictures similar to ones found elsewhere on 50 plus DC, we have concentrated on two historic attractions close to Chillicothe. 



Mound City, Hopewell Cultural NHS

Chillicothe is surrounded by ancient mounds and earthworks that are now preserved as Hopewell Cultural National Historic Site. The earthworks are spread across several sites around the city and Microsoft Streets & Trips managed to take us to one that is closed to the public! Fortunately we managed to find Mound City. The Hopewell Culture is the name given to the people who built these mounds but the name comes from a farmer who owned land containing a mound complex, the name that the builders of the mounds called themselves is unknown. The Hopewell Culture  flourished from about 200 BC to  500 AD in the Scioto River valley. Mound City comprises an earth enclosure with at least 22 round mounds and one ellipical mound spread across an area of more than 5 hectares (13 acres). During World War I this was the site of Camp Sherman, used for military training. The camp was removed in the early 1920s and the Ohio Historical Society then moved in to excavate the site and reconstruct the earthworks and mounds.

Main House & Garden, Adena Mansion & Gardens

Thomas Worthington (1773-1827) built his fortune through farming, milling, land surveying, river shipping and construction of river canals. He lobbied for Ohio to be granted statehood and between 1803 and 1807 he was one of  Ohio’s first U.S. senators. Worthington acquired an 800 hectare (2000 acre) estate just outside Chillicothe and he engaged Benjamin Henry Latrobe of Washington D.C. to design and build a mansion on the estate. Construction work began in 1806 and the family moved into the mansion in 1807. Thomas and his wife Eleanor named the house Adena and they planted extensive gardens around it. After Thomas died, Eleanor continued to run the estate with the help of eldest son James then when Eleanor died in 1848 the estate passed to James and his wife. In 1947 Adena Mansion & Garden were bequeathed to the State of Ohio and soon afterwards the Ohio Historical Society took responsibility for renovating and maintaining the house and gardens. Adena Mansion &  Garden was opened to the public in 1953. It is still open today, now managed by the Adena Mansion & Garden Society.

Hopewell artefacts, Hopewell Cultural NHS

Unless you are an archaeologist it is a little difficult to get excited by a series of earthen mounds. The Visitor Center at Mound City has a museum where artefacts found during excavations are on display, and this really brings the Hopewell Culture to life. Each mound was built over the remains of a charnal house which contained the cremated remains  of the dead together which artefacts such as pipes and copper figurines. The charnal house was burned before the mound was built over it. This display cabinet in the museum shows some of the copper artefacts discovered during excavations. Click Tab 2 to see a close up of some of the artefacts, a Two headed Vulture and a Pair of Hands.

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 Main House & Garden, Adena Mansion & Gardens, Chillecothe, OH, USA

Tenant House, Adena Mansion & Gardens

We didn’t get to see inside the mansion because the day that we visited there were numerous bus loads of schoolchildren causing havoc inside it. We were, however, able to look round the gardens, the grounds and outbuildings. Of the original estate, only 120 hectares (300 acres) remain, but there is still the feel of a country estate.  This restored house was the home of estate workers and near to it there is a restored Barn and Ice House.. Click Tab 2 to see the interior of the Tenant House.

 Tenant House, Adena Mansion & Gardens, Chillecothe, OH, USA
- The Museum at Hopewell Cultural National Historic Site which helps to paint a picture of the lives of this ancient culture.
- Adena House & Gardens are well worth a visit, but we can’t comment on the interior of the house.
-  If you arrive at Adena House & Gardens to find a flotilla of Yellow Buses already there, you might as well head for your next destination.
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