Spring brings everything to life, including a bevy of wonderful events in Cambridge/Guernsey County.
During the spring months, mark your calendar to attend performances at the Pennyroyal Opera House in Fairview for a foot stompin' good time. Take in a live theatrical performance at Pritchard Laughlin Civic Center. Relax at a concert by the Southeastern Ohio Symphony Orchestra. Enjoy the Cambridge Main Street Farmers Market. Or hit the road for the Annual National Road Yard Sale Day each Memorial Day Weekend.
Just in case you think this small town "rolls up its sidewalks" in the evening, as the old proverbial saying goes, Cambridge and the surrounding area can be a happening place at nighttime!
First, you have all of our eclectic eateries with their cool bars which is a great way to spend an evening out with friends. On weekends, you can take in the view of the city and eat oven fired pizza and drink wine or craft beer at Georgetown Vineyards.
If you want to boogie the night away, try Downtown Arena. They bring in bands weekly on Saturday night...and their food, especially their pizza is delish!
On the artsy side, we offer a plethora of entertainment whether it's taking in a play by local performers in our downtown historic district at the Cambridge Performance Art Centre or a Broadway show at our state of the art Pritchard Laughlin Civic Center. Lots of musical performances take place in the beautiful Scottish Rite Auditorium as well. If it's bluegrass that gets your toes to tappin', you will want to check out the Pennyroyal Opera House in Fairview on Friday nights where well-known bluegrass bands play. In the summer time, our Cambridge City Band offers free concerts on Thursday evenings in our picturesque city park.
John Hunt Morgan and his Confederate Calvary entered Guernsey County on July 23, 1863. The uninvited guests raided and pillaged the area. Four interpretive signs throughout the county detail their journey. Learn if they escaped or were captured!
In July of 1863, Union victories at both Gettysburg and Vicksburg, convinced the North that the war was nearly won. A determined group of Southern soldiers, however, sought to sow doubt that the South would still prevail.
On July 2, 1863, John Hunt Morgan and his Confederate Cavalry started moving north through Kentucky on a raid that would encompass three states and 950 miles. His 2000 man cavalry entered Ohio on July 13, 1863 spreading fear throughout the villages in Ohio. Scared citizens buried their silver and hid their horses.
Morgan's men crossed Southern Ohio, while being constantly pursued by Union forces. Morgan's plan was to cross back into West Virginia near Portland, Ohio at a ford of the river known as Buffington Island. It was here that a battle took place on July 19, 1863. Morgan lost nearly half of his men during the battle, and barely escaped with approximately 700 men remaining.
Morgan and his men entered Guernsey County near sundown on July 23. Worn out from the constant pursuit of Union forces and hours in the saddle, the Southern men sought a brief respite in the village of Cumberland. The uninvited guests visited homes and demanded food and rest. Nearly 100 horses were also either bought or stolen by the Confederates to replace the worn out steeds that they had thoroughly abused. The local population complied with these demands, seeking only to remain uninjured as trepidation spread throughout the region.
By 10pm, the raiders had vacated Cumberland. With the forced aid of local men as guides, they traveled east through Point Pleasant, (now Pleasant City), Hartford, (now Buffalo), and arrived at Senecaville in the early morning hours of Friday, July 24. With reports of Union reinforcement to the east, the raiders turned north towards Campbell's Station, but not before acquiring more food and horses from residents. Legend has it that Morgan had a strange encounter with a local Union Soldiers wife, the story described by an interpretive marker at this spot.
Near dawn, Morgan and his men arrived at Campbell's Station, (now Lore City), inflicting the harshest damage of the raid. They burned a bridge, several railcars, a tobacco warehouse and stole nearly 4,000 dollars from a safe. This attack was thought to be retaliation for damages wrecked on Kentucky towns earlier in the war by Laughlin's Union Cavalry, made up of several Guernsey County men.
From there, the Confederates thundered north to Washington, (now Old Washington), and commandeered meals from the proprietors of the American Hotel. Many of the raiders spread out through town to rest, or ravage the local stores of wares and supplies. One story relates to the women serving Morgan's men a meal noticed a very young Confederate boy in their ranks. Quietly they stole him away to a safe location, and afterward sent him home to his Southern mother... who thanked the Northern ladies for such a blessing.
This respite proved dangerous for Morgan's men as Union Cavalry had now arrived at Washington, shelling the city from a hill south of town and attacking the surprised Confederates, Morgan and his men escaped both North and East... to fight another day.
As you travel Guernsey County's portion of the Morgan Heritage Trail, be sure to stop at the 4 interpretive markers located in Cumberland, Senecaville, Lore City and Old Washington. This great and historical period is well documented along the entire John Hunt Morgan Heritage Trail and these markers serve as your storyteller to these interesting events. Download the brochure.
The trail recognizes the impact of William Boyd, Cambridge, Ohio's beloved cowboy and TV/movie star. A collection of memorabilia is on display throughout downtown.
A local boy who gained national recognition, William Boyd made quite a name for himself as the famed cowboy star Hopalong Cassidy, first on the big screen in the 1930s and 40s, and then on the television in the 1950s. Follow the Hopalong Cassidy Trail, a collection of memorabilia on display at various locations throughout Historic Downtown Cambridge. For a free Hoppy Trail brochure, contact the Visitors & Convention Bureau office at or call 800.933.5480.
Often billed as "the road that built a nation," the National Road (Route 40) stretches nearly 700 miles across six states-from Maryland's seashore to Illinois' farmland. Thirty-two miles of the road pass through Guernsey County, traveling down the heart of Cambridge along Wheeling Avenue.
Before becoming the iconic road it is today, the National Road began as a simple wilderness footpath connecting Kentucky and Ohio and was used primarily by Native Americans and frontiersmen.
The trail soon became referred to as Zane's Trace after Ebenezer Zane, who was commissioned by the U.S. Congress in 1796 to begin construction of a connecting wagon route from Zanesville, Ohio, to Wheeling, West Virginia.
The trace quickly grew in size and importance to the expansion of the country westward. In 1806 President Thomas Jefferson signed legislation enabling the construction of the first federally funded national road. The road took nearly 30 years to construct from east to west, reaching completion in Guernsey County in 1828.
It wasn't long before inns, taverns and other amenities sprung up along the road, catering to the needs of businessmen, politicians, farmers and everyday citizens as they traversed the road at increasing rates.
From the 1820s to the 1840s the road served as the main artery for the country's commerce east to west until the railroad immerged in the 1850s as the prime mode of transportation for goods and people. It was not until the early 1900s, at the onset of World War I, that the National Road began to regain national attention as the government made it a priority to maintain it and other major highways.
The dawn of the automobile brought new reasons for Americans to travel. As they visited friends and relatives, or took scenic trips, they brought with them the need for new restaurants, service shops, theatres, hotels and more. In the 1960s the road was eclipsed by the creation of Interstate 70, but has since been designated as a national scenic byway and is gaining the attention of travelers once more for those seeking a less hectic driving route. Guernsey County's rich cultural heritage is reflected in the historic architecture and agricultural scenery. Antique shops, locally operated restaurants and attractions, and inns along Route 40 enhance the experience of traveling this historic highway.
The National Road offers adventure seekers today a great road trip just as it did two centuries ago. More than 25 key attractions, points of interests and interpretive signs, specific to the history of the road, are located throughout the county. From the famous "S" bridges to stagecoach stops and tollgates, the route is lined with picture perfect sites.