July 27, 2021
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The Ohio Department of Transportation recently helped open the new 54-mile-long Quaker Heritage Scenic Byway that seeks to foster a “new awareness” of cultural and historical diversity in rural southwest Ohio with stops along the way telling the story of Quakers who migrated to the region from the late 18th to the late 20th centuries.

[Above photo via the Ohio DOT]

The Quaker Heritage Scenic Byway reveals numerous layers of local history such as Quaker interactions with Native American communities, agriculture and land use, abolitionism, and religious practices – all identified through historical research, digital mapping, and told through “interactive” narratives.

The first wave of Quaker settlers arrived from the Carolinas shortly after 1790 – drawn by the promise of rich farmland and a territory free of slavery. By 1810, the rapid growth of the Quaker population led to the renaming of the county seat “Wilmington” in honor of Wilmington, North Carolina, the former home of those Quakers.

Quaker meetinghouses stretched across Clinton and Warren counties, creating interconnected communities between the larger settlements of Wilmington and Waynesville as well as to the founding of Wilmington College by local Quakers in 1870.

“The Quaker Heritage Scenic Byway reveals a new historical landscape of Quaker heritage, faith, culture, and practice for visitors to Clinton and Warren counties. We are delighted to share this rich Ohio history and to welcome new visitors to our communities,” explained Tanya Maus, director of the Quaker Heritage Center at Wilmington College, in a statement.

“We are excited to partner with the City of Wilmington, Waynesville Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Quaker Heritage Center at Wilmington College on designating this new scenic route,” noted Thomas Barrett, Ohio DOT’s byways coordinator – adding that the Quaker Heritage Scenic Byway is Ohio’s 28th Byway.

“The Ohio Byway designation helps to promote regional tourism and unique travel experience to visitors throughout Ohio,” he said.

editor@aashto.org

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