Discover / Village of Zoar
Save a National Treasure
REGION: Midwest
LOCATION:
Zoar, OH
TYPE: Building
Village of Zoar | Photo by Andy Donaldson
Village of Zoar | Photo by Andy Donaldson

Great News for Zoar

Opportunity
Work with local organizations and government agencies to ensure the preservation of a 195-year-old village.

Overview

The historic Village of Zoar, home to nearly 200 residents, is protected from flooding by a levee built in the 1930s. Record floods in 2005, however, raised concern about the levee’s integrity. Now, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has started a three-year study to assess the levee’s future. One of many alternatives under consideration is removing it entirely, which could require the relocation or demolition of 80% of this remarkable historic village. 

UPDATE – November 2013
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is no longer considering removal of the levee that protects the Village of Zoar. This means that the greatest threat to Zoar—relocation or demolition of the historic community—is off the table.  The news reflects the Army Corps’ appreciation of Zoar’s historic and cultural importance. The National Trust will remain involved through the rest of the Corps’ study, which will now be completed within one year, to ensure that repairs have minimal impact on the historic Village of Zoar. Stay tuned to our updates page for more information about our progress and how you can continue to support this project throughout the next year.

National Significance

The Village of Zoar was founded in 1817 by a group of separatists who fled Germany in search of religious freedom. Not only does Zoar help to tell the story of immigration to the United States, it illustrates the history of settlement throughout this region. As part of a multi-year study of alternatives for solving the Zoar levee problem, the Army Corps is following a review process that requires federal agencies to consider the effects of their activities on historic properties. Through the process, the Army Corps should seek alternatives that will protect Zoar.

Campaign Goals

  • Save the Village of Zoar from catastrophic flooding, relocation, or demolition.
  • Raise public awareness about Zoar’s historic significance.

Ways To Help

Donate to our campaign to save the Village of Zoar.

Tell us why the Village of Zoar matters to you.

Posted on March 25, 2015

Zoar LakeWritten by Jennifer Sandy, Project ManagerJSandy headshot

Exciting news for the Village of Zoar – the long-buried foundation and cellar of the former Zoar Brewery is being uncovered and will be a focal point of a new pavilion at Zoar Wetland and Arboretum.  The work is being made possible by an $85,600 grant from the Timken Foundation to the Earth Action Partnership, which owns and manages the Zoar Wetland.

According to the Historic Property Baseline Study produced by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Zoar Brewery was built in 1832 and provided beer and cider for town residents, made from ingredients produced in Zoar.  It operated until 1901, was converted into a dance hall in the 1920s, and burned in the 1950s.  The new pavilion will greatly enhance the visitor experience at Zoar Lake and will include an interpretive display about the brewery’s history.

Please check back often for additional updates on the Village of Zoar. Also, donate today to support the National Trust's ongoing work at this National Treasure.


Posted on March 04, 2015

Zoar garden houseWritten by Jennifer Sandy, Project ManagerJSandy headshot

A new article in Midwest Living magazine highlights the tourist attractions along the Ohio and Erie Canalway, including the Village of Zoar.  The area’s natural and historic amenities get some well-deserved attention in addition to Zoar, including Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Akron’s Stan Hywet Hall, and the Ohio and Erie Canalway America’s Byway scenic drive.  

Check it out and start planning your trip!  

Please check back often for additional updates on the Village of Zoar. Also, donate today to support the National Trust's ongoing work at this National Treasure.


Posted on February 05, 2015

Forum Journal Winter 2015Written by Jennifer Sandy, Project ManagerJsandy headshot

The Village of Zoar is featured in the National Trust’s winter volume of Forum Journal, released today.  The article tells the story of the National Trust’s involvement in the effort to save Zoar from inundation or relocation. 

The great partnership between the Trust and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is highlighted as an example for other communities that may be working with this federal agency on issues impacting historic resources. 

If you are a National Trust Forum Member, you can check out the article online.  And if you are not a Forum member – join today!

Please check back often for additional updates on the Village of Zoar. Also, donate today to support the National Trust's ongoing work at this National Treasure.


Posted on February 03, 2015

Zoar winterWritten by Jennifer Sandy, Project ManagerJsandy headshot

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers shared their plan for Village of Zoar’s levee with local residents last week, and the proposal was warmly received.  Check out the news coverage in the Columbus Dispatch.  The Mayor and local residents are hopeful that the proposed plan will fix the issues with Zoar levee with minimal impact on the historic village.

The next step in the process is final approval of the Final Dam Safety Modification Report, which should happen this summer.  The overall project will cost $11.5 million dollars, but construction won’t begin until funds are secured in the Army Corps budget. 

Meanwhile, the National Trust continues work on a Programmatic Agreement with the Army Corps, State Historic Preservation Office, and other consulting parties, which will guide implementation of the project, ensuring that the Corps will consider the effects of their work on Zoar’s historic character and mitigate any negative impacts.  

Please check back often for additional updates on the Village of Zoar. Also, donate today to support the National Trust's ongoing work at this National Treasure.


Posted on January 05, 2015

Zoar DSMR/EAWritten by Jennifer Sandy, Project ManagerJSandy headshot

It’s the report we’ve all been waiting for – the culmination of several years of study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, with critical input from the Village of Zoar, the National Trust, the State Historic Preservation Office, and other stakeholders.  Now the public has a chance to review and comment on the report, known as a Draft Dam Safety Modification Report and Draft Environmental Assessment (whew!).  Public comment will be accepted until January 27, and comments can be sent to ZoarLevee@usace.army.mil.

To those of us that have been following this process closely, there are no surprises in the report (which is a good thing).  The alternative that is still being proposed by the Army Corps is essentially a deep “internal erosion interception trench” to stop water from infiltrating backwards through the levee, with a “weighted filter berm” on top—basically just a mound of fill that would be graded and covered with grass to blend in with the existing levee.   This is the least costly option and will not require demolition of any structures.

After the public comment period has ended, the Corps will conduct a Type I Independent External Peer Review (IEPR) on the report.  This mandated review will be conducted by a panel of experts outside of the Corps, including a cultural resource panel member.  We are hopeful that the Dam Safety Modification Report and Environmental Assessment will be finalized this summer.

Please check back often for additional updates on the Village of Zoar. Also, donate today to support the National Trust's ongoing work at this National Treasure.


Posted on December 16, 2014

Written by Jennifer Sandy, Project Manager

Christmas in Zoar

Christmas in Zoar

Just in time for the holidays, enjoy these photos from Christmas in Zoar!  Courtesy of the Zoar Community Association.

Please check back often for additional updates on the Village of Zoar. Also, donate today to support the National Trust's ongoing work at this National Treasure.

Posted on November 20, 2014

Zoar store itemsWritten by Jennifer Sandy, Project ManagerJsandy headshot

The holidays are the perfect time to experience all that the Village of Zoar has to offer.  Round up the whole family on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and “shop small” at the Zoar Store!  Join the growing Small Business Saturday movement by spending your dollars locally.  Shopping at the Zoar Store not only benefits the historic buildings in Zoar, it also supports a variety of local businesses. 

Founded by American Express in 2010, Small Business Saturday is celebrated each Saturday after Thanksgiving, and encourages local residents to shop at neighborhood stores.  Shopping locally has a huge impact - consumers who were aware of Small Business Saturday reported spending $5.7 billion at independent merchants on the day last year.

If you can’t make it to Zoar on November 29, mark your calendar for Christmas in Zoar, December 6-7.  Visitors will enjoy a tree lighting ceremony, horse drawn wagon rights, a juried craft show, musical entertainment, and Santa’s workshop.  And don’t forget to visit the nearest Main Street community to support your local merchants throughout this holiday season!

Please check back often for additional updates on the Village of Zoar. Also, donate today to support the National Trust's ongoing work at this National Treasure.


Posted on October 06, 2014

Fall in ZoarWritten by Jennifer Sandy, Project ManagerJsandy headshot

Now that fall has arrived, make your plans to visit the Village of Zoar for Halloween fun!  Join the “Haunted Zoar” ghost tours on Friday, October 31 or Saturday, November 1.  Costumed guides will lead you through Zoar’s most haunted buildings and share ghost stories from the past and present.

Ghostly activity has been reported over the years in several Zoar buildings, including the Number One House, Bakery, and Zoar Hotel.  Don’t miss your chance to participate – contact the Zoar Community Association to secure your spot, since registration is required.  Tours run every 15 minutes between 6:30pm and 7:30pm each night.

Please check back often for additional updates on the Village of Zoar. Also, donate today to support the National Trust's ongoing work at this National Treasure.


Posted on September 02, 2014

Zoar blacksmithWritten by Jennifer Sandy, Project ManagerJsandy headshot

It’s that time of year again – but “back to school” doesn’t just apply to the younger members of our families.  At the Village of Zoar, everyone can join in the fun of learning new things this fall.  The Zoar Community Association is offering several classes where you can try your hand at a new craft and perhaps gain a deeper appreciation of what life was like for the original Zoarite settlers.

If you’ve ever wanted to try blacksmithing, now’s your chance – both basic and intermediate classes will be offered this September and October.   For an even greater challenge, learn how to build a chair based on a model of an original piece of Zoar furniture.  Participants will use a variety of hand tools in the chair’s construction.

And if you do know a young person with a love of history, sign them up for Zoar’s Civil War School Day this September 26.  They’ll also be able to learn new crafts like woodcarving, spinning, and breadbaking, and can “meet” historical figures like Abraham Lincoln and Harriet Tubman.

Learn more about these events from the Zoar Community Association, and make “back to school” time an experience to remember this fall!

Please check back often for additional updates on the Village of Zoar. Also, donate today to support the National Trust's ongoing work at this National Treasure.


Posted on July 07, 2014

JSandy headshotWritten by Jennifer Sandy, Project ManagerZoar Landscape Architecture Magazine

Check it out -- the Village of Zoar was featured on the cover of Landscape Architecture Magazine this month!  The magazine tells the story of the effort to save Zoar from relocation or inundation, including the National Trust’s inclusion of Zoar on our 11 Most Endangered list and National Treasures portfolio.  The article is accompanied by some stunning photos of Zoar, including some beautiful aerial shots that give the reader a great sense of how the village is placed within the landscape.

Please check back often for additional updates on the Village of Zoar. Also, donate today to support the National Trust's ongoing work at this National Treasure.


Posted on June 17, 2014

JSandy headshotZoar garden tourWritten by Jennifer Sandy, Project Manager

If you’ve ever wanted to linger in the Village of Zoar’s beautiful private and public gardens, now’s your chance!  Summer has arrived, and with it the Zoar Garden Tour—one of the historic community’s most popular events.  Visitors can tour 10 private and 3 public gardens, browse the artisan fair in the central garden, or enjoy a gourmet catered lunch.  The tour will also include 12 mini-symposiums on topics as varied as how to attract beneficial insects, the basics of canning, and tips on growing your own food.  If you’re interested in the luncheon, act fast—tickets usually sell out!  Admission to the tour, symposiums and luncheon is $32, while tickets for the tour and symposiums only are $15. All tickets include access to the gardens, Zoar’s museum buildings, and vendor areas.  Visit the Historic Zoar Village website for more information on how to reserve tickets.

Please check back often for additional updates on the Village of Zoar. Also, donate today to support the National Trust's ongoing work at this National Treasure.

Posted on May 05, 2014

JSandy headshotZoar Tentatively Selected PlanWritten by Jennifer Sandy, Project Manager

At a public meeting on April 24th, representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers shared their “Tentatively Selected Plan” for repairing Zoar Levee with the public.  The Corps has spent months studying the various alternatives for addressing performance issues with the levee, with input from the National Trust and other stakeholders. 

The selected plan looks like good news for the Village of Zoar.  It would not require demolition of any historic structures and is the least expensive of the final array of options.  Essentially, the Corps would dig a deep “internal erosion interception trench” to stop water from infiltrating backwards through the levee, and place a “weighted filter berm” on top—basically just a mound of fill that would be graded and covered with grass to blend in with the existing levee. 

The National Trust and other stakeholders are now working on a legal agreement to guide implementation of the project, ensuring that the Corps will consider the effects of their work on Zoar’s historic character and mitigate any negative impacts. 

The Corps looks to be on track to finish their Dam Safety Modification Study by the end of 2014.  The public will have an opportunity to weigh in on the plan in September, when the draft study is released. 

In the meantime, show your support for the Village of Zoar by taking advantage of the many events in the community over the summer and fall months!  Hopefully we’ll all be celebrating together this fall when the study is finalized and we can move on to the next step— obtaining funding authorization to complete the levee repairs.

Please check back often for additional updates on the Village of Zoar. Also, donate today to support the National Trust's ongoing work at this National Treasure.

Posted on March 31, 2014

JSandy headshot
Zoar cabin April 2013Written by Jennifer Sandy, Project Manager

It’s beginning to look a lot like spring in the Village of Zoar, which means one thing—opening day at the Historic Zoar Village!  Admission is free to residents of Stark, Summit, and Tuscarawas counties.  The Zoar Community Association’s free Saturday Speaker series continues too—this Saturday, April 5th, you can learn what life was like for a female doctor during the Civil War. 

Celebrate the arrival of spring with a visit to Zoar this weekend!

Please check back often for additional updates on the Village of Zoar. Also, donate today to support the National Trust's ongoing work at this National Treasure.


Posted on March 05, 2014

JSandy headshot2Zoar weaving classWritten by Jennifer Sandy, Project Manager

One of the Village of Zoar’s strengths as a historic site is helping visitors understand what life was like for Zoarites during the peak of the communal settlement.  Each member of the Society – men and women both – was assigned to a particular job or craft, like farming, dairying, weaving, baking, or carpentry.  The products of their labor were shared equally among all the town’s residents.

The Zoar Community Association makes sure to teach visitors about this communal system during the tours and programs that take place when the Historic Zoar Village sites are open, from April to December.  But even during the off-season, Zoar Community Association engages the public and brings new visitors to town through their educational programs and workshops.  This March, you can take classes on the textile arts in Zoar, including spinning wool into yarn, rug hooking, and loom weaving.  Wait until April if blacksmithing is more your style—both beginning and intermediate classes will be offered. 

Through these interactive workshops and educational programs, the Village of Zoar is exemplifying one of the National Trust’s Preservation Priorities—Re-imagining Historic Sites.  National Trust President Stephanie Meeks highlighted the challenges and opportunities faced by America’s many historic house museums in her opening plenary speech at the National Preservation Conference last fall.  One of her recommended approaches, Reprogramming for Mission-Related Use, is exactly the strategy that the Zoar Community Association has been following over the past several years, and they’ve seen visitation numbers increase dramatically. 

Participants in ZCA’s workshops not only learn a new craft—and take home a hand-woven or forged keepsake—they gain an appreciation for the Zoarite way of life, and hopefully become lifelong supporters of the Village of Zoar historic site.  

Please check back often for additional updates on the Village of Zoar. Also, donate today to support the National Trust's ongoing work at this National Treasure.


Posted on February 18, 2014

JSandy headshotZoar School House winterWritten by Jennifer Sandy, Project Manager

The Village of Zoar may be covered by a blanket of snow right now, but that doesn’t mean there is nothing happening in town.  Zoar Community Association just kicked off their Saturdays in Zoar speaker series for 2014, featuring a range of educational topics and presenters throughout the year.  This free programming brings people to Zoar all year long, even when the museum buildings are closed, and was recognized by an Outstanding Achievement Award from the Ohio Local History Alliance last year.  Mark the first Saturday of the month on your calendar and spend the afternoon in Zoar learning about topics in history ranging from Civil War letters to the covered bridges of Tuscarawas County.  It doesn’t hurt that the Village of Zoar is beautiful in any season.  Snap a few photos and think spring.  Opening day for Zoar’s museums isn’t too far away! 

Please check back often for additional updates on the Village of Zoar. Also, donate today to support the National Trust's ongoing work at this National Treasure.


Posted on January 28, 2014


JSandy headshot2Written by Jennifer Sandy, Project Manager
Zoar relief well example

In the wake of November's good news lifting the threat of demolition of Zoar levee, the Army Corps has been busy narrowing down the potential alternatives to reduce inundation risk to the historic Village of Zoar.  As they have throughout the study process, the Army Corps is making sure to involve the community and other stakeholders, including the National Trust, as they consider the possible alternatives for Zoar levee. 

National Trust staff and other interested parties, including the Mayor, the Zoar Community Association, Ohio Historic Preservation Office, and Ohio Historical Society, met for 3 days last week to learn more about the potential options for repair of the levee and to provide input on the possible impacts those repairs could have on Zoar’s historic character.  Among the alternatives under consideration are a new series of relief wells to collect water and send it to the pump station, and something called a filter blanket, which is basically a blanket of earth designed to add weight to the levee and relieve seepage.  We visited the recently-rehabbed levee in nearby Magnolia to see an example of both the relief wells (pictured), and the filter blanket (hard to photograph under all that snow!).  

The Dam Safety Modification Study for Zoar levee is due to be completed in just under 11 months, so the Army Corps has their work cut out for them.  The National Trust will continue to play an active role in the consideration of alternatives and the identification of possible impacts and mitigation measures.  We all want to see the best solution for the Village of Zoar that will reduce the risk of inundation while preserving this unique community’s historic character.  Stay tuned for more updates on the potential alternatives as the study continues!

Please check back often for additional updates on the Village of Zoar. Also, donate today to support the National Trust's ongoing work at this National Treasure.


Posted on December 04, 2013

JSandy headshotWritten by Jennifer Sandy, Project Manager

Christmas in Zoar church interiorWhat better way to celebrate Zoar’s new lease on life than by visiting the Village of Zoar this holiday season!  This weekend is the perfect opportunity—Zoar will be decked out in its holiday finery for Christmas in Zoar, December 7-8.  Private home tours, a juried crafts show, and a candlelight church service with musical entertainment are among the featured events.  Come for the tree lighting ceremony and enjoy food and drink throughout the village. 

Zoar residents and supporters have much to celebrate this holiday season, with the news that the Army Corps is no longer considering removal of the levee that protects the town.  Show your appreciation by visiting the community or sharing a story about Zoar on SavingPlaces.org.  Happy Holidays!

Please check back often for additional updates on the Village of Zoar. Also, donate today to support the National Trust's ongoing work at this National Treasure.


Posted on November 22, 2013

JSandy headshotWritten by Jennifer Sandy, Project Manager

Village of Zoar garden fallThe Village of Zoar, the National Trust, and thousands of preservationists across the country are celebrating today after hearing the news that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is no longer considering removal of the levee that protects the town.  This means that the greatest threat to the Village of Zoar—relocation or demolition of the historic community—is off the table.  

The unexpected and very welcome news comes after months of study by the Army Corps, and reflects the Corps’ appreciation of Zoar’s historic and cultural importance.  They received over 2,000 comments in support of saving Zoar from people across the country and the world—many of which were sent by National Trust members and supporters.  They also completed exhaustive engineering studies of the levee and determined that it is no longer likely to fail under normal operating conditions, partly due to interim risk reduction measures taken since 2008.

We commend the Army Corps for their strong partnership in this project, along with the many other organizations and individuals that joined together to Save Zoar, including the Village of Zoar, Zoar Community Association, Ohio Historical Society, Heritage Ohio, and many more. 

Because the Zoar levee and diversion dam still have performance issues, the Army Corps plans to continue to assess the project and plan for repairs, but will streamline the remainder of the study and complete it within one year.  The National Trust will remain involved with this effort to ensure that repairs have minimal impact on the historic Village of Zoar. 

But for now, it’s time to celebrate a significant milestone for this National Treasure, and to thank all of you who took action in support—you made a difference!

Please check back often for additional updates on the Village of Zoar. Also, donate today to support the National Trust's ongoing work at this National Treasure.

Posted on November 07, 2013

JSandy headshotWritten by Jennifer Sandy, Project Manager

Zoar Store basement dairyThe Village of Zoar has been welcoming visitors since the late 1800s, and of course many things have changed since then.  But as I read this story of a trip to Zoar published in the New York Times in 1975, I was struck by how much has remained the same.  The town still retains that sense of peacefulness, and the same original Zoarite buildings still welcome tourists and visitors throughout the year.  The now-vacant hotel awaits a new use, but you can still climb to the top of the cupola for a perfect bird’s eye view of Zoar. 

But my favorite part is author Roy Bongartz’s observation: “So there is plenty to do in Zoar to take up a pleasant and full day, but the visitor will miss much if he doesn’t get into the real story of the people, because there is something in the atmosphere of well-being, of good proportion, of plain good vibes in Zoar that makes one just want to stay around and absorb it and try to find out where it comes from.”

He attributes the “good vibes” to the people of Zoar, remarking upon their “strange character of combined amiableness and toughness.”  This attitude is now serving the people of Zoar well as they make the case to the Army Corps of Engineers to protect the village from flooding. 

Join with the National Trust and the Village of Zoar by contacting the Army Corps of Engineers in support of saving this town, even more remarkable in 2013 than when the New York Times came to town nearly 40 years ago.

Please check back often for additional updates on the Village of Zoar. Also, donate today to support the National Trust's ongoing work at this National Treasure.

Posted on October 07, 2013

JSandy headshotWritten by Jennifer Sandy, Project Manager

Zoar fall scene1)  While the Village of Zoar is beautiful every season of the year, its fall colors are truly spectacular.  It’s the perfect time to take a tour – maybe even a ghost tour!  You may even encounter some spirits along the way…

2)  Celebrate Zoar’s German heritage with an authentic Oktoberfest dinner on October 19th.  All proceeds benefit Zoar Community Association’s restoration and preservation projects.  Enjoy a delicious meal catered by the Canal Tavern of Zoar, featuring traditional German cuisine and beer.  Reservations are required, call 800-262-6195.

3)  Be one of the first to bike on 2.7 miles of new Towpath Trail as part of the Ohio and Erie Canalway Coaltion’s Bike and Brew event.  The journey starts at Canal Lands Trailhead in Zoar and finishes with even more German-style fun at the Canal Tavern of Zoar, including food, drinks, a raffle, and a live band.  Biking or hiking the Towpath Trail is a great way to explore the beautiful countryside surrounding Zoar, including the Ohio and Erie Canalway National Heritage Area.

Come on, get out there and enjoy the beauty of fall before the dark days of winter approach.  Although, Zoar is very beautiful in the snow too… well, there’s always Christmas in Zoar!

Even if you can’t make it to Zoar this fall, show your support by letting the Army Corps know that you believe Zoar should be saved.

Please check back often for additional updates on the Village of Zoar. Also, donate today to support the National Trust's ongoing work at this National Treasure.


Posted on September 16, 2013

JSandy headshotWritten by Jennifer Sandy, Project Manager

The Village of Zoar had its day in the spotlight several weeks ago when the highest ranking official at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Lt. Gen. Bostick, visited the community.  The National Trust was there to impress upon him how important it is to save this National Treasure.

Village of Zoar from hotel cupola

Gen. Bostick visited Zoar at the invitation of Rep. Bob Gibbs, who has been very engaged in working to find an acceptable outcome for dealing with the levee at Zoar.  National Trust Executive Vice President and Chief Preservation Officer David Brown joined Gen Bostick, Rep. Gibbs, and other high-ranking Army Corps officials for a luncheon and tour of the Zoar levee and diversion dam. 

The meeting provided an excellent opportunity for the National Trust to share our commitment to Saving Zoar with the Army Corps at the highest level.  We continue to be very appreciative of the collaborative spirit with which Army Corps staff have approached the Zoar situation.  We were pleased that Gen. Bostick had the opportunity to visit Zoar in person — as preservationists, we all know there’s no substitute for experiencing the uniqueness of a historic place firsthand!

Please check back often for additional updates on the Village of Zoar. Also, donate today to support the National Trust's ongoing work at this National Treasure.


Posted on September 03, 2013

JSandy headshotWritten by Jennifer Sandy, Project Manager

This weekend is your chance to experience what life was like on the battlefield and the home front during the Civil War!  While no actual battles were fought in Zoar, period re-enactors discovered years ago that the Village of Zoar provides the perfect authentic backdrop to showcase Civil War-era life.  The weekend celebration hosted by the Zoar Community Association on September 7-8th is now Ohio’s largest Civil War reenactment.  This year’s event commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Chickamauga, fought September 19-20th, 1863.

Zoar Civil War ReenactmentOver 1,200 re-enactors will invade the Village of Zoar, setting up shops featuring period and reproduction items, and pitching tents with campfires, music, and more.  There will even be a Civil War-era wedding and a period ball where visitors can dress up and learn to dance.  The camps open at 9 a.m. both days, with demonstrations throughout the village.  Tickets include entry to all of Zoar’s museum buildings, where costumed volunteers will share stories about life during the Civil War era and the Zoarites’ pacifist views. 

This event only happens every 2 years, so you don’t want to miss it.  The future of this community is uncertain, since the Army Corps is studying options for the town’s levee – so visit now, and join the National Trust and our partners to help Save Zoar!   

Please check back often for additional updates on the Village of Zoar. Also, donate today to support the National Trust's ongoing work at this National Treasure.

Posted on August 23, 2013

JSandy headshotWritten by Jennifer Sandy, Project Manager

This month’s Harvest Festival in the Village of Zoar was a huge success!  Over 3,500 people visited the community, toured the historic buildings, enjoyed antiques and good food, and learned about how to help Save Zoar.  A major attraction was the Zoar Hotel, which was opened by the Zoar Community Association for mini-tours for the first time in 30 years!  

Save Zoar sign with kidsThroughout the 2-day festival, Zoar Community Association volunteers wearing “Save Zoar!” buttons circulated in the crowd, passing out pre-addressed postcards so that attendees could let the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers know that saving Zoar is important.  Over 1,000 of the postcards were collected and will be forwarded to the Army Corps.  This makes a huge statement about the importance of the Village of Zoar.  To join in showing your support, fill out our online form today

Stay tuned for details about next month’s Civil War Reenactment in Zoar, September 7-8th!

Please check back often for additional updates on the Village of Zoar. Also, donate today to support the National Trust's ongoing work at this National Treasure.

Posted on July 29, 2013

JSandy headshotWritten by Jennifer Sandy, Project Manager

Celebrate the summer harvest like a Zoarite this weekend in the Village of Zoar!  The 40th Annual Harvest Festival kicks off at 10 am on Saturday, August 3rd and runs until 5pm on Sunday, August 4th.  Experience what life was like for the Society of Separatists as artisans demonstrate 19th century methods in weaving, spinning, blacksmithing, butter churning, bee keeping, and even that most German of traditions—kraut making!   

Horse and wagon ride ZoarHop on a horse-drawn wagon, enjoy homemade German food and beer, and take in the live musical performances throughout the weekend.  Or, if you’re more of an antique buff, discover unique pieces at the nationally-renowned antique show and sale.  There’s even an antique car show, juried craft show, and art exhibition.  And did we mention the herding dogs and other working animals, providing a living link to Zoar’s agricultural past? 

Admission tickets are $8 for adults and free for children 12 and under, including access to all events and all of Zoar’s museum buildings, so now is the perfect time to visit this special community.  And while you’re there, take a moment to let the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers know that you support saving Zoar!  The National Trust is working with our partners to ensure that this unique place is still celebrating a Harvest Festival 40 years from now.  

Please check back often for additional updates on the Village of Zoar. Also, donate today to support the National Trust's ongoing work at this National Treasure.


Posted on July 12, 2013

JSandy headshotWritten by Jennifer Sandy, Project Manager

Zoar tin shop tornado fallen tree

Although the Village of Zoar lost several large black walnut and wild cherry trees in a severe storm on Wednesday night, the damage could have been much worse.  The Tin Shop suffered a few broken windows and a bit of roof damage but was thankfully spared from a direct hit when a tree was uprooted right next to the building. 

The Village of Zoar was lucky:  a tornado touched down only 5 miles away in Mineral City.  Cleanup in Zoar has already begun.  Show your support for the community by planning a visit today, “liking” the Zoar Community Association’s Facebook page, or joining the National Trust’s work to save this Village for future generations!

Please check back often for additional updates on the Village of Zoar. Also, donate today to support the National Trust's ongoing work at this National Treasure.

 

Posted on July 01, 2013

JSandy headshotWritten by Jennifer Sandy, Project Manager

As America prepares to celebrate the Fourth of July this week, now is the perfect time to reflect on the Village of Zoar’s history of independence.  The German Separatists who founded the community were seeking the freedom to live according to their own religious beliefs, and for over 80 years, the village thrived as an independent, communally-owned society. 

This excellent video from Western Reserve Public Media begins to tell that story, and the story of the battle Zoar is fighting today.  Join our work to save the Village of Zoar so that it can continue to teach future generations about the value of freedom and independence!

Please check back often for additional updates on the Village of Zoar. Also, donate today to support the National Trust's ongoing work at this National Treasure.

Posted on May 22, 2013

JSandy headshotWritten by Jennifer Sandy, Project Manager

The Village of Zoar’s best spring colors were on display for the May 15th visit of Paul Rubenstein, Federal Preservation Officer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  Paul is the national policy advisor and subject matter expert for Historic Preservation and Native American material culture issues for the Army Corps.

Zoar spring gardenStaff from the National Trust joined Paul and other Army Corps representatives for an in-depth tour of the Village of Zoar, led by Mayor Larry Bell and Zoar Community Association President Jon Elsasser.  We even got a sneak peek into the long-shuttered Zoar Hotel, which awaits a restoration and reuse plan.

Gaining a first-hand understanding of Zoar’s history and built environment is important to helping the Army Corps appreciate the implications of their decision about the future of Zoar levee.  We were pleased that Paul was able to experience the Village of Zoar and will share his impressions with decision-makers in the Army Corps’ DC office.

Please check back often for additional updates on the Village of Zoar. Also, donate today to support the National Trust's ongoing work at this National Treasure.

Posted on April 19, 2013

Zoar crafts on porchFounded in 1817 by a group of separatists who fled Germany in search of religious freedom, the Village of Zoar in Ohio provides visitors with a captivating look into nineteenth century life in the United States.  Tour the restored buildings, learn a hands-on craft, stroll through the garden, shop and dine, or stay overnight at a charming bed and breakfast—Zoar has something for everyone!

Celebrate the bounty of the harvest in Zoar with the 40th Annual Harvest Festival and Antique Show on August 3rd and 4th.  Over 60 high-quality antique dealers and craftspeople will sell their wares, and all the museum buildings in Zoar will be open to the public.  Visitors of all ages will enjoy wagon rides, food, and live music.

If you are a history buff, don't miss Ohio's largest and best Civil War reenactment, the Battle of Chickamauga on September 7th and 8th.  Over 1200 reenactors converge in the Village of Zoar to showcase Civil War era life on the battlefield and the home front.  Experience artillery and cavalry demonstrations, visit the museums, shop for unique reproduction items, enjoy food and entertainment, and attend the Civil War Ball.

Make Zoar your home base for a weekend exploring the Ohio countryside!  Hike or bike the towpath trail, take a ride on a passenger train, shop and dine in Tuscarawas County’s unique small towns, or experience nearby Amish country.  The Village of Zoar is located just outside Akron/Canton, with easy access off I-77, about an hour from Cleveland or an easy two hours from Pittsburgh and Columbus.

For more information on these and the other many events in Zoar this summer, visit the Zoar Community Association website.

Posted on March 14, 2013

JSandy headshotWritten by Jennifer Sandy, Project Manager

You wouldn’t necessarily think that the 3-inch think “Zoar Historic Property Baseline Study” prepared by Hardlines Design Company for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would make fascinating reading, but you would be mistaken—especially if you love history!  Consultants from Hardlines Design spent months researching the Village of Zoar’s history, built environment, and landscape. 

Their research paints a picture of a thriving, nearly self-sufficient community that captured the imagination of tourists and artists as early as the 1860s.  Within 20 years of its founding in 1817, the Separatists of Zoar were selling products as varied as iron stoves, pottery, flour, cheese, wine, and dried apples to locations as far away as New York and Philadelphia.  In addition to raising sheep, cows, horses, geese, and chickens, the Separatists planted fruit orchards in the middle of every block in town, and even developed two varieties of fruit, the Zoar Pear and the Zoar Sweeting Apple. 

Village of Zoar garden

Visitors flocked to picturesque Zoar for picnics, boating, and relaxation.  Cleveland artists known as the “Old Bohemians” established a summer art colony at Zoar, leaving a legacy of paintings primarily in the Impressionist style.  The village became a regional art destination in the 1880s, hosting artists such as August Biehle and Frederick Gottwald.  Remarkably, 83 buildings dating to the Separatist era remain in Zoar today, giving the visitor an authentic sense of 19th century life.

If you’re dying to read the “Zoar Historic Property Baseline Study,” now’s your chance.  The public has until March 29th to submit comments to the Army Corps.  You can find an Executive Summary of the Draft Historic Property Baseline Study and the Community Impacts Baseline Study on their website, and you can email your comments to zoarlevee@usace.army.mil

And don’t forget to let the Army Corps know that you support saving the Village of Zoar!

Please check back often for additional updates on the Village of Zoar. Also, donate today to support the National Trust's ongoing work at this National Treasure.


Posted on February 20, 2013

JSandy headshotWritten by Jennifer Sandy, Project Manager

Zoar Number One HouseOver the past several months, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been at work on a series of reports to help the agency better understand the Village of Zoar, including its history, buildings, environment, and community. 

On the evening of March 7th, the Army Corps will present the findings of those studies at a public meeting at the Tusky Valley High School from 7:30-10:00 pm.  They want to hear from you!  Is their information correct?  Can you add anything about particular Zoar buildings or the community of Zoar?  

If you're not in the Zoar area and can't attend the meeting in person but still want to learn more, the Army Corps has posted an Executive Summary of the Draft Historic Property Baseline Study and the Community Impacts Baseline Study on their website, and you can email your comments to zoarlevee@usace.army.mil.  A Draft Terrestrial and Aquatic Habitat Baseline Study will also be available soon.

This is an important step that will help ensure that effects to historical, environmental, and community resources are considered during formulation, evaluation and comparison alternatives to address dam safety risks to Zoar Village.  It's critical that the Army Corps has accurate baseline information-- so make your voice heard!

Please check back often for additional updates on the Village of Zoar. Also, donate today to support the National Trust's ongoing work at this National Treasure.


Posted on January 17, 2013

JSandy headshotWritten by Jennifer Sandy, Project Manager

Zoar School House with Save Historic Zoar sign

When the National Trust named the Village of Zoar to our list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places last year, one of our goals was to help raise awareness about this special place and the threat it is facing.  The more people who know and appreciate Zoar, the more voices in the choir calling for its preservation!

Yesterday, working with the Zoar Community Association (ZCA) and the Ohio Historical Society (OHS), we began the process of adding another powerful tool to our public awareness arsenal.  ZCA released a Request for Proposals (RFP) seeking consultants to prepare an Outreach Plan for the Village of Zoar.  The Outreach Plan will help us raise awareness about why the Village is important and how people can get involved by taking action to help save Zoar.  The Outreach Plan is funded in part through a National Trust Preservation Fund grant.

Responses to the RFP are due February 13, 2013.  Our coalition of partners will be working closely with the selected consultants as the Outreach Plan is created, and we look forward to ramping up our public awareness activities during tourism season this spring and summer.  Stay tuned!

Please check back often for additional updates on the Village of Zoar. Also, donate today to support the National Trust's ongoing work at this National Treasure.

Posted on November 20, 2012

JSandy headshotWritten by Jennifer Sandy, Project Manager

David Brown trip to Zoar

On Friday, November 16th, I had the pleasure of visiting the Village of Zoar with the National Trust’s Executive Vice President and Chief Preservation Officer David Brown, and Vice President for Government Relations and Policy Tom Cassidy.  We were joined by a great group of people who are collaborating in the effort to save Zoar, including Zoar Mayor Larry Bell, Zoar Community Association President Jon Elsasser, Ohio Historical Society’s George Kane and Todd Kleismit, Ohio Historic Preservation Office’s Mark Epstein, US Army Corps of Engineers representatives Aaron Smith, Rodney Cremains, and Brian Maka, Dan Rice of the Ohio and Erie Canalway Coalition, Jeff Seigler and Christie Chapman from Heritage Ohio, and Steve George from the office of Governor Kasich. 

There’s nothing like visiting the village of Zoar in person to appreciate the special character of this historic place, and to fully comprehend what a tragedy it would be to lose this community.  The National Trust is committed to continue working with our partners to find a solution that preserves this special place.

Please check back often for additional updates on the Village of Zoar. Also, donate today to support the National Trust's ongoing work at this National Treasure.

Posted on November 06, 2012

JSandy headshotWritten by Jennifer Sandy, Project Manager

Watch this short video, created by the Ohio Historical Society, for an inside look into the restoration work now underway at the Village of Zoar’s Bimeler House!

Please check back often for additional updates on the Village of Zoar. Also, donate today to support the National Trust's ongoing work at this National Treasure.

Posted on October 22, 2012

JSandy headshotWritten by Jennifer Sandy, Project Manager

Bimeler House restoration Village of ZoarRestoration work on the 1868 Bimeler House in Zoar continues – and the house has now successfully been lifted 14 inches off its foundation! After a new concrete slab is poured and the house is lowered back down onto the repaired foundation, the interior will need to be restored so that the house can welcome visitors again.

The Ohio Historical Society is seeking funding for the interior restoration.

And by the way – the fall colors in the Village of Zoar have been phenomenal this year. Stay tuned to www.PreservationNation.org in the next week for a slideshow of the historic town in all its fall glory!

Please check back often for additional updates on the Village of Zoar. Also, donate today to support the National Trust's ongoing work at this National Treasure.

Posted on October 09, 2012

JSandy headshotWritten by Jennifer Sandy, Project Manager

The Bimeler House in the Village of ZoarImportant repair work is underway at the Bimeler House in Zoar, illustrating very clearly the potential threats posed to the Village of Zoar by flooding. The Bimeler House was built in 1868 as a residence for the manager of the Zoar Hotel. It is one of only a few brick houses in the village and is prominently located facing the central garden. The Ohio Historical Society has owned the Bimeler House since 1942, and it is managed by the Zoar Community Association as one of the many museum properties in the village. 

However, the Bimeler House has been closed to the public since 2005, when record flooding caused severe foundation cracking and destroyed the heating and electrical systems. The Ohio Historical Society has now begun a $700,000 restoration project, starting by lifting the 655-ton building off its foundation so that a ten-inch thick reinforced concrete slab can be poured underneath. The foundation walls will then be rebuilt, strengthened, and extended, and the stone vaults characteristic of the Bimeler House and many other Zoar buildings will be reinstalled. Concurrently, the Ohio Historical Society is undertaking archaeological investigations that may provide new information about daily life in Zoar during the mid-1800s.

The Ohio Historical Society's investment in the Bimeler House restoration speaks to their firm commitment to ensuring that the Village of Zoar is protected for future generations. The National Trust stands with the Ohio Historical Society and our other coalition partners to help save historic Zoar.

Please check back often for additional updates on the Village of Zoar. Also, donate today to support the National Trust's ongoing work at this National Treasure.

Posted on September 20, 2012

JSandy headshotWritten by Jennifer Sandy, Project Manager

The Village of Zoar

Great news for the Village of Zoar! Ohio Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman have introduced a bi-partisan bill that would require the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to preserve Zoar’s historic integrity as it studies ways to manage the aging levee. 

National Trust staff had an early opportunity to provide input to improve the legislation. In a press release, National Trust President Stephanie Meeks said, “We applaud Senators Brown and Portman for taking this important step to protect the village and for their leadership in introducing legislation that preserves the historic integrity of Zoar.” 

We look forward to continuing to work with the senators and other leaders in Congress to ensure Zoar’s preservation. 

Please check back often for additional updates on the Village of Zoar. Also, donate today to support the National Trust's ongoing work at this National Treasure.

Posted on September 04, 2012

JSandy headshotWritten by Jennifer Sandy, Project Manager

This year’s Harvest Festival was a great success, and we were able to reach even more people with our message about the threats to Zoar Village.

Over 2,500 people turned out for the festival, and volunteers passed out pre-addressed postcards so that attendees could contact the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in support of saving the village. The Corps has now received over 400 of these postcards! Make your voice heard, send a message to the Corps today!

Please check back often for additional updates on the Village of Zoar. Also, donate today to support the National Trust's ongoing work at this National Treasure.

Posted on July 30, 2012

JSandy headshotWritten by Jennifer Sandy, Project Manager

If you’re wondering why the National Trust named the Village of Zoar as a National Treasures, this would be a good weekend to visit and find out!

This Saturday and Sunday, August 4th and 5th, Zoar hosts the 39th annual Harvest Festival to honor a longstanding Zoarite tradition of celebrating the final gathering of summer wheat. You can try your hand at period reenactments and demonstrations like blacksmithing, butter churning, weaving, and bee keeping. Enjoy homemade German food and beer while checking out one of the country’s best antique shows and sales, the craft show, and art exhibits. 

The Harvest Festival is a two day event, running Saturday, August 4th, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and Sunday, August 5th, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is $7 for adults and free for children less than 12 years of age.

Please check back often for additional updates on the Village of Zoar. Also, donate today to support the National Trust's ongoing work at this National Treasure.

Posted on June 18, 2012

JSandy headshotWritten by Jennifer Sandy, Project Manager

I’m Jennifer Sandy, the National Trust's project manager for the Village of Zoar. I’ll be providing frequent updates as we work with the Zoar Community Association, Save Historic Zoar, Ohio Historical Society, Heritage Ohio, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and others to save this important historic village. Please check back often to learn more.

Being in Zoar two weeks ago when we announced that the Village was included on the National Trust’s list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places really reinforced why we are all working to protect this special place. Zoar speaks for itself. Anyone who visits the town needs no further explanation of why it’s worth saving. But the gorgeous sunny day and the flowers blooming everywhere didn’t hurt either! If you ignored the occasional car or truck driving through town, you almost felt like you had traveled back in time to see the village the way the Zoarites did, over 150 years ago. 

Check out these links covering Zoar's inclusion on the National Trust's endangered list:

Please check back often for additional updates on the Village of Zoar. Also, donate today to support the National Trust's ongoing work at this National Treasure.

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Jill Devine Coverdale on August 07, 2013
I grew up in Zoar Village. It was a wonderful place to grow up!! I always felt safe in our small community and love that I can now take my children there to see everything and share my stories of when I was a kid growing up there. The history of the town is very educational and has been lovingly taken care of all of these years. It is still the home of my parents, my sister and her family and I still call it home. I love that my kids get to sled ride on the same levee and I did as a kid and play at the playground at the school house and even go down that scary sliding board just as I did so long ago. I tell them about the big barn as it was still there was I was a kid and about all the things they brought out of it when it had to be taken down. Also how there use to be an ice cream parlor at the side of the hotel and what the hotel looked like inside when it was a restaurant. Please protect these precious memories and the town I grew up in as I am sure a lot of us have these same memories.
David McCann on February 28, 2013
Walking back in history - and a determined group of immigrants from Nassau - Province of Baden Wurttemberg Germany - my grandfather and grandmother (2X) coming to Zoar in 1854 - who believed in religious freedom having been persecuted by the Lutheran Church in the province. Both Johann Heinrich Pfeiffer and his wife Margaret Lauchs Pfeiffer would join the community and later realize the reward of their labors - later moving to Canal Dover and buying a farm. Their son - my great grandfather - John W. Pfeiffer - because of the hard work of his parents was able to attend the Hopedale Normal College where he would become a teacher coming, later, back to Tuscarawas County and commit his life to education. Without Zoar - without their being respect for religious freedom - there would be no story to tell. "Give me your tired... your poor... your huddled masses yearning to breathe free..." So in saving Zoar - you are saving a light house - a beacon - a center of freedom for religious and economic freedom!
Diane Saxton on October 14, 2012
My daughter and I can mark our "great memories" timeline with visits to Zoar Village over the span of 15 years as she grew up. We've stayed in the bed and breakfasts there, gone to Harvest Festivals in August, and Christmas in Zoar celebrations. We've gone together to workshops at The Stamp Pad and The Zoar Schoolhouse, met other wonderful Zoarites at the Tavern and even attended the Civil War Reenactments. My daughter now is almost 40 and I am 70 and we will always treasure the village that helped us bond together. She is anxious to instill a love of history in her kids as I did in mine all those years ago. Please do not destory this little Tuscarawas JEWEL for future generations. Please find a solution to the Zoar Levee.
Leslie Graham on August 26, 2012
I love Zoar. What a fabulous treasure. The community garden is incredible and the buildings irreplaceable. Please help save Zoar. And if you are ever near Akron_canton take a drive to Zoar. You will be amazed. You don't have to go to Virginia or New England to go back 200 years. Check out Hudson while you are there. Settled in 1799 as part of the Connecticut Western Reserve...another treasure that always needs protecting.
J.S. on June 06, 2012
Visiting Zoar is like stepping back in time. Walking through the garden, visiting the restored houses and shops, learning about the community's fascinating history, you really begin to understand what life was like for the town's earliest settlers. Zoar must be saved so it can continue to tell its remarkable story.
Frank Quinn on June 06, 2012
It's amazing to think that places as special as Zoar, nearly 200 years old, still exist here in Ohio. When we work to preserve Zoar, we know we are honoring our predecessors' best efforts. We today have the honor and responsibility of stewarding this resource and maintaining the tangible link from past to future that we as preservationists strive toward.

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