Check back for updates regarding the Quaker Scenic Byway as we progress to opening in spring 2020!
In spring 2020 Warren and Clinton counties will be home to a scenic byway that will highlight Quaker heritage in the two counties. The approximately 50-mile Quaker Heritage Scenic Byway would stretch from Wilmington in Clinton County to the Warren County communities of Harveysburg, Corwin and Waynesville. The project was begun several years ago, and representatives are now seeking final approval from the Ohio Department of Transportation for the designation.
Several years ago, the Quaker Heritage Center at Wilmington College received a $10,000 gift from an anonymous donor specifically designated for the development of a Quaker scenic byway through ODOTs scenic byway program to bring tourism to the Wilmington area. The gift covers the initial expenses and allows officials to sustain it. Signs will mark the byway.
The first Quakers in Southwestern Ohio came from the Carolinas around 1805, seeking good farm land and wanting to establish anti-slave communities. The flood of Quakers that came to Clinton and Warren counties happened in the 1830s. Some Quaker families in Southwestern Ohio participated in the Underground Railroad.
A list of proposed sites for the byway features at least 40 locations, including the Quaker Heritage Center at Wilmington College and the Museum at the Friends Home in Waynesville. The Museum at the Friends Home in Waynesville is in a 1905 Quaker boarding home. The Religious Society of Friends built it as a retirement home for Quakers and it stayed that way until around 1988. The building was considered a modern marvel because it had indoor plumbing -the only place in the county to have it in 1905. The building also had electricity. The museum, which opened in 2000, has 25 exhibit rooms that highlight the history of Waynesville and its small surrounding communities. For example, there is a room for Oregonia.
The museum also houses the history of the migration of the Quakers from South Carolina to escape slavery. Quakers settled in Springboro, Waynesville, Harveysburg and Wilmington. This part of Southwestern Ohio was a major settlement area for Quakers coming up from the Carolinas in the years leading up to the Civil War. Wilmington College was founded by Quakers in 1870.
Ohio has at least 27 scenic byways, including ones that are part of the America’s Byways program, according to ODOT. The proposed byway in Clinton and Warren counties would be the only Quaker heritage scenic byway in the state.