Quaker Heritage Scenic Byway officially launched

Ohio’s latest scenic byway has been launched in southwest Ohio.

The Quaker Heritage Scenic Byway includes the major sites of Ohio Quaker settlements in Wilmington and Waynesville. Travelers along the byway will find Quaker historical societies, the Quaker Heritage Center at Wilmington College, the Clinton County Historical Society, the Museum at the Friends Home, the Waynesville Chamber of Commerce, as well as current and historical Quaker meetinghouses. The byway also includes historical points of interest with ties to the Quaker heritage of the area like the first school for free African Americans in Harveysburg.

The 54-mile long byway 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.

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 embedded in the SW Ohio landscape. These layers, identified through historical research, digital mapping, and told through rich interactive narratives, create a greater historical consciousness of Ohio’s rich and multifaceted histories leading to a greater sense of state identity and connectivity.

“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,” said Dr. Tanya Maus, director of the Quaker Heritage Center at Wilmington College.

The first wave of Quaker settlers arrived from the Carolinas shortly after 1790. They were drawn by the promise of rich farmland and a territory free of slavery. By 1810, the Quaker population was so great in Clinton County that its county seat was named Wilmington in honor of Wilmington, North Carolina. Quaker meetinghouses stretched across Clinton and Warren counties, creating interconnected communities between the larger settlements of Wilmington and Waynesville. The legacy of this settlement, including the founding of Wilmington College by local Quakers in 1870, continues to shape the region.

“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,” said ODOT Byways Coordinator Thomas Barrett. “The Ohio Byway designation helps to promote regional tourism and unique travel experience to visitors throughout Ohio.”

The Quaker Heritage Scenic Byway is our 28th Ohio Byway.

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