Known as the ‘Buckeye State’ after the Buckeye trees that line the Ohio River Valley, Ohio’s name comes from an Iroquois word meaning ‘Great River’. Besides natural its natural assets, Ohio has many famous links. From inventors such as Thomas Edison and James Ritty to Hollywood blockbusters’ The Shawshank Redemption’ and ‘Air Force One’ filmed at one of its most famous landmarks, the Ohio State Reformatory.
Sugarcreek, nicknamed the Little Switzerland of Ohio, houses the worlds largest functional cuckoo clock. Ohio is also home to an unusual phenomenon, the Cuyahoga River, which has caught fire 13 times. The polluted river caught fire when sparks from passing trains entered the water. Following a fire in 1969, Congress decided to clean up polluted areas and established the Environmental Protection Agency.
Seven United States presidents were born in Ohio, with many landmarks set up in their honour. Presidents born in the ‘Mother of Modern Presidents’ state include Ulysses S. Grant, Benjamin Harrison and William H. Taft.
Ohio also has significant links to aviation, with the Wright brothers, 24 astronauts and Neil Armstrong all being from the state. Ohio is a state with nature, history and fame working in harmony to create a must-visit destination. Here are 20 incredible landmarks you cannot miss in Ohio.
- Ohio Landmarks
- Famous Landmarks in Ohio
- Natural Ohio Landmarks
- Historic Landmarks in Ohio
Famous Landmarks in Ohio
1- Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Peter Townshend, Chuck Berry, Billy Joel and other famous rock and roll musicians broke ground at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in June 1993.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame officially opened in 1995 with a benefit concert.
The museum aims to teach, engage and inspire people from all walks of life through rock n roll and is packed with interactive exhibits, programs and concerts.
Although the museum is a magnet for its rock memorabilia, don’t forget to admire the building’s architecture.
New artists (eligible 25 years after releasing their first recording) are inducted into the Hall of Fame every year.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is at 1100 Rock and Roll Boulevard, Cleveland, Ohio 44114.
2- Pro Football Hall of Fame
The Pro Football Hall of Fame celebrates American Football as a sport and celebrates the men who made the sport famous.
Through interactive exhibitions, the Hall of Fame shares stories from sports history, memorabilia and its legacy across the decades.
There are currently 326 members of the Hall of Fame who are nicknamed Gold Jackets after the jackets they receive upon being inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Pro Football Hall of Fame is at 2121 George Halas Dr NW, Canton, OH 44708.
3- National Museum of the United States Air Force
The National Museum of the United States Air Force is the largest military aviation museum in the world.
The museum is filled with many galleries exploring various areas of the air force, including the presidential gallery, missile gallery, and galleries showing aircraft used in multiple wars, including WWII and the Cold War.
Examples of aircraft and technology are on display, often with other artefacts from the time.
The museum also restores military aircraft to preserve the history of the US Air Force.
1100 Spaatz Street, Wright Patterson AFB, OH 45433.
4- Ohio State Reformatory
Ohio State Penitentiary and Reformatory is one of the most haunted locations in the United States.
Levi T. Scofield designed the prison, which authorities opened on September 15th 1896.
The building was constructed on land that was a Union army training ground during the American Civil War.
It spans 250,000 square feet (23,225 square meters), and its East Cell Block of six floors and 600 cells is the largest freestanding steel cell block in the world.
The prison had a reputation for poor living conditions, sometimes confining up to four prisoners in its small cells.
Today Ohio State Reformatory is open to the public for ghost tours through its now empty corridors and cellblocks.
Ohio State Reformatory is at 100 Reformatory Road, Mansfield, OH 44905.
5- Armstrong Air and Space Museum
Named after NASA astronaut and Ohio resident Neil Armstrong, the Armstrong Air and Space Museum celebrates the space program.
The museum opened in 1972 and has a unique architectural design of the Earth mounted around a steel structure, giving the impression that the museum is underground.
Armstrong Air and Space Museum has regularly changing exhibits to keep up with space science and technology development.
A central attraction is displays and artefacts that tell Neil Armstrong’s story.
Look out for the Gemini VIII spacecraft, Armstrong’s spacesuits from his Gemini and Apollo missions, and even some moon rocks.
Armstrong Air and Space Museum is at 5000 Apollo Drive, Wapakoneta, OH 45895.
6- Westside Market
Westside Market is Cleveland’s oldest indoor marketplace, where more than 100 market stalls sell various goods, including spices, seafood and flowers.
The market opened in 1840 and has been continually developed and redesigned in its 180 years of serving the public.
Benjamin Hubble and W. Dominick Benes designed the marketplace, which has a distinctive clock tower.
This Cleveland landmark is 137ft (42m) and has overlooked the market for over 100 years.
Westside Market is at 1979 W 25th St, Cleveland, OH 44113.
7- Yoders Amish Home
Eli and Gloria Yoder purchased the Amish Home and surrounding farmlands in 1972.
They intended the home to be opened to the public to give an insight into Amish life.
Both Eli and Gloria were part of Amish communities and want to share their experiences.
The home reflects a traditional Amish home and working farm. The 1885 barn is in excellent condition.
Visitors can explore the home to see how different life is in Amish communities and spend time with the animals on the farm.
The home offers guided tours, visits to the schoolhouse and has an on-site gift shop and bakery.
Yoders Amish Home is 6050 State Route 515, Millersburg, OH 44654.
8- Scioto Lounge Deer Sculptures
Sculptor Terry Allen created a series of three bronze anthropomorphic deer sculptures in Genoa Park and nearby Rich Street Bridge.
Allen created the sculptures following learning that the Shawnee word for “deer hair” was “Scioto” because the Shawnee people found deer hair floating in the area’s water when they first arrived.
The sculptures are unusual in their depiction of deer behaving like humans, however, Allen believes this makes them more interesting and attractive to people visiting the park.
Scioto Lounge Deer Sculptures is at Genoa Park, 303 W Broad St, Columbus, OH 43215.
9- Free Stamp at Willard Park
Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen designed and created the unusual Free Stamp sculpture, which has become a recognisable Ohio landmark.
The sculpture weighs 35 tons and measures 49ft (15m) long and 28ft (8.5m) tall, making it the world’s largest office stamp.
The giant stamp, displayed in Willard Park, is made from aluminium and steel.
It was commissioned in 1982 and was intended to be placed in a public square.
Following various land purchases and much controversy, the stamp was left abandoned in a warehouse until it was finally moved to the park in 1991.
Free Stamp at Willard Park is in Cleveland, OH 44114.
Natural Ohio Landmarks
10- Old Man’s Cave
Old Man’s Cave takes its name from a hermit named Richard Rose, who lived in the cave during the 1700s.
Rowe moved to the Ohio River Valley in the late 1700s and is buried beneath the ledge of the main cave.
During a trip to hunt for game with his dogs, he came across the Hocking Region, where he spent his days.
The cave is in a gorge along Old Mans Creek in an area filled with waterfalls, thick forest and stunning vistas.
Old Mans Cave is at 19852 OH-664, Logan, OH 43138.
11- The Rock House
The Rock House is considered to be the only true cave in the Hocking Hills region.
The cave forms a tunnel midway up a 260ft (79m) cliff and was formed due to water seeping through the cracks in the sandstone over thousands of years, which gently eroded the rocks.
Inside the cave are ceilings 25ft (8m) tall.
The rock has had many uses during its history, including a shelter and a baking oven used by Native Americans.
The Rock House is at 16350 OH-374, Laurelville, OH 43135.
12- Brandywine Falls
Brandywine Falls cascades over a 60ft (18m) drop carved out of the bedrock by Brandywine Creek.
Visitors can get close enough to the falls to feel the power of the water by using the boardwalks and steps.
Many visitors head to the falls to explore its geology as the rocks that make up the falls differ in form.
The hard rock serves as a protective layer for the softer rocks below, while the soft rock consists of layers of sandstone, Bedford and Cleveland shale.
The rocks morphed out of the mud on the seafloor that covered the area more than 350 million years ago.
Brandywine Falls is at 15610 Vaughn Road, Brecksville, OH 44141.
13- Serpent Mound
Serpent Mound is a prehistoric effigy mound, now designated as a National Historic Landmark.
The mound is 1348ft (411m) long and sits along the Ohio Bush Creek in Adams County.
The mound varies in height as it curves across the landscape.
The serpent’s head is a cliff above a stream, and its mouth is open and appears to be eating an egg, with the rest of the snake coiling seven times.
The serpent is made from clay and ash and is covered in soil and grass.
It is believed that the serpent dates back to 1070AD.
Serpent Mound is at 3850 OH-73, Peebles, OH 45660.
14- Glacial Grooves
The Glacial Grooves are the largest accessible glacial grooves in the world.
The grooves are on Kelleys island, which is accessible almost year-round, as long as the weather permits, via a ferry from the mainland.
The grooves are 400ft (122m) long, 35ft (11m) wide and 10ft (3m) deep.
They were formed from ice which easily carved the soft limestone bedrock and date back to 18,000 years ago.
In the area are many marine fossils from between 350 to 400 million years ago.
Glacial Grooves is at 739 Division St, Kelleys Island, OH 43438.
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Historic Landmarks in Ohio
15- Ohio State House
The Greek Revival style Ohio State House was built between 1839 and 1861.
It’s one of the United States’ oldest working statehouses.
Within the statehouse are the General Assembly, the House of Representatives and the Senate.
The statehouse also features a museum and education centre, which shows visitors the history of the building and Ohio.
Look out for the memorial sign where Abraham Lincoln gave a speech on the steps of the building before becoming president.
Ohio State House is at 1 Capitol Square, Columbus, OH 43215.
16- Thomas Edison’s Birthplace Museum
Did you know that Thomas Edison was born in Milan (Ohio), in 1847?
The house he lived in has been transformed into a museum dedicated to his life and his inventions.
The house features rare inventions from his early years, documents and, of course, family mementos and artefacts.
The museum was opened in 1947 by Edison’s wife and his daughter in dedication to his life works.
Much of the house has been restored to its 19th-century appearance but, sadly, most of the original furniture was either lost or destroyed in a fire.
Thomas Edison’s Birthplace Museum is at 9 North Edison Drive, Milan, OH 44846.
17- Cincinnati Observatory
The Cincinnati Observatory is the USA’s oldest professional observatory and is appropriately known as the birthplace of American astronomy.
It’s home to one of the oldest working telescopes in the world and was the first public observatory in the Western Hemisphere.
It’s no wonder the 19th-century observatory is a designated National Historic Landmark.
The observatory is still used by professional astronomers today but is also open to the public.
The observatory runs an education program with fascinating talks on astronomy and holds classes currently available online.
Cincinnati Observatory is at 3489 Observatory Pl. Cincinnati, OH 45208.
18- Annie Oakley’s Grave
Born in Ohio, Annie Oakley became one of the sharpest shots in the west. Oakley became part of many Wild West shows, including Buffalo Bills Wild West.
She performed incredible stunts at the shows, including shooting bullseyes on targets while standing on the back of a galloping horse.
Annie was an advocate for women’s rights and taught more than 15,000 women how to shoot.
Despite her daredevil lifestyle, she sadly died of anaemia in 1926, her husband dying of grief only 18 days after.
The pair are buried together in a rock cemetery.
Annie Oakley’s grave is at 11775-11791 Greenville St Mary’s Rd, Versailles, OH 45380.
19- James A Garfield Memorial and Tomb
The James A Garfield Memorial and Tomb is the only presidential memorial to house the casket of a late president.
Garfield was president for four months before he was shot in 1881 by a disgruntled office-seeker.
He died 11 weeks after the incident due to incompetence in his medical care.
The memorial was dedicated in 1890 and features a two-story tower built in the gothic and classical architectural styles.
The memorial’s five terracotta panels tell the president’s life story, from being born in a log cabin to becoming a university professor and his brief presidency.
James A Garfield Memorial and Tomb is at 12316 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH 44106.
20- Ida Saxton McKinley Historic Home
The Ida Saxton McKinley Historic Home houses the National First Ladies Library.
The home is a traditional two and three-story brick building built between 1841 and 1865.
It takes its name from president William McKinley and his wife Ida, who lived in the home between 1878 and 1891.
The library has been open since 1991 and houses documentation on the 41 First Ladies of America and other prominent American women throughout history.
Ida Saxton McKinley House is at 331 Market Ave S, Canton, OH 44702.
21- National Veterans Memorial Museum
The National Veterans Memorial Museum is a monument that pays homage to veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces.
The impressive spiral concrete structure is an innovative design with a glass curtain wall system.
It has a Great Hall with views of the Scioto River and galleries that follow the curve of the rings.
The Remembrance Gallery on the second floor honours fallen heroes and the Memorial Grove is a peaceful place to contemplate.
22- The Cleveland Sign
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