This is one of a series of guest posts by Abigail Van Gelder, who with her husband, Josh, is journeying across the country on the Library’s “Gateway to Knowledge” traveling exhibition:
Congressman Charlie Wilson from Ohio stopped by to welcome guests to the Gateway To Knowledge exhibit on its first day in Marietta; he was joined by Mayor Michael Mullen. Both officials had a chance to speak to an Honors English class from Marietta College about their connection to the Library of Congress. I think that Mr. Wilson could have done the tours on his own. It was a treat to have them both join us. Marietta had quite a bit in store for us, including more rain.
Every community we visit has something special about it, but to have claim as the first settlement in a state holds some weight. Even our hotel was thick with historical connections; located at the confluence of the Ohio and Muskingum Rivers, the Hotel Lafayette lodged us for three days and had some adventure of its own in store for us.
They call this a grand riverboat-era hotel, the name coming from Marquis de Lafayette, aide and trusted friend of George Washington. Lafayette was also an original American tourist and visited the area by riverboat in the early 1800s. We must have been channeling his adventurous spirit and took a step back in time because the power went out one evening and the hotel needed to be illuminated by candles. The hotel employees came around to check on guests and drop off tea lamps for lighting our rooms.
We were so well taken care of, the chef even made my breakfast into a smiley face in the morning. While Josh was taking Pippi out for an evening stroll, he passed a flood marker showing that in the past 100 years the town has had its own battles with Mother Nature, and had a high flood stage of 58 feet in 1913. Josh roughly figured that would put the water level around the baseboards of our second-story room.
Fortunately, though, the rain let up on our final afternoon and we finished our event in Marietta under blue skies. After spending the last week in the rain we welcomed waking up to up to sunshine for our drive through the fall colors to Twinsburg, OH. We hope this fine weather sticks around a little longer.