Take Note from an Explorer: Spend Time on the Water!

Crowds gathered along the Muskingum River for a water carnival in Marietta, Ohio, July 4, 1908. Courtesy of the Washington County Public Library via Ohio Memory.
Illustration of Alexandrine Tinné from The Heroine of the White Nile, via the State Library of Ohio Rare Books Collection on Ohio Memory.

Explorer Alexandrine Tinné was a woman of gumption, as shown in the biography Heroine of the White Nile by Professor William Wells, which tells of her travels along the Nile River. For many of us, Tinné’s story is the closest we’ll get to the Nile, but if you are traveling this summer, consider following her lead and explore bodies of water that are easier to visit: Ohio’s lakes, rivers, and canals.

Born in Holland in 1839, Ms. Tinné’s upbringing encouraged adventurous ambitions. By her early adulthood, Alexandrine’s visits to the Courts of Europe and Norway furthered her wish to explore, so she, her mother, and her aunt set to the south and procured a villa in Cairo, Egypt. This trio later planned an expedition along the Upper Nile River that “made them famous for their astonishing endurance and the courage with which they met and overcame the difficulties that rose up against them” (p. 28). It was Alexandrine’s courage and desire for adventure that set her apart in her time. Though she, her mother and aunt faced extreme danger, Alexandrine never let fear deter her travels, making her an exceptional role model for those also wishing to find adventure.

Marblehead Lighthouse, from the Wood County District Public Library via Ohio Memory.

Though not terribly close to the Nile River, Ohio has many great canals, lakes, ponds, and rivers worth exploration, with over 3,300 named rivers and streams and over 60,000 lakes, ponds, and reservoirs. Lake Erie, one of the Great Lakes and the northern boundary of Ohio, is one of the warmest Great Lakes and has 871 miles of shoreline, including its islands. There are a total of 31 islands in Lake Erie, the most popular being Put-In-Bay and Kelleys Island. The Ohio River serves as the southern border to Ohio. It is roughly 900 miles long, beginning near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and ending in Cairo, Illinois, roughly 6,407 miles from the Cairo Ms. Tinné explored. Both Lake Erie and the Ohio River boast beautiful attractions, ranging from BB Riverboats cruises in Cincinnati to Marblehead Lighthouse tours in Marblehead.

Ohio also has 83 state parks, many of which contain stunning lakes, ponds, and rivers. Located in Portsmouth, Ohio, Adams Lake State Park offers visitors to the small and unique park a scenic view of prairie lands and its lake, as well as primitive campsites, fishing, and boating. In Steubenville, Beaver Creek State Park not only has 2,722 acres of forest, but also the Little Beaver Creek State and National Wild and Scenic River, and a 2,105-acre wildlife area, nature preserve, and nature center. East Fork State Park in Clermont County is one of the largest state parks in Ohio at 4,870 acres. This park advertises forested hills, rocky cascades, marshy grasslands, and a 1,200-foot swimming beach.

Whether you are just passing by or making a visit, Ohio’s canals, lakes, ponds, and rivers offer a wide variety of views and activities. From Lake Erie to the Ohio River, finding adventures in Ohio is easy, so take a page from Ms. Tinné’s book and explore the water in Ohio this summer.

Thank you to Lindsay Cardwell for this week’s post! Lindsay is a graduate student at Kent State University and is completing a practicum in the Research & Catalog Services department of the State Library of Ohio.

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