I'll explain why I went to the Herb Faire in a bit but for now just accept that I did. It was a real herb faire with lots of herbs (those tables were almost empty when I left) and even an "Herb of the Year". There were re-enactors giving lessons in nineteenth century cooking and demonstrating nineteenth century wood working techniques. There were musicians and a nature walk. As the guided nature walk was setting out I, who had obviously walked the loop backwards, was just returning from mine and met them. I missed the benefit of the guide but did see some nature. The circa 1860 Saylor-Swartsel house has been turned into a museum whose displays include what they say could be the oldest piano in the country. It was built in London in 1763 and was already a century old when it came to Preble County. Displays in other buildings include what is certainly one of the oldest cars, or at least one of the oldest Fords, in the country. It's a 1903 Model A which was the first commercially available Ford car. About 1750 were made before it was replaced by the Model C which was eventually replaced by the Model T which reigned until replaced by another Model A. The second Model A Ford was superseded by the Model B and the alphabet given a chance to recover. One of the displayed signs speaks of a time when the sensible practice of buying your dynamite at the same place you bought you auto supplies was fairly common. I'd think it's only a matter of time 'til that comes back. Outside, other vehicles were displayed and against one building I spotted a stone mile marker. I got excited when I saw that.
I came to the faire, you see, to look for a mile marker. I'd never personally seen a marker from the Dayton Western Turnpike and had reason to believe there might be one or two here. These buildings are only open during the summer and then only on week days. Today was a rare chance to take a look on a weekend. The mile marker beside the building wasn't from the DWT. It looks to be a genuine National Road marker even though it is some sixty miles and two counties from where it originally stood. No one I spoke with knew anything about old mile markers but after lunch (Ever had apple-carrot soup?), I went through the buildings again. In the picture of the Ford, a couple of totem poles can be seen behind the car. Near them, on my second pass through the building, I found what I was looking for. Partially hidden behind a case containing a piece of "pavement" from a corduroy road, I saw the word "CUMBERLAND". Along with the Dayton & Springfield Turnpike, the Dayton Western Turnpike formed the "Dayton Cutoff" that long served as the de facto National Road between Springfield, Ohio, and Richmond, Indiana. DWT markers weren't the elaborate counterfeits of the DST but they did feature mileage to Cumberland for a touch of authenticity. Eureka!
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