There are obvious tourist destinations in many cities — the ones with the billboards pointing toward the location or with the slick brochures set out in hotel lobbies. Then there are the hidden treasures that you might not find unless you ask a local or just look carefuly as you drive down the street.
Nancy Sartain of the Wayne County Convention and Visitors Bureau introduced me to a few such spots in her county and now I’m sharing them with you.
Gennett Records Walk of Fame
Gennett Records was a record label founded by Starr Piano in Richmond, Indiana in the early 1900s. Gennett was the recording home of such jazz, blues and country legends as Louis Armstrong, Hoagy Carmichael, Gene Autry, Duke Ellington, Guy Lombardo and the New Orleans Rhythm Kings. To recognize Richmond’s place in musical history and the contributions of the artists who recorded there, in 2007 the Starr Gennett Foundation established the Gennett Walk of Fame along South 1st Street in Richmond, the site of the old Starr Piano factory.
The three-dimensional bronze and colored tile mosaic markers on the trail are shaped like 78rpm records and are accompanied by a small bronze plaque identifying the artist and his or her contribution to the history of music. To date 25 artists/groups have been recognized.
For more information, including a map to find the Gennett Walk of Fame, click here.
Scott Shafer Stoneware
With the winter gift-giving holidays looming ahead, now is the perfect time to let you in on the secret of Scott Shafer Stoneware. Shafer’s quiet, almost hidden, studio is located at 610 N. Morton Avenue in Centerville. Look for the green roadside sign signaling the entrance.
The small building just behind Shafer’s home houses both displays of finished stoneware clay products for sale as well as Shafer’s studio. Shafer’s pieces are both artistic and functional. Dishwasher and oven safe, they’re perfect for use in the kitchen, as well as other areas of your home.
If you’re lucky, you’ll catch Scott as he is hand throwing pottery on the wheel that he and his father built early in his career as a potter. Shafer has been doing pottery full time since 1979.
Scott Shafer Stoneware is open Monday-Saturday from 10am to 5pm. You can reach Scott by calling (765) 855-2409.
Museum of Overbeck Art Pottery
Just west of Centerville is the town of Cambridge City. On U.S. 40 in Cambridge City is the town’s public library. And in the basement of the library is the Museum of Overbeck Art Pottery. Produced between 1911 and 1955 by the six Overbeck sisters — Ida, Margaret, Hannah, Harriet, Elizabeth and Mary Frances — the pottery and the paintings created by the sisters are recognized as having importance in U.S. folk art history.
There is no charge to visit the collection, which is open Monday-Saturday, 10am-noon and 2-5pm. Group tours are available by appointment.
While you’re in Cambridge City, stop by the Pour House Cafe, a mom and pop operation that is half cafe and half antique shop. Treat yourself to a coffee, if you must (I’m more of a diet soda drinker, which they also serve), but do not skip the homemade fudge. I tried the chocolate peanut butter and was not disappointed.
These destinations may be a little off the normal tourist radar, but they’ll be stops you’ll be glad you made on your next trip to Wayne County.