Coonskin Library ***VANDALIZED 7/2010***  LbNA # 38729 (ARCHIVED)

OwnerCaptain Kirk    
Placed DateApr 7 2008
LocationAmesville, OH
Found By Safari Man
Last Found Aug 11 2008
Hike Distance?
Last EditedNov 25 2015

Amesville Coonskin Library (***MIA***)

Difficulty: Easy
Location: Next to the new Amesville Elementary School
Elevation: Flat or gentle slope: handicap attainable.
Hand-Carved stamp:Bring your own stamp pad, log book, stamp, oh, and a rag or towel to wipe off the box.

This box is hidden near a playground area of the village of Amesville, Ohio. An Athens/Athens County map, is available for free from the Visitor’s Bureau office on East State Street in Athens.

DIRECTIONS: Take State Route 550 northeast out of Athens for ten miles into the small village of Amesville. Turn left onto Main Street(Route 329) that intersects to the north only. Take Main about three blocks north to park in front of the new elementary school. Walk through the playground to get behind the school. A small white wood frame building houses the Coonskin Library Museum. It is open by appointment.

ALTERNATIVE APPROACH: Turn north off Route 550 onto Franklin for four blocks , then left onto the narrow paved alleyway called Brawley Road. Follow that down to the rear of the white building. The tree with large burls (knotts) will be on your left.

Note the wrought iron grillwork over the four south-facing windows. The "A" & "B" stand for Ames and Bern, the names of two older schools (and townships) that were consolidated some years ago. Their photos and sports records are stored in the Alumni room inside these windows.

From the SE corner of this white building, locate a large silver maple tree with gnarlled trunk that stands just across the asphalt alleyway. Technically, this is not on school property. What you seek is at the base of the tree, where a split rail fence joins it.

The history of the coonskin library is important to the development of Ohio from the Northwest Territory in 1804.
For a membership fee of $25 annually and $2.50 fee, anyone of 51 books could have been checked out. Most local farmers did not have $2.50, but could come up with pelts to pay for the membership. Valued at 25 cents each, to be traded in Baltimore for furs, one needed ten pelts (coonskin, beaver, mink, fox, bear, not deerskin however) to join.

After the initial 51 books, the library grew to 250 books, mainly reference books, geography, philosophy, religion, etc. The collection was split between Dover Township and Ames township libraries but both are considered important to the region. The collection now resides with the Ohio Historical Society, and the Dover Library resides at Ohio University.

Turn from the tree and observe the east window of the Museum, closest to you. This grillwork is also unique, and custom made for the Coonskin Library. Also, before you go, please read the plaque on the granite marker that has been located in front of this white building. This support building originally housed the cafeteria for the "north school Bldg". The museum inside has now remodeled and replaced it.

By now you have probably figured out that the library was housed in various farmers's homes, with a rotating librarian who maintained the collection. There was no actual building, as we consider a library today.

Now that you've found the camo jar, please rehide it carefully, making sure that it is hidden from sight, but viewable when searching the area. A lot of school children play in the immediate area.

If missing or the logbook is full, please advise us. Enjoy!

UPDATE: July 2nd, 2010 Reported as rainfilled and empty jar left in place of letterbox. Stamp and logbook missing.

Please be sure to reseal baggies and boxes carefully so that they stay dry and re-hide boxes in their original location, completely hidden from view.