CHESTERHILL TO BURR OAK
Difficulty: Easy, drive up.
Distance: Longest walk is about 100 feet.
Please bring stamp pad and pen/pencil.
Your starting point is the little village of Chesterhill, Morgan Co., Ohio. Once you get there, go north on SR 555. BE WARNED!, SR 555 is a very curvy,(some very sharp curves) and hilly road. In fact, it is one of the most highly rated roads in Ohio for motorcycle and sports car enthusiasts.
In 5.2 miles you will see a small church(Pleasant Hill M.E. Church) up on a hill to your left, and a gravel road comes in on the left just before the church. Turn left onto this gravel road(Steffie-Hambel Rd., Twp Rd 63). Just past the end of the cemetery fence is a little pull off spot. This is actually a little drive that goes up to the church and if you have the right kind of car and it hasn’t been raining, you can drive up and around to the cemetery gate and church. But you can park down here and walk up to the church. Standing in front of the church walk around the left side, to the back corner of the building(the SW corner). Then, on your left, is a large oak tree with a nice little hidey-hole at its base. The box is not here. Go around to the back side of this oak and look on down the hill to a rotting stump. (193*) It is about 16 steps away and in line with two more large oaks. Here is the box. Reach down in and under leaves and a rock you will find THE WILD WEST. Do your stamping and carefully reseal and replace everything. Go on around and look about the cemetery if you want, and look back down SR 555 the way you came. You will see a farm there, and you may see something in the fields, on the right, from S.A. Next, when you are ready get back in your car, continue on out the gravel road. This is a dead end road, but you will only go out about a mile. About ½ mile out there is a brown house on your right and up ahead a metal barn. The road looks like it ends here, but really it goes to the left of the barn. So continue past the barn, and on both sides of the road is a fenced in area. Look carefully here and for the next few hundred yards and you may see the inspiration for this letterbox. The road goes on and makes a sharp right turn and just ahead you will see a green gate and the road turns sharp left. You can turn around here or go a little further down the road past the orange barn and turn around and go back to the main road.
Back at SR 555, turn left and continue 6.8 miles to SR 78. This section of the drive is probably the most “exciting” section to you will traverse, on this search.
When you get to the junction of SR 78 and SR 555 you will see a sign ahead of you that says Burr Oak State Park 15 mile. That is to the other side of the lake. The lodge and cabins entrance is only about 6 miles from here.
Turn left onto SR 78 from SR 555 and go about 9 tenths of a mile. Just as you make the top of a hill, on the right, there is a white house and just beyond an old barn. There is a nice pull off spot just past the house and close to the barn. Pull off here and park. Get out and walk over to the edge to see why they call this section of SR 78 and the next 5 miles, The Rim Of The World. This is private property, but I have permission to hide a box here and they don’t mind courteous sightseers (and letterboxers) stopping, enjoying the view and even eating lunch while enjoying the view at the picnic table. So please be respectful of this beautiful spot and their property. But to find LET’S DO LUNCH IV go to the back side of the barn, and as you face the barn go over to the right hand corner. You will see that the foundation stones are missing from under this corner. As you look at this gap you will see some bricks. To the left of these bricks is a piece of sandstone, and below this sandstone is a large white(limestone) rock. Look behind this white rock, behind a piece of concrete, and you will find LET’S DO LUNCH IV. You are partially exposed here to the road so be discreet in removing the letterbox. Take the pouch over to the picnic table, do your stamping, enjoy the view, and maybe have lunch. When you are done be sure to reseal and re-hide everything carefully as you found it, and leave no open trace of your visit.
Now, when you are ready, continue on out SR 78 for another 7 tenths of a mile and there is a road that comes in on your right, E. Branch Church Rd.(CR 58). Turn right here and go down this road till it comes to a T intersection, about ¾ mile. In front of you is the old East Branch Church. Pull over here in front of either gate(the old iron one or new chain link one) to find THE WABASH RR.
Back in the early 1900’s the Wabash RR Company wanted to put in a RR line that would connect the Marietta, Columbus, and Cleveland RR (south of here) with a line up at Zanesville. They bought up property, laid out and leveled some of the right of way, hand cut and laid sandstone block culverts, started a couple of tunnels, and had even laid some track. Then, they went belly up for some reason and the project died. But, you can still find some of the right of way cuts and the culverts. Down over a very steep hill, here behind the church, if you know where to look, you can find the remains of where the (Chappelear) tunnel is(it goes back in 100-200 feet under the hill). But the entrance is mostly covered by landslide.
But to find THE WABASH RR go to the back of the church and face it. At the left hand corner you will see a tree stump where a tree was growing right up under the corner of the church. Look at the base of the tree and you will see a hole in the foundation with a piece of old rusting downspout sticking out. Behind the foundation stone, on the left side of this hole, under a board and rock is THE WABASH RR pouch. Again, you are exposed here so before getting down and reaching in make sure you are not seen by any living thing. Take the pouch back to your car or back behind the church to do your stamping(there a nice stone seat next to the church back there…not a grave stone). When you are done carefully re-hide everything and maybe take a stroll around the little graveyard. There are a lot of really neat stones.
After you have finished, you can turn around and go back up to SR 78, and go back the way you came, or, staying on SR 78 go on to McConnelsville and more letterboxes up that way. If you turn right, in about 4.5 miles you will come to Burr Oak State Park, and more letterboxes. If you stay on SR 78 past Burr Oak, you will come SR13 which can take you into Athens.
We hope you have enjoyed your scenic adventure drive and letterboxing excursion here in SE Ohio. If you experience any problems please let me know.