The award winning Visitor Center has been serving travelers and locals for ten years, providing information as well as space for exhibits, conferences and meetings. As part of the Ohio River Scenic Byway – that runs from East Liverpool to Cincinnati – the Visitor Center is a valuable resource for tourism and attracts hundreds of byway travelers each year.
The Visitor Center is the area's resource for maps, brochures and information on local attractions including the 23 larger-than life murals throughout the downtown as well as souvenirs of the city's native son Dean Martin.
Inside the Visitor Center, the Exhibit Hall offers changing seasonal, historic and cultural exhibits and programs throughout the year. From handmade quilts to Civil War artifacts to Native Americans, the various displays in the Exhibit Hall provide the public with unique presentations on American and Ohio history. Open all year.
Federal Land Office
The First Federal Land Office west of the Alleghenies is adjacent to Historic Fort Steuben. Originally constructed in 1801, this log structure was the home and office of the Registrar, David Hoge, and his family and served for 40 years as the site for registering land grants and deeds.
Today, the visitor finds period decor and furniture, including herbs, books and corner cupboards, a 19th century home office. The collection includes a horsehair trunk that once belonged to former president William Henry Harrison. The Land Office showcase contains copies of land records and deeds, wool and linen napkins woven of flax grown in Jefferson County. Also on display are apothecary scales, pipes, tintypes and other typical items that reflect life in the early 19th century.
On the Land Office grounds is the original Court House Bell, first cast in 1873. Open from May through October.
The reconstructed 18th century military fort is located on its original site overlooking the Ohio River. The eight buildings in the complex are furnished to present an experience of life on the Ohio frontier when the soldiers and surveyors had to deal with cold, hunger, illness and the danger of attack without the modern conveniences we take for granted today. Knowledgeable interpreters present the history and stories that make the tour come alive. Self-guided tours are also available. Open from May through October.
In the Fort Steuben Museum Shop visitors can browse a wide array of books, charts, maps and documents that recount life in early Ohio. Children enjoy the coloring books, puzzles, old-fashioned games, wooden toys, coonskin caps and gingham bonnets. Tourists find a selection of souvenirs – from post cards to magnets to t-shirts – celebrating the Fort, the local area, Steubenville native son Dean Martin, and the newest attraction: Nutcracker Village. Open all year.
Fort Steuben Park
Fort Steuben Park is a refreshing green space in the downtown area. The focal point is the Veterans Memorial Fountain which operates from May through November. Surrounding the fountain are memorial bricks commemorating events and people from the area. Bricks can be purchased at the Visitor Center or print off a brick form here.
Also within the Park are the Jefferson County Bicentennial Bell and the Berkman Amphitheater.
The 30'x40' Berkman Amphitheater was constructed by a generous gift from the late Louis Berkman, long-time Steubenville businessman and philanthropist.
The Berkman Amphitheater is the site of the Fort Steuben Summer Concert Series that presents free performances on Thursday evenings from late May through early August.
The Berkman Amphitheater is available for non-profit events and programs associated with the promotion of the civic, cultural, and educational needs of the community. The Amphitheater will seat approximately 300 people on benches and hundreds more in the grassy field overlooking the Ohio River.
For information on renting the Amphitheater or a listing of scheduled events, call 740-283-1787.
THE HERB GARDEN AT HISTORIC FORT STEUBEN
Although there wasn't an herb garden at the original Fort Steuben, there were supplies of dried herbs. Some were used medicinally, some were used for flavoring or preserving and some were used as insect repellants or air fresheners.
The herb garden at Historic Fort Steuben has a variety of herbs that were commonly used in the 18th century. For information on some of them, click here: HERB GARDEN BROCHURE.
THE ARCHAEOLOGY SITE AT HISTORIC FORT STEUBEN
Since 1978 there has been an active archaeological exploration of the site of Fort Steuben. Begun by the late Prof. Jack Boyde of the Franciscan University of Steubenville, the careful excavation of the site has continued under the supervision of Prof. Phil Fitzgibbons at the University.
Every summer an Archaeology Field School is conducted for college credit at the site where students learn the delicate arts of carefully digging, sifting, extracting, and cataloging artifacts that have been uncovered. Among the articles found at the site are period buttons and coins as well as dishes, glassware, pottery and tools that were discarded over the past 200 years.
Many of the artifacts are on display in the Exhibit Hall of the Visitor Center as well as at Franciscan University of Steubenville. There is also information on archaeology procedures and tools in Historian Hall within the Fort.
Working with the archaeological team, Historic Fort Steuben offers students the opportunity to learn field techniques as part of the annual Summer Youth Program.