Shrine Road,Cows & Apple Bars

For years, we could never get past the 400 block of Shrine Road. We decided to drive the entire length one day when we realized we didn’t know what was in the middle or where the road ended.

It begins at the lower end of Upper Valley Pike and winds in a roller-coaster fashion through old farm country, ending at Ohio 41, just east of North Hampton. Rather a non-descript, residential road, it is spotted with old trees and bits of original farms. Homes, cornfields and barns dot it in a checkerboard style along its westward course.

But like I said, for a long time we couldn’t get past 471 Shrine Road, the popular spot for local auctioneers to use for sales, especially in inclement weather. Otherwise known as the Shrine Club. A large building with restrooms, plenty of room for hundreds of chairs and tables, a serve-through area for snacks/coffee, it is ideal for the meeting of minds and wallets.

In 1945, a committee of Noble R. Marquart, Clarence Laybourne and Charles Schafer arranged for a plot of land to be donated by Noble and Dr. Horace Leffel Heistand and his wife, Anna Minnick Heistand. Thirteen acres became the site of the Shrine Club or, as in 1947 as it was called, Heistand Memorial Shrine Park.

Online the Heistand family name is chronicled into a huge Web site. Their name is on buildings, parks, cemeteries, roads and housing estates from here to Alaska and beyond. It makes for very interesting reading.

While the road itself might seem ordinary, the auctions are reason enough to take the drive. Curiosity drives the auction-goer. Sometimes there is such a great amount of goods, there isn’t enough time to make more than a cursory inspection of boxes before the gavel goes down to signal the start of what could be hours of numbers, cards waving in the air, laughter and a final gavel down to signal a sale. If bidding slows any, the light-hearted kibitzing of local auctioneers who know many in the crowd brings a charge of energy back into the room.

Watching the faces of bidders can be a unique study in human behavior. Some like to focus directly on the auctioneer’s face, a kind of eye-to-eye showdown. Some pretend they’re not all that interested and merely nod their heads ever so slightly at a dollar amount. Some are shy and hold their hand with its card just below the head of the person sitting in front of them. And there are the bold and brave who call out a yelp of yes, while waving their card high in air. All of them mentally work dollars in their pockets into flicks of their number cards.

Back out on the road, it again seems the blacktop is ordinary, just a pathway to get us and our newly acquired treasures home. We leave behind the mingling of excitement and nostalgia. Perhaps that’s the drawing power for the road as well as the auction. Elements of families and communities from times unknown, gathered in one spot.

Hopefully on the way home, we will not run into more weighty matters. Patience as a virtue is no more apparent than on the road. Traffic today is a hundred times what it was in grandpa’s day. Some days, it seems the best laid trip plan is nothing more than a lesson in obstacle course maneuvers.

Soon our local counties will be alive with farm machinery moving from field to field planting crops. Depending on the road and time of day, we have encountered mega metal giants moving at a snail’s pace. The only thing to do is settle in for the length of their drive and be happy we’ve got John Deere’s version of an all-pro tackle running interference for us.

Machinery isn’t the only obstacle we’ve found on our drives. Not ones to be in a hurry, we always give way to the errant squirrel that decides to cross in front of us. They frequently seem to change their minds in the middle of the road, stopping and staring at us with those wide innocent eyes.

Creeping towards large dark objects congregated between the white lines, we sometimes are halted by turkey buzzards dining on road kill. The giant, ancient-looking birds wait till they see the whites of our eyes to move, taking off directly at us. We instinctively duck.

So far we’ve never had to get out of the truck and physically remove an obstacle. I say thank goodness. Being farm country, the most likely choices of errant domestic travelers that can halt traffic are hogs, horses and cows.

How would it feel to be stopped by a cow? What does one do when the bovine is bent on standing her ground? Here is a 1907 answer from the Urbana Daily News.

“An Urbana party, who was tempted by the beautiful weather to essay a drive in the country, met a new experience in the way of encountering obstacles. He had at different times in the past been blocked by broken bridges or halted traction engines. But on this occasion the delay was due to a cow.

The animal was a decidedly demur looking specimen and did not look at all the part of a troublemaker. However, she balked squarely in the middle of a narrow bridge and traffic over the bridge aforesaid was blocked until the owner had been summoned and he had summoned all the help available in the community and forcibly carried her from her position.”

Have you ever been stopped by a cow? Delayed by a delegation of feathered friends? Side-tracked by slithery creatures crossing your path? Let us know and we’ll share your experiences.

In the meantime, we’ll share this apple bar recipe. You can take them along to alleviate hunger pangs while you’re waiting on the road before you to open up.

Contact Connie at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Box 61, Medway, OH 45341

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