Zane Shawnee Caverns, Johnson Humrickhouse Museum, Fort Hill State Memorial
The New Indian Ridge Museum, Historic Shupe Homestead, and Wildlife Preserve is a complex founded in 2000 by Matt Nahorn. The Preserve is located on Beaver Creek in Amherst, Ohio and has received recognitions from the Ohio Archaeological Society, Lorain County Historical Society, Amherst Historical Society, and numerous other organizations. The Shupe Homestead, perhaps the oldest house in Amherst (and among the oldest in Lorain County), is located on the grounds of the Preserve, and it houses both the museum and Nahorn (its curator). Jacob Shupe, the first pioneer-settler (1812) in what would later become Amherst Township, Lorain County, Ohio, is presently thought to be responsible for the house's later construction (built sometime in the first-half of the 19th-Century, making it one of the oldest frame-homes still standing in Lorain County).
Motto: "...Preserving, interpreting, & teaching the past To prepare & build for the future..."
With artifacts dating from prehistory to just a few decades ago, the Museum's collection is diverse. Many of the artifacts came from the former "Indian Ridge Museum" of Elyria Ohio, founded by Ray Vietzen. Matt Nahorn has worked to reassemble Vietzen's collection (the contents of which, had been sold at public-auction in the 1990s, after the death of Vietzen's widow). In order to accomplish its goal, the NIRM has received loans and donations from the Amherst Historical Society, Ohio Archaeological Society, and many private citizens. Nahorn has also chosen to honor Vietzen by re-utilizing Veitzen's choice of museum name; but Nahorn's usage of the name "Indian" is in no way reflective of Nahorn's disrespect of any indigenous Native Americans in the United States. [Note that there was no official geographic location in this specific area of Ohio by that name, "Indian Ridge", prior to Vietzen's usage of it, for his museum.]
In recent years, the NIRM has begun to focus on ecology and the conservation of wildlife habitats. In order to counter adverse effects caused by commercial and residential development on the surrounding ecosystem, Nahorn and his team at the NIRM have become leaders of the Beaver Creek watershed Protection Group (BCWPG), a group that works to limit changes to the land that could augment flooding and pollution. The BCWPG has placed an emphasis on maintaining floodplains and riparian zones along Beaver Creek, in their natural states. A creek of Beaver Creek’s size ideally requires a riparian area of at least 120–150 feet. To accomplish this goal, the NIRM has declared that all NIRM land along Beaver Creek, including mature forested land, shall remain undeveloped; and in September 2008, the Nahorns signed a land conservation easement, through the Western Reserve Land Conservancy, so that the property will be permanently preserved. This has allowed for the creation of private trails to enjoy the natural beauty of the area and to observe the wildlife. For the past several years, the NIRM team has periodically made the property available to local academic institutions, including Lake Ridge Academy, and provided tours for the students and faculty. Nahorn's efforts continue those of Vietzen to help educate students and other interested individuals, to the natural, prehistoric, and pioneer history of the area.
Raymond C. Vietzen
Most of NIRM's collection of artifacts is based upon the work done by the bygone Indian Ridge Museum's curator, Raymond C. Vietzen. Vietzen (who was later granted the honorary, non-military 'title' of "Colonel") was born near Elyria, Ohio in 1907, and in 1940 he opened the Indian Ridge Museum at his family-home, located at the corner of West Ridge and Fowl Road in Elyria. For over fifty-five years, Vietzen (and his 2nd-wife, Ruth Bliss) worked to document the prehistory and history of not only the local area, but also other locations throughout the United States. Vietzen, an automotive-mechanic who was a self-taught "historian", authored seventeen books over the course of his life, and was also an artist, and a somewhat flamboyant "showman"-type ( i.e., P.T. Barnum). Vietzen ( a master of hyperbole, who also claimed to be the grandson of "Baron Karl Von Zimmerman") was the last living founder of the Archaeological Society of Ohio (originally called the Ohio Indian Relic Collectors Society). Vietzen's museum was often utilized by local-area schools and organizations; and although Vietzen repeatedly assured the community (many of whom had personally donated historical local artifacts to his museum), that his collection would never be split-apart and sold —-- however, Vietzen failed in those promises, when his entire 'estate' was auctioned piece-by-piece after his death.
Matt Nahorn is a 2008 graduate of Lake Ridge Academy became the museum's founder and curator during his youth. In 2006, he worked with the Lake Ridge administration to also create the Lake Ridge Archives, in an effort to preserve the school's rich history; he currently serves as Archivist at L. R. A.
Nahorn plans to continue his museum and conservation efforts as an adult. Nahorn graduated from local Oberlin College (Environmental Studies), which has enabled him to continue his research on his hometown and local environmental issues. He has begun to work with the Lake Ridge Academy staff to establish a historical inventory of the school and works closely with his family and local officials to maintain his museum complex. He and his museum have been featured in local newspapers, such as the Lorain Morning Journal and Elyria Chronicle Telegram.
As a result of Nahorn's conservation efforts, members of the Archaeological Society of Ohio petitioned the Kentucky State Government to grant him the honorary 'title' Kentucky Colonel in 2007, the same honorary 'title' bestowed upon Vietzen (and likewise KFC's Colonel Sanders, et.al.).
The historic Shupe Home
The present owners of the house, have personally attributed it as being built by Jacob Shupe, about the year 1816 ( it being a "frame-structure" replacement for an earlier log house built in 1811 or 1812). However, actual historical evidence verifying that "circa-1816" attribution, may be lacking. In fact, Jacob Shupe operated his own sawmill, nearby, and therefore Shupe had virtually unlimited materials to instead build a very sizable house—and, in addition to that significant resource, he also had a very large family (about 12 children, total), which would have reasonably prompted construction of a much, much larger house. However, the main-structure of the present "Shupe house" is somewhat small, and perhaps even suggests a "feminine" preference of design, such as which might instead have later been built specifically for Shupe's widow, after Jacob's death. Therefore, because there were multiple known structures upon that same Shupe property, it may be mere speculation by the home's later owners, that the existing house, was also existing during Jacob Shupe's lifetime. [Perhaps coincidentally, Vietzen had erroneously attributed a 19th-century log-cabin from nearby Russia Twp., as having been built by Jacob Shupe. However, Jacob Shupe never actually resided anywhere within Russia Twp.; and a simple check of the local land-records of the 1800s, indicates that the Russia Twp. cabin was probably instead built by a German-immigrant family named Schrum (var.sp.).]