New Indian Ridge Museum

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The New Indian Ridge Museum, Historic Shupe Homestead, and Wildlife Preserve is a private museum and nature reserve located on Beaver Creek in Amherst, Ohio. It consists of the Jacob Shupe Homestead site, the Honeysuckle Cabin from Kentucky, Mingo cabin (a stage coach relay station stop), and Tymochte Cabin (built in 1795). It has two additional lots of upland and lowland mature wooded forest. They contain wetlands, vernal pools, and are an important floodplain for the area. The property contains numerous tree and wildflower species, several fern types, buttonbushes, pawpaw trees, and native green dragon wildflowers, and about fifty species of birds.

The museum's collection is diverse, with artifacts dating from prehistoric times to just a few decades ago. Many of the artifacts came from the former Indian Ridge Museum (a.k.a. Vietzen Archaeological Museum) of Elyria Ohio, which was founded by Ray Vietzen. The current museum was founded in 2000 by Matt Nahorn and does not regularly open to the public.


Matt Nahorn worked to reassemble Vietzen's collection (much of which had been sold at a public auction in the 1990s). The NIRM has been loaned or donated historical artifacts, from the Amherst Historical Society, Ohio Archaeological Society, and many private citizens. Nahorn has additionally chosen to honor Vietzen by re-utilizing the latter name of Veitzen's former museum (but Nahorn's decision to promote the name Indian is ostensibly 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 selection of that name for his museum, beginning 1959. (Previously, it was simply named the Vietzen Archaeological Museum [1] and was mainly accessible "by invitation only" at that time.)]

In recent years, the NIRM has expanded its focus to ecology and the conservation of wildlife habitats. In an attempt to counter the adverse effects caused by commercial and residential development on the surrounding ecosystem, Nahorn and his colleagues at the NIRM have instituted the Beaver Creek Watershed Protection Group (BCWPG), 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. 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 stated goals are to help educate students and other interested individuals, to the natural, prehistoric, and pioneer history of the area.

Raymond C. Vietzen[edit]

Most of NIRM's collection of artifacts is based upon the work done by the past 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[2] he initiated the Vietzen Archaeological 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)[3] worked to document the prehistory and history of not only the local area but also other locations throughout the United States. Vietzen, who by "trade" was an automotive mechanic, authored seventeen books over the course of his life, and was also a prolific artist, and was especially a consummate "showman"-type ( i.e., P.T. Barnum). He was a master of hyperbole,[4] who also reportedly claimed to be the "grandson of Baron Karl Von Zimmerman" ( although historical records in Eßlingen, Germany, record that Vietzen's true grandfather Zimmermann was actually a bäckermeister, not a Baron). [5] He was also a purported "expert" on the Erie Indians (a.k.a. Cat Nation), while absurdly alluding to "raccoon" as being the source of that "Cat" connection.[6][7][8]

His West Ridge Rd. 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),[9] that his collection would never be split-apart and sold —-- however, Vietzen ultimately failed in those promises, when his entire "estate" was auctioned piece-by-piece after his death.[10]

Vietzen was also the last living founding member of the Ohio Indian Relic Collectors Society (later name-changed to the Archaeological Society of Ohio).

Matt Nahorn[edit]

Matt Nahorn (a 2008 graduate of Lake Ridge Academy) became the New Indian Ridge 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 an 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" that had been bestowed to Vietzen (and KFC's Colonel Sanders,

The historic Shupe Home[edit]

Jacob Shupe, the first pioneer-settler (1812)[11] in what would later become Amherst Township, Lorain County, Ohio, is currently thought to be responsible for the house's later construction (built sometime in the first-half of the 19th century). The 21st-century owners of the house have attributed it as being built by Jacob Shupe, about the year 1816. However, actual historical evidence verifying that "circa-1816" attribution, may be lacking (nor did any of the prior owners seem to have made that claim; nor the former local-historians). In fact, Jacob Shupe operated his own sawmill,[12] nearby, and therefore Shupe had virtually unlimited lumber — and, in addition to that significant resource, he also had a very large family (about 11 children, total) -- both of which facts would have logically prompted construction of a much, much larger house. However, the original portion 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. Additionally, the existing house is approx. 600 feet (about 1/10th mile) distant from the well-established roadway. However, there was formerly at least one other 19th-century dwelling upon the original Shupe property, but located much closer to the roadway, and almost directly adjacent to Shupe's "mill".[13] Future archaeological identification of that "lost" dwelling's foundation may be fruitful. Perhaps coincidentally, Vietzen had erroneously attributed a 19th-century log-cabin from nearby Russia Twp., as having been built by Jacob Shupe ("in 1760" However, Jacob Shupe never actually resided anywhere within Russia Twp.; and a simple check of the early local land records indicates that the Russia Twp. cabin was probably instead built by a German-immigrant family named Schramm in the mid-1800s.


  1. ^ Elyria Chronicle Telegram (n.p.); 13 May 1957; p.11
  2. ^ Elyria Chronicle Telegram, October 3, 1995, p.18
  3. ^ Lorain County (Ohio) Probate-Court records
  4. ^ Elyria Chronicle Telegram (n.p.); September 29, 1968 (sect.'B',pp. 1,3). "Lorain County's first log cabin, built in 1760" (some of Vietzen's many spurious historical claims).
  5. ^ Elyria Chronicle Telegram, October 3, 1995, p.18
  6. ^ Elyria (OH) Chronicle Telegram [n.p.]; 16 Sept 1961; "Leaping Elk" concrete statue: ("Vietzen, using an Erie skull taken from a burial ground, built the head and features of this [cast-concrete] Cat Nation chief who trod the shores of Lake Erie hundreds of years ago.")
  7. ^ NY State Museum Bulletin; Issues 112-117-(1907)- p.527 "we call the Eries the Cat Nation, because there is in their country a prodigious number of wildcats, two or three times as large as our tame cats, but having a beautiful and precious fur"(1654 A.D. "Relation")
  8. ^ Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico (V.1 / A-M); (1907) F.W.Hodge; p.430 (Erie 'people of the panther')
  9. ^ Elyria Chronicle Telegram (n.p.); September 29, 1968 - sect.'B',p.3 (Haag dowry-chest)
  10. ^ Commercialization in Archaeology: Problems, Old and New; by Ann C. Bauermeister, 1999; p.3
  11. ^ Elyria Independent Democrat (n.p.) November 16, 1870; p.3,c.3
  12. ^ History of Lorain County (OH), by Williams Bros., 1879
  13. ^ 19th-century survey-maps of Amherst Twp., various years

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°25′09″N 82°13′40″W / 41.419100°N 82.227828°W / 41.419100; -82.227828