New Indian Ridge Museum
This article needs additional citations for verification. (June 2018)
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, consisting of the Shupe Homestead site. The grounds contain two additional lots of upland and lowland mature wooded forest that contain wetlands, vernal pools, and an area floodplain. The property contains numerous tree and wildflower species, several fern types, buttonbushes, pawpaw trees, native green dragon wildflowers, and about fifty different species of birds.
The museum's collection is diverse, with artifacts dating from prehistory to recent decades. Many of the artifacts came from the former Indian Ridge Museum of Elyria Ohio, founded by Col. Raymond C. Vietzen. Matt Nahorn founded the current museum in 2000, but it is not currently open to the public.
Matt Nahorn worked to reassemble Vietzen's collection which was largely sold at a public auction in the 1990s after Vietzen's death. Nahorn honored Vietzen by using the latter name of his former museum. Vietzen had originally named the facility as the Vietzen Archaeological Museum that was accessible by invitation only, and it was founded in 1930.
In recent years, the NIRM has expanded its focus on ecology and the conservation of wildlife habitats. The NIRM instituted the Beaver Creek Watershed Group (BCWG) to limit changes to the land that could augment flooding and pollution. The BCWG placed an emphasis on maintaining floodplains and riparian zones along Beaver Creek and the creation of private trails to observe the natural beauty and wildlife of the area. NIRM has periodically made the property available to local academic institutions, including Lake Ridge Academy, and provided tours for the students and faculty. The museum's goals include educating students and other interested individuals on the natural, prehistoric, and pioneer history of the area.
Raymond C. Vietzen
Most of NIRM's artifacts are based on the collections of Col. Raymond C. Vietzen, the curator of the former, defunct Indian Ridge Museum near Elyria, Ohio. In 1930 Vietzen founded the Vietzen Archaeological Museum at his family home, at the corner of West Ridge and Fowl Roads in Elyria. For over sixty-five years, Vietzen and his wife, Ruth Bliss delved into the prehistory and history of the local area and other locations in the United States. He was previously a professional automotive mechanic, who later authored seventeen history books and became a prolific artist. He was also an expert on the Erie Indians (a.k.a. Cat Nation) and was adopted by several Native American groups.
His museum was often patronized by local-area schools and organizations. But although Vietzen repeatedly assured the community, (many of whom had donated artifacts to the museum), that his collection would never be sold, his entire estate was auctioned piece-by-piece after his death.
Vietzen was the last living founding member of the Ohio Indian Relic Collectors Society (now the Archaeological Society of Ohio).
Colonel Matthew W. Nahorn, a 2008 graduate of Lake Ridge Academy, is the New Indian Ridge Museum's founder and curator. In 2006, he worked with the Lake Ridge Academy to create the Lake Ridge Archives, in an effort to preserve the school's rich history. He currently serves as an archivist at Lake Ridge Academy.
Nahorn graduated from local Oberlin College in Environmental Studies and continues 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. He maintains the NIRM museum complex. The museum was 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.
The historic Shupe Home
In 1811, Jacob Shupe, settled in what would later become Amherst Township, Lorain County, Ohio. The present owners of the Historic Shupe House, which still exists on its original foundation, have learned through their 23 years of historical research that the house was built circa 1812 and is the oldest house in Amherst and likely the first frame house to have been constructed in Lorain County.
Beaver Creek and its watershed are being actively maintained.
- Elyria Chronicle Telegram (n.p.); 13 May 1957; p.11
- Elyria Chronicle Telegram, October 3, 1995, p.18
- Lorain County (Ohio) Probate-Court records
- Elyria Chronicle Telegram (n.p.); September 29, 1968 - sect.'B',p.3 (Haag dowry-chest)
- Commercialization in Archaeology: Problems, Old and New; by Ann C. Bauermeister, 1999; p.3
- Elyria Independent Democrat (n.p.) November 16, 1870; p.3,c.3
- ELIJAH BOARDMAN 'Papers' (var. repositories)
- ELIJAH BOARDMAN 'Papers' (Clements Library, U.of MI)
- New Indian Ridge Museum Website
- Firelands Express Newsletter
- Rootsweb.com Jacob Shupe
- Lorain County Journal
Media files used on this page
Author/Creator: unknown, Licence: PD
The Beaver Creek at the NIRM preserve is seen here. This was taken after a sizeable rainfall event that came through the Amherst area. As it can be seen, the Creek is almost utilizing its floodplain on the right side of the photograph. Floodplains are important, natural areas that hold and cleanse flood waters before slowly releasing them into the watercourse. These areas should not be built upon. Also, all creeks and rivers should have a “riparian area” on both sides of the watercourse that is left natural and not tampered with by human activities like mowing, building, and land-clearing. These strips of land on the sides of a creek or river are important in cleaning and slowing down water before it enters the watercourse. Also, they help in protecting the side of the banks from erosion. For a creek of Beaver Creek’s size, a riparian area of at least 120-150 feet is needed; a river for the size of the nearby Black River or Vermilion River needs a riparian area of about 300 feet.
The mature forest of the NIRM Preserve. The preserve has a tree that is over 250 years old, and many others that are at least 100 years old. The preserve is not open to the public.
The Beaver Creek water shed has been greatly altered in the past and Matt Nahorn is actively trying to keep it from changing any more.