Rollin’ On The River

(This exhibit closes on December 16, 2023, and the museum will be closed until the beginning of February 2024 with a new exhibit.)

*NEW OPENING February 3, 2023*
Newburgh enters the 20th Century on strong footing. The Great War, Prohibition and Great Depression leave their marks only to make Newburgh stronger in character and richer in history.

Our exhibit features common watercraft of the Ohio River from 1760 to 1830. Travel and commerce were negotiated almost exclusively on waterways…the super highways of their time. Two important persons, John Sprinkle and Frank Folden, are also featured. Mr. Sprinkle, ‘founding settler’ of Sprinklesburg…later to become Newburgh…was a blacksmith by trade. A blacksmith was a very essential business of any frontier town. Frank Folden was a runaway slave who braved escape via the Ohio River to Newburgh in 1863. He served in the Civil War and became a landowner. His direct descendants still live and contribute to our town. Finally, why did John Sprinkle and Frank Folden choose to come to the north shore of the Ohio River? They came because slavery was outlawed and land surveying and sale was made uniform and judiciously regulated as part of the establishment and terms of the historic Northwest Territory (1785) and Northwest Ordinance (1787). Come listen to Frank Folden’s story told by his great grandson; hear the clang and bang of our replicated blacksmith; and watch video footage of steamboats of the era.