MIFFLIN, Ohio – Members of Johnny Appleseed Heritage Center and Timothy Smucker, chairman and co-CEO, The J.M. Smucker Company, broke ground for the Appleseed Center’s J.M. Smucker Company 90-seat indoor auditorium and library July 18.
The ceremony marked the project’s first vertical construction. Future plans for other center facilities include a museum, classroom, gift shop, dining area, offices and a 1,600-seat amphitheatre.
Historic connection. “It was only natural for our company to participate in this project, because, according to folklore, my great-grandfather, J.M. Smucker, made apple cider and later apple butter from the trees that Johnny Appleseed planted in the early part of the 1800s,” said Timothy Smucker.
But Smucker said it was not only because of the company’s heritage that it became involved.
“It was because of the profound impact the center will have on our future generations and the way it represents the values that Johnny Appleseed stood for – ‘living for others’ and ‘doing good.’ It’s a rare opportunity to reinforce important education initiatives while supporting the economy of this area and our state.”
About the building. The J.M. Smucker Company indoor auditorium and library will be used for films, lectures, living history and will offer a collection of literature and research on John Chapman, the history of the area and apple industry.
Completion of the facility is scheduled for spring of 2002; however, due to this year’s wet spring, Appleseed’s board of trustees has adjusted the construction timetable and opening for the outdoor drama production to June 2003.
About the center. The center’s 45-acre site situated within Johnny Appleseed Forest, on property owned and managed by Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District.
It is located 2 miles south of Mifflin, Ohio, just east of State Route 603 and Charles Mill Dam.
Focusing on Johnny Appleseed as a unique national hero, the Johnny Appleseed Heritage Center’s $3.8 million project will promote, support and nurture his legacy as a humanitarian, philanthropist and conservationist through family-oriented cultural, educational and historical venues such as outdoor drama, museums and related programs.
The Appleseed outdoor historical drama will present the life of John Chapman (1774-1845) and celebrate the early history of northcentral Ohio, where Appleseed spent a great majority of his life.