The Ancient and Esoteric Order of the Jackalope

Shenandoah Airship Disaster Monument

So, remember that Road Trip #7 and #13 took at the beginning of the summer? We mentioned seeing a few things we couldn’t talk about at the time, because they would spoil the topics of upcoming episodes. One of those things was…

USS Shenandoah Airship Disaster Monument
USS Shenandoah Airship Disaster Monument, Ava, OH

…the USS Shenandoah Airship Disaster Monument, in Ava, OH!

Okay, yes, technically the Shenandoah did not crash in Ava, but the actual crash sites are on private property and there’s nothing to see, anyway. This monument used to be situated at one of them, and was moved to this more convenient and accessible location a few years later.

USS Shenandoah Airship Disaster Monument (detail)

Here’s the monument itself: a granite slab, with a brass plaque listing the name of the 14 men who died in the crash. It’s a bit hard to see because it’s in the shade, but there’s a little metal replica of the Shenandoah in there, being buffeted by swirling winds.

USS Shenandoah Airship Disaster Monument (plaque)

Here’s a close-up of the plaque: “To the memory of those who lost their lives on the U.S.S. Shenandoah, September 3, 1925.”

USS Shenandoah Airship Disaster Monument flagpole
USS Shenandoah Airship Disaster Monument flagpole dedication

Off to the side there’s a little sign with information about the Shenandoah and the crash, and a flagpole dedicated to those who seek to preserve the history of the ship. Some days, there’s apparently a trailer parked nearby that contains a little mini-museum devoted to the crash, but it wasn’t there when we dropped by.

As memorials go, it’s nice, tasteful, and somber. And also damn hard to find. Yes, technically it’s right off OH 821, but good luck getting your map application to direct you there because cell phone reception is practically non-existent. (It’s probably a lot easier if you’re coming down I-77, but we were on I-70 and Google decided we should basically take a leisurely tour of the countryside instead of doing, y’know, the expedient thing). We overshot it twice.

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Categories: History, People & Places, Series 11

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