1953-1957 : 1958 : 1959

YEARS 1953-1957

In 1953 passes cost $4 for an adult or $2 for an associate membership that allowed you all the advantages except staying overnight at a hostel.


A progressive food-hike was described in the Spring 1953 issue of "Youth Hostels on Buckeye Trails". The meal was consumed at homes of the Shaw's, Newman's, Beardsley's and Heckscher's. A film was shown at one house and at the last house a square dance proceeded for many hours.

Local trips went to Dublin, Camp Pioneer on Leesburg Lake, Eckels Lake, Lake Hope, Lake Pike, Lithopolis, Westerville, Madison Lake, Whetstone Park ancient Indian Works, Mohican State Forest, Indian Lake, Yellow Springs, Olentangy River from W. North Broadway to Worthington and to many members homes for socials with slide shows, square dancing and food. Another popular activity was folk dancing at the YWCA and one trip went to the Oglebay Folk Festival near Wheeling, West Virginia.


A trailer was donated to the organization and a few individuals worked hard to convert it into a bike trailer. This allowed the group to plan trips further away with the trailer carrying the bikes out of Columbus before starting the ride.

In 1954 there was a chain of hostels across Ohio from Pennsylvania to Indiana, Gandhi Hostel near Parkman, Wooster Hostel, Mansfield Hostel, Westerville Youth Hostel, Indian Camp Hostel, Yellow Springs Hostel and Brookville Hostel. There were several other hostels in Ohio beside these.

In 1995 a booklet titled "Hostelling In Ohio" was prepared and included maps of cycling routes in Ohio.


A six week canoe school was held at Griggs Dam taught by the Red Cross under the direction of Jim Nelson of AYH.

A women's three speed English type bicycle was purchased for $35.00 to rent for 35 cents per hour or $2.00 per day and $1.00 per each additional concurrent day.

National AYH sponsored 25 different trips in America and to Europe and Asia in 1955. A typical trip was 4 weeks of bicycling Switzerland and Rhine Valley for $760 by air or $565 by ship.

Two times a year a program planning meeting was held to decide on trips for the coming six months. With the semi annual planning the "Columbus Hostel News" was published monthly as a post card and "Youth Hostelling on Buckeye Trails" was published quarterly. These were the newsletters for the Council.


The first Lake Erie Island (South Bass Island) trip was held on August 13 & 14, 1955. Bicycling around the island, trying to canoe around the island, hiking, swimming, eating and camping out were the activities.


At the April 19, 1956 meeting the YMCA "asked whether we are aiding the YMCA program and emphasis of Christian Emphasis. How many of our group are members?" After lengthy discussion it was decided that "AYH had many members teaching folk dancing, arts and crafts, art appreciation and others. Some folks also live at the Y. Since we are a state and National organization we might find it hard to insist that all members join Columbus Y.... Every person felt we did stress Christian Emphasis as much as is feasible within such a diverse group and should leave things as they were." A motion was passed instructing "trip leaders to provide information of church facilities while on trips and attempt to assist those who are desirous of holding informal service." Also it was noted that the Columbus Council AYH "Constitution provided for a Chaplin, if group provides to elect same." So they accepted volunteer John Hall as Chaplin.

One method of publicity used at this time was placing tags on bicycles at OSU telling about AYH. They had a very good response from this effort. There was continuing effort each year to get on radio and television and have stories written in the paper about AYH. A state wide coverage with posters was accomplished. Apparently this was successful as the membership continued to grow to about 100.


The sum of $600 (when completed it actually cost $942) was appropriated to build a hostel near Burr Oak Lake on the Sunday Creek Coal Company land. The company let AYH use the land for $1.00 per year. The members spent many a day here constructing the building. A well was dug and an outhouse was installed. Many parts of the building were pre-cut in Columbus during the winter and transported to the site in a partially finished condition. The hostel was to accommodate 18 people in two bunk rooms and have an 14 foot by 20 foot recreation room. The lease was signed on October 26, 1956. It was noted in the secretaries minutes that the lease "must be paid within 10 days each year and renewal of contract must be accomplished 30 days prior to the termination date in 1961 month of September." The second vice-president was responsible for seeing that this fee was paid without notice from the lessee.

The Council also undertook the building of canoes for Council rental. They were to be made of wood frame and cloth exterior, somewhat like a kayak. The building cost was to be between $30 and $40.


The April 1956 "Youth Hostelling on Buckeye Trails" told a story of trying to establish a tradition of not canceling a trip because of the weather. It seems that on Sunday, March 18 a canoe trip had snow with cold wind and the trip went the entire 12 miles down the Hocking. This included one dunking brought on by ramming a downed tree that was seen too late.

A canoe trip for six people on the Mohican River saw not one other canoe on the stream as they went from Mohican State Park to Greer and then the next day on to Cavallo. A review of the trip called it as "undoubtedly the best to be found in Ohio and compared favorably with Michigan and Canada. The river ran between high wooded banks through remote back-woods country. The water was fast enough to be of some help in paddling, but not too difficult even for rank amateurs."

By 1957 the number of chartered hostels had dropped to two; Glen Helen and Burr Oak.

The National AYH offered a Scholarship/Leadership program to six European Youth Hostel Leaders each year. One of the six generally came to Columbus where the local AYH provided room and board and some spending money as they joined in the trips and provided in return an insight as to what Hostelling was like in Europe.

A letter from National clarified that only leaders and Council were covered by liability insurance and then only if all participants on a trip were carrying their pass.

Six bike trips were listed: from Franklin Park to Hoover Dam, OSU to Scioto River at Bethel Road, through Worthington, YMCA to Camp Buchsieb, to Yellow Springs overnight and South Bass Island camp out. There were 3 canoe trips listed.

At Glen Helen the activities were: "bicycling, attending Antioch Theater, hiking through Glen Helen and John Bryan State Park.


The Council spent $1.00 per life jacket for materials and made their own. They made it mandatory that all canoers must wear the jackets between November 1 and May 1. During the summer if they passed the swimming test they did not need to wear a life jacket.

Two shows on TV and an article in the Magazine section of the Sunday paper were part of the excellent publicity the Council received. A spot announcement on the "Early Worm" and "Dean Lewis" radio shows about bicycle trips added to the publicity.

An ice box was free, except for the $4 trailer cost to haul it to the Burr Oak Hostel.

The Council agreed to have about ten boys at a time have a fun weekend at Burr Oak Hostel in exchange for their working on a hostel project.


Columbus Council was represented at the first meeting of ten people who got together in January 1958 to plan a trail called "Buckeye Trail."

Columbus Council joined the American Whitewater Association.


A new hostel was chartered. The Lewis Center Hostel was an old hunting lodge that could accommodate 16 hostlers. The first hostlers were bicyclists from Columbus who enjoyed the weekend by visiting a collection of privately owned steam locomotives near the intersection of SR 3 and Lewis Center Road. They also dug sassafras roots for their tea, picked giant strawberries, and stopped at the Worthington Railway Museum on their way back.


Bill Nelson, National Field Representative visited Columbus in April. He spoke at the Jewish Center and OSU Student Union, to further the hosteling movement.

A successful joint trip with Pittsburgh Council was held at Seneca Lake. Activities included swimming, hiking, canoeing, picnicking, and a real country style square dance. There was a most successful three day, Labor day weekend, canoe trip on the Tippecanoe River in Indiana. A hosteling weekend to Yellow Springs included bicycling, hiking, tennis, volleyball and folk dancing with Antioch students.



The first Leadership School was held at Glen Helen Hostel on March 7-8, 1959 for 22 persons. Topics covered were: trip leadership, canoe safety, food planning and preparation, trip organization, first aid, bicycle care, repair and safety, and ecological relationships in nature.

Youth Hostel Week was held in 1959. Ohio Governor Michael DiSalle and Columbus Mayor Maynard Sensenbrenner each issued proclamations about youth hostels. There were articles in the Akron Beacon Journal and Columbus Dispatch. The Dispatch article was in the magazine section and was about canoeing.

On the 25th anniversary of AYH there were 20 councils in 14 states and 97 hostels in 23 states.

Columbus president Don Steer reported "during the past year has seen a swing from biking to canoeing and camping out, and that our hostels were used more when we were biking more."


Canoe trips were held on the Cumberland River in Pennsylvania and Huron River near Ann Arbor, Michigan.

On April 5, 1959 a canoe trip was held on the Licking River where the new Dillon Dam was being built. This was a "last chance" outing for 23 people to enjoy the scenic beauty of this river. The crew traveled from near Nashport to the dam site. A sailing party composed of 30 people met at the sailing area of Hoover Reservoir in September. 'Doc' Batchelor's sailboat and canoes were used to transport members across the reservoir. After hiking and canoeing in the immediate vicinity of 'Doc' Batchelor's cabin the group made a tour of the rustic cabin and adjourned outdoors around the campfire to relish an original Bernie Weiss' concoction of chili and rice, garnished with pickles and olives with soft drinks and hot beverages to drink, polished off with the delicacy of honeydew melon. It was a delightful event.


A Southern Ohio Special provided a bicycle outing for five bicyclists on the first week long-trip sponsored by Columbus Council. The cyclists traveled from Lewis Center to Glen Helen to Old Man's Cave to Lake Hope to Lewis Center. A sag wagon with trailer went along. Therefore in bad weather and when the bicyclists tired they could have the benefit of riding in the car.

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