Day: April 29, 2016
Located off of state Route 93 is Roseville Prison. Across a rustic steel bridge, the 27-acres of land opened in 1927, and operated until 1966. However, it has been decaying for the past 50 years. The allure of the decaying facade often attracts visitors, despite the land being private property and heavily safeguarded by its owner.
As one of two satellite prisons in Ohio, prisoners from the Ohio Penitentiary in Columbus who demonstrated good behavior were often transferred to Roseville. They produced all of the bricks and built their own prison. The inmates made 30,000 bricks daily, many of which bore the marker “convict made.” The medium-security work facility taught inmates to work ovens for other state building products and farming in order to produce their own food and sell goods to the community.
In 2007, the property was auctioned off to Linda Gebhart who bought the 27-acres for $89,500. Following her death, the property was left to her partner Robert Taggert. It is filled with history but has been left to perish and now stores a failed trucking business. The Taggert family has turned the once forced home of “criminals” into their own personal haven.
A popular historical site and haunted myth, the owners continue to have a major problem with people coming onto the property to just “look around.” Beyond a brick-paved driveway and garden wall lies the two original guard houses. Further, a number of trailers are occupied by owner Robert Taggert’s other members of the family and a collection of dogs and cats. “The slums baby, but it’s family, and it’s ours,” says daughter of Linda Gebhart and Robert Taggert,
There have been reports of “The Lady in White” at the location. According to legends, late at night the figure of a woman in a white dress can be seen jumping from the roof of the main building. Despite the myth, there is no record of jumps from the property’s roof, or even deaths, seemingly giving no fuel for paranormal activity. Nothing more seems to remain than a weed-choked yard and crumbling structures. The history and bricked beast of beauty is hidden in the confines of the private family compound.
Few people are allowed on the grounds. Tourists, ghostbusters, intruders and the general public are unwelcome unless pre-approved by the family. “Would you want me walking around on your lawn?” says Gebhart-Taggert. “This is our home…We do not want individuals coming onto our property, taking pictures without permission.”
The prison sits in a small village filled with potential, guarded by at least one 9mm. “He will shoot first and ask questions later,” says Gebhart-Taggert of her father.
Any other “investigators” are asked to refrain from coming onto the property, private property owners have the right to press charges and protect their land. “I understand that this used to be owned by the county, but that’s no longer the issue,” says Gebhart-Taggert, warning masses to just look online.
If you wish to explore the Roseville Prison, take a virtual tour via YouTube.
Gallipolis native Megan Wise knows the importance of perseverance. The pageant veteran and reigning Miss Ohio USA competed for nine years to get to where she is today. In her final year of eligibility, Wise took the crown and is now preparing to compete in the Miss USAcompetition later this year. Southeast Ohio sat down with Wise to discuss her big win and how she balances her job as a first grade teacher at Meigs Primary School with preparations for Miss USA.
A love of the stage
A lot of people think I started [competing] when I was really young. They see “Toddlers and Tiaras” and think I’ve been a pageant girl my whole life, but I actually started at 18. I just fell in love with the whole system and the stage presence and the showmanship of it all. I just kind of stuck with it and knew that this was something I ultimately wanted to do, and that was to go to Miss USA.
[Winning] was pretty indescribable. It’s something that I’d worked really hard for, for the past nine years. I could always see myself winning the crown, but when you’re actually in that moment it’s just an overwhelming and indescribable feeling of gratitude and joy all crashing together.
The road to Miss USA
I’m just still trying to grasp that I’m actually going. I feel like I’ve been working out like an athlete and training mentally like a politician. I’m trying to stay up on current events, while balancing it with the physical aspects, because it is going to be in HD and I don’t want to come unprepared! Doing all that and trying to balance work, because I do still teach first grade at Meigs Primary, has kind of been a balancing act.
Committed to the classroom
A lot of people have asked me ‘Well, are you still working?’ and I say ‘Yes, I’m definitely still working. I have 25 first-graders that depend on me every day and I just can’t jump ship and abandon them in the middle of the school year.’ Some of the girls [in class] understood [my win] and were really excited about it when I showed them my crowning moment video. The boys didn’t really understand. Some of them thought it was my birthday and I heard one boy thought I’d won the Buckeye game.A love for Southeast OhioI love the area. I went to Gallia Academy, I went to University of Rio Grande, I teach at Meigs. If I didn’t have the community behind me, and my supporters from this core area where I live, I probably wouldn’t have the drive to have completed this goal. I feel like it’s not just for me, but a little bit has been for all of them because they’ve supported me all this way. I have a lot of pride to represent this Southeastern Ohio area, and to take it clear to Miss USA.
The importance of perseverance
My whole message through my win and my journey to Miss USA is just perseverance and not giving up on the dream. It took me years to actually get here. I think a lot of times people give up on things way too easily if it doesn’t happen for them right away. I just really want [young people] to persevere and keep going and keep working hard. Because if you put the work in, ultimately you’re going to be able to achieve it.