Scioto County, Ohio
Scioto County is located in the south central region of Ohio at the confluence of the Scioto and Ohio Rivers. As of the 2013, the population was 78,153. It is named for an Indian word referring to deer or deer-hunting. The county was formed on March 24, 1803, splitting from Adams County. It is the childhood home of former Ohio governor Ted Strickland.
Portsmouth and Scioto County weren't always as comfortable as they are today. The area's earliest known residents were prehistoric people, who made many objects of stone, shell, bone and beaten metals. The original European colonization of the Portsmouth area was Alexandria in 1796 at the confluence of the Scioto and Ohio rivers. The rivers helped transform Portsmouth into a vibrant and growing city.
Today, Portsmouth holds to much of its early heritage and architecture. The spirit of its people pushes forward, but still retains the fine qualities of community. People here often say, "Portsmouth, on Ohio's southern shore, is where southern hospitality begins."
Life in Scioto County
Scioto County is a comfortable and convenient harbor for boaters, with three private boat clubs and four public boat ramps. Even the nationally recognized Shawnee State Park invites you to take advantage of its resources, with a modem marina, adjacent to their eighteen-hole golf course, on the Ohio River. Berths are available for boats up to thirty- six feet, with many slips held open for visitors.
You'll enjoy nature's beautiful outdoors in Ohio's largest state forest. You'll fall in love with the 60,000 aches of Shawnee State Forest and Shawnee State Park, with all of its recreational activities--the lodge, two lakes, swimming areas with beaches, breathtaking vistas and miles of hiking trails. There are also boat ramps on both lakes for sail boats, canoes and boats with small motors. The fishing is challenging, with many professional and amateur anglers going after largemouth bass, rainbow trout, bluegills and catfish.. Tournaments like the nationally recognized Trout Derby in April roll out the red carpet for visitors. Family and single camping is encouraged in 107 campsites between the two lakes, and the fifty-mile Shawnee back pack trail has overnight campsites for hikers. No matter what your handicap, you'll enjoy Shawnee State Golf Course, an eighteen-hole course located in the heart of the Ohio Valley, with a spectacular view of a wide bend in the Ohio River. Shawnee is complete with clubhouse and a pro shop. Next, tee it up at the Elk's Country Club, another eighteen hole course nestled in the hills of southern Ohio. The Elk's was built in the early 1920s and designed by famed golf architect Donald Ross. There are even two other challenging nine-hole courses in the area if you want to get in a "short round."Ohio State University Extension
Tri-State Show Choir Competition (FEBRUARY) In February, show choirs from the tri-state area high schools meet for competition.
Muzzleloaders Shoot (SPRING) A spectacle of pioneer days, sponsored by the Daniel Boone Muzzleloading Rifle Club (the oldest such club in the nation) in Nile Township each Spring. Activities include demonstrations, competition shooting, swap meets and revelry.
Trout Derby (APRIL – Last Weekend) Anglers flock to the shores of Turkey Creek Lake in Shawnee State Park on the last weekend in April to catch their share of the thousands of stocked trout. Prizes are awarded. Camping and special programs are available.
Archery Shoot Archers from across the state compete at Shawnee State University's Activities Center.
TOSRV Bicycle Tour (Mother's Day Weekend) Since 1961, Mother's Day weekend has signaled the annual Tour of the Scioto River Valley from Columbus to Portsmouth. Nearly 7,000 bicyclists make the 210 mile round trip and make this one of the world's most colorful bike tours.
Appalachian Spring Festival (MAY – early) Shawnee State University sponsors an arts and crafts festival in early May. The festival includes quilt contest, crafters, primitive villages, broom makers, and apple butter makers.
Roy Roger's Festival (JUNE – 1st weekend) The Roy Rogers/Dale Evans Collectors' Association holds this annual collector's convention, complete with western stars, films, memorabilia, and fun. Outside events sponsored by other local organizations round out the festival, and the whole town goes western the first weekend in June.
Swap Meets (APRIL, MAY, OCTOBER) The Poultry Association sponsors a swap meet at the Scioto County Fairgrounds in April, May and October.
Charity Horse Show (JUNE) The horse show takes place in June and is sponsored by Scioto Memorial Auxiliary, and held at the Scioto County Fairgrounds.
Earl Thomas Conley Homecoming (SUMMER) West Portsmouth is the home of Country-Western singer Earl Thomas Conley, and each Summer he returns for a homecoming concert.
Scioto County Fair (AUGUST – 2nd week) One of Ohio's largest county fairs is held each year during the second week in August.
River Days (LABOR DAY CELEBRATION) This Labor Day celebration on the Ohio River includes concerts, a pageant, parades, rides, and much more. This has been a major event in Portsmouth for the past 31 years, and offers fun for the whole family.
Otway Covered Bridge Festival (Weekend after Labor Day) Visit Otway the weekend after Labor Day and enjoy home cooked food, crafts, and lots of entertainment, as they commemorate the only covered bridge still in existence in Scioto County.
Old Fashioned Sorghum Makin' (Late September early October) Visit the John Simon Farm on Pond Creek Road in West Portsmouth. Sorghum Making takes place during the later part of September and early October.
Annual Fall Hike and Campout (AUTUMN) Enjoy Shawnee State Forest in Autumn when the hills are ablaze with Fall colors. Join in hikes, campouts, hayrides and good food. Relax in the serene "nature" of Ohio's largest state forest.
Rudd's Christmas Farm (NOVEMBER 25 – DECEMBER 21) Visit Adams County and the serenity of this display of over 190,000 lights and 150 figures, covering hills and valley, depicting the true Christmas story. Open November 25 through December 21.
Dickens' Christmas Festival (DECEMBER) A month long celebration of the holiday throughout the Portsmouth area...including Hollydays-a special holiday display at Shawnee State University's Activities Center; the 1810 House decked in Victorian splendor, and a tour of the historic churches; plus musical events, plays, special banquets, train displays, good food, decorations and events that enhance the joyous Christmas season.
Scioto County Notable Natives and Residents
Dale Bandy — former Ohio University basketball coach
Kathleen Battle — opera singer
Al Bridwell — former Major League Baseball player
Earl Thomas Conley — country music singer and writer
Martin Dillon — American musician
Chuck Ealey — football player
Bill Harsha — American politician
Larry Hisle — former Major League Baseball player, currently in Milwaukee Brewers organization
Rocky Nelson — former Major League Baseball player
Josh Newman — current major league pitcher for the Colorado Rockies
Al Oliver — former Major League Baseball player
Dave Pyles — graduate of Miami University and former National Football League player with the Oakland Raiders
Branch Rickey — baseball executive
Vern Riffe — Ohio politician (1959–95), Speaker of the House (1975–94)
Barbara Robinson — American author
Roy Rogers — famous singer and cowboy movie star
Ted Strickland — former Governor of Ohio
Gene Tenace — former Major League Baseball player
Chamber of Commerce
PO Box 509
342 Second St.
Portsmouth, Ohio 45662