MIFFLIN, OHIO — The gate was open when I drove by the mothballed Johnny Appleseed amphitheater this afternoon. So I pulled in to have a look around.
About a hundred yards past the gate, a crane loaded logs onto a tractor-trailer. The logging equipment reminded me of vultures, picking a carcass. The forest surrounding the amphitheater belongs to Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District. They’re still looking for a way to repurpose the facility.
A boarded up ticket booth and a sad looking concrete statue of Johnny Appleseed spoke volumes. The play — a musical that some deemed “too Disneyesque” — was a resounding flop. The center was built at a time attendance was flagging at other outdoor dramas in the state.
Still, you had to admire their determination, the folks who dared to dream big and roll the dice.
They lost. The Appleseed Center and two shuttered bars nearby sit like scabs upon the landscape in a corridor once considered promising.