A month or so ago, Mel and I went on a spontaneous, two-day wedding dress shopping adventure through Dayton and Cincinnati.
While we’re different in many ways, we are alike in one–we don’t like to dress shop. Boutiques and dress shops are fun to walk through. We like giving clothes a quick glance, but to try on dress after dress is the equivalent of a slow death by torture. To reward ourselves after a well-earned, nose-to-the-grindstone excursion, we planned day two as a fun day.
Cincinnati zoo has the most beautiful gardens and was our first choice, but for awhile we had been interested in visiting the Loveland area which is about fifteen or so miles northeast of Cincinnati. I’m glad we did.
The River and Railroad
Loveland is home to the legendary Frogman. A three-to-four foot tall, leathery skinned, frog faced humanoid, who is said to be bipedal. The name alone is cool, right? The uniqueness of this creature is intriguing, but also obscure. Kind of like the quaint town of 12,000 people which straddles the Little Miami River.
After we finished our torturous task for the day, we settled at the Paxton’s Grill, a family-friendly restaurant housed in one of Loveland’s oldest buildings. I couldn’t believe the number of people out on a Monday evening–walking, riding bikes, dining.
At a high table near the front patio, we watched people come and go and scanned the history plastered walls. Colonel Thomas Paxton was the first to settle the area in 1795 after he relocated to the Miami Valley from Kentucky. In 1848, his son-in-law purchased 139 acres that became known as Loveland, named after James Loveland who operated the general store and post office. Situated on a junction of the Little Miami Railroad, several people passed through the town everyday as they traveled between Cincinnati and Xenia. A few probably stepped into the building in which we ate. In 1880 it opened as Grear’s Saloon.
Just before we left Paxton’s Grill, Mel and I gave our waitress a couple Loveland Frogman stickers and asked a few questions about the cryptid. This generated some interest from other workers who said they’d heard the tales about the Frogman and were proud of the notoriety their local cryptid had obtained. None of them had seen the elusive amphibian humanoid, but they embraced the fun.
Over a Century Later
The old railroad is now a scenic walking and bike path that cuts through the middle of the town and meanders along the Little Miami. Curious, we walked a stretch past shops and boutiques, closed for the day. Fine by me. I’d had enough shopping. But I was attracted to a small memorial that seemed a little random for such a small community. See the fireman statue off to the left in the (slightly blurry) photo?
This memorial is to recognize and honor the many men and women who risk their lives in the service of others. The four pillars list first responders who died in service to various communities. Under the bell is a time capsule. You can read more about the history of the riverboat fire bell and this memorial here.
The memorial was a nice stop along the trail. A moment to reflect on the goodness found in people who dedicate themselves to serving others.
We walked on and came upon Nisbet park where O’Bannon Creek flows into the Little Miami River. The River was named after the Miami Native Americans that once lived in the region. On their website, the Ohio DNR shares:
The Little Miami Scenic River Valley is rich with relics of Ohio’s past. Countless Indian villages flourished along its banks. Fort Ancient, a world famous mound builders site, is located on high bluffs overlooking the river. Tecumseh, the renowned Shawnee Chief, was born in the valley, and Daniel Boone spent time along the river, both exploring and as a prisoner of the Shawnee.
Mel and I trekked through Nisbet park, passing families who enjoyed the final remnants of a beautiful evening. In the beginning, Loveland was only on one side of the river, but after the first bridges were built, the town expanded. Now, the river cuts through the small community’s center.
The waterway and its surrounding woodlands are said to be the Frogman’s home territory. The first recorded sighting took place one dark night in May of 1955 when a man, traveling down Hopewell Road, saw three figures standing off to the side that looked like humanoid frogs with leathery skin. He sped away to inform law enforcement. By the time he and the officers returned, the frogmen were gone.
Mel and I stood by the river, taking in the sunset and peaceful surroundings, musing over what it would be like if some strange creature walked out of the water. Then we decided to have a little rock skipping competition, which resulted in a tie, proving we both could use a lesson or two. If the Frogman lived in this area of the river, we certainly scared him into hiding with all the globbing and thunking of rocks.
As the evening grew chilly, we walked back to the car using the bike path route and passed another unique, and somewhat random, marker that explained the history behind the “Loveland Valentine Celebration.” In 1971, the town’s Chamber voted to run all valentine card’s through a postage meter set with a cupid logo and the quote, “There is nothing in this world so sweet as love.”Every year since then, the Loveland post office designates an individual to act as “The Valentine Lady” who assumes the letter-stamping task.
The peaceful, friendly town of Loveland certainly lived up to it’s name. What a way to end our day of “wedding dress” shopping.
Other Frogman Encounters
Early March, 1972, a police officer reportedly saw the frog on the bridge near Riverside Drive, but he thought it was an animal in the road. When he got out of his car, the “animal” stood up. The officer described it as three-to-four foot tall, frog-like man with leathery skin and webbed hands and feet. The creature crawled over the guardrail and disappeared into the woods.
In 2016, a teen and his girlfriend were playing “Pokemon Go” near Lake Isabella just outside of Loveland. The teens stated they saw a creature that looked like a giant frog poke its head and then body out of the water before it walked off.
Mel and I decided to forgo visiting the exact locations since it was getting dark. The next morning, after a trip through the Loveland castle, which has nothing to do with the Frogman, we headed back into town for a quick stop at the Cincy Shirts store–the only place in town to buy Frogman souvenirs. Mel wanted a t-shirt, and I wanted socks. (On a side note: This is how we share Derek Hayes’s Cryptid Crate when we get it. T-shirt, hats, and stickers go to Mel; socks and books are mine).
We found our t-shirt and socks and had a great talk with the manager who was the partial inspiration for my Closet Cryptid Fan blog post. His wife is a huge Bigfoot fan, so we had a nice chat about our upcoming book. While the guy has never seen the Frogman, he knows of individuals who claim to have. We traded stickers and then Mel and I were off, satisfied with our quaint visit to this small Ohio town.
Have you been to Loveland, Ohio? How about Cincinnati?
Are you a decent rock-skipper? Who taught you?
And what do you think…did we find a dress? <shaking head> Nope. At her non-traditional wedding, Mel wore a dress out of her closet.
Would you like a Loveland Frogman sticker? If so, drop me a note on this contact form along with your address and I’ll mail you one, free-of-charge, as a thank you for reading to the end of this post <smile>.