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OHIO , the farthest east of the Great Lakes states, lies to
the south of shallow Lake Erie. This is one of the nation's
most industrialized regions, but the industry is largely concentrated
in the east, near the Ohio River. To the south the landscape
becomes less populated and more forested. Ohio also has the
world's largest Amish population. They farm in the northeast
and west into mid-Indiana, and are much less of a tourist attraction
than the highly publicized Pennsylvania Dutch.
Enigmatic traces of Ohio's earliest inhabitants can be seen
at the Great Serpent Mound , a grassy state park sixty miles
east of Cincinnati, where a cleared hilltop high above a river
was reshaped to represent a giant snake swallowing an egg, possibly
by the Adena Indians around 800 BC. When the French claimed
the area in 1699, it was inhabited by the Iroquois , in whose
language Ohio means "something great." In the eighteenth
century, its prime position between Lake Erie and the Ohio River
made it the subject of fierce contention between the French
and British. Once the British had acquired control of most of
the French land east of the Mississippi, settlers from New England
began to establish communities along both the Ohio River and
the Iroquois War Trail paths on the shores of the lake.
During the Civil War, Ohio was at the forefront of the struggle,
producing two great Union generals, Ulysses Grant and William
Sherman, and sending more than twice its quota of volunteers
to fight for the North. Its progress thereafter has followed
the classic "Rust Belt" pattern: rapid industrialization,
aided by its natural resources and crucial location, which during
the 1970s foundered alarmingly and has only recently shown any
signs of resurgence.
Although the state is dominated by its triumvirate of "C"s
( Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati ), its most visited destinations
are the Lake Erie Islands , which have benefited from the recent
cleanup of the polluted lake and now attract thousands of partying
mainlanders. Cincinnati and Cleveland, the latter hit especially
hard by the recession, have both undergone major face-lifts
and are surprisingly attractive, as is the comparatively unassuming
state capital of Columbus.
Amtrak trains between New York or Washington and Chicago stop
at either Cincinnati or Cleveland and Toledo. Ohio is well served
by Greyhound buses , and there are major airports at Cleveland
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