One of the first watershed research stations, the North Appalachian Experimental Watershed, was established in 1935 in the hills of Coshocton County, Ohio.

Agricultural development had led to large sections of this rather steeply sloping area to be brought into cultivation.   This research site's charge was to develop methods of conserving soil and water resouces.   Dr. Hugh H. Bennett, first chief of the SCS, stated in his address dedicating this research project, November 2, 1939, "Only through constant experimentation and study can our conservation programs be kept dynamic and vital".

The Federal Government and Coshocton County collaborated in purchasing 1047 acres for this station.   Work began in 1936 on office buildings and laboratories.   Most of the work was supplied by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).   By 1941, the research facility was in full operation, and scientists from around the world came to view "first of its kind" large scale watershed research.   A 65 ton weighing lysimeter held a block of natural soil 6 feet wide by 14 feet long and 8 feet deep.   It was equipped to measure surface runoff and percolating water.   It could measure weight to 5 pound accuracy.

From 1948 to 1963, the SCS operated a training center at the station.

About 3500 trainees attended 3 and 4 week sessions, learning about conservation programs and supporting research.   SCS training officers were William Bender, M. Harrison Taylor, Frank E. Neely, and George Osterson.   This research station was transferred to the Agricultural Research Service in 1954.
On August 22, 2002, George Osterson wrote Neil Bogner and said:
"Dear Neil:
What a pleasure to hear from you, a refreshing voice from the past.   I read each ARSCSE news letter and am amazed at the many names I recognize from my training and Safety Officer years.   It would be a blast to hear from some of them as I heard from you."

George's address is:
George and Ireene Osterson
1200 2nd St. SW Apt #110
Clarion, IA
On January 22, 2003, Dick Amerman sent an email to Owen Lee saying:
"I followed your link to the Coshocton page, too.   Nice job.   I started my career there and went back as Research Leader just before coming to HQ - I knew Frank Neely and Big George Osterson.   One thing - there are 3 weighing lysimeters and they are still operating - have about 62 or 63 years of data from them.   Their 5 lb. accuracy is the equivalent of .01 inch of water over the surface of the lysimeter - so, it is an excellent raingage as well as an instrument for monitoring water status within the soil and collecting percolate.

The Coshocton station is right at the southern fringe of the Ohio Amish country.   Only a few miles north is the town of Charm and some real nice resturants - mix of Amish and Swiss Cheese area -- and the original charm school.   A few miles in a northwesterly direction is Millersburg where the courthouse has parking meters on hitching posts.

A place I like to recommend for a visit near Canton is the Warther Museum in Dover, Ohio - just off Interstate 77.   Mooney Warther was a German or Swiss immigrant who became a master carver.   He and his wife were still living when we first started going to his place.   There is a large collection of carvings, mostly of railroad engines and cars, but also with a complete working factory, and a history of steam.   There is a large-scale carving of Lincoln's complete funeral train.   I'm a bit of a railroad buff, so the carved rolling stock is of special interest to me.   He carved in the most intricate detail - if there was a rivit head it is there, if there was a hex nut it is there.   Anyway, it is well worth seeing."
On March 8, 2003, Wayne Maresch wrote:
Back in 1956 or 1957 a group of us went to Cochocton, Ohio for the 4 weeks training that was given in those days.   I still think that was some of the best training I ever received.   Norman Miller was there, a new kid off the streets of Brooklyn who had never been involved in agriculture before.   (I'm not sure he had ever been outside the city, at all.)   He told the sorriest joke I ever heard.   It was so sorry that I still remember it.   Others like Thomas Etherington, Shelby Brownfield, and J. J. Young were there.   A fellow whose last name was Cowger (from West Virginia) gave a talk on why we should all try to become bald because most of the money in the world is in the hands of widows or bald men.   We all slept together in a barracks, and one day someone short-sheeted the entire barracks, except for J.J. Young.   He never, never made his bed, so they couldn't short-sheet him.   So, they poured a pile of crumbs into his bed.   I was glad I had made my bed.

"Doc" Taylor and George Ostersen did a thorough training job on us, from soil survey to farm planning to public speaking and newsletter writing.   I was sorry to see that training stopped.   I don't think the system that followed it was nearly as good.

I remember distinctly, Sackrider, the State Conservationist from Michigan gave a rousing talk on animating one's speaking style.   He only took 2 minutes, but it was the most effective 2 minute talk I have ever heard.
On March 8, 2003, Neil Bogner wrote:
Yes I was at Coshocton, but only as an instructor at a Govt. Representative/Inspector school.   At the time, I was the Construction Engineer in Milwaukee.   I do remember that I met Stan Rossier, Soil Engineer from Upper Darby EWP Unit in Columbus and we drove out there.   Because of plane delays we stayed in a motel and then drove to the Training Center the next morning.   That morning the temperature at the hotel was something like -13!   The next night we stayed at the Training Center.   As far as the training session--we had their attention since no one wanted to take a break and go outside!   The food was good and the dorm was really hot!
On June 29, 2003, Erwin O. Aust sent Owen Lee an email saying:
I trained at Coshocton in late summer 1959.   It was a great training session.   Frank N. and George O. were the training leaders and did a great job.   I retired in 1997.   Thanks for your work on the web site.

Last updated - July 27, 2003 by Owen P. Lee