Rendezvous becomes homecoming


Nola Camery, left, visited the Chilo Lock 34 Park Visitors Center and Museum April 27 during Rendezvous on the River.

Several guests at the second annual Rendezvous on the River had never been to Chilo Lock 34 Park Visitors Center and Museum. Many were repeat visitors.

One could have led tours.

Nola Camery – who appears in the welcome video describing life in Chilo when Lock 34 was an active dam site – brought some friends to see her former home during the April 27 event.

She lived in what now serves as the Park District’s naturalist office, but was once the assistant lockmaster’s house.

Now a Bethel resident, Mrs. Camery still visits Chilo regularly.

“We have a family reunion down here every year for the people who grew up here,” she said. “We rent that shelter right outside the powerhouse and catch up. We tell all the old stories.”

“We often say the history of the Ohio River is a living history,” said Park District community relations manager Mark D. Motz. “Having Mrs. Camery here is special; she is a part of that living history and she’s been connected to it more than 70 years.

“The story of Chilo Lock 34 is one of people who worked incredibly hard. Their efforts shaped the economy and progress not only of Chilo and Clermont County, but the entire county. The Park District is proud to preserve and promote that story.”

A warm, mostly sunny day meant a good turnout for the 2019 Rendezvous on the River. Guests enjoyed grilled hot dogs and lemonade, while the legendary River Men – volunteers Bill Judd, Jim Noble, Dave Vornholt, Lee Woodruff and Dale Flick – told tales of life on the river.

In addition, Visitors Center site manager Ben Morrill gave some previews of coming attractions in the museum, including two model steamboats soon to be on display, as well as the planned Captain Ernie Wagner exhibit opening later this year.

Nola Camery poses on the front porch of what was once her home, the assistant lockmaster’s house at Chilo Lock 34.

Nola Camery, right, watches herself on a video describing the history of Chilo Lock 34.