In its day, Ponderosa Park brought just about every great name in country music to the area.
The outdoor concert venue just north of Salem closed in 2010 after a 40-year run. But its legend lives on in a new display at the Salem Historical Society Museum, 208 S. Broadway.
The park’s famed backstage signature panels, signed by hundreds of performers — including many major stars — are now on view at the museum as part of a permanent exhibition that just opened.
The SHS acquired the plywood panels after the park closed, and briefly displayed them. But the panels had been in storage almost exclusively since then.
The panels lined the walls behind the stage. It was a tradition for performers to leave their signature before taking the stage.
The result is a unique slice of Americana. Check out some of the names on this amazing artifact:
Johnny and June Carter Cash, Loretta Lynn, Garth Brooks, Lee Greenwood, Tammy Wynette, Waylon and Willie (no last names necessary), Randy Travis, George Jones, the Oak Ridge Boys, Alabama, Pam Tillis, Billy Ray Cyrus, Sammy Kershaw, the Statler Brothers, Box Car Willie, Ricky Van Shelton, “Whispering Bill” Anderson and Crash Craddock.
Dolly Parton signed in large letters, “Love, Dolly Parton.”
Kitty Wells — whose 1952 hit recording “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels” made her one of the first female country stars — also left her name.
A then-rising act called the Kentucky Headhunters signed: “25 August, 1991. Nashville here we come.”
Tanya Tucker signed the panels in 1989 and drew a funny cartoon face beside her name.
In honor of Mother’s Day this Sunday, all moms will get free admission to the museum when accompanied by a family member (hours are 1 to 4 p.m., with the last tour beginning at 3:30 p.m.).
And then on Tuesday at 7 p.m., Tom Pauley, the former manager of Ponderosa, will talk about the signature panels at the Salem Historical Society, 239 S. Lundy Ave. After the lecture, attendees will walk over to the museum and view the wall panels. Call 330-337-8514.
THE WHISKEY SHAMBLES WIN regional BLUES CHALLENGE
The Whiskey Shambles, a Cincinnati band with a local connection, has won the Northeast Ohio Blues Association Challenge. Brother James (aka, James Grajczar, a Campbell native) is a co-founder of the band.
The Whiskey Shambles made its Youngstown debut April 26 before a packed house at the Royal Oaks. It was a fundraiser for the late Michael Lipinsky, a longtime friend of Brother James. Earlier that day, the band performed at the Blues Challenge in Canton.
The Whiskey Shambles will move on to the International Blues Challenge early next year in Memphis, Tenn.
Ryan ross to release debut cd
Ryan Ross and the Youngstown Syndicate is releasing its debut CD, “Last House on the Block” this weekend with a solo acoustic show by Ross at 7 p.m. Friday at Spirits Ultralounge, 1418 E. Midlothian Blvd., Youngstown, and a full-band show at 9 p.m. Saturday at the Magic Tree, South Avenue in Boardman.
Joe Ski from Abacus Jones will open the Magic Tree show, and Cheap Thrills from Anderson, Ind., will close it. The CD will be sold at the show and is also available on iTunes and the Google Play store.
grand opening for ryes bar
Ryes Craft Beer and Whiskey Bar, 124 W. Federal St., downtown Youngstown, will have its grand opening Saturday night.
The new club, on the second floor of the building that houses Imbibe Martini Bar on the ground level, features 100 domestic craft beers, an additional 14 craft beers on tap, more than 40 whiskeys and a boilermaker menu that combines both spirits. The bar specializes in Prohibition-style cocktails and also has an extensive mead and wine list.
Most unique about it is the full-size window wall that overlooks Federal Street.