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Eastern and southeastern Ohio are sometimes called the "Switzerland of Ohio," usually by people admiring the hills. You know, the hills that look like they could be alive with the sound of music.

And the comparison holds in more than one way. Just as Switzerland protected refugees during World War II, Albany and other Athens County towns protected black Americans fleeing slavery during Civil War times. If you lived in Albany as a kid, you probably know one of the most prominent bits by heart—that the most I'll-be-John-Browned abolitionist of all, John Brown himself, was one of Albany's own Underground Railroad conductors. He lived and worked right here in town, running his store on Washington Street like nothing was going on downstairs.

Of course, Albany's got plenty of bragging rights it doesn't share with Switzerland. There's also the annual Ohio Pawpaw Festival, which spreads love for one of the continent's best-kept—and best-tasting—secrets, the Albany Independent Fair, which is one of the few private fairs thrown in the state, and the annual Demo Derby, which might be one of the country's most underrated spectator sports.

To learn about other American hometowns with pasts and presents as rich as Albany's, check out the Travel Channel on DISH TV. Or if you use TV to escape from the real world, not see more of it, check out and lose yourself in dramas such as Days of Our Lives and Riverdale for a bit instead.


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