Category Archives: Local History

Cincinnati Style Chili

Texas has brisket, the Carolinas have whole hog, and Lousiana has crawfish. They are famous for these regional foods and people from all over the world come to partake. So, what does Ohio have? I’ve often asked that question and finally decided, well hell, we have Cincinnati chili and it’s unlike chili anyplace else in America, maybe the world! It’s unique, it’s flavorful, and it comes five-ways, which is something Texas doesn’t give you with brisket.

Continue reading Cincinnati Style Chili

Ruins of Greenfield Past

I recently found myself in the area that was once the location of the McClain Mansion and decided to snap a few photos of what remains still exists. When I was a kid in the late ’40s and ’50s all that remained was the iron fencing along Washington Street, the entrance steps, the exposed basement, and some sidewalks. Off of 4th Street, there was the wooden home of the McClain’s chauffer and an attached multi-car garage.

Continue reading Ruins of Greenfield Past

Hillsboro’s Marching Mothers

Several years ago we attended a performance at Southern State Community Collins featuring the author and actor, Susan G. Banyas presenting her play, The Hillsboro Story.

The story recounts the efforts of a group of African American mothers, The Marching Mothers, going to war with the town’s all-white school board with the goal of forcing the board to comply with the decision made in the earlier, 1954 Brown v. Topeka desegregation case.

Continue reading Hillsboro’s Marching Mothers

A Blake’s Coffee Shop Laptop Steel Guitar

I don’t know if I ever shared this but several years ago I got interested in making primitive stringed instruments from mostly found objects like cigar boxes and tin cans.
When Blake’s Coffee Shop was demolished I scavenged through the debris looking for pieces I could incorporate into primitive stringed instruments. I ended up making three instruments from what I found, a one-string diddley bow, three-string lap steel, and six-string lap steel. I kept the six-stringed lap steel but gave the others away. One may have gone to the Greenfield Historical Society.

Continue reading A Blake’s Coffee Shop Laptop Steel Guitar

Demolition of Charlie’s Market

Jerry Falconer had told me of the plans to begin demolishing the old building that for decades sat on the corner of routes 753 and 138. Over the years the building was home to many things but for most people, it is remembered as being the original home of Charlie Beechler’s Market.

I went to town yesterday to video some of the project and parked in the lot at Smitty’s Auto Sales. The video is about an hour long and I realize that is too much for most people. However, I was going to watch as much as time permitted so it mattered not that my camera was running.

So, watch some or watch all but, I’m betting most of you will have some emotional moment while watching it. Lots of Greenfield’s memories are tied to that building.

The realities that we refuse to acknowledge & change

I saw this map online and it makes clear how much Highland County (one of the red counties), and many of its neighbors, have been overlooked by both government, industry, and business. We are among the poorest counties in the state and we are among the most solidly conservative and Republican. We desperately need change but we refuse to accept change. We are the victims of poor and expensive health care, we are the victims of poor jobs, low wages, and few fringe benefits. We have little to no systems for

Continue reading The realities that we refuse to acknowledge & change

Our Most Famous Locals

Somebody posted an article on Facebook listing the most famous person from each of Ohio’s eighty-eight counties. Going down the list I came across lost of familiar faces and stories. Rather than reprinting the entire article, I decided to cull out just those regarding Highland and surrounding counties. While there may be disagreement here’s the judge’s choices.

HIGHLAND COUNTY: Donald Eugene Lytle played bass and steel guitar for country legend George Jones. But he changed his name to “Johnny Paycheck” and struck out on his own for a successful solo career that included several top 40 hits. He was born in Greenfield.

FAYETTE COUNTY: Ohio State quarterback Art Schlichter started all four years of his tenure with the Buckeyes, but is perhaps best known for throwing the pass that was intercepted by Clemson linebacker Charlie Bauman in the 1978 Gator Bowl. Buckeye coaching great Woody Hayes punched Bauman at the conclusion of that play, ending his career. Schlichter was drafted into the NFL by the Colts in 1982. But his career was cut short by legal and personal problems brought on by compulsive gambling. He was in and out of jails frequently between 1995 and 2006 on various fraud and forgery charges related to his gambling addiction. In 2012, a federal judge sentenced him to nearly 11 years in prison for scamming participants in a sports ticket scheme. He was born in Washington Court House.

ROSS COUNTY: Nancy Wilson released more than 70 albums spanning genres such as blues, jazz and soul, and won three Grammies throughout her career. Wilson was also an actor. She was born in Chillicothe in 1937.

Runners-up: Cartoonist Billy Ireland and Shawnee chief Blue Jacket

CLINTON COUNTY: Charles Murphy — who began his professional career as a sportswriter for the Cincinnati Enquirer — bought the Chicago Cubs in 1905 with a loan from Enquirer owner Charles Phelps Taft. He owned the franchise when it won its only two World Series championships in 1907 and 1908. Murphy was born in Wilmington in 1868.

Runner-up: General James W. Denver, for whom Denver, Colorado is named.

PIKE COUNTY: Branch Rickey is best known for helping to break baseball’s color barrier as an executive of the Brooklyn Dodgers by signing Jackie Robinson in the 1940s. Rickey’s career in Major League Baseball also earned him a place in the Pro Baseball Hall of Fame. He was born in Stockdale.

ADAMS COUNTY: Jack Roush is the chairman of the board of the engineering firm Roush Industries, but most readers probably know him as the owner of NASCAR team Roush Fenway Racing. He’s known as “The Cat in the Hat” because he is rarely without his trademark Panama Hat. Roush was born in Kentucky but grew up in Manchester, Ohio.

Runner-up: Cowboy Copas, the country singer who died in the plane crash that killed Patsy Cline

 

Clyde Beatty – Bainbridge’s King of the Big Top!

NOTE: I originally published this collection of memories on February 12, 2004. It mostly consists of input from people who knew or knew of Clyde Beatty. 

NOTE X 2: I mentioned on Facebook that I’d recently observed a Clyde Beatty Exhibit or Museum in a Bainbridge storefront. A friend sent me this link to the exhibit and its hours of operation. Click HERE.

Bainbridge’s Clyde Beatty

My wife is a black and white game show addict. During the night, when she can’t sleep, she often watches old reruns of What’s My Line, I’ve Got A Secret, etc. When she sees something that I may be interested in, she will frequently record it for me. Last night she was watching a rerun of What’s My Line and the featured “Mr. X” turned out to be Bainbridge’s own Clyde Beatty. If you’re too young to remember Clyde, he was a renowned animal trainer who appeared in several movies and with the Clyde Beatty-Cole Brothers Circus for many years. I did a little Internet snooping and came up with the following information:

Continue reading Clyde Beatty – Bainbridge’s King of the Big Top!

The Charity Newsies?

I’ve been cleaning junk drawers and came across three envelopes, each containing a money folder and a crisp new “Christmas Dollar.” Apparently, they were a money making project of a newspaper related charity out of Columbus called, Charity Newsies.  It seems that the Big Bear chain of groceries, which I think is now defunct, had something to do with sponsorship.

It appears the deal was to take a factory fresh dollar bill and paste the face of Santa over George’s. Wrap it all in a nice bundle and sell it for more than a dollar.

We have no recollection of when or where we acquired these but maybe some of you can shed light on it.

CHARITY NEWIES’ CHRISTMAS DOLLARS

August West, Alexander Beatty, & Abolition Lane

There are some great stories regarding African American History in and around Greenfield. When I first returned to teach in South Salem I began to learn about the area’s involvement in the Underground Railroad. I drove a school bus route and there were several homes along the route that were reported to have once been so-called stations on the road. Same thing in Greenfield. My cousin lived in a home on Jefferson St that had been a stopping point for slaves escaping the South. Books have been written and the Greenfield Historical Association has substantial files regarding the village’s role in the movement. The area had been, maybe because of a sizable Quaker population, a hotbed of abolitionist activity.

Continue reading August West, Alexander Beatty, & Abolition Lane

Patterson v. Board of Education of Greenfield, 1886

I originally published this as part of Black History Month in February 2009. I’ve since forgotten the source but thought it interesting enough to reprise for the 2019 event. While many may know of the Patterson family’s association with early transportation they may not be aware of their helping to change the laws regarding education in Ohio.


State of Ohio on relation of C. R. Patterson vs. The Board of Education of the Incorporated Village of Greenfield, Ohio, and W. G. Moler as Superintendent

Much has been written about the Patterson family and their work in the carriage and automobile business. Here is little-known information about the Pattersons. It shows the importance that C. R. placed on education and how Frederick came to be the businessman that he was.

Continue reading Patterson v. Board of Education of Greenfield, 1886

The Marching Mothers of Hillsboro

Click photo for info about The Hillsboro Story.

Several years ago we went to Southern State Community College for a performance of Susan Banyas’ play, The Hillsboro Story. It was about a protest by Hillsboro, Ohio’s black community regarding segregation of the town’s schools. In going through my records I came upon a series of photos I took and among them was one of two ladies who I think played some part in what became known as the Marching Mothers. Can anyone tell me more about this and the two women? I believe one’s name is Goodrich and the other Young.

 

Highland’s Bicentennial

The village of Highland will be marking its bicentennial in September of this year. Since many of us have connections to there it’s important that we share with them in their celebration. Here’s a flyer with all the details. I’m sure more will be made known as the date nears.

highland celebration poster

Wanna’ learn some local history?

The Arc of Appalachia is holding a series of programs regarding the ancient peoples who once inhabited much of our area. The Mound Builders who constructed such places as Seip Mound, Fort Ancient, Fort Hill, and the Great Serpent Mound.

Complete information may be found at their website:

http://arcofappalachia.org/events/summer-lecture.html

arc of appalachia logo