Tag Archives: LOCAL HISTORY

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.

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Some Random Photos Of The 1999 All-Class Reunion

I’m really not sure but I think these photos are from the first McClain All-Class Reunion that was held during the summer of 1999. The Clyburns permitted the temporary conversion of their restaurant into a make-shift Penny’s and it quickly became a major gathering place during the weekend. The Penn family loaned the

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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 End of Imagination Kingdom – Video

The Imagination Kingdom was funded with pennies collected by the students of Greenfield Elementary School. It was built by an all-volunteer army of community labor in 1993.

Over the quarter-century, a lot of little feet romped over those boards but finally, it had run its course. The boards were rotting and the cost of maintenance too high.

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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

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Greenfield’s Brad Martin

A friend recently posted an audio recording of country music performer, and Greenfield native, Brad Martin performing the hit record, Before I Knew Better, he cut back in the early 2000s. I dug a little deeper and found a video of Brad being introduced to a Grand Ole Opry crowd by Little Jimmy Dickens.

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A surviving Patterson remains but a dream

Recently someone posted a YouTube video on Facebook of a 1909 Patterson automobile being taken for a test drive. The video was posted by the Saratoga (NY) Automobile Museum and many wondered if it was a long-sought survivor of the C.R. Patterson Company of Greenfield, OH.

C.R. Patterson was the first, and only, African American manufacturer of automobiles in America and there are no known survivors of their motorized vehicles. The Greenfield Historical Association does own a couple of examples of the horsedrawn wagons the company made before going into the automobile, and later bus, business.

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Ken Burns, Paycheck, Waylan, Shaver, & Others

Lots of you watched the Ken Burns film, Country Music, and remarked on what you thought was omitted. My number one pick was the omission of anything to do with Johnny Paycheck.
At the recent Oktoberfest, I was talking with Gary Adams, who played guitar for Paycheck, and he agreed. Gary, arguably, felt there was too much given over to Johnny Cash. But, given that someone as inconsequential as Kinky Friedman at least got his name mentioned, why wasn’t Paycheck mentioned? Also, in the scheme of outlaws and Texas songwriters, why didn’t Billy Joe Shaver get a mention.

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The Blues Man Pickup Truck. Shades of the Wilsons

Sometime back in the ’70s or ’80s Dale Wilson and his son Kenny were building pickup trucks based on real-life semi-tractor trucks. I can’t recall now if they were full size of miniatures.

Anyway, in 2015 my grandson and I were in Clarksdale, MS at a blues festival and just happened across this full-sized monster that had been made into a pickup truck. Called the Blues Man it was driving around in a city appropriate for its name.

Hopefully, it will jog some memories and some of you may have some photos of Dale and Kenny’s creations to share with the group.

 

Remembering the 2004 Christmas Ice Storm

I was going through a backup hard drive today and came across a file of photos (see video below) I’d taken during the major ice storm that shut down Northern Kentucky and much of Southern Ohio in 2004. I’m sure you all have stories to tell as does my family.

Like everyone, we lost power and it caught us unprepared. We had a generator but no gasoline or oil. So, we did as well as we could by the light of the propane insert in our woodstove. The wiser thing would have been to take the insert out and revert to burning wood. In no time we could have had it 80 degrees or better in the downstairs of the house. Instead, it was just above 40 degrees.

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Mound City Group – National Historical Park

Back in the 1970s, I took my junior high school class to Mound City Group in Chillicothe. Even though I drive past the main site several times a year I haven’t stopped until just a few days ago. I had thrown my back out so I didn’t venture beyond the visitor center area but I got enough pictures and a short video to give one some idea of what is to be found there.

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Go West Young Man. Jiminy Cricket, No Thanks!

Maybe you saw a video on the news of the recent grasshopper invasion of Las Vegas (see below). Back in the 1960s, I had the fortune, good or otherwise, of experiencing such a thing in person. I can’t remember if it was grasshoppers or crickets but, as I learned later, such infestations are not uncommon in America’s West.

I was coming back to Ohio from California and had stopped for the night in a cheap motel in either Texas or Oklahoma. The entrance to my room had an actual screen door on it and when I had packed and was ready to leave I opened the main door and the screen door was alive with crawling insects. I literally held my breath long enough to run for the car and in doing so several hundred made it into the passenger compartment with me.

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Snooping Around Wilmington Air Park

I was coming home from Wilmington recently and came upon David’s Drive, a newer road that leads over to the north side of Wilmington Air Park. So, I turned right to see what I could see.

Once the road reaches the airpark it takes a hard right and parallels the facility for some distance. The first thing that caught my eye was a large plane sporting the words Prime Air sitting beside a large building bearing a number of Amazon phallic trademarks (Yeah, you’ve seen those boxes and thought the same thing, haven’t you?).

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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