Tag Archives: LOCAL HISTORY

Thoughts on protest, riots, and looting

It’s been difficult for me to watch very much of the protest video because it is both disturbing and it reminds me of how little we’ve improved since the days of Bull Connor in the early 1960s. My friend and colleague, Susan Long recently remarked how she thought we’d moved further away from those days.

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The 1970s Moped Fad

It wasn’t too long after the 1970s 10-speed bicycle craze got going strong before a number of Americans decided they wanted to beat the gasoline lines with a motorized vehicle rather than something that was leg powered. Well, along came the moped.

Mopeds were already popular in Europe and Asia but were somewhat new to America. The simplest of them weren’t much more than a bicycle with a small 2-cycle motor. Back in the 1950 kids played around with a motorized bike called a Whizzer. Well, mopeds weren’t much more than a slicked up Whizzer.

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Hey, It’s That Time Again, Time For a Breeding Ball

My granddaughter posed the emerging garter snake video on her Facebook page. I don’t know when or where it was filmed but it reminded me of something I and my students observed in the spring at the South Salem Cemetery. The emergence of hundreds of Gartner snakes from hibernation and the formation of a breeding ball. The smaller males surround a single, larger, female, each trying

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Highland County Amish Barn Raising

As far back as the early 1960s, I heard about Amish barn raisings. Where an entire community of church members would come together to build or repair a member’s barn. The women would spend the morning preparing a large meal for the men and the men would divide into teams with each assigned a task to get done before sunset.

While I’ve seen many of the results it wasn’t until recently that I actually was able to witness the real deal. I was even invited to lunch but unfortunately, wasn’t able to match my schedule up with that.

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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.

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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.

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The World Before Amazon, Wilknit & Boatman

I had coffee with a fellow Greenfielder recently and he mentioned a person who ran a mailorder business selling hunting dog equipment and remarked how this guy was ahead of his time. The company was Boatman’s and for several decades it sold, among many other things, a powerful flashlight, Dynalite, specifically aimed at coon hunters.

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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.

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Elizabeth Cotton’s Freight Train

I was an early convert to folk music back in the 1950s and one of the first songs I learned to play on my cheap Harmony guitar was Freight Train. Like so many folk songs I just assumed the author was long gone and long forgotten.

It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I discovered Elizabeth Cotton, the very old and very talented lady who on her cheap Sears & Roebuck guitar, wrote the folk classic, Freight Train.

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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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