Clock Tower

Out of the Clock Tower



Hello and welcome to the Greene County Archives' blog, "Out of the Clock Tower".  Please join us as we share information on archival issues, news, special events, and highlights from our collection.

Before the archives program began in Greene County in 1996, permanent records were stored in every conceivable space, in basements, garages, and closets. Usually they were in boxes of various shapes and sizes, although seldom adequately labeled, but occasionally they were just in loose piles of books and papers. Most notable were the old records stuffed into the clock tower of the County Courthouse, where they shared their home with pigeon droppings.

Now, there is a clean, environmentally controlled, well appointed location for the county archives, where our historical records are housed in standard sized boxes on steel shelves. We have taken note of their journey in the name for our blog.

Jan 11

Trinity United Methodist Church

Posted on January 11, 2019 at 10:48 AM by Melissa Dalton

This week, we begin our series on the history of buildings and structures of Greene County, featured in the August 21, 1974 article of the Xenia Daily Gazette. The first building to be discussed is the Trinity United Methodist Church (Fig 1).

Fig 1. Trinity United Methodist Church (JPG)
Fig 1. Trinity United Methodist Church (Xenia Daily Gazette)

The Trinity United Methodist Church was an outgrowth of the First Methodist Episcopal Church in Xenia, Ohio. First Methodist was founded in 1808 by Frederick Bonner, a prominent Methodist from Virginia. The church grew over the years, and in 1836, it gained its first full-time pastor (no longer a travelling or circuit pastor), Rev. Azra Brown. This event allowed the church to grow even more, and in 1864, the congregation had outgrown its church. It was decided that another church should be erected in Xenia, and a location was chosen at the corner of Main and Monroe streets. The cornerstone was laid in the new Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church on May 14, 1864, with a dedication taking place on October 1, 1865.

The two churches, First Methodist and Trinity, continued their partnership over the years, and would join for special events and services, including their Love Feast (Fig 2). However, in 1968 during the General Conference in Dallas, Texas, the Methodist Church and Evangelical United Brethren Church merged to form the United Methodist Church. Subsequently, the two Methodist churches in Xenia, First Methodist and Trinity, both became United Methodist churches. The next year, the two congregations opened talks of a merger. In 1970, they voted to merge the two churches, and named the new congregation Faith Community United Methodist.

Fig 2. Article from Xenia Daily Gazette, dated September 7, 1889 (JPG)
Fig 2. Article from Xenia Daily Gazette, dated September 7, 1889, regarding Methodist Church Conference (NewspaperARCHIVE.com)

The next two years marked a period of great change for the local Methodist community. With the merger, the new congregation needed a building large enough for its members. It was decided by the trustees to build a new church, but they had to decide what to do with the current structures. In the end, it was decided that Trinity United Methodist Church would be razed (Fig 3). A previous windstorm had severely damaged the steeple of the church, and the trustees felt the church would see even more problems in the future, making demolition the reasonable decision (Fig 4).

Fig 3. Article from Xenia Daily Gazette, dated May 19, 1972 (JPG)
Fig 3. Article from Xenia Daily Gazette, dated May 19, 1972, regarding Trinity Church demolition (NewspaperARCHIVE.com)

Fig 4. Article from Xenia Daily Gazette, dated August 14, 1972 (JPG)
Fig 4. Article from Xenia Daily Gazette, dated August 14, 1972, regarding new church (NewspaperARCHIVE.com)

Although Trinity is gone, its stained glass windows can be seen in Faith Community United Methodist Church today. The trustees saved not only the stained glass from Trinity, but also the pipe organ from First Church, allowing them to have pieces of their past forever enshrined in their church.

UNTIL NEXT TIME...

Sources:
Broadstone, Michael A. (1918). History of Greene County Ohio: Its people, industries and institutions. Indianapolis, IN: B. F. Bowen & Company, Inc.
Greene County Archives
NewspaperARCHIVE.com
Jan 04

Historic Buildings of Greene County

Posted on January 4, 2019 at 10:51 AM by Melissa Dalton

In the August 21, 1974 issue of the Xenia Daily Gazette, there was a full page article highlighting sketches of historic structures in the County (Fig 1). These felt pen sketches by Richard L. Mauck, were commissioned by the Ohio Bell Telephone Company, which had a location in downtown Xenia. According to the article, Ohio Bell had a custom of decorating their local offices with sketches of historic structures in the region, but the Xenia location was the first to have work by Mauck, a native of Columbus.

Fig 1. The Xenia Daily Gazette, dated August 21, 1974 (JPG)
Fig 1. Xenia Daily Gazette, dated August 21, 1974

The ten buildings selected for this project were the Greene County Courthouse, St. Brigid Catholic Church, Trinity United Methodist Church, the Steele Building, the Moorehead House, the Snediker Barn, the Glossinger Cultural Center, the Galloway Cabin, Shawnee Park Pavilion, and the Kelley Company Office Building. As many of you know, one of the worst tornado outbreaks in history hit Xenia in the spring of 1974, just a few months prior to the above article. This system consisted of 148 tornadoes, struck ten states (as well as Ontario, Canada), all within a 24-hour period. The Xenia tornado was one of the worst, ripping through the area, leaving a path of destruction. Almost all the buildings illustrated in these drawings were heavily damaged or destroyed in the devastating storm. These sketches were a way for Ohio Bell to preserve and memorialize the historic structures. Today, only four of the buildings remain – the Courthouse, Kelley Co. Office Building, Shawnee Park Pavilion, and the Galloway Cabin. Over the next few weeks, we will spotlight each of the structures, providing our readers with a brief history of each. As these buildings are well-known historic structures in Greene County, we have featured them in previous blog posts. Links to blogs on the Courthouse, St. Brigid Catholic Church, and the Steele Building are provided below.


Architectural drawing of the Courthouse (JPG)
Architectural drawing of Courthouse circa 1900

Blog on St. Brigid Catholic Church: http://www.co.greene.oh.us/Blog.aspx?IID=25#item

Image of St. Brigid Catholic Church (JPG)
Image from "An Illustrated History of St. Brigid's Church, 1898, Xenia, OH”

Blog on Steele Building: https://www.co.greene.oh.us/Blog.aspx?IID=68

Image of the Steele Building (JPG)
Steele Building circa 1908

Next week, we will delve into the history of the Trinity United Methodist Church, which was razed prior to the tornado due to the changing needs of the congregation. Stay tuned to learn more!

Until Next Time...

Sources:
An Illustrated History of St. Brigid's Church, 1898, Xenia, OH
Greene County, 1803-1908, edited by A Committee of the Home Coming Association, 1908.
Greene County Archives



Dec 28

On Petition: Greene County Residents Sign for a New Library District

Posted on December 28, 2018 at 8:34 AM by Robin Heise

On May 6, 1925, an article appeared in The Evening Gazette concerning the future of the Carnegie Library on Church Street (Fig 1).

Fig 1. Post card featuring Xenia's Carnegie Library (JPG)
Fig 1: Post card featuring Xenia’s Carnegie Library (Courtesy of Motter Family Tree/YS Heritage, http://motter.ysheritage.org/2013/02/25/carnegie-library-xenia-ohio/)

The article mentioned that the library was desperate for money. One board member stated, “It has been said that no one but women could manage the library on the meager funds the Greene County Institution is allowed.” Another article from The Evening Gazette on October 13, 1926 stated much the same about funding issues for the library. An informant, named only as a “Library official” claimed that the County was paying $3,000 toward the support of the library, but most of the money was being used to pay for heating, lighting, janitorial services, and librarian salaries.

Due to the funding shortages, some Greene County residents took to the streets to gather signatures on a petition for the establishment of a Greene County Library District. A little over 3,000 signatures were needed for the petition to be processed by Probate Court. Those gathering signatures were successful, gathering 3,949 names in support of the new library district. In the same October 13 article mentioned above, the advantages of creating a new library district were given. These included:

1. Plenty of clean, new books
2. The best recent books on all new subjects
3. Better school libraries
4. In addition, good circulating libraries for schools and other community centers
5. A skilled county worker to get acquainted with all parts of the county, to study the needs and tastes of all communities in the county district
6. Books delivered to communities and to schools regularly at reasonable intervals by book wagon, to individuals in emergency by parcel post
7. Overhead cost reduced to a minimum with a maximum of service

Many of the people signing the petitions may have read this article and recognized the importance of having a well-maintained library. Many organizations came forward to support the creation of the Greene County Library District including: The Greene County Farm Bureau; Pomona Grange; The Greene County Medical Association; The Greene County WCTU; The Kiwanis Club; The Central PTA, Xenia; The Woman’s Club; and The Spring Hill PTA.

Individuals also took out newspaper ads encouraging people to vote for the measure once it appeared on the ballots after being accepted by the Probate Court. Horace Ankeney was one such individual. In his article (Fig 2), Ankeney stated, “My life has been lived in the country and I have been especially interested in everything that will aid in developing the minds and spirit of our young people […] I intend to therefore to vote “Yes” for the Greene County Library District, November 2.”

Fig 2. The Evening Gazette, October 23, 1926, Horace Ankeney article (JPG)
Fig 2. The Evening Gazette dated October 23, 1926, Horace Ankeney article

E. J. Ferguson, Beavercreek Township resident, also placed an article in The Evening Gazette on October 27, 1926, urging support of the measure (Fig 3). Ferguson stated, “While we of the rural districts are enjoying the past years many privileges not heretofore possible, it seems to me that not one of the advantages we now enjoy is of more importance to us than a library made so easily accessible.” The Evening Gazette reported on November 3, 1926 that the measure had passed with 4,211 yes votes to 3,491 no votes.

Fig 3. The Evening Gazette, October 27, 1926, EJ Ferguson article (JPG)
Fig 3. The Evening Gazette dated October 27, 1926, EJ Ferguson article

I happened upon the probate record containing all 3,949 signatures a few days ago while processing. The signatures came from all over Greene County and from all walks of life. From college students at Wilberforce to illiterate residents who signed with an “X” as their signature, the names provide an amazing range of Greene County history. If you would like to browse through them or search to see if one of your ancestors signed the petition, you can find the digitized records on our Flickr page at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/127695569@N06/albums/72157701742821392. [Please note that some signatures were difficult to read and may not have been properly transcribed. If you find an error, or have questions, please feel free to contact us.]

Until Next Time…

Resources:
The Xenia Daily Gazette
Motter Family Tree/YS Heritage, http://motter.ysheritage.org/2013/02/25/carnegie-library-xenia-ohio/
Greene County Archives Probate Record