Park a tribute to historic past

Clark County markers recognize inventor and first female engineer.

Every day thousands of commuters launch themselves onto Interstate 675 or Interstate 70 by way of Spangler Road, which begins in the heart of Medway.

That busy intersection is the place where Spangler morphs into Medway-Carlisle Road as it crosses Lower Valley Pike.

As busy as it is, it is hard to believe that nearly 250 years ago this was the quiet location of a French trading post. That was long before there were any roads in this area. This spot is on the edge of the Wenrick Wetlands, and the Mad River, and the former location of mills important to the community. The interurban trolley once ran through this site.

I’ve often thought that if this corner could talk it would have an interesting story to tell.

And now it can.

According to Dixie Gergal, head of the Lower Valley Scenic Byway Committee, two kiosks have been placed along the tree line at Medway Town Park, that small but lovely green space that occupies the southeast corner of the intersection.

It took the committee two to three years, explained Gergal, to get the informational plaques that tell more than 150 years of Medway history.

One is dedicated to Medway in the 20th Century, and the other focuses on two of Medway’s most illustrious residents, Benjamin Garver Lamme and his sister Bertha Lamme.

“Lamme was the genius who made home electric possible,”said Gergal. “Lamme’s sister (Bertha) was the first woman electrical engineer.”

And so, at Gergal’s urging, I drove to the little park and looked around.

What a treasure it is.

Most people as they sit in their vehicle at the red light probably only notice the events sign for the Medway Area Historical Society, but there is so much more to this mini-oasis.

Landscaped and maintained by Scarff’s, it is a green corner that salutes the past while the present races by.

Reading the signs, I learned about Tecumseh Park, which had been nearby on the Mad River and had hosted thousands for picnics and concerts. Basketball games were held in a nearby pavilion that long ago disappeared.

I had no idea that a huge electric power plant once stood here to power the interurban trolleys. It was hard to imagine smokestacks 120 and 150 feet high towering above Medway.

The paved lot provides parking for one of the trails leading into the Estel Wenrick Wetlands. These wetlands are the home of beavers in addition to being the location of a huge heron rookery, or nesting area. Only recently did the Clark County Park District announce that a rare fringed orchid has been found blooming in the park.

A bench and picnic table next to the old mill run provide a place to linger for a few moments. A Memorial granite bench and memorial bricks are also displayed by the Medway Historical Society.

It will only take a few minutes to stop by Medway Park and read the information, but those minutes will be well spent.

I’d also like to take my hat off to all those like Dixie Gergal, who worked to take that formerly empty corner and make it into a lovely oasis and information trove.

It is people like you, not just the historical VIPs mentioned on the plaques, who make our communities so special. Thanks.

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