Things to do: Winter presents a great time to dig into Clark County history

The Clark County Heritage Center is open for visitors. BILL LACKEY/STAFF
The Clark County Heritage Center is open for visitors. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Clark County is full of fantastic history and we love celebrating it.

Over the last few months the community members and participants have told me over and over again how much they are missing our historical events like Night at the Museum, the Fair at New Boston and tours of our beautiful historic houses.

However, during those events and tours we would hear our friends and neighbors tell us how they wished they knew more about local history.

Well folks, there is no time like the present to learn.

Winter is the perfect time for finding out about local history. What better way to get through this last month or two of cold weather than learning some cool stuff?

Luckily we have many free or inexpensive ways to do just that.

The big news here is that the Heritage Center of Clark County is open again.

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It reopened last month on Jan. 19, with its regular hours which are Tuesday through Friday 9 a.m.to 4 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Research Library however is only open by appointment. Call 937-324-0657 or email clarkcountyhistory@gmail.com .

The wide open spaces of the galleries and the fascinating displays appeal to all ages and cover our local history from prehistoric to recent times.

Pandemic rules are in force, and masks are a must. However, the galleries are designed in a way that distancing should be quite simple. There is so much to learn about our local history in that hall. Admission is free but a donation is encouraged and helps to keep the building nicely maintained.

Pam Cottrel
Pam Cottrel

Learn more about the Shawnee who once lived in this area at The Davidson Interpretive Center at George Rogers Clark Park 5638 Lower Valley Pike. The museum area was reopened last summer. Hours are Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Call 937-882-6000 to be sure they are open and not out in the park.

Spacing is the big thing and masks again are essential as directed by the Ohio Department of Health. Allow about an hour to read all the displays about the Shawnee and George Rogers Clark and the Battle of Peckuwe. My favorite part is the bigger than life Shawnee Warrior dressed for battle. Seeing him in 3D is worth the whole visit.

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There are some videos and virtual programs to be seen on the clarkcountyparks.org/ website or Facebook page. Most are about nature but there are a few historical offerings like a video demonstration of hearth cooking. I’m particularly looking forward to a virtual geology talk at 2 p.m. Feb. 16 presented by John Ritter, Professor of Geology with Wittenberg University.

Enon Community Historical Society – Mike Barry Research Center reopens in just two weeks on March 2. Hours will be Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 1 to 3 p.m. and Saturdays from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. There are hundreds of history books and local files to make any historian content. It is also a great place for genealogical research. Remember to wear your mask and maintain distancing, please.

Keep an eye open for the re-openings of other places as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

If wearing a mask bothers you or you’d rather not go out (And who can blame you in this weather?) There are some simple ways to get fascinating Clark County history information online for free. And you don’t even have to wear shoes.

Heritage Center of Clark County has some great videos to watch on their Facebook page – Clark County History. Recently author Kim Rinker led a virtual discussion about her new book “Springfield: An Intimate Portrait.” You can watch the video and slide presentation in the comfort of your own home.

I thoroughly enjoyed the videos of the two behind the scenes gallery tours. A person could spend a couple of days watching these Heritage Center videos.

On their website http://www.heritage.center/ people can learn about the spectacular building that houses the Heritage Center, take a tour, and register for upcoming virtual events.

The eleventh Springfield Civil War Symposium will be a VIRTUAL webinar on Saturday, March 6. You will need to register online to watch the presentations.

The Enon Community Historical Society has information about Enon Mound, Log Cabin, and Enon Cemetery on its website at https://enonhistoricalsociety.com/

Did you know that an Interurban Trolley System once connected Springfield and New Carlisle? Learn all about it on the Medway Historical Society Facebook page. They have a terrific collection of documents and photo files. There is some great stuff about the Interurban that ran through Medway and the giant building that supplied its power. I am amazed every time I see those pictures.

The New Carlisle Historical Society Facebook Page features historical photos, clippings of historical events, puzzles, and some fun advertisements from the past. Under “media” you will also find some terrific home movies from the 1930s to present day in New Carlisle. I found the photos of the train station to be quite interesting.

Even though we are in the middle of a pandemic and icy snowy weather, we can all still enjoy the history of our area through the Internet. When our minds can wander through the past, the Covid-19 restrictions don’t seem so bad.

Hang in there, Folks.

Some day we will be the stars of historical displays and our descendants will be amazed at how well we handled this Pandemic.

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