Exerpts From Volume 8, Issue 2 of the "Randolph Times"
The President's Message from Glynn Marsh
Imagine it is 1836 (or is it 1838?) and the National Road is being extended into northern Montgomery County, Ohio. Land surveyors, highway engineers, horse-drawn wagons and workmen with picks and shovels are busy laying out the first "interstate highway" to connect the eastern states with those in the heartland. Land speculators, store proprietors and commerce haulers envision the highway as a pathway to riches while more simple folk look forward to starting a new life in a new land. Small towns spring up along the completed National Road - for example, Harrisburg was platted in 1841, after the National Road arrived here, even though the first settlers had bought farmland in our area in the early 1800s. Many "piketowns" already existed in eastern Ohio.
Good transportation is key to economic development! As late as the 1850s, rivers and rails were the main forms of moving people and goods. By 1920, much of the National Road had been paved, and Model T autos and trucks were affordable. Americans "hit the road" and driving became a love affair that lasted for generations. Over the years, the National Road (named U.S. Rt. 40 in 1926) played a vital role in opening the west, fostering commerce and facilitating war efforts and travel.
Well, here it is, 2006 - and America is celebrating the bicentennial of the National Road first authorized in 1806! Prepare to relive the glory days of the National Road with us this summer as our historical society joins with Clay Township Historical Society and the Vandalia-Butler Historical Society to recreate life along the National Road in northern Montgomery County during earlier times.
Look for the big exhibit "ALONG THE NATIONAL ROAD" at the Englewood Government Center from June 15 through July 31, 2006. Viewing hours will be from 9:00 to 4:00 p.m. each weekday. Large wall murals will show changes along the National Road through time and local artifacts and history videos will complement the photographic exhibits.
The GRAND-OPENING for the exhibit will take place on Friday evening, June 23, 2006 at 7:30 p.m. with a lively presentation by well-known National Road historian, Sylvia Miller. Miller is a speaker with the Ohio Humanities Council and also a member of the Ohio National Road Association. Appropriate refreshments will be served.
Mark your calendars now for these important dates since this is the only newsletter that will come out before the exhibit opens. Don't forget - we still need your photos of older buildings and sites along old Rt. 40!
"A COLLECTION OF VIGNETTES"
The Englewood Telephone Exchange
New member Lora Snell has shared a very historic family photo with the society. It shows the Englewood telephone exchange which was in a small building attached to the corner of the Snell home on Rt. 40 at 105 S. Main St., Englewood, Ohio. According to a newspaper article dated 1952 (also donated), Lora's mother, Mrs. Marguerite Leon Snell, started as the Englewood switchboard operator in 1918 when the exchange was located at the NW corner of Rt. 40/48 in the Farmers State Bank. She took time off to raise a family in the 1920s, but went back to work in 1939 when the exchange was built onto her residence. (This may have been necessary when the bank building burned.) She continued to serve as switchboard operator until dial service reached Englewood in 1952. That same year, John Bergman who was Randolph Twp. fire chief, asked Mrs. Snell to stay on as the emergency fire dispatch operator for the village. A special incoming-line only and fire siren switch were put into the building. When fire calls came in, Mrs. Snell or her daughter Jean could activate the siren at any one (or all) of four stations: Englewood, Union, Clayton and Irvington. The dispatch operations cost $3,000 per year. The small building that housed the telephone exchange was taken down and the house remodeled later by Jean Snell Rohr and her husband Roscoe Rohr.
A Brief History of the Engle Family
Jim Oren relates that his grandparents, Harvey and Minnie Denlinger Engle (m. 1896) first owned a 50 acre farm on land on Rt. 48 now occupied by the Stillwater Center. They sold that farm when the county expanded the Stillwater TB Sanitorium and Harvey built a new house south of Little York. Before the family could move, the 1913 flood wreaked its havoc and even though the new house was not damaged, Minnie refused to move there in fear of another flood! Harvey then bought about 37 acres on the south edge of Englewood and built a frame and stone farmhouse and outbuildings. The family moved there about 1915 and continued to farm the land and stand market in Dayton for many years. The house is gone now but the Villas of Englewood Apts. (previously Canterbury
Runn) now occupy the site at 507 S. Main St.
Welcome to the Kern Motel
The only motel known to exist along old Rt. 40 in Randolph Township stood at the NE corner of Fox Rd. and Rt. 40. The farm was purchased in about 1948 by Joseph and Hazel Kern from Dayton. The house that stood on the corner was moved to the east and a chicken house on the farm was relocated to the corner and remodeled into a small frame motel with rooms for about eight overnight guests. The house kitchen served as the rental office when the motel opened in about 1950. Joseph died in 1959 and Hazel continued to run the motel for awhile. In later years, the motel rooms were rented out to boarders. In 1965, Hazel sold the property to the Clayton EUB Church and the motel eventually was torn down. Thanks to Bill Weist for getting the photo from Betty Kern, thanks to Betty for family history and to Janet Hamilton for deed information.