Archives for October 2017

Preserve Champaign County History. Vote ‘Yes’ Nov. 7.

A trip to the Champaign County Historical Museum is well worth your time.

School room at Champaign County Historical Museum, Urbana, Ohio

Passage of the Nov. 7 levy will enable the Champaign County Historical Museum to hire staff and make presentations at local schools. The museum’s classroom display, shown here, features artifacts from area schools.

But timing your trip can be a problem. The museum, at 809 East Lawn Ave. in Urbana, is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday and Tuesday. That’s it. Except by appointment for groups, for special presentations and the Champaign County Historical Society’s annual Oktoberfest on the first Sunday of October.

These limited hours are inconvenient for most people, like the parents of schoolkids who tour the museum on field trips.

“The kids ask, when can I bring mom and dad,” says Dan Walter, president of the Champaign County Historical Society, the nonprofit, volunteer organization that operates the museum. “The only times we’re open is when most people are at work.”

Oktoberfest at Champaign County Historical Museum, Urbana, Ohio

The West Liberty-Salem High School band performs at this year’s Oktoberfest at the Champaign County Historical Museum.

But you can help change that by voting “yes” – as I will – on November 7 for the museum’s 0.3-mill tax levy.

The levy will generate $246,300 a year for five years. That’s about $10 for a $100,000 home.

This funding will enable the museum (which receives no government support – only donations, membership dues and the Oktoberfest) to:

  • Expand hours to at least five days a week
  • Hire a full-time curator and assistant, to better preserve and showcase Champaign County history
  • Bring local history programs to Champaign County schools to enrich instruction and help schoolchildren gain a better understanding of our area’s past and people from Champaign County who made a difference in our local communities, nation and world
  • Bring more visitors to Champaign County

Haven’t been to the museum yet? I recommend you make a trip. And check out the museum website, and like the museum Facebook page to keep up with the latest news and special events.

Here’s a sampling of the museum’s many gems waiting for you to discover:

  • Robert Eichelberger bust at Champaign County Historical Museum

    The bust of Lt. Gen. Robert Eichelberger.

    A bust of Urbana native Robert L. Eichelberger presented in 1948 by the citizens of Yokohama, Japan, “in sincere appreciation of his great contributions to their welfare and to rehabilitation of their city.” Eichelberger led the Army of Occupation after Japan’s surrender at the end of World War II. Before that, as a lieutenant general, he was appointed by General Douglas McArthur to command the Eighth United States Army in the Southwest Pacific Area.

  • A pipe tomahawk that belonged to Shawnee chief Tecumseh
  • Artifacts of frontiersman Simon Kenton, including his long rifle
  • A classroom display featuring artifacts from local schools, such as a 1918 movie projector from Westville School, a paddle from Christiansburg and an 1894 teacher’s desk from the old Mechanicsburg Elementary School
  • A display honoring Sgt. Major Marion Ross of Christiansburg, one of the first recipients of the Medal of Honor, awarded posthumously for his bravery in the Andrew’s Raid during the Civil War
  • Information about other notables with a local connection, such as Richard Stanhope, who served as George Washington’s valet during the American Revolution and later settled near Urbana; Addison White, a slave who escaped on the Underground Railroad to Mechanicsburg, whose citizens rose up to protect him from federal marshals; Warren Grimes, known as the father of aircraft lighting and founder of aircraft lighting producer Grimes Manufacturing in Urbana; and William Saxbe of Mechanicsburg, who served as U.S. attorney general

If you’ve visited the Champaign County Historical Museum, what are your favorite exhibits?