WHERE is it Wednesday for September 10, 2014

On our Facebook page on Wednesday, September 10, we shared this sketch of an early Clark County home to see if anyone could guess where it was.

Where could this be?

                                                              Where could this be?

This was a tricky one! It showed a sketch of a home from the 1875 Clark County Atlas, the home of Jacob Thomas. It was formerly located on the northeast corner of N. Limestone and E. McCreight at 1206 E. Limestone and it was the home of Jacob and Sophia Thomas, who came here from Maryland in 1851. Jacob Thomas and his sons owned quite a bit of land farther north on Limestone and it appears that the home pictured in the 1875 atlas was built around 1870 according to the Springfield City directories. The corner where the house was built was right on the corporation line for the city of Springfield at the time, so until the late 1800s it was JUST outside the city limits.

1882 Atlas showing the corner of Limestone and Cooper (later McCreight) where the home stood.

     1882 Atlas showing the corner of Limestone and Cooper (later McCreight) where the home stood.

The last Thomas in the home was Jacob’s son Thomas. The house was torn down around 1923 and was later home to a gas station and is now where Muffler Brothers is located on North Limestone.

Our archives didn’t yield a lot more information on Jacob Thomas, but one of his sons, John H. (J.H.) Thomas was a very prominent Springfield citizen. John founded the Thomas and Mast Company with industrialist P.P. Mast in 1855 and the specialized in Buckeye grain drills, seeders, and cider mills.

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John Thomas left the company in 1872 and in 1874 he formed the Thomas Manufacturing Company with his two sons, William and Findley. The company made a variety of products including hay rakes, steam engines, lawn mowers, pumps, disc harrows, bicycles, grain drills, and seeders.

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thomas cultivator copy IMG_1657 copy

We have a grain drill and a Thomas bicycle on display in the museum along with a few products from Thomas and Mast. John Thomas was a major philanthropist in the community, serving on city council and the Snyder Park board. He and Ross Mitchell gave a large financial gift that allowed for the establishment of the Mitchell-Thomas hospital on E. Main street, which was in use from 1887-1904.

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Mr. Thomas has the distinct honor of having THE tallest monument at Ferncliff cemetery.

Sources:

Springfield City Directories

Beautiful Ferncliff: Springfield, Ohio’s Historic Cemetery and Arboretum by Paul W. Schanher, III and Anne E. Benston

Health and Care Category – Medical Collection – Mitchell-Thomas Hospital

Manufacturing Category – Thomas Manufacturing Co.

1875 Clark County, Ohio Atlas

1882 Springfield Atlas

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WHAT is it Wednesday artifact photo for August 6, 2014

On Wednesday, August 6, we shared a new WHAT is it artifact photo on our Facebook page to see if anyone could identify what it is.

What could this be?

What could this be?

This was a tough one and there were a lot of great guesses, and only ONE right answer. This is a pen. But not just any pen, it’s a push button retractable Arrow dip pen, made by the Eagle Pencil Co. of New York. At first glance, upon seeing the clickable end, a few staff members here did this this was a pen, but when we clicked, nothing happened. Our curator Kasey stumbled across the pen while working on the inventory of room 6 on our second floor. She says she was puzzled and clicked it off and on for a few moments while holding it vertically…it wasn’t until she tipped it at just the right angle that the bottom detached and the pen tip dropped out. The piece the drops out of the bottom clicks into place to hold the pen tip. It’s really pretty neat!

ArrowPen ArrowPen ArrowPenJust for fun were pulled some other more modern writing utensils from the collection, representing several local businesses, schools, campaigns, etc.

See any you remember?

See any you remember?

In the archives we have several handwriting primers in our Educational Materials Collection. Here are a few pages from two different 1948 Zaner-Bloser books. Look familiar to anyone? We also have quite a few student desks that contain spaces for inkwell, including the one here. Our fanciest inkwell by far is Asa Bushnell’s crystal number shown here, given to him by his staff in 1896.

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Student desk with hole for inkwell.

Student desk with hole for inkwell.

Crystal inkwell given to Governor Asa Bushnell by his staff, 1896

Crystal inkwell given to Governor Asa Bushnell by his staff, 1896

Inkwell

Inkwell

Rayburn Neff Inkwell

Rayburn Neff Inkwell

Sources:

Bartley Collection

Education Category – Educational Materials Collection

WHAT is it Wednesday artifact for July 16, 2014

On July 16 we shared a WHAT is it Wednesday artifact photo on Facebook to see if anyone could guess what it was.

What could this be?

What could this be?

We had some good guesses: a waterproof document case, a money belt, butcher’s sleeve, barber’s cloth…but no one guess correctly that this was a flag case! Two of our Wright State Public History graduate interns, Sara and Georgia, have spent the past week days going through the flags in our collection and assessing, providing care, and rewrapping and tagging them so that they are stored better. In one of the first boxes of flags, which contained Spanish American War era and Keifer Camp (GAR) flags, they came across this skinny leather case and were puzzled about its use. Luckily, Mel (an Army veteran and Civil War reenactor) was nearby and he recognized it right away as a flag case that is used to “case the colors” for a military unit when the unit is deactivated. It is traditional to hold a casing of the colors ceremony, which includes a reading of the history of the command, before the unit’s distinctive flag, or “colors,” are furled or “cased” in a protective sheath. The sheathed flag is then returned to the unit’s flag bearer, who marches off the field signaling the formal end of that command. We found a few recent pictures online of military units casing their colors to give you an idea of how the case was used. Unfortunately, this particular case does not have any information about how and when exactly it was used.

The 99th RRC color casing ceremony, April 2009.

The 99th RRC color casing ceremony, April 2009.

"Darkside" Marine Battalion, the most deployed battalion of the last decade, casing their colors, May, 2014.

“Darkside” Marine Battalion, the most deployed battalion of the last decade, casing their colors, May, 2014.

One of the neatest finds over the past few days of flag wrapping was an ENORMOUS 38 star flag that was used from 1877-1890. It has holes along the top indicating that it was probably hung on the wall of a building in the area, but we are not sure about the details.

38 Star Flag, used 1877-1890

38 Star Flag, used 1877-1890

We wanted to share some pictures of Sara and Georgia working on the flags and we'll be sharing their blog post on the experience later!

We wanted to share some pictures of Sara and Georgia working on the flags and we’ll be sharing their blog post on the experience later!

In the archives in our “Miscellaneous Military” collection we found a few other neat things on flag including a 1976 booklet on historic flags that was distributed by Big Bear Grocery for the Bicentennial, a Revolutionary Flag coloring book, also from the Bicentennial, and a page from a booklet on flag history about how to display the flag. We have several flags on display in the museum, including the 110th regimental flag from the Civil War, General J. Warren Keifer’s Headquarters flag from 1863, seen here.

General J. Warren Keifer Headquarters flag, 1863

General J. Warren Keifer Headquarters flag, 1863

WHAT is it Wednesday Artifact for June 25, 2014

On June 25 we shared this image of an artifact in our collections to see if anyone could guess what it was.  Our curator Kasey came across this artifact while working on the NEH and History Fund grant funded Collections Management Project in our second floor storage area.

What could this be?

What could this be?

There weren’t a whole lot of guesses….seeder, grinder….thing-a-ma-jig (always a good guess!) and as usual, we revealed the answer the following day.

This was one of four motors that controlled the faces of the clock on our building’s clock tower. The motors were replaced in 1984 when Carl Everingham repaired the clock and got it chiming and working properly for the first time since the 1950s (around the time the two tower steeples were removed). Mr. Everingham offered his expertise to repair the clock free of charge and received help from Harry Laybourne and his sons, Bill, James, and Rick. In honor of his service, December 3, 1985 was declared Carl Everingham day.

Proclamation for Carl Everingham Day - December 3, 1985

Proclamation for Carl Everingham Day – December 3, 1985

Carl Everingham behind the clock face.

Carl Everingham behind the clock face.

More than a decade later, once preparations began for the Clark County Historical Society to move into the building, Phillip Wright of the Tower Clock Company in South Charleston did repairs on the Seth Thomas clock and bell to return it to working condition. (Pictures of the restoration:http://on.fb.me/Vr62MD

Phillip Wright of the Clock Tower Company, Springfield News Sun article, undated, c. 1999.

Phillip Wright of the Clock Tower Company, Springfield News Sun article, undated, c. 1999.


When the City Hall/Marketplace first opened in 1890, the tower was designed to accommodate a clock, but until 1924, there was just a decorative clock-like motif on the tower in place of an actual working clock. At the end of 1924 the clock was installed, a gift to the city from Howard Diehl in memory of his wife. The steeples on the tower were replaced with lighter fiberglass steeples around 2000 before the opening of the Heritage Center.

Postcard showing tower prior to 1924 clock installation.

Postcard showing tower prior to 1924 clock installation.

Twice a year, at least one of our staff members has to make the 166 step trek straight up the narrow tower to change the time on the clock for daylight savings. A couple of years ago our curator, Kasey documented her experience with moving the hands of time!  For pictures: http://on.fb.me/Q12zk3