Wednesday, November 08, 2000

Butler history offered on site

County's past now accessible by going online

By Jenny Callison
Enquirer Contributor

        HAMILTON — A mouse can now be your guide for an historical tour of Butler County.

        The Butler County Historical Society has established a “virtual Community” Web site for residents who want to stroll through the past. With more than 550 photographs and related text, the site is a major step toward a comprehensive picture of Butler County life in the 1800s and 1900s.

        “There are two ways to access the information: geographically and thematically,” said David Endres, who designed the Web site.

        A click of the mouse can lead a browser down the 19th century streets of Hamilton, Middletown, Oxford, Shandon or Trenton. If a researcher wants to explore local history by topic, the mouse can nibble a variety of subject areas such as industry and business, religion, education or transportation.

        Mr. Endres, a native of Fairfield, is a junior at Xavier University majoring in history. During his freshman year in college, he contacted the Butler County Historical Society to see if they might have a summer job for him.

        “I've been interested in history since I was in the sixth grade,” Mr. Endres said. “I started out doing genealogical research, and that led to research about local history.”

        During the summer of 1999 Mr. Endres worked with Marjorie Brown, director of the Butler County Historical Museum, to develop a database of photos and information about early businesses in the county.

        She then applied for a grant to enable the society to develop a Web site and received $2,000 from the Ohio Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities. That amount was matched by the Historical Society, which also picked up some incidental costs.

        “One of the real opportunities this afforded us was to reach out to other communities,” said Ms. Brown, who gathered materials from several historical groups in the county. “We felt the Web site would be a way to reach the most people for the longest time. You can have exhibits or speakers, but they are limited in terms of reach, and they're expensive.”

        “The Web site should be of help to anyone researching local history, including history projects in local schools,” said Mr. Endres. “It's meant to be a starting place.”

        The Historical Society plans to update the Web site as additional materials become available. Contact them at 513-896-9930 or tour the Virtual Community at


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