Saturday, February 23, 2002

Warren County

Restaurateur gets honor

        LEBANON — Virginia Jones received a nice gift for her 97th birthday: her own week.

        Warren County commissioners proclaimed it last Sunday at a birthday party at the Golden Lamb Inn, which Mrs. Jones operated with her late husband, Robert Jones, for years.

        It seems everyone in Southwest Ohio knows Mrs. Jones from her days as Lebanon's top restaurateur. (She is also known in another role: grandmother of U.S. Rep. Rob Portman, R-Terrace Park, who practically grew up at the inn.)

        Although she doesn't operate it anymore, she remains active, lending her name to the Warren County Historical Society's new fund-raising drive.

        Under her watch, the inn — the oldest in Ohio — was refurbished and took its place among the top local attractions in the state in the mid-20th century.

        She began her career as a teacher but switched to innkeeper after she and her husband bought the Golden Lamb in the 1920s and began restoring it.

        Along the way they took an interest in Shaker furniture, and stocked the Golden Lamb. Some came from Union Village, the Shaker settlement that stood where Otterbein Home is today.

        Later, the couple donated much of their furniture to the society's museum on Broadway, which now has one of the state's more impressive collections.

        Commissioners Pat South and Larry Crisenbery presented Mrs. Jones with a framed proclamation and spoke about her contributions. Ms. South worked for Mrs. Jones years ago, playing the guitar at the inn.

        The $1.8 million expansion of the Westwood Branch Library will be finished this spring.

        Space will be expanded by 2,000 square feet, Internet-equiped computers will increase from six to 18, the book collection will grow by 37 percent (to 63,000) and the staff will increase.


        HAMILTON — The Southwestern Ohio Beekeeper School will be held at Princeton High School from 9 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. March 9.

        Discussions will be held on various topics, including managing colonies.

        Registration: Steve Bartels, 887-3722.

        MIAMI TOWNSHIP — The Hamilton County Park District has acquired 15.77 acres at the Mitchell Memorial Forest on Zion Road.

        The land was purchased by the estate of William Morris Mitchell, which has given 622 acres in the area.

        MASON — Engineer Gene Carroll will conduct a three-hour workshop, “Is Your House Making You Sick?” at 6:30 p.m. March 13 at Mason Intermediate School.

        Mr. Carroll will discuss mold, dust mites, asbestos, lead paint and other problems. Cost: $19 for residents, $24 for nonresidents. Information: 317-2629.

        Randy McNutt's column appears on Saturday. Contact him at The Enquirer, 7700 Service Center Dr., West Chester, OH 45069. Telephone: 755-4158. Fax: 755-4150. E-mail:



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