Saturday, June 01, 2002

Woodward school among honored sites

Ohio Bicentennial Commission planning markers for everything from log cabins to radio towers

By Randy McNutt,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The Ohio Bicentennial Commission has approved several new historical markers for southwest Ohio, including ones to commemorate Woodward High School and the home of abolitionists Levi and Catherine Coffin in Hamilton County, and for the WLW Radio tower in Warren County.

        “The school was founded in 1831 by Abigail and William Woodward, and was the first high school west of the Allegheny Mountains,” said Lee Yoakum, a spokesman for the commission. “Also on the site was the home of Levi and Catherine Coffin, who both helped escaping slaves along the Underground Railroad.”

        Unfortunately, their home no longer exists, said Emma Cox, director of the Harriet Beecher Stowe House in Walnut Hills.

        “It would offer a lot of tourism possibilities with the Underground Railroad Museum and the Stowe House,” she said. A historical marker was dedicated at the Stowe house last week.

        Also in Hamilton County, the commission will honor the Cary Cottage in North College Hill. It was built in 1832 by Robert and Elizabeth Cary, and later purchased by Georgia and Florence Trader. Using money donated by William Procter, president of Procter & Gamble, the women founded Clovernook Center for the Blind on Hamilton Avenue.

        In Butler County, the commission will erect a marker at the DeWitt Log Homestead, built in 1805. It stands near Ohio 732 outside of Oxford.

        “The two-story cabin is one of the oldest remaining log structures in the state,” Mr. Yoakum said.

        In Warren County, the commission will celebrate the WLW Radio tower on Tylersville Road in Mason. On May 2, 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt pressed a key that surged WLW's power to a massive 500,000 watts — 10 times the power of any other station in America, Mr. Yoakum said.

        In 1939, the Federal Communications Commission ordered the station to return to broadcasting at 50,000 watts, but by then WLW had established a reputation as “the Nation's Station.”

        The Bicentennial Commission also will honor Ohio inventor Charles F. Kettering, founder of the Dayton Engineering Laboratories (Delco) and inventor of the electric automobile starter.

        Ohio's historical marker program started during the sesquicentennial in 1953 and has received renewed emphasis in the last couple of years. With financial help from Longaberger basket company, the program has added more than 200 markers in recent years.

        The bicentennial is in 2003.


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