Sunday, August 25, 2002

Bicentennial Notebook


Hazelwood efforts marked

By Randy McNutt rmcnutt@enquirer.com
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        An Ohio historical marker now commemorates the efforts of African-American civic groups to save Hazelwood, once a rural African-American community in northern Hamilton County.

        In the early 1900s, Hazelwood was a town of dirt paths. Through the years it lacked streetlights, utilities and a public water system. To improve the area, a group of residents formed a civic group, the Brothers Civic Society of Hazelwood, on Nov. 15, 1941. Later, it evolved into the Hazelwood Civic Association, which helped build homes and save Hazelwood from becoming absorbed by a nearby industrial area.

        In 1959, Blue Ash annexed Hazelwood, at Idalia and Oak streets, but it remained a poor neighborhood for years.

        “It became clear that unless decisive action was taken, the community would cease to exist,” said Patrick Korosec, southwest regional representative for the Ohio Bicentennial Commission.

        Through the Hazelwood Improvement Corp.'s efforts, a loan of $50,000 was secured to help stabilize the community and maintain its residential character.

        The Hazelwood marker is one of about 330 erected across the state to commemorate Ohio's history.

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        Scott Hagan, the busiest artist in the state, will paint the red, white and blue Bicentennial logo on the 88th - and final - barn, in Sandusky County on Sept. 18-19.

        A celebration will be held there on Sept. 20.

        “After five years of traveling Ohio, Scott has seen and experienced a lot - everything from barn "groupies' to Harley-Davidson riders,” said Lee Yoakum, a spokesman for the Ohio Bicentennial Commission. “No one else in Ohio, or the country for that matter, has a similar story to tell.”

        The closest Mr. Hagan will come to our area is Scioto County, on Aug. 28-29. A red barn owned by Clo Spriegel will be dedicated 4-6 p.m. Aug. 29. The renovated barn is at Ohio highways 335 and 139, near Minford. Labor was donated and businesses bought the supplies.

        Additional details are on the Ohio Bicentennial Commission Web site, www.ohio200.com.

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        Cincinnati has contributed heavily to these pre-Bicentennial days. Workers of the Verdin Co., Ohio's oldest family-owned manufacturing firm (1842), have traveled across the state to cast special bells in each county.

        The bellmakers are about to equal their July record by casting nine bells in August.

        But several area counties will wait for bells until their own bicentennials come around next year.

        When it's all over, all 88 counties will have special bells cast on location by Verdin.

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        Dayton broke ground this week on Deeds Plaza, the site of the Inventing Flight: 2003 centennial.

        Near downtown, the plaza will serve as the “front door” to Celebration Central at Deeds Point. Inventing Flight will promote Dayton as the birthplace of aviation and serve as an Ohio Bicentennial attraction.

        Features include:

        • A viewing platform built on the RiverScape fountain tower, allowing viewers to enjoy the Dayton skyline.

        • A commemoration of Col. Edward Deeds, a contemporary of the Wright Brothers and an early Dayton industrialist.

        • Friendship Force Plaza, marking Dayton as a site of many citizen-to-citizen cultural exchanges.

        The Inventing Flight celebration will be held next summer.

        Randy McNutt's Bicentennial Notebook will run periodically through 2003, Ohio's 200th birthday.

       



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