Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Ohio Moments

Homemaker inspired state, U.S. observance

On April 15, 1957, the city of Louisville, Ohio, declared itself "Constitution Town." The City Council wanted to celebrate the town's role in the establishment of National Constitution Week.

Henry Lautzenheiser, who founded the Stark County town in 1834, named it Lewisville after his son. With the opening of a post office three years later, it was discovered that Ohio already had a Lewisville. So the spelling was changed to Louisville.

The town drew several businesses, and it prospered when the railroad came through.

Fast forward to 1952. Louisville resident Olga T. Weber, a mother and homemaker, feared that citizens were taking their constitutional freedoms for granted. So she began distributing copies of the U.S. Constitution and other patriotic materials to schools and churches. She formed a committee for "the preservation of the Constitution," which asked the town to designate Sept. 17 - the anniversary of the ratification of the Constitution - a holiday.

Weber's committee got a bill introduced in the General Assembly, which declared Sept. 17 Constitution Day in Ohio. Another bill was introduced in Congress, and President Dwight D. Eisenhower proclaimed Sept. 17-23 National Constitution Week in 1955.

- Rebecca Goodman

E-mail rgoodman@enquirer.com or call (513) 768-8361.

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