Saturday, May 17, 2003


Daring men on bicycles make comeback


HAMILTON - The Wheelmen, a club that explores bicycling history, will appear at the biennial Dayton Lane May Promenade from 1-5 p.m. Sunday The historic Hamilton neighborhood in Butler County is filled with ornate Victorian buildings, including the former homes of officers of the Niles Tool Works and other early business leaders.

The Wheelmen specialize in 1880-90s bicycles, including the familiar Widowmakers, those big-front-wheel bikes that no doubt maimed their share of daring young men.

Group members dress in period costume and bring their restored bikes. Any bike newer than a 1918 model is not used.

Old bicycles will fit perfectly with the Victorian neighborhood, where many leading industrialists and businessmen lived at the turn of the century.

The feature home is the Bender House, 709 Dayton St., built by Maj. John Bender in 1892. He owned the Bender Building Co. and Hamilton Brick Co.

The house is a marriage of the Jacobean Revival and Queen Anne styles. The first floor is 1,800 square feet.The house has more than 17 stained glass windows. A ceiling fan in the living room has blades more than 5 feet long.

"We'd like people to enjoy the neighborhood as it was 100 years ago," said David M. Loeffler, vice president of the Dayton Lane Historic Area Inc.

On Sunday, tickets may be purchased for $10 in a tent outside the Dayton Lane Gardens in the 600 block of Dayton Street.

Information: Web site.

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REILY TWP. - The early history of the pioneers will be celebrated at the 40th annual Salute to the Pioneers at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the historic Indian Creek Church and Burial Ground on Indian Creek Road in Butler County.

Rod Nimitz, the guest speaker, will involve the audience in his discussion, "Singing That Old Time Religion." Music will be made by the Old Time Music Group. The Talawanda Long Rifles will stop by to add authenticity.

Nimitz said frontier churches used music differently than we do today. "We'll explore what our ancestors were doing with music when they gathered to worship," he said.

The church, one of Ohio's oldest churches still standing, was built of handmade bricks fired on the site about 1830. The old Butler County Park District took it over in 1960 and, with help from volunteers, helped return it to its present excellent condition.

Information: MetroParks, 867-5835.

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LEBANON - "Soaring Voices," a musical revue by the Lebanon Theatre Company, will celebrate Warren County's bicentennial with an upbeat show that highlights county history.

The show will be performed at 8 p.m. today and May 23-24, and at 2 p.m. Sunday and May 25, on the top floor at the Lebanon Shoe Factory, Cherry and South streets. General admission, $8.Today's performance will feature special performers from the Landen-Deerfield Community Theatre. Sunday's show will highlight the Lebanon area with performer Dawn Stone Voss.

Fifteen county residents (and some special guests) will perform in the shows. The revue, directed by Paula Whitaker, includes songs from the last 100 years.

The show is supported by $2,800 in grants from the Fine Arts Fund and the Warren County Bicentennial Commission to help offset production costs.

Information: (800) 791-4FUN or Web site.

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DELHI TWP. - The Delhi Township Trustees and the Historical Society recognized Robert (Bob) Maddux this week by proclaiming May 12 as his day.

He was recognized for his many contributions and kind deeds for the community.

Maddux, a philanthropist and businessman, is the founder of Delhi Flower and Garden Centers.

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SHANDON - Republican Congressman Steve Chabot will help dedicate an Ohio historical marker commemorating the settlement of the old Welsh community Paddy's Run in southern Butler County.

The ceremony will be at 10 a.m. today next to the firehouse on Ohio 126. Historian Thomas Stander will talk about what the area was like in 1803.

"We'll serve Welsh cakes," said Jill Evans of the Morgan Township Historical Society. "The whole community is involved. The U.S. Postal Service has approved a special cancellation."

In case of rain, the event will be held in the fire house.

Information: 738-0910.

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MILFORD - Promont's exhibit, "A Century of Hats, 1850-1950," has been extended through June 10.

"Ladies of a certain age will recall wearing fashionable 'Bogie de Bow' creations, while there is probably no one who recalls wearing bonnets, specially designed for carriage rides," said Colleen Potter of the Greater Milford Historical Society.

See the hats from 1:30-4:30 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at the Promont House Museum, 906 Main St., Milford.

While you're at Promont, tour the former residence of John M. Pattison, the only Ohio governor born in Clermont County. Admission: $3 adults, $1 children of school age.

Information: 248-0324.

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

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