Saturday, August 30, 2003

Oxford museum to host exhibit on stagecoaches


Randy McNutt

OXFORD - John H. White Jr. is not exactly a trail boss, but he knows his stagecoaches.

The former head of the Smithsonian Institution's transportation department has organized a new exhibit, Roughing It: A History of the American Stagecoach.

It opens Sept. 4 at Miami University's King Library, in the Walter Havighurst Special Collections Library. An informative booklet, featuring old illustrations, will be available.

The exhibit and publication are free.

"Getting around the interior of North America was a problem for our ancestors," White said. "Rivers were the easiest way to go but they were of little use except in the immediate vicinity of the river itself. Going overland before the advent of railroads and motor vehicles was a challenge. A few walked, some went by horseback, but the majority of ordinary people traveled by stagecoach."

The first stage line opened in New Jersey in 1706. By the early 1800s, stages lines were vital.

White, a native Cincinnatian, worked at the museum in Washington, D.C. for 32 years, mostly in the transportation history section of the Museum of American History.

The writer of 12 books and 130 stories on transportation now teaches in Miami's history department.

Exhibit information: 529-3323.

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MORROW-The MidStates Chapter of the American Bamboo Society will hold its fall meeting and membership drive at noon today at Burton's Bamboo Garden, 7352 Gheils Carroll Road.

Annual dues are $40, which includes a subscription to the national publication of the American Bamboo Society, access to the library of bamboo, a species list and a group membership list.

Call for reservations and directions: 513-899-3446.

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HAMILTON-A group of documentary-video makers is looking for information and photographs about Hamilton's defense role in World War II.

"We need help in recapturing this important era in Hamilton history - from the people who actually experienced it," historian Jim Blount said.

They face two obstacles: information is scarce and people weren't fully aware of the role they were playing by producing bolts and other products.

"We're interesting in interviewing people who worked in local defense plants or transportation during the war," he said, "those who helped construct the Big Inch and Little Inch pipelines through Butler County and people involved in other home front projects that supported the war effort between 1941 and 1945."

By 1943, Hamilton factories employed more than 15,000 people - one-third of them women.

The video team wants wartime photographs taken at small plants and larger Hamilton factories, including General Machinery, Mosler, Herring-Hall, Estate Stove, Hamilton Foundry, Hamilton Tool, Ford, the paper plants and others.

Previous videos made by the team about local historical subjects have been shown on TVHamilton and are available as videocassettes.

Contact Blount at 863-7071 or Dean Langevin at 942-2222.

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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