LOCKINGTON — When Lockington Mayor Tracy Johnson was first elected to office in 2015, she cringed when she walked into Lockington Village Hall and attempted to find a particular document.
“It wasn’t that the document didn’t exist,” Johnson said, “it was that there were so many documents scattered about that I wasn’t even sure where to begin looking.
“Unfortunately, I knew two things,” Johnson said. “I knew that the village had limited resources, and I knew that we needed to get our records in order. Records from 1850 might be in the same file drawer with records from 1950. I could find all kinds of things that provided interesting reading, but it was nearly impossible to find a particular document in a timely manner.”
After a bit of research, Johnson found a matching grant opportunity that would include identifying, inventorying, organizing, and improving access to the village’s records. Johnson applied for the grant through the Ohio Historical Records Advisory Board. The grants are funded through the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, National Archives and Records Administration.
Despite having no experience writing grants, Johnson remained hopeful.
“Historically, the Village’s records have been stored in plastic totes, file folders, binders, filing cabinets, computers, thumb drives, and then stacked on tables and shelves,” Johnson said. “Unfortunately, there was no particular order to the records.”
Founded in 1837, the Village of Lockington was incorporated on Jan. 4, 1858. Johnson confirmed the date through the the Ohio Secretary of State’s office.
“Much of Lockington’s ‘folklore’ may be dispelled by easier access to records,” Johnson wrote in her grant application. “Through identifying the records, inventorying them, and organizing them in a manner that is consistent with appropriate archival practices, individuals will have easier access to them. This will make it easier to document Lockington’s historical significance to the Miami-Erie Canal, previous residents, ordinances, mayors, council members, and other happenings that have occurred within the village.”
“I was delighted to receive word that we had received the grant,” Johnson said. “The village of Lockington will contribute $850 toward the effort, and the Ohio Historical Records Advisory Board will provide the match, with funds they receive through the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, National Archives and Records Administration.
“The village has contracted for professional services with Archivist Stephen Brent Adams,” Johnson said. “He has a Master’s Degree in History with a concentration in Public History from Wright State University. He has three years of experience with the most recent being with ThinkTV. He has also worked with the Clark County Historical Society, Warren County Records Center, and Wright State University Special Collections.
“He was highly recommended by Lisa Rickey, Archivist/Collections Manager, from Wright State University Libraries Special Collections & Archives,” Johnson said. “The completion of what we see as a 100-hour project will result in the beginning stages of organizing Lockington’s historical records in a manner that is professional, consistent with appropriate archival practices, with emphasis on ease of access.
“Perhaps as important,” Johnson said, “we’ll be able to dispose of some records and begin the process of eliminating some of the clutter in Village Hall.”
The Lockington Village Hall was once a one-room school.
“We intend to provide an update on our progress during Lockington’s celebration of Shelby County’s Bicentennial,” Johnson stated. That celebration will take place on Sept. 29, 2019, from 3 until 6 p.m.