SIDNEY – In 2019, the Shelby County Historical Society completed its 26th year since its 1993 reorganization and 20th full year in the Ross Historical Center.
”This year, our focus was on passing an operating levy for all five historical societies in Shelby County which was voted in on November 5, 2019. These funds will not only guarantee the operations of these five organizations but will also support their efforts to preserve Shelby County’s rich history for future generations,” said Tilda Phlipot, director.
Her report continues:
The SCHS continued telling Shelby County “Journey Stories” this year by hosting the Coming to America exhibit throughout the summer for the first time. SCHS volunteers created this exhibit to tell the story of the people who have immigrated to Shelby County. The exhibit shared the hardships that Shelby County’s inhabitants went through from the time they left their homeland through their settling in Shelby County and how these settlers created ways to enrich their new homeland.
This year also highlighted the fourth annual Afternoon Tea held for the first time on two separate dates, July 17-18, 2019. Linda DeVelvis portrayed a pioneer woman and shared what a day in her life looked like in 1819.
Our Just for Kids programs launched in February as fifth-graders from all across Shelby County and local schools traveled to the Ross Center for the Coming to America exhibit to understand the process and the courage needed to immigrate to a new land. The programs continued in April with another Manufacturing Day, which was held at Lehman High School for their feeder schools. In May, Civil War Day was held at the fairgrounds for all eighth-graders in the county while the third graders attended the Wilson-Lenox House Third Grade Experience and learned what it was like to live in Shelby County in 1819.
In October, Pioneer Day was held at the fairgrounds for fourth-graders from the Sidney City and Shelby County Schools as well as from Christian Academy, Holy Angels, and area homeschooled children.
The Just for Kids programs are funded by the Emerson Trust Foundation, Sidney/Shelby County Chamber of Commerce, The Community Foundation of Shelby County, Monarch Legacy Fund, and the Shelby County United Way. Other children’s programming during the year included the Fall Festival, DARE, and Kids Around the Square. Our signature event, Christmas of Yesteryear, featured craft projects done as an open house which hosted over 900 kids and parents on a single Saturday at the Ross Center!
SCHS was pleased to partner with the city of Sidney on June 29, 2019 to celebrate the 2nd Annual Cruise-In at Tawawa Park in honor of Lt. Anthony McLain with over 250 cars in attendance.
The Society’s main focus in 2019 was Shelby County’s Bicentennial. The Bicentennial year started in Hardin. This community, for the first time in several years, held a small festival in downtown Hardin. It included a children’s historical exhibit containing art from almost every school in Shelby County, the Traveling Museum, entertainment featuring the Hardin-Houston Band and Third graders from Hardin-Houston School, a Quilt Show, and a Car Show.
Our curator, Jane Bailey, and the SMS Group created the Bicentennial Legacy project titled “Discover Shelby County History,” which is an app that can be downloaded to your phone for free. It presently contains approximately 350 historical locations and will be updated in 2020. Using the app you can travel throughout Shelby County and learn about our rich heritage. A Traveling Museum was also created which visited every community festival in 2019. SCHS also partnered with every historical society in Shelby County to create a Shelby County Flag Run. Each community was invited to tell their own history as they moved the flag from community to community.
The Society’s Board of Trustees was also very busy with almost every board member being assigned a Bicentennial event to match their interest. Rich Wallace chaired educational programming and hosted an informational lecture series, Julie Gilardi partnered with the Food Truck Rally to host the Bicentennial MarketPlace, an antique and collectible show including local specialist offering to appraise artifacts, Bill Ragon chaired the Indian Artifact Committee, Nancy Steinke chaired the Patriotic Concert, Roger Lentz built the Bicentennial Float and drove it in every parade in Shelby County during the Bicentennial year and also served as the co-treasurer.
With the help of Eric Ditmer, the Traveling Museum was created that told Shelby County’s history from the time of the glaciers to the present. Ditmer moved the museum to almost every community in Shelby County. The Society’s staff helped the Sidney Daily News staff to create a coloring book that was given to all the third graders in Shelby County.
On Oct. 5, 2019, the Ohio History Connection honored SCHS with its seventh “History Outreach Award” for its 70th Anniversary Celebration for Tawawa Park. The Society also partnered with the Shelby Soil and Water Conservation District for their Forestry Field Day event at the Wilson-Lenox House on October 27, 2019.
2020 will be another busy year for the Shelby County Historical Society as we celebrate Sidney’s Bicentennial. We will continue our “Journey Stories” theme by telling the stories of Sidney’s early settlers and how women fought to receive the right to vote. Throughout the year we will continue to host a Bicentennial Lecture Series, in May we will welcome the Traveling Vietnam Wall, the Cemetery Tour in June, our fifth annual Afternoon Tea in July, The Civil War Living History weekend will return in September, and the 13th annual Ghost Tour in October, with more programs to be announced at a later date. The year will end with Angels in the Attic and Christmas of Yesteryear.