We’ve all either sung or heard the famous childhood tune, “Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street?”, but can you tell me how to get to Mint Street in Sidney, Ohio? You won’t find Mint Street on any current maps of Sidney.
The street was vacated by City Council (Ordinance 692) from end to end on Sept. 11, 1922, after councilmembers received a petition from the property owners who owned the lots along the street. As a result, nearly 100 years ago, Mint Street vanished into history.
It’s the tidbits of local history, like the existence of Mint Street, that can be found in the meeting minutes and the legislation adopted by City Council over the years. And it’s all available online!
City Clerk Kari Egbert began the process of making the historic meeting minutes available online in 2016. Initially, she would pull the bound books from the secure depository in which they are kept at City Hall, scan, use optical character recognition (OCR) and upload the pages as she had time.
Unfortunately, once she was back to the volumes containing the minutes from 1951 and earlier, she found that the minutes were printed on an odd-sized paper. That odd-sized paper would not feed through any of the equipment at City Hall.
Fortunately, previous city clerks had the foresight to preserve the City Council meeting minutes on microfilm. As a result, Clerk Egbert was able to simply ship the microfilm to a processor who digitally converted and uploaded the film to make them available to the public online.
AmeriScan Imaging Services of Shelby Township, Michigan completed the digitization project. The documents are stored in the cloud and available on demand.
In 2020, Clerk Egbert again reached out to AmeriScan Imaging Services to digitize historic legislation, both ordinances and resolutions, dating back to 1857. The city utilized CARES Act monies to complete the digitization of the older historic records.
Citizens of Sidney and those interested in the history of the community now have online access to Sidney City Council meeting minutes and legislation dating from the present back to 1857. For those hand-written documents, staff continues to work to transcribe the information contained within to allow for keyword search ability. In addition, quality checks will be performed, as time permits, on the converted microfilm documents to ensure that the records are complete as posted.
Some of the cursive handwriting is very difficult to read. Unfortunately, the OCR process does not interpret hand-written documents, thus the reason staff has been working to transcribe the documents.
That, of course, does not explain how some other street names were changed. For example, we may never know how Popular Street became Poplar Street, how Royan Avenue became Royon Avenue, or Kuether Road became Kuther Road. We do, however know, how Mint Street disappeared!
Those interested in learning more about both present day topics and the history of the city can search online at: https://sidneycityoh.documents-on-demand.com/.
And for those who may be interested, Mint Street was a short, dead end north-south street parallel with the Great Miami River off of Poplar Street near its dead end at the river. It was directly south of what is now Jackson Towers.
The writer is the mayor of Sidney.