History

Historical Society ties holidays & history

History is important.  If we neglect teaching, sharing, and understanding our history, then we miss celebrating previous achievements and we risk repeating past mistakes.  The Wood County Historical Society exists to collect and promote our shared story.  For the past year, we have been telling the story of Wood County’s involvement in World War I.  To tell stories like these, we need your help to build and organize collections and to fund exhibits that connect us to our shared past.  We need your help to raise the funds needed to do this work!   So before the hustle and bustle of the holidays descends on you completely, mark your calendar for December 9… Boost your holiday morale at “Furlough from the Front: A Benefit for the Wood County Historical Society” at the Wood County Historical Center and Museum (13660 County Home Rd., Bowling Green) on Saturday, December 9 from 6 to 9 p.m. Fans of history, families, and friends will come together to tour the award-winning WWI exhibit “Over There! Send Word, the Wood County Boys are Coming!” while enjoying the festivities of a WWI furlough including heavy appetizers – and tastings of beer or wine, set in WWI Allied and Enemy countries. Local craft brewery, Bowling Green Beer Works, will provide holiday brews from Germany, Belgium, and Great Britain. Wines from France, Germany, and Austria will be available from Bowling Green’s Express Stop. Themed gift baskets filled by artists, merchants, and restaurants will be there to tempt you through…

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Special delivery: Mail calls treasured by WWI doughboys

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   For the American doughboys overseas in World War I, mail from back home was a true treasure. To the farm boys who had never been beyond their fields, and the city boys whose borders ended at the edge of their boroughs – mail call was a brief visit to home sweet home. “Those were the two most important words of the day – mail call,” said Gary Levitt, from the Museum of Postal History located in Delphos, southwest of Bowling Green. Mail call meant a box of hand knitted socks from mothers, newspaper clippings of hometown festivals or football games from siblings, and letters full of sweet talk from sweethearts back home. “You didn’t have any other form of communication,” Levitt said recently during one of the monthly “teas” at the Wood County Historical Center. This gathering focused on mail during World War I, since the museum is featuring an extensive look into the war and the Wood County men who served in it. “To many, letter writing may seem a quaint and charming pastime,” Levitt said. But a century ago, when America entered WWI, it was all families had to keep in contact. “Writing letters was considered a patriotic duty, along with food rationing and buying war bonds,” he said. But it certainly wasn’t easy for mail to reach the right destinations, since the doughboys were spread out and many of their troop locations were secret. “Americans were all over Europe,”…


Youthful performers bring historic figures to life at Rossford Chautauqua

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The stories of historic figures who shaped Rossford and the world will be told in youthful voices at this year’s Chautauqua. Rossford Chautauqua will be presented Wednesday, July 19, through Sunday, July 23, under a tent on the Rossford Marina. This is the third time Rossford has presented Chautauqua. The city hosted the Ohio Humanities Council’s official troupe of performing scholars in 2014 and 2016. But that series runs on a two-year cycle, and Chautauqua was such a hit that the Convention and Visitors Bureau wanted to stage a living history event of its own this year. So they approached Jeremy Meier, a theater professor at Owens Community College, for help. Meier has portrayed Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry. He appeared on the Rossford bill as the hero of the Battle of Lake Erie in 2014. Meier recruited some Owens alumni as well as a trio of Rossford High School students to form a local troupe of young performing scholars. While Marie Curie and Mary Shelley won’t be visiting Rossford this year, Susan Marie Frontczak, the scholar performer who acted those roles last summer, did come to town. She was on hand to help teach these young performers how bring history to life on stage. Wednesday she was working with the high school seniors Alex Chiarelott, Hannah Beene, and Nolan McHugh who are portraying Edward Ford, Florence Scott Libbey, and Samuel “Golden Rule” Jones, respectively. Frontczak said she was impressed with what the students had accomplished. But she…


BG Community Center to fine tune fitness class fees

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Changes are being considered at the community center that will help pay for fitness instructors and help people stay fit at the same time. But it also means people will be paying a little more for fitness classes. The Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Board on Tuesday discussed new fitness class pricing for the fall, and offering a discount for community center members who want to take classes, and for those who take classes who want to join the community center. “Our mission is to make sure people are healthy,” said Kristin Otley, director of the parks and recreation department. The price increase will be voted on next month, and go into effect in September. The following rates are being considered: Drop-in classes: $8 now, $10 proposed. Monthly: $40 now, $45 proposed. Quarterly: $105 now, $117 proposed. Annual: $360 now, $396 proposed. The last time rates changed was 2015, and Otley said she would rather see “small incremental price increases” than putting it off and needing big rate hikes. “Minimal increases is our philosophy,” Otley said. No increase will go into effect until the fall. “We want to be able to give people a heads up,” she said. “We want to be as transparent as we can.” In the past, people taking classes could only go to the specific class they signed up for. But now, people can pay monthly, quarterly or annually and pick from a variety of classes, such as…


Kara Walker provides visual commentary on historic Civil War images

From TOLEDO MUSEUM OF ART The Toledo Museum of Art (TMA) has installed all 15 prints from the 2005 series Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War (Annotated) by distinguished American artist Kara Walker. The portfolio, recently acquired in its entirety by TMA, features the artist’s signature silhouette figures in silkscreen layered over enlarged wood engravings of U.S. Civil War scenes taken from Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War, first published in 1866. By uniting her contemporary re-imagining of events with the historical record, Walker creates a powerful visual statement that complicates and challenges conventional accounts of the Civil War and the abolition of slavery. For over two decades Walker has been renowned for her meaningful and provocative engagement with issues of race, gender and sexuality and is one of the most successful and influential artists working today. “The Toledo Museum of Art believed it was important to acquire this particular series by Kara Walker, as it represents the first time that she uses the type of visual culture that has inspired her work as the physical, material support for it,” said Museum Director Brian Kennedy. “The merging of historical and contemporary imagery in this project brings her remarkable vision full circle.” Kara Walker, Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War (Annotated), which will be on view at TMA from June 17 through Oct. 22, 2017, is curated by Robin Reisenfeld, the Museum’s Works on Paper Curator. “The dramatic force that Walker creates through her lively dialogue with traditional…


Paranormal policy spelled out – and not on Ouija board

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Few public institutions have to adopt official paranormal policies. But then few local buildings are featured in the “Ghost Hunter’s Guide to Haunted Ohio.” The Wood County Historical Society recently adopted a policy on paranormal investigations at the Wood County Historical Center and Museum. There have been times over the years when ghost hunters have been allowed to spend the night in the museum in an effort to stir up spirits of the past. So Dana Nemeth, director of the historical center, said a consistent policy was in order. “We were starting to have people request to rent the museum for paranormal investigations,” Nemeth said. So the board spelled it out – and not on a Ouija board. No special arrangements will be made for paranormal investigations. No spooky overnight outings, and no sanctioned supernatural postings about the museum. There are multiple reasons to halt the channeling of so-called spirits at the museum, Nemeth said. First, the employees at the museum are county workers. “It’s not appropriate use of county employee time to supervise such activity,” she said. Second, there is already enough stigma associated with the people who once inhabited the former county poorhouse. The Wood County Historical Center and Museum is the site of the former County Infirmary, which operated from 1869-1971. After the last of its residents were moved to the new Wood County Nursing Home, the building was slated for destruction, but with support from the community, the…


Programs on using iPad & books for WWI soldiers on tap at library

Submitted by WOOD COUNTY DISTRICT LIBRARY Each Monday in June (6/ 5, 6/12, 6/19, and 6/26) the Wood County District Public Library (Bowling Green) offers iPad for Beginners classes in its 2nd Floor Meeting Room. Class sessions start at 11 am, and will cover new material each week. The workshops will provide an easy-going, fun environment in which to explore the basic functions of your iPad. Areas covered include: the hardware, settings, navigation, app basics. Registration required. To register, call 419-352-5050. Join us Tuesday, June 6 at 7 pm, for “Books Wanted for Our Men Over There.” Learn how the Library War Service, established in 1917 by the American Library Association, used money from private donations to create camp libraries and distribute over 7 million books and magazines to U.S. soldiers serving in World War I. WCDPL’s Michele Raine shares the history of this service and insights into the impact access to books had on those serving in the war. 2nd Floor Meeting Room. All programs are free and open to all. For more information, contact the library at 419-352-5104,