Garrettsville – Rodger Pettit was a visitor and, unexpectedly, the program for the evening at the July 21, 2014 meeting of the James A. Garfield Historical Society. His original intention was to present information on the proposed and planned Nelson Veterans’ Memorial, its history and current status. The memorial is to be placed on the grounds of the former Nelson School on the east side of the Circle. It will consist of an octagonal patio/plaza with a square gazebo surrounded by upright plaques representing the Armed Services of the United States, engraved with the names of service personnel from Nelson (Criteria for such markers vary with each venue. In this case, eligibility is extended to those that have lived in and/or were born in Nelson Township. The patio/plaza area will be composed of pavers of several sizes which may be purchased with an engraved message, the committee retaining editorial final decision on the inscriptions. (see drawing on display in Villager window)
Donations are being sought. Grants and the possibility of government support are on the radar. Anyone who would like to be a factor in the effort is welcome to make a contribution. Two individuals from the township—Garland Randall, descendant of the founding family of Nelson, and Bob Rose– have been mentioned by Rodger as part of the inspiration for the current push to complete the monument at this time. Monuments are built to last; the heroes they commemorate cannot be with us as long. Now is the time to get this done.
THEN, in his inimitable style, Rodger went on to display an antique map of the school districts in Nelson Township prior to the pressure from the State of Ohio Department of Education to consolidate and, eventually, to be joined to the school system of Garrettsville. He was able to find only one structure of that era still in place—his mother’s house. Topics then ranged from Amish schools in the area to the abandoned church on Silica Rd.(Two types of church law got tangled up in that one), the doors on the Nelson Central School being constructed so as to open out because of the tragic Collinwood School fire in the Cleveland neighborhood in 1908. Fascinating tales of local lore prompted reminiscences and questions and interest in a host of topics. Plans for the memorial are on display at the Weekly Villager. The society will be making a purchase of an 8×8 paver for the monument.
Members reported a good turn-out during the open hours of the SummerFest( Next regular Open House hours are on August 2 from 10:00 to 2:00). Permission has been granted to use the Municipal Building for the craft show during Christmas Walk. Brochures are on the to-do list. The annual summer picnic is scheduled for August 18 at Nelson Ledges, 6:00—potluck at Buggy Pass, depicted on an antique postcard (Remember them?). In case of rain by 4:00, the rain date will be Tuesday, August 19. A picnic pavilion may be available. Stay tuned.
Youngest member, Grace Edwards, suggested that some thought be given to a Historical Bake Sale for next SummerFest…sounds possible…and tasty. Jim Mayer raised the possibility of a new line of historical postcards , using the society’s photo archives and possibly some from the recent fire. JAGHS currently has twenty-five members; you could be one of them. Meetings are held on the third Monday of the month in the Mott Building on Main St. Garrettsville, 7:30 p.m. Y’all come, now!