Read all about BCHS’s recent findings below.
Butler County Historical Society Annual Meeting To Be Held November 8th
The 84th Annual Meeting of the Butler County Historical Society will be held at the Fitton Center for Creative Arts, 101 S. Monument Avenue, Hamilton, on Thursday, November 8th. A cash bar will be available beginning at 5:30 p.m. followed by dinner at 6:15 p.m. which is being prepared by Two Women in a Kitchen, one of the top caterers in the area. A brief business meeting after the dinner will feature an annual report of the society’s activities during 2018 and the election of the society’s new board members and slate of officers for 2019.
Jeff Suess, local history author, will speak on the Hidden History of Cincinnati. He is the librarian of the Cincinnati Enquirer, where he keeps the newspaper archive and writes about Cincinnati history. Suess grew up in Modesto, California, and graduated from San Francisco State University. He lives in White Oak on Cincinnati’s West Side with his wife Kristin and their daughter Dashiell.
Suess’ books include Lost Cincinnati, Hidden History of Cincinnati, and Cincinnati Then and Now. His presentation will tell some of the colorful local stories that have been lost to time. Hear about the deadliest maritime disaster in American history, the country’s first train robbery, the death of the last passenger pigeon on earth, and the day Annie Oakley outshot her future husband, Frank Butler, when she was a teenager. Suess reveals some of the triumphs and tribulations of the first major American city founded after the American Revolution. Copies of Suess’ books can be purchased from the author after his presentation.
The dinner and meeting are open to all historical society members and the public. Tickets are $40 for individuals and $75 for couples. People interested in attending should make reservations for the event no later than October 31st by calling the society at 896-9930.
BCHS to Re-open the Butler County Soldiers, Sailors & Pioneers Monument Memorial Day and Weekends During June
The Butler County Historical Society will re-open the historic Soldiers, Sailors and Pioneers Monument on Front Street, Hamilton, for Memorial Day visits from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on May 28th. Visitors can see the names of several thousand soldiers engraved on the marble walls, view the beautiful stained glass windows honoring the role of women during wartime and meet the monument’s new curator, Butch Frederick.
The interior of the monument will appear as it did when it first opened in 1906. It also will be open during Thursdays through Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the entire month of June. During this initial period visitors can view boards telling about the history of the monument, the story of the “Billy Yank” statue on the top of the building, and review future improvements and programs being planned.
The BCHS is in charge of the day-to-day operations of the facility and will develop exhibits and programs for the public through a cooperative agreement with Butler County Commissioners.
Jack Armstrong, BCHS Monument Committee chairman, said “we plan to create professionally- designed exhibits and displays that change regularly. They will be informative, educational and engaging presentations of Butler County history, wars and local personnel stories.”
“We hope to bring modern digital technology on line in the monument,” Armstrong said. His plans include adding digital photo kiosks featuring interactive audio and video presentations, a digital master directory of all Butler County veterans and create the ability to provide digital technology tours for smart phones, tablets, laptops and other wireless devices.
Historical Society to Display It’s Robert McCloskey Art Collection on May 12
The BCHS will display its collection of the drawings, paintings and art created by Hamilton’s internationally known children’s author Robert McCloskey during the McCloskey Walk on May 12.
The walk, sponsored by the Lane Library, the McCloskey Museum and the Butler County Historical Society, begins at 9 a.m. at the library, 300 N. Third Street., and leads past various sites before ending at Heritage Hall on High Street at the bridge. Walk participants can view the BCHS McCloskey collection only from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
On Friday evening, May 11, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., an informal wine and cheese reception for society members only will be held throughout the historical society complex. Members will have the opportunity to see McCloskey’s art and hear Lane Library Youth Services Manager Gratia Banta provide information about the various paintings and drawings on display. The wine and cheese reception is free for BCHS members who are asked to RSVP for the event by calling 513-896-9930.
Robert McCloskey graduated from Hamilton High in 1932 and achieved his greatest success as an author and illustrator of children’s books. His eight books have sold more than six million copies and continue to be popular today. McCloskey won the Caldecott Medal in 1942 when Make Way for Ducklings, his most popular book, was named the most distinguished American picture book for children. He won a second Caldecott Medal in 1958 with Time of Wonder and won or shared the runner-up Caldecott Honor Book prize with three of his other books.
BCHS Names New Curator for Soldiers, Sailors and Pioneers Monument
The Butler County Historical Society has selected Butch Frederick to serve as the new curator of the historic Soldiers, Sailors and Pioneers Monument on Front Street, Hamilton. Frederick will be responsible for the military uniforms, records and artifacts in the extensive collection housed within the monument. The Butler County Historical Society will be in charge of the day-to-day operations of the facility and develop exhibits and programs for monument visitors through a cooperative agreement with the Butler County Commissioners.
Frederick and a team of historical society board members and volunteers headed by Jack Armstrong and Brian Smith are preparing the monument for a Memorial Day opening on May 28th when visitors can see the names of soldiers engraved on the walls and the beautiful stained glass windows. When the monument re-opens, with regular hours on Thursdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., it will initially appear as when it first opened in 1906. Exhibits will be added and frequently changed to honor Butler County pioneers and veterans.
The new curator was born and raised in Hamilton and is a graduate of Garfield High School, Class of 1965. He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and served four years as an Intercept Intel Analyst, achieving the rank of Sergeant. Frederick retired from Champion International after a career of thirty years. He is the current commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 1069. He and his wife have two grown sons and live in Fairfield.
BCHS Welcomes New Staff and Volunteers to the Museum
The Butler County Historical Society is delighted to introduce Christina Beckett as a new Administrative Assistant in the museum. She will be responsible for maintaining the society’s membership records as well as managing social media and working with the inventory of the museum’s collection.
Beckett is a lifelong resident of Butler County and a graduate of Hamilton High School. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Miami University. Christina and her husband Charles, together with their five children, are the sixth generation to live on the Beckett Family Farm in Hanover Township. She is the head softball coach at the Miami University Regionals campus in Middletown and frequently serves as a substitute social studies teacher.
Four new volunteers have also taken on significant responsibilities at the museum complex. Mary Royer, Carol Brandenburg, Sandy Rice and Rae Jean Kodel are working on a variety of research projects including doing research for a book on Butler County during World War I. Other duties include serving as tour guides for the Benninghofen House Museum.
George Vascik Talk Keynotes Final Phase of World War I Exhibit
Dr. George S. Vascik, Miami University Associate Professor of History and Humanities, will present “The Great Destruction” as the final program in the Butler County Historical Society’s exhibit and year-long series of programs focusing on America’s participation in World War I. Vascik will discuss the legacy of the war and highlight some of the unresolved factors of the “Great War.” The presentation will be in the Emma Ritchie Auditorium at the society’s facility at 327 North 2nd Street, Hamilton at 1 p.m., Saturday, April 14. The talk is free to the public and free parking will be provided.
A special meeting of historical society members will be held after the presentation to consider the proposed changes in the society’s Code of Regulations recommended by the Board of Trustees. The suggested changes were published in the Winter 2018 issue of The Benninghofen Newsletter.
The first phase of “Over There, Over Here: Butler County Stories of World War I,” the historical society’s current exhibit, opened last April 22nd when Vascik gave a presentation of the European origins of the war and how the United States became involved. The second phase of the exhibit opened on September 30th with another entertaining and enjoyable presentation by Dr. Vascik. That speech featured stories of soldiers and nurses from the Butler County area. The third and final phase of the exhibit will officially open with Vascik’s talk and the complete exhibit can be visited before or after the presentation.