Read all about BCHS’s recent findings below.
Butler County Historical Society Returns to the Roaring 20’s with its Little Chicago Shindig
John Dillinger and Al Capone. Prohibition-era speakeasies and bootlegging operations. Gangsters and casinos. The Butler County Historical Society is harkening back to the golden age of rum-runners, gambling, flappers and jazz for a fund-raising gala at the historic Benninghofen House in Hamilton’s German Village on August 17, 2019.
The Hamilton of the 1920’s was a booming center of industry, and the success of paper mills and machine tool manufacturers brought wealth and a seedy underworld to our city. Many Chicago gangsters had second homes in Hamilton, which was a convenient stop along the illegal liquor routes during prohibition, earning the city the nickname “Little Chicago.” Local history buffs love to regale you with tales of John Dillinger’s hide-out on second street, local bootleggers and scandalous gangster wars. But, on August 17, toast the past with a glass of giggle juice, listen to some jazz and enjoy the ritzy side of our Little Chicago.
For their evening fund-raiser, the Historical Society invites you into their 1900’s era mansion on Second Street in the German Village. Your ticket purchase will get you the secret knock for entry, along with some drinks, hors d’oeuvres and chips for casino games. Flapper dresses, feathers and pearls, and pinstripes are encouraged, but not mandatory (dressy casual or cocktail attire are all the glad rags you need). Outside the home, plan to snap some selfies with a small but stunning collection of vintage cars – there’s an aces insta filter to help your photo be period-perfect!
Inside the Benninghofen House, you’ll be transported back in time to our Little Chicago speakeasy. Our gin mill (or bar, as they say today) will be stocked with beer, wine, a few prohibition-inspired cocktails and a limited-edition batch from our local brewery Municipal Brew Works. A three piece jazz ensemble will play live music throughout the evening. And, of course, no speakeasy would be complete without some gambling. Enjoy roulette, craps and blackjack, but make sure you bring some extra clams in case the coppers try to bust up the joint!
In addition to the casino games and music, there will be a silent auction with gift baskets from local vendors and shops, as well as a split the pot raffle. The party goes from 7 to 11 PM at 327 N. Second Street in Hamilton. Tickets can be purchased through the BCHS facebook event page or eventbrite, or by contacting the Historical Society directly at (513) 896-9930. Tickets are $50 apiece and the ticket price includes 2 drink tickets and a pre-set amount of chips for casino games. All of the proceeds for this event go toward the Butler County Historical Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to the education, support and preservation of Butler County’s rich heritage.
Summer Family Program
The Butler County Historical Society will present on Saturday, July 13, the second of its summer multi-generational programs designed for children and their parents and grandparents. It will be held in the front and back yard of the society’s Benninghofen House museum at 327 North Second Street, Hamilton, and begin at 9:30 a.m. and end around 2 p.m. The program is free and open to the public, thanks to a generous grant from the W. E. Smith Family Trust of Oxford.
The program, “Archeology and Native American Artifacts,” will show the basics of setting up an archeological dig to find fossils and Indian arrowheads. During this session children and adults can excavate a special area on the property just like a professional archeologist would. We can assure people that several fossils and arrowheads will be found. Participants will also learn about the Native American tribes that lived in Butler County. All activities are designed as hands-on experiences with no set program. People can join the event anytime between 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. and come and go as they please. In the case of poor weather, activities will be moved inside to the Emma Ritchie Auditorium.
Kathy Creighton, executive director of the historical society, said she expects children and their family members to have a good time during the program. “We’ve salted the yard with fossils and arrowheads so we know the kids will be successful during their archeological dig. We’ve also created a very special scavenger hunt for the kids and their parents where they will try to find several key artifacts in the society’s Native American Exhibit. This session should be an excellent hands-on experience for the kids, a terrific learning event and a real treat for all.”
BCHS Commemorates The 75th Anniversary of the D-Day Invasion of Europe
On Saturday, June 8, the Butler County Historical Society will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the June 6, 1944 Allied D-Day invasion of Normandy with the first of four summer multi-generational programs designed for children and their parents or grandparents. It will be held in the front yard of the society’s Benninghofen House museum at 327 North Second Street, Hamilton, and begin at 9:30 a.m. and end around 2:00 p.m. The program is free and open to the public, thanks to a generous grant from the W. E. Smith Family Trust of Oxford.
Children and their companions will be able to visit the BCHS exhibit focusing on Butler County residents and companies that participated in America’s war effort. There will be a scavenger hunt, explanations of rationing and an opportunity to “collect” eggs. A World War II Jeep will be on display in the parking lot and give children opportunities to have photos taken with it.
All activities are designed as hands-on experiences with no set program. People can join the event anytime between 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. and come and go as they please. In the case of poor weather, activities will be moved inside to the Emma Ritchie Auditorium.
Go see the inside of the Soldiers, Sailors and Pioneers Monument this weekend!
Go see the inside of the Soldiers, Sailors and Pioneers Monument this weekend
And if it’s simply been a while, go again … things have been changing there as the monument celebrates one year with its doors open again after having been closed to the public for some time.
The structure’s curator, Butch Frederick, is there during the open business hours.
BCHS to Preview a New World War II Exhibit in a Member’s Only Event
Butler County Historical Society members are invited to attend a preview of the society’s upcoming exhibit focusing on the men, women and industries that were involved in America’s effort to win World War II. The member-only event will be held on Friday evening, May 3, beginning at 7 p.m. in the Emma Ritchie Auditorium of the society’s complex at 327 N. Second Street, Hamilton. Light refreshments will be served. Non-members who wish to attend the event can join the society during the evening. People planning to attend are asked to RSVP.
Liza Vance, history graduate student at Northern Kentucky University, will describe her work in developing the society’s “Butler County World War II Soldier’s Stories” exhibit that will open to the public on June 6, the 75th anniversary of D-Day. The exhibit will present the first hand accounts of men and women who served during the war. Vance spent hours interviewing several soldiers that experienced the war while at Pearl Harbor, Saipan and during the D-Day Invasions in Europe. She also compiled much of the information presented in the exhibit, which is her “Capstone Project” that completes the university’s requirements for her Master Degree in Public History.
BCHS to hold Hold a “Quilt Bed Turning” and Showcase Its Quilt Collection
Butler County Historical Society members are invited to attend an “Out of the Archives” event that showcases several of the quilts in the society’s collection on Friday evening, March 29, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The member-only event will be held in the Emma Ritchie Auditorium of the society’s complex at 327 N. Second Street, Hamilton, and include free coffee, tea and cookies. Non-members who wish to attend the event can join the society during the evening. People planning to attend are requested to RSVP.
Mary Royer, member of the American Quilt Study Group and Midwest Fabric Study Group, will conduct a “Quilt Bed Turning” in which she discusses what makes a quilt and why so many people devote their time and skills to sewing beautiful and practical quilts. Several lovely quilts will be on display. The BCHS plans to open an exhibit of many of the society’s quilts in the near future.