Scioto Township Park: A Little Fresh Air and a Lot of Local History

1 blogDo you ever wonder how a road got its name?  For example, which came first, Klondike Road or the Klondike bar?  Or when you see an old cemetery, or an old rundown building in the middle of nowhere, do you ever think about the town that used to be there? These are the things that go through my mind as I am driving around Delaware County.

If you’ve never taken a stroll in the Scioto Township Park, I would highly recommend it.  Not only is it a very nice place to walk, but there are at least four big slabs of engraved stone which tell some of the local history.  My favorite one tells a story of James Atkinson who was described as being “not capable or fully responsible”.  Driven crazy by a crowing rooster, he burned down a barn so he could get some sleep.  To his dismay, the rooster survived.  He was lucky to have the kind of neighbors who helped rebuild the barn.

2 blogLocated off of U.S. Route 36 (also once known as the Pikes Peak Ocean to Ocean Highway), just west of Section Line Road, the park has over a mile of paved walking trails.  In 1997 the National Lime and Stone Company deeded acreage to the township in exchange for some zoning considerations.  There is a nice fishing pond out in the open, and then back in the wooded area there is a small algae covered bog.  Additionally, there are athletic fields, two shelter houses, and a playground.  The playground even has a merry-go-round, which you don’t see too often.  If you have safety concerns, I say bring helmets and let your kids go crazy.  While your children are spinning out of control, you can sit back on a nice glider and take in the scenery.

The historical markers add a fun element.  There is some interesting information about Johnny “Appleseed” Chapman and his relationship to the McClure family who is referenced on these markers.  On your way to the park, you might have noticed the very old building to the east of Black Wing Shooting Center.  It is known as the McClure Tavern and township history indicates it was a stop on the Underground Railroad.

3 blogThe township website has information including details about shelter rental and park rules.  Currently the sign is down due to storm damage, but the park and its old red barn are easily visible from Rt. 36 at 4363 Marysville Road.   The township was looking for a scout troop interested in repairing the sign as part of community service project, so please contact one of the township officials if you would like to be involved.

While you wander around the park, imagine what it was like in Scioto Township 200 years ago.  While Ostrander and Warrensburg (known as Millville until 1885) have survived, there were several little towns and villages in this 35 square mile area that have gone the way of horse drawn carriages and one-room schoolhouses.

4 blogThe township was formed in 1814, but the earliest settlement was at Bokes Creek, which runs along Route 37 and feeds into the Scioto River.  The Hoskins family came from Wales and settled at Bokes Creek in 1805.   This settlement claimed the first log cabin in the township, as well as a school and sawmill. The cemetery is still maintained by the township, and you can find pictures of some of the tombstones online.

The oldest village in the township was Fairview, which later became known as Edinburg.  The village began around 1816 and was located on the bank of Little Mill Creek.  With four streets it was quite a metropolis, and there were high hopes for prosperity as long as the railroad came through.  Unfortunately for Fairvew, the Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, & Indianapolis Railroad chose to go through what is now Ostrander, and smaller villages and towns in the area met their demise by the 1880s.  The Fairview Cemetery is located on Ostrander Road, just north of Rt. 36.

Where Rt. 36 crosses the Scioto River, there used to be a covered bridge and a town called Riggers’ Ford or Scioto Bridge.  Harry Riggers was known as the postmaster and a tavern owner and it’s said that he built the bridge.  Because of this busy intersection, Riggers’ tavern became known as popular resort for travelers.

White Sulphur Springs Station was south of Rt. 36 at the intersection of Penn Road and Rt. 257.  There was a railroad station here that supported White Sulphur Springs, which is a separate town in Concord Township with its own interesting history.  Eventually the “station” became its own town and along with a Model-T Ford dealership, boasted a quarry, schoolhouse, and general store.  If you drive west on Penn Rd., you might be curious about the fenced off lake owned by the City of Columbus.  Home to the Columbus Aqua Ski Club, the 39-acre White Sulphur lake was once a quarry.

There were several crossroads towns in Scioto Township, and so aptly named were Brindle Corners (Brindle Road and Ostrander Road), Gabriel Corners (Fontanelle Road and Ostrander Road), and Loveless Corners (Russell Road and Penn Road).   Another small community was called Lybrand, and was located at the corner of Degood Road and Burnt Pond Road.

National Lime & Stone Company also deserves mention again because of their connection to the park’s origin.  In 1961 the company purchased the Scioto Lime & Stone Company which had been in business since 1899.  There were several other lesser known quarries in the township.  The land to the west of this area, between Section Line Road and Klondike Road, was at one time home to as many as 3 small towns.  I found some information about Klondike, located on Klondike Road at the Scioto River, as well as Sandy Hill, which was located at Rt. 36 just east of Klondike Road and had a view of the valley.  In the 1910 Geological Survey of Ohio, there is reference to the Klondike Quarry, which probably explains how Klondike Road got its name.  Another town found was simply called Scioto and was situated northeast of Klondike Road and the town of Klondike.  Some records indicated that Scioto was a railroad town which connected White Sulphur to Delaware.

The 1880 History of Delaware County contains biographical sketches of early Scioto township residents, and includes notable women farmers such as Mrs. Rachel Smith and Mrs. Cornelia Taylor.  Both women were widows, but it was recorded that Mrs. Taylor had sole charge of her property which she improved and enlarged to over 400 acres.

Dr. A. W. Robinson, born in 1829 in Delaware county, was reported to have treated over 500 cases of cancer with only losing four or five patients.  He was said have a “styptic” treatment and was highly revered for his success.  Another interesting story I stumbled upon was about William Harbert who participated in General Sherman’s March to the Sea.  After the war he prospered and spent $2,400 to import a famous Clydesdale horse from Scotland whom he named Robert Bruce, but also called Thumper.

5 blogThe origin of the name of Warrensburg could go back to William M. Warren, Sr. and his descendants, who owned land near Millville and eventually had businesses in Millville.   Another William, with the last name Loveless, settled in Delaware county in 1828 and was an active worker in the temperance cause.  His family may have been the inspiration for Loveless Corners.  Likewise other township roads may have been named for D. H. Smart, descendants of Anthony Newhouse (1814), or Almon C. De Good.  De Good was noted as one of the best school teachers in the county.

Another interesting factoid I found was that much of this area could have been destroyed and underwater if the proposed Mill Creek Dam were approved in the late 1950’s.  Instead, the Alum Creek site was chosen and Scioto Township was able to preserve its land and its history.

This historical side trip all started with a walk in the park and a curiosity about the way things once were.  Sometimes we tend to be so busy we don’t slow down to enjoy and discover what is around us.  Scioto Township is also home to Blues Creek Preserve, which has 138 acres and is one of many beautiful Preservation Parks in the county.  There are many other fascinating locations and hidden gems in the township, and I hope I’ve provided links to enough sources that you can research and explore the area yourself.  Visit the pages for the Delaware County Library, the Ostrander Historical Society, and the Delaware Historical Society.  Some information about Delaware county railroads and Scioto Township in particular can be found on the web.  Locations in Delaware County that are on the National Register of Historic Places can be found online as well.  Forgotten Ohio is also a fun website to explore, as well as Greetings from Delaware, which has wonderful images from days gone by.

The 1880 History of Delaware County contains some wonderful stories of early life in these towns and villages.  You can find a copy of it in the local history room at the Delaware Public Library.  If your timing is right, someone like Millie Barnhart can provide access to more documents that are locked up and not on the shelves.  There were two such documents that she shared with me, one being written by Chester Kroninger.  He had a few stories about childhood mischief in the quarry area.  Another good read was Robert Lowe’s “As I Recall”.   Many thanks to all of those who have helped to document and preserve our past!

Comments

  1. Dianna Lathrop says:

    Love, love, loved this article. It piqued my interest into family genealogy at the mention of Gabriel Corners. My mother’s family name being Gabriel, I began to delve into online research to find the answer to my question, “could this be the area of my family homestead?” Hours of research later, I’m well into establishing 4 generations of family tree which is so deeply rooted in Delaware County. Thanks Sue for the grain of information that has now developed into a life altering quest.

    I love Delaware!

    Dianna Lathrop

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