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- Way Back Wednesday's: Education In Scioto County Part 2
By Audrey Schiesser | Local Happenings Stories Inspired From "History of Scioto County" The City Schools Portsmouth schools got their start when Henry Massie, the town's founder, donated lots 130 and 140 for school purposes. Second Street School was built on the site, and Fourth Street School later was built on lot 39, also donated by Massie. These, of course, came much later than the settling of the town. Alexandria school, which disappeared with the early town after Portsmouth was developing, reportedly was founded in 1806. Twelve years later Joseph Wheeler opened an "English School" as Wheeler's Academy, with fees of $2.50 quarterly, plus expense assistance with firewood. Clarkson Smith later opened another subscription school on Second Street with fees of $25 a year. Furniture in the schools was meager, with split logs for seats, with wide boards fastened to walls for desks. Generally boys and girls attended classes in separate rooms. A co-educational academy was proposed in 1827, but even at that, separate classes were the rule, with safe distances between male and female classrooms. Boys were to be taught grammar, geography and Latin, with Greek at an additional cost. Girls were to get classes in reading, writing, arithmetic, grammar, geography and plain and fancy needlecraft. Financial success of subscription schools seems to have been less than ideal. While the proprietors were trying to get the co-educational school started, another teacher was pleading with parents to pay up before forcing him into bankruptcy. The first "free school" was taught by George R. Kelley (1829) in a small frame building near Front and Washington Sts. The school, financed from the sale of Section 16 of the township as provided by the Northwest Territory Ordinance of 1785, was able to operate only until the funds were gone — about three months. Public sentiment was strongly in favor for those with children, but even more so for payment by those with children, only. Few people seemed sufficiently interested in public schools to support taxes for education purposes. Funding sources for the free school remain unidentified. Also in 1836 the city gave property at Fifth and Court Sts. to James Lodwick, Washington Kinney and Peter Kinney for a free school. They built a 2-story brick structure at a cost of $900. The lower section also was used by the Select Female Academy. All Saints Church used the upper part at one time for its Sunday School. At a later date the city bought the property back and used it as a full public school. One of the most significant steps in Portsmouth educational development came in 1838 when the town charter was amended placing the onus of education on the town, giving power to levy taxes, buy lots, pay teachers, supply fuel and furnish equipment. This, in fact, was the beginning of public schools for the city. By 1842 enrollment had grown to 468 in the city, but average daily attendance was only 220, a problem that plagued the system for years. This was before compulsory attendance, and at a time when the school was segregating male and female students. Per-pupil expenses for 1842 were listed at $7.52. With the passing of the months, attendance grew, and more buildings were needed. This came at a time when private schools still were available and apparently beginning to prosper. Building costs also were increasing, and by 1850 the contract for the three-story, 12-room building at Second and Chillicothe Sts. was $7,184. Finally, in 1857, the city turned schools over to a board of education, following approval of public voting. This action came only a year after the city had opened its first high school in the face of strong opposition. Education beyond the basics still was considered an unnecessary frill. Five seniors graduated in 1860, the first of a growing trend. By 1874 there were 13 graduates, but in 1875 the class dropped to six. On the positive side, by 1876, 31 of the city teachers were products of the high school. Portsmouth experienced remarkable growth late in the 1800s and early 1900s. Schools kept pace. The high school was moved to Gallia and Waller Sts. property in 1897, and by 1912 the original part of a new building was occupied, with additional space provided in 1922. Records of 1908 showed schools operating as: Bond Street, Campbell Street, Eleventh Street, Highland, Fourth Street, Offnere Street, Second Street and Union Street. Garfield and Lincoln were in use by 1916, and McKinley was under construction by 1917. Massie School replaced Second Street School.
- Way Back Wednesday's: Education In Scioto County Part 1
By Audrey Schiesser | Local Happenings Stories Inspired From "History of Scioto County" Hello and welcome back to the fourth edition of Way Back Wednesday’s where we are aiming to highlight the amazing and vast history that is within our county! This week we are taking a look at segments of “Education In Scioto County”, courtesy of the “History of Scioto County” by the Portsmouth Area Recognition Society. This story is broken into three separate categories and we will cover all three categories over three weeks: county schools, city schools, and parochial schools. From humble beginnings of puncheon floors, split-log seats and desks to match, schools have somehow progressed to today’s very sophisticated learning centers. Many are complete with contour seats, carpeted or tile floors, and computerized teaching aids. In less than 180 years Scioto County education has progressed from virtually nothing to a broad-based opportunity for almost everyone, ranging from academic, technical, vocational, and college programs. County Schools “Just Happened” County schools, not unlike Topsy if anyone remembers that far back, seem to have "just happened" until around 1914 when the Ohio School Code provided for county school districts with boards of education and superintendents. Before that there were 24 school districts in the county, and they left few records of their growth. The present county system, developed as a result of the 1914 Code, has to be credited to a great extent to the efforts of the late E.O. McCowen, the first superintendent. McCowen was selected to the position in June 1914, when presidents of the 24 districts (all independent) gathered to implement the mandate of the new Code. They selected the board which chose McCowen for the task of conforming to the new rules and regulations. What was to become a long-time assignment began with 108 one-room schools; two 4-year high schools (Wheelers-burg and Lucasville) and three two-year high schools (New Boston, South Webster and Green Township). There were 19 districts without high schools. In fact, total high school enrollment in 1914 was only 180, reflecting still the lack of concern for more than basic reading, writing and arithmetic. Generally, conditions were poor, and many students couldn't afford to travel to Portsmouth or one of the other high schools. Eighth grade was the end for many. Salary increases — to as high as $160 a month in 1920 —free textbooks, school tax levies and longer terms combined to give more attention to the schools. Consolidation made it easier to offer high school, and by 1926 South Webster, Green, Minford, McDermott, Otway and Rarden had four-year programs. From 1926 to 1937 high school enrollment in the county doubled. The 1984-85 records, by district and schools are: BLOOM — Vernon 312, Scioto Furnace 114, South Webster 291 and Bloom High School 511. CLAY — Rosemount 230, Rubyville 156 and Clay High School 372. GREEN — Elementary 457 and High School 404. MINFORD — Primary 527, Middle 647 and High School 472. NEW BOSTON — Stanton Primary 193, Oak Intermediate 132 and Glenwood High School 234. NORTHWEST — McDermott 441, Morgan 305, Otway 352, Union 368 and Northwest High School 612. VALLEY Glendale 132, Elementary 393, Intermediate 447 and Valley High School 409. WASHINGTON — Dry Run 156, Friendship 313, Jenkins 325, Nauvoo 579 and Portsmouth West High School 665, the county's largest. Total enrollment for the term was 12,299, reflecting that the system of constructing schools where buses could bring in the children was paying dividends.
- Way Back Wednesday's: The County Seat Story
By Audrey Schiesser | Local Happenings Stories Inspired From "History of Scioto County" Hello and welcome back to the third edition of Way Back Wednesday’s where we are aiming to highlight the amazing and vast history that is within our county! This week we are taking a look at, “The County Seat Story” courtesy of the “History of Scioto County” by the Portsmouth Area Recognition Society. Samuel Marshall, Sr. was one of the first white settlers to ever build his home in Scioto County. This was in 1796 and sparked the massive influx of settlers shortly after in what is now known as the area of Alexandria. Alexandria grew over the years and became the headquarters of government and business in this section of the county. Businesses moved in permanently and this area became a trading center for suppliers. The town gained a post office on July 1, 1808 and became incorporated March 15, 1815. When floods took over Alexandria, the county seat moved to Portsmouth and so did its settlers. Soon Alexandria was washed away from the river into oblivion. In 1820 the town was recorded to have 527 residents. Market Street was the center of town. Work was being done on the courthouse. It took three years and approximately a million dollars to build. Portsmouth soon became the valley’s trading center. Several trading houses opened and commercial advantages of the area were placed under development. When the canal was completed in 1832 it made Portsmouth the largest distributing port on the Ohio River between Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. Social, political, and business life in Portsmouth centered around the canal from 1825 to 1860. Between 1825 and 1828, Portsmouth saw sixty-eight different steam boats arrive and depart. In 1828 it saw 804. These boats were magnificent. They featured excellent cuisine, bridal suites, and more. The foundries of the area made thousands of cannonballs during the Civil War. Shiploads of soldiers and supplies left Portsmouth’s docks to aid in the Union cause. This area is surrounded by glorious history. It is a privilege to write and share these stories with you. Come back next week as we take a look at the education in Scioto County!
- Way Back Wednesday's: Early Transportation
By Audrey Schiesser | Local Happenings Up until 1792, the canoe was the primary means of water transportation in our region. As you may be aware, the canoe was not the ideal form of transportation. This is because when it came to transporting a settler’s household items and family, it became very limited and very dangerous. This is what set the settler’s to create a more efficient and safer way. This is when vessels like the keelboat and barge came into use. These vessels could safely carry twenty to forty tons of freight. This innovation is what caused the high influx of settlers into our county. These settlers were able to transport their homes and families safely up and down the Ohio River. It was by these means that our population began to grow. From here life began to prosper. Boats continuously brought in flour, pork, whiskey, apple cider, vinegar, brandy, Seneca oil, butter, tallow, soap, feathers, hemp thread, oats, potatoes, and more! These products came all the way from New Orleans by means of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. Once the crew would arrive and sell off all the goods, they would sell the vessels for its value as lumber. They did this because the downriver venture was dangerous. It was infested with lawless gangs and pirates such as Wilson of Cave-in Rock, Jim Girty of Crows Nest, and Fluger of Cash Creek. So instead of taking the chance, they sold their vessels and made their way home by land. Fast forward to 1811 and the first steamboat went into successful operation on the Ohio river. It was called “New Orleans” and it was launched at Pittsburg. This ship totaled $40,000. Thanks for riding along with us this week as we took a look at our county’s history with transportation! Tune back next week as we take a look at “The County Seat Story”.
- Way Back Wednesday's, "The Shawnees"
By: Audrey Schiesser | Local Happenings Stories Inspired from, "A History of Scioto County" Hello and welcome to our latest blog series, “Way Back Wednesday’s”. We are so excited to welcome you back to historical stories about Scioto County. This latest series is based off of the book, “A History of Scioto County”. It was published in 1986 by The Portsmouth Area Recognition Society and they have graciously allowed us to write about their stories. This first story we are taking a look at is “The Shawnees”. For many years there were battles between the Shawnee Indians and the settlers. They battled over the north bank of the Ohio River in pursuit of the promising and fertile land of the Northwest Territory known as Ohio. The Shawne’s seldom fought alone. They were often seen fighting alongside the Wyandots, Delawares, Mingoes, Miamis, and others. They fought in battles on land and in water. When the settler traffic was light on the river, the Shawnees would go over to Kentucky passing through present day Scioto County. According to some historians, on one of their travels over the Ohio river, they captured Daniel Boone, who escaped and passed through Scioto County on his way home to Kentucky. During the mid 1700s, the Shawnees inhabited a little village known as Lower Shawnee Town or Lowertown. This village was on the west bank on the mouth of the Scioto River. A french explorer named Caleron brought 200 of his men to Lowertown in an effort to try to get a pledge of loyalty from the Indians. This failed as the British were already in agreement with the British. The Shawnees were the tribe to most stifle the settling of the Ohio River. They were considered the bravest, craftiest, and most dedicated to the cause of fighting against the settlement of their land. Originally they came to Ohio from North Carolina, Tennessee, and a few other areas in the south. They travelled the Scioto river and ventured out into the heartland of Ohio. That had been pushed out of their homes so many times that when they settled here, they decided to firmly defend it with their lives. Overtime, however, they were pushed further and further north. Unauthorized leaders in the tribes were selling off lands to the settlers. After this, few Shawnee’s came back to visit their once beloved land. While you are out hiking in the woods or taking a stroll through the Boneyfiddle, try to remember how these lands were once running rampant with fierce, brave, and strong warriors determined to protect their lands. Check back with us next week as we talk about the early transportation of our county!
- "Did You Know?" The Atomic Boom
By Audrey Schiesser | Local Happenings Stories Inspired From "The Story of Portsmouth" by Elmer Sword In our eleventh and final edition of “Did You Know?” with local tales from our county’s history, we are taking a look at the “The Atomic Boom”. In August of 1952 the Atomic Energy Commission selected a site in Pike county that was 20 miles north of Portsmouth for a billion dollar plant. This massive facility was constructed to produce uranium 235 by means of gaseous diffusion. Two new power plants had to be constructed to supply the plant's annual requirement of 1,800,000 kilowatts of electricity. This was 25% more electrical energy than consumed by the entire state of New York. This plant was completed in 1955 at a cost of slightly under one billion dollars to be operated by Goodyear Atomic Corporation, a subsidiary of the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. Due to the close proximity of Portsmouth, much of the construction work was done here. This gave the local Portsmouth economy a very much needed boost. Hundreds of temporary construction workers descended upon the Portsmouth area and large trailer camps sprung up almost overnight just north of the city. This led to overflowing schools, crowded stores, and major traffic for our town. This became known as “The Atomic Boom” of Portsmouth. People were hoping this would last forever. City of Silence For 61 consecutive days, beginning October 16, 2956, 17,428 telephones did not ring in the city of Portsmouth or Scioto County, because of a union strike. This began July 15, 1956, when Communication Workers of America struck against the Ohio Consolidated Telephone Company after two months of intense negotiations. Just before this incident, the General Telephone company had acquired Ohio Consolidated, a company which for 14 years had operated under a union-shop agreement. Now the new parent company proposed that maintenance of membership and no-strike clauses be included. The union shook its head about both of the proposals, but it was the union ship fight that was to prolong negotiations. At first, everything was going smooth as dial phones were used which were kept in operation by automation and supervisory personnel. However, about a month later, the citation grew more dire. At night, telephone cables were chopped, sawed, and burnt. Daytime repair crews were quickly losing their foothold. Police were unable to make arrests and more and more residents were unable to use their phones. On August 16, the company closed two small county exchanges because of violence. By September 3, there had been 67 cable cuts and some lines even slashed three times. By October 15, 290 cables had been slashed. That very night the telephone building was swarmed and windows were smashed. It was at this time that Portsmouth switched into emergency mode. 23 auxiliary policemen were deputized to patrol city streets all night in their privately owned vehicles. Police call boxes, not used since radio had been installed, were examined for possible use. Four of them were still in operation. A police car was stationed outside of Mercy hospital. When nurses needed a doctor, an ambulance, or a special drug, they ran outside, talked over the radio to police headquarters, where the message was relayed to patrolling city police, highway patrolmen, or sheriff’s deputies. This was definitely a crazy time in our county’s history. We hope you have enjoyed this “Did You Know?” series and cannot wait to show you what we have next!
- Did You Know? World War II
By Audrey Schiesser | Local Happenings Stories Inspired From "The Story of Portsmouth" by Elmer Sword In our tenth edition of “Did You Know?” with local tales from our county’s history, we are taking a look at the “World War II Period”. The morning of September 30, 1938, the Portsmouth Times read, “NAZI’S TO ENTER SEDETEN AREA TONIGHT IN PEACE”. On October 1, Nazi troops had marched across the Czech border as Adolf Hitler sent his first “goosestepping” soldiers into Czechoslovakia that was given to him by France, Britain, and Italy to keep peace. Almost a year later on September 1, 1939 that World War II began. Despite President Roosevelt’s declaration of remaining neutral, it became quite evident that that would no longer be a possibility. That following month, the first round of the draft had begun. Attack on Pearl Harbor On Sunday, December 7, 1941, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and the United States was suddenly in the war. In Portsmouth that evening, the police department received a Navy department request to notify all sailors on leave to report immediately back to their base. Bus and railroad officials were kept very busy arranging transportation as the sailors hurried back. That very next day, the Army and Navy recruiters were two of the most popular men in town. Young men left and right were coming to sign up. United States Enters War That following day, December 8, 1941, the United States declared war on Japan. On December 11, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States. By December 19, Congress extended the draft to men between the ages of 20 and 40. The Rationing Begins Three days after the war began, all civilian sales of tires and tubes were stopped. Shortly after that, the production of civilian tires was also halted and local ration boards were set up under the Office of Price Administration (OPA). By January 5, 1942, this board began issuing cards which entitled the holder to purchase a tire from the supply which was already on hand when production stopped. These cards were issued only to qualified people, such as: physicians, police, fire department, ministers, farm tractors, etc. Other Rationing During the remaining year in 1942, many other items became under ration. These items included typewriters, sugar, bicycles, gasoline, farm machinery, rubber boots, etc. In 1943 the rationing extended even further. This need was due to the “panic buying: of the population. Germany Surrenders Once the news reached Portsmouth, the city had planned on a celebration. At 7am on Monday, May 7, there was a wreath laying service on Gallia street esplanade in the memory of those who gave their lives for our country. Following these services, three bands directed by Ray Adams, and a color guard marched in a small parade. John Smith, the chief of detectives and acting Chief of Police, asked that all liquor licenses be inactive for 24 hours. Even though World War II is fading in many memories, we can take great pride in knowing that our local community helped in the efforts to win the war and bring our men and women home. Tune in with us next week as we take a look at “The Atomic Boom”.
- Did You Know? The Greatest Celebration
By Audrey Schiesser | Local Happenings Stories Inspired From "The Story of Portsmouth" by Elmer Sword In our ninth edition of “Did You Know?” with local tales from our county’s history, we are taking a look at “The Greatest Celebration”. By 1938 the residents of Portsmouth were starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel for the depression. With the recession in 1937 and the flood, they were ready to celebrate. Huge plans were made for the city’s participation in a five-day celebration of the Sesquicentennial of the opening of the Northwest Territory. The two Sesquicentennial Queens were “Miss Liberty”, Phyllis Cole. Miss. Cole was a 17 year old senior at Portsmouth high school. There was also “Miss Columbia”, Janice Jones. Miss. Jones was a 16 year old senior at McDermott high school. Farmer Steals Plane and Spotlight At Air Show Approximately 8,000 people stood and sat to watch three hours of daredevil stunting and navy plane maneuvering at the Air Classic officially launching the Sesquicentennial celebration. Nearly 2,000 automobiles were parked at the airport at Raven Rock. During the show, a man in farmer’s clothes, a straw hat, and had a goatee, was pestering the announcer during the show. He kept insisting that he knew how to fly one of the planes based on a random flying book that he had read. He was dismissed by the announcer. He then stole a plane and took off while the announcer desperately pleaded with the other pilots to make him stop. The farmer came close to the ground several times. He even cut off his motor twice while in the air. He eventually made a safe but shaky landing. It was later revealed that he was a planned part of the show and the “farmer” was actually the show’s comedian. Wooden Nickels Were Souvenirs One of the main souvenirs for the Sesquicentennial was “wooden nickels” that were printed on thin strips of plywood which actually were negotiable in downtown stores for a short period. These were designed by B. Leroy Compton, William Faivre, and Paul Jordan. They had five series, each with a different colored face of green, scarlet, blue, maroon, and violet. The City’s Biggest Parade People were lined up on streets, sidewalks, in windows, on rooftops, and even hanging from fire escapes. 75,000 people watched the big parade of the Sesquicentennial celebration. Portsmouth’s “greatest community show” ended with a two hour parade of bands and floats. It had 56 floats and 23 musical units. \ Baseball Celebration The baseball fans in Portsmouth had cause to celebrate too as the local Red Birds won the Middle Atlantic League pennant that year. The team steadied themselves in first and second place all during the year, but pulled off a win in the last minute. This team came to Portsmouth at the start of 1937 season when Branch Rickey agreed to make Portsmouth a Cardinal farm club. Branch Rickey was a “hometown boy” who made good in the majors as vice-president and general manager of the St. Louis Cardinals. He transferred his Huntington, West Virginia franchise to Portsmouth. Thank you for joining us this week as we took a dive into one of Portsmouth’s happier times. Join us here next week as we look at how Portsmouth was affected by World War II.
- Did You Know? The 1937 Flood
By Audrey Schiesser | Local Happenings Stories Inspired From "The Story of Portsmouth" by Elmer Sword In our eighth edition of “Did You Know?” with local tales from our county’s history, we are taking a look at the 1937 flood. Many of you are very familiar with the events surrounding this haunting time in our community. Read with us as we discuss some of those details. At 3:15 am on Friday, January 22, 1937, the city officials opened the seven flood valves in the outlet sewers. This kept the water at bay for several days. Things took a turn when the water was finding its way into the city’s streets through the underground passages. The local factory whistles were blown and the police radio car made several visits to lower streets several hours before the valves were opened. City Manager Frank Sheehan was trying to hold off as long as he could in order to give families as much time as possible to find safety. If they did not open the valves at this point, they could not be opened later to allow the water to fall back once the flooding was done. The numbers were around 10,000 for the number of people that were temporarily homeless after these unexpected edits. Prisoners Freed To Help In Moving Just prior to the flooding, 20 out of 54 prisoners in the county jail were released to permit these men to help assist the people in the danger zones after there was a shortage of help. The men released were in there on minor charges. Supply of Drinking Water Dwindles That Sunday, everyone was asked to start conserving their water usage because the supply was dwindling down. This warning was not taken and on Monday it became necessary to ration out the water supply. The city officials and citizens committee decided to only turn the water on three times a day for one hour. This was after they had found out that half of the water supply had been used in the previous two days. This ration order brought out the crowds. They gathered on the hilltop of Kinney’s lane spring near Waller street. Long lines of men and women waited to get water from the spring. As the floodwaters reached their crest and began to recede slightly on that Thursday, water restrictions were somewhat loosened. Boatmen Help River to Extinguish Blaze Three Carey’s Run men, Joe Beaumont, Cary Grumme, and Herbert Millison, who had spent the three previous days almost constantly acting as rescuers in their 22-foot motorboat, became foreman during their rescue operations. Jake Pfau’s bakery on 11th and John streets that was partially submerged coughed fire. When the men were passing the bakery they noticed the flames emerging from under the roof. All three men hacked a hole in the side of the building and allowed the river to extinguish the fire. Refugees Evacuated From City In order to relieve some of the congestion on the refugee crowded hill, 515 people were transported to Columbus. A special 12 car train left Five Mile church on the Scioto Trail. The next day 1,500 people were evacuated in three trainloads, with 200 going to Chillicothe and the other 1,300 joining the other group in Columbus. The final train took a load of 146 passengers to Chillicothe where they were fed and taken in private cars to the National Guard Armory at Washington Court House. Police Called to Unsnarl Boat Traffic Jam As Ralph Baker of the Bake Shop passed out free baked goods, a traffic jam of boats occurred downtown. Before he was forced to quit working, his bakers made 5,000 loaves of bread and 1,500 dozen donuts. The entire slew was given out to people in boats who had happened to pass by. The police had to show up in order to relieve built up traffic from boats. Expectant Mother Drowns As The Boat Tips Over An expectant mother was Portsmouth’s first victim of the raging flood waters at 11th and Waller streets. The boat capsized and she gave her life to save her 18-month old daughter. The last sighting of her was her holding her baby out of the water as a rescuer came near. She disappeared beneath the surface as the infant was lifted from her hands. Downtown Businesses Open The “Open for Business” sign was popular in downtown Portsmouth by Monday, February 9, as a new week began with many of the city’s merchants ready to resume business. Plenty of goods were available and crowds surrounded the businesses to stock up on supplies that they had been shy on during the two week lapse in business. Many establishments in the West end planned remodeling and redecorating following the flood cleanup. In the final counts they estimated that Portsmouth had suffered a little more than 16 million dollars losses in cost of flood and its cleanup. The numbers also reflected that 500 buildings were destroyed, 5,734 were partially lost with private property damage nearly four million dollars, and 36 churches were affected. Today this flood is still talked about all the time. Markers are still hanging on the buildings indicating the level that the water had reached. It amazes me every time to see just how high it had gotten. If you visit the Portsmouth Flood Wall Murals, you will see the mural depicting the mother that gave her life to save her child. 84 years have gone by, yet we still remember the devastating effects the flood had on our community.
- Did You Know? The Depression Years
By Audrey Schiesser | Local Happenings Stories Inspired From "The Story of Portsmouth" by Elmer Sword In our seventh edition of “Did You Know?” with local tales from our county’s history, we are headed to the Depression Years. The year 1929 ran headlines in Portsmouth City that read “STOCKS CRASH; ONE OF THE WORST IN HISTORY”. That day, more than three billion dollars of paper profits were wiped out. Just on the previous day the Selby Shoe Company was expecting record breaking business. The company was operating at its fullest capacity with 9,000 shoes in production daily. When unemployment was rolling out after the Wall Street crash it did not immediately follow suit in Portsmouth. Manufacturers began taking precautions by reducing their operations. Still Raided on Court Street Prohibition was in its tenth year and had proven to be widely unpopular. Homemade stills were discovered in many places. On October 27, 1929, four patrolmen Kenneth Carter, Leslie Hunt, William Aubrey, and George Sheets went to a house at 3rd and Court Streets in search of liquor. They went into the basement where they found a trap door in the wall of the basement. Officer Hunt opened the door by hitting it with his shoulder. Inside they found 10 gallons of home-brewed mash. Present Railroad Station Built The railroad station and office building were completed in 1931 by the Norfolk and Western Railroad. The project started in 1904 and capped at seven million dollars in building costs. This was a huge development for the city. City Kept Dry During 1933 Flood In 1933, the city’s flood defense met its greatest test up to that time. It saved the city from a loss that would have very much surpassed those who suffered in 1884 and 1913. The flood wall held back a river that was more than 60 feet high. The Banks Close Saturday, March 4, 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave his inauguration speech. That following Monday, March 6, Portsmouth was ready for a normal business week-except the banks. They had opened only to explain what had happened. That day, Portsmouth Times put out an advertisement that read “First National Bank, Security Central Bank, Portsmouth National Bank; President Declares Bank Holiday March 6th to March 9th Inclusive Under Authority Enemy Trading Act. Penalty for Violation Ten Thousand Dollars or Imprisonment or Both”. That next day, banks were given authority to conduct essential business only. They were still supposed to act as if they were closed. Relief Projects The year 1933 was a low point of the depression. Unemployment continued to get worse until alarming proportions were reached. The city and state funds were not making any headway and federal government assistance was needed. In March of 1933, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was founded to provide work for male citizens between the ages of 18 and 25. These men were placed in jobs doing reforestation, road construction, prevention of soil erosion, national park building and flood control projects under the direction of army officers. Work camps were established where enrollees received food, clothing, equipment, shelter and transportation at no cost to them. In June of 1933, the Civil Work Administration (CWA) was established for public construction. In December of that same year, Portsmouth had 1,340 men at work on these projects. Shortly before Christmas, direct relief came to the Scioto County Relief Commission. This was in the form of flour, butter, and pork. They received 31,450 pounds of pork, 31,450 pounds of flour, and 12,580 pounds of butter for the 3,145 families on the relief lists. Prohibition Ends On December 5, 1933, prohibition came to an end as the 34th state ratified the 21st Amendment to the constitution. Ohio was the 35th state to ratify on that same date. Saturday, December 23, 1933, was the first time liquor went on sale in 14 years. Thank you for joining us on another “Did You Know” story with Local Happenings and WNXT! Check back next Monday as we talk about the 1937 flood.
- Did You Know? World War I
By Audrey Schiesser | Local Happenings Stories Inspired From "World War I Period" by Elmer Sword In our sixth edition of “Did You Know?” with local tales from our county’s history, we are heading to the time period of World War I. The Alert Is Sounded The afternoon of March 27, 1917 was a well remembered one by the Portsmouth residents. At 1:00pm Captain W. J. Keyes, Commander of Company K, of the 7th Regiment of Ohio National Guard, received a long distance call from Adjutant General Wood who was stationed in Columbus. He instructed Captain Keyes to mobilize thirty enlisted men and two officers for immediate guard duty. They were to head to the new C&O northern bridge at Sciotoville. Not long after a loud shrill blasts from the siren at the Selby Shoe company plant. The men of Company K knew it was their alert signal. They rushed out of their homes and workplaces to their Armory which was located Seventh and Chillicothe streets. All Willing To Serve Once the alarm sounded men piled in to help out. They gathered eight more men than they needed. When the First Sergeant told eight men to leave, nobody moved a muscle. They were all ready to serve their country. More men piled in to help later but were sent home. Once they were organized the men departed for Sciotoville. Residents gathered around to send them off with an ovation of love and encouragement. Recruiting Tent At Esplanade Two days after the alert a recruiting tent was opened on the Gallia street esplanade in an effort to recruit 30 and 35 men. They had several young men stop by for information on how they can join. Doctors William D Schafer and W.E. Gault signed up that day. Local Red Cross Chapter Organized The National Red Cross had come to Scioto county as a benefactor in 1844 and 1913 when the disastrous floods hit. Our local chapter was not organized until 1917. The needs of the local soldiers and their families became so great that locals came together to help out their neighbor. Attorney Harry W. Miller became the first chairman. We hope you enjoyed this week’s edition of “Did You Know?”. Check back next week as we fast forward to “The Depression Years”.
- The Story of Portsmouth: "The Civil War Period"
By Audrey Schiesser | Local Happenings Stories Inspired From "The Story of Portsmouth" by Elmer Sword This week we are fast forwarding to the Civil War period. The location of Portsmouth had quite a bit to do with preparations for the war. Due to the fact that we are on the border of where the free slave states were, it was very active in its role of transporting escaped slaves from the south. Due to the elevated risks of this situation, Portsmouth prepared themselves for war. They maintained a well-drilled military company known as the Kinney Light Guards. When the war began, Portsmouth became a hotspot for war activity. Huge warehouses were converted into commissary depots and filled with war supplies that were delivered by route of the canal and the Ohio River. Our boat yards were converted into Navy yards that constructed gun boats while the town’s iron industry was now used to construct armor plates and gun barrels. Portsmouth Men Among First In War The first Portsmouth unit was known as Company A of the 15th Ohio Volunteer Militia. When President Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers in April of 1861, Dr. George Bailey organized the Kinney Light Guards into a company. He was then elected its Captain for his work. The company soon saw action in the battle of Vienna after they had been ordered to Washington, D.C. In this battle, they had lost nine men and three were wounded. Not long after the Battle of Vienna, they found themselves in the first Battle of Bull Run on July 21, 1861. This battle cost them three men. It also wounded two and two were reported missing. Once their time was up, they were sent back home where they were awarded the honor that was due as a result of their courage. Many of these men ended up enlisting for three more years and became integral in the 56th Regiment, which was made up almost entirely of Scioto county residents. Ladies Aid Society When the men left for the frontlines, a group of women founded the Ladies Aid Society. This group was set up to provide relief for the soldiers and their families. This group mostly comprised of the mothers whose sons had left for war. They were determined to make sure that no family suffered because of a father’s absence. The Ladies Aid Society was also known for sending money and supplies to the sick and wounded soldiers. During the war, about twenty thousand dollars was distributed to soldiers and their families. They served as a great help and reminder of the people these soldiers left behind. Thanks for tuning in this week with us! Make sure to check back next week as we fast forward to the first World War. Local Sponsors