Poland Village to Celebrate 150th Anniversary

"Proud Past, Promising Future"

When it was incorporated 150 years ago, the village of Poland was a small, quiet hamlet that was home to just a few hundred residents.

It was “a quiet little country village, prettily situated on the Yellow Creek,” wrote one historian of the day. “Well supplied with shade trees, without the noise, dirt and bustle of large places, Poland wears an air of repose especially alluring to those who wish to find rest and health.”

Today, as the village prepares to mark the anniversary of its 1866 incorporation with a ceremony this weekend, it remains an idyllic town – dotted with lush green spaces, more than 100 historic homes built before 1900, and a business district designed to harken back to its early days when blacksmiths and shoemakers inhabited it.

The Poland Historical Society at 11 a.m. Saturday will unveil an Ohio Historical Society marker near Poland Town Hall that notes the sesquicentennial anniversary, as well as the significance of the hall itself.

The event ties in with Celebrate Poland, the two-day community festival that begins Friday evening. In addition to the marker dedication, the historical society will lead a walking tour at the Old Village Graveyard at Poland Presbyterian Church at 6 p.m. Friday, and will have a tent set up outside town hall all day Saturday.

“Through its history, the village has consisted of a four-acre village green, churches, schools, hotels, a sawmill, gristmill, post office, tannery and foundry, as well as carriage, tin, and cabinet shops; drug, dry goods, and hardware stores, and doctors, blacksmiths and shoemakers,” reads the marker. “Residents swam in and skated on Yellow Creek.”

Although the village maintains a historic look, much has changed over the last century and a half, historical society members noted with nostalgia.

“There’s more traffic. They widened [U.S. Route] 224, they widened the bridge, and it seems to be we’re on the main route,” said historical society trustee Ted Heineman. “We used to be a quiet little community tucked away on the corner of the township, but civilization has caught up with us.”

The last 150 years saw a number of other significant milestones, noted on the historical marker and in editions of “Poland Historical Highlights.” A 1966 edition of that book details Poland’s history up to that point; a new book put together by the historical society chronicles the last 50 years.

Reprints of the 1966 book, and copies of the new edition, are on sale at the Village Pantry, Original Trolio’s T-Shirts, and will be available at Celebrate Poland this weekend.

One of the most-significant events noted in the book occurred in 2005, when the village formally annexed the 265-acre Poland Municipal Forest.

Also included in the new history book are recollections from community members who sent in submissions.

One submission tells the story of a Poland girl who was killed in 1969 after a tree fell on her; another details a shooting at a barber’s shop.

“But for the most part, they were very good memories,” said Dave Smith, historical society secretary.

In writing a new book and marking the anniversary, the historical society hopes to preserve the community’s past.

“We’re trying to preserve the history that occurred over the last 50 years, for future generations to enjoy and learn,” said Larry Baughman, historical society president. “It’s great to celebrate the heritage of villages and towns.”

Published: Thu, June 23, 2016 By Jordyn Grzelewski jgrzelewski@vindy.com

Reprinted from www.vindy.com.

Remembering Yesterday

by Ted Heineman