CAMDEN — The tag-line of the Camden Bicentennial Committee was “Celebrating our Past. Building our Future,” paying homage to the rich history the small village contributes to Preble County, as well as noting how its ongoing influences and impact the area.
According to the committee, in 1803, the Hendricks family was the first settlers to arrive to the undeveloped area now known as Camden. It was a fine place to live, so many followed. By 1818, there was a sufficient number of settlers to form a town, and the village of Dover was established. The official description and plot for the town was recorded on July 4, 1818.
When a post office was established in 1824, because there was another town named Dover in Ohio, the village’s name changed to Newcomb honoring then Ohio Senator George Newcomb. The village thrived with new settlers and several successful businesses, and was officially incorporated in 1831. Ira K. Place, who had been the town’s first postmaster, became the town’s first mayor.
The town continued to do well, and in 1835, changed its name again — this time to Camden as a memorial to Camden, South Carolina, where a Revolutionary War battle was fought. The name Camden stuck and remained throughout all these years.
The birthday was recognized on Saturday, Sept. 1, with celebrations and other family fun.
The festival kicked off with Logan’s Run 5K, the parade, a monument and park dedication, entertainment throughout the day, the antique street fair, a cruise-in , face painting, Abe and Mary Todd Lincoln reenactors, historic tours, family games, and a photo contest silent auction.
There were food vendors available in addition to the local Camden food options.
Entertainment featured the West Elkton Arrow Ensemble, Tune Travelers, James Boyle, James Mathes, Pineridge Partners, Paula Richardson and Company, and the United States Air Force Band of Flight.
The Band of Flight, a 15 member organization made up of two musical groups, headlined the festival. Flight One is the popular music group and Spirit of Freedom is a brass quintet with a percussionist. Sometimes they combine to provide an incredible concert of top-notch, high-energy entertainment for the whole family.
The following groups contributed to the event: Camden Archives, Jasmine Mabry and Richarg Haag, Gary Chestnut and the Brookville Corvette Club, Jim and Marva Crabtree, Jerame Halpin, Reverend Greg Jackson, Reverend Larry Davidson, STOMP Addiction Logan’s Run 5K, Camden Mason Lodge 159, and various event photographers.
Sponsors included: Camden Market, Camden Village Pharmacy, Depot Dairy Bar and Restaurant, Jerame Halpin, Steve and Margie Rumpke, Aaron Schmidt, Thomas Fraga Photography, Somerville National Bank, Mackenzie Steele, Village of Camden, Wood Propane, Bales Funeral Home, Biggs State Farm Insurance, Camden BP Station, Camden Medical Building, First Southern Baptist Church, CMJ’s Repair and Towing, Craig Doty and Bryan Plaugher, Cross’s Campground, G & J Kartway, LMS Lawn and Landscaping, Powerhouse Pizza, Ron’s Pizza and Subs, Tech Force Onsite, 4 J’s Pizza and Cafe, Camden Beautification Committee, Friends of the Camden Library, Mike and Cindy Klapper, Louise M. Morman, Southern Ohio Supernatural, Trader Truck’s Inc., V.F.W. Post #1577, Camden Hardware Co., Chad and Carolyn Rodeffer and Rebekah Stapleton, Taylor Tires and Auto Center, and Polly Heinkel.
The committee has been planning the bicentennial for the past two years, but village administrators, volunteers, and donors have been working with it to contribute to Camden’s future. In the last few years the renovation of the first floor and basement of the Town Hall has been completed, a village website and active Facebook was created, Business Appreciation Day was held in April, numerous self-guided tours were held, and the Town Hall Bell Tower was returned home.
Despite some rain, the event was a success with a large turnout.
“We want to thank everybody for coming. Have a good time, we’re going to be here all day. We will figure everything out and [despite the rain] we are going to have a great time,” Committee Member Debbie Mason said. “Thank you for coming out and being here and supporting us throughout this year as we have been planning this.”
“Our goal for the Bicentennial Celebration on Saturday was to get Camden residents out to mingle and celebrate our town’s 200 years of history in an informational, entertaining, and welcoming atmosphere,” Committee Member Karen Moss added.
“We accomplished that and so much more! We have been inundated with people thanking us—in person and via Facebook, texts, phone calls, and telling us how much the day meant to them. I couldn’t be more proud of our Committee and our Committee. It was one fine day!”
A group called Camden Comeback is forming to continue this development and serve as a channel of communication. Email CamdenComback45311@gmail.com if interested in this new movement to revitalize Camden.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH