EATON — The Preble County Historical Society held its annual Fall Gathering Saturday, Sept. 25 through Sunday, Sept. 26.
While the Fall Gathering was not set to begin until Saturday, festivities began on Friday with two ribbon cuttings held for the opening of a new trail and the Historical Society’s new Outdoor Education and Events Center.
In addition to exhibits being open all weekend, on Saturday, there were performances at the Historical Society’s outdoor amphitheater, including Preble County Line Band and 4Low Band.
“Saturday we had just an incredible turnout,” said Lisa White, Executive Director of Business, Marketing and Education at the PCHS. “We had 10 hay rides that were completely full, loaded of people. We had Dale Lewis, the chainsaw artist that carved our new education owl in the Education Center all day, which is awesome. He’s going to become the mascot for the Education Center, so we’re excited for that. Benjamin Anspaugh came and did a presentation on how to make historic coffee, which is really cool. He cooked over there hearth in the log house, so people really enjoyed that. We had our historic reenactors, and we had the folks from Antler Ridge do some programs on beekeeping.”
On Sunday, in addition to more performances at the amphitheater by the Richmond Jazz Orchestra and Soul2Soul, an a capella group from Miami University, the Historical Society inducted three new members into the Hall of Honor.
According to their website, “In celebration of its 40th anniversary in 2011, the Preble County Historical Society (PCHS) created a Hall of Honor. The PCHS Board of Trustees designated that the Hall of Honor be named the Sara Swartsel Hall of Honor in recognition of the heritage and philanthropy of the Swartsel Family as demonstrated by Sara’s enduring gift to the Preble County Historical Society and the Preble County community of her family farm in southeast Preble County.”
The 2021 class is the eleventh membership class. Criteria for inductees includes the following: inductees must be deceased and have lived in Preble County at some point in their lives; further, they must meet one or more of the following requirements: have been outstanding in achievement in agriculture, arts, professions, politics, public service, education, or sports; or have a reputation that brings honor to the county, or personal commitment and service to the county; or had a lasting impact on the county.
Inductees for 2021 included Gregory Alan Arnett, William Morton Hildebolt and Horace “Junior” Kramer.
Gregory’s plaque induction reads as follows: “Arnett loved people and demonstrated that love through coaching and mentoring people professionally and in community organizations. He provided leadership to the Preble County Historical Society, the Preble County Park District, the New Paris Kiwanis, and the National Trail Athletics Hall of Fame. He rose from line chemist to national trainer over his 38-year career with Cargill.”
William’s plaque induction reads as follows: “One of The Ohio State University’s “100 Buckeyes You Should Know,” Hildebolt had a distinguished career in food and environmental sciences. He held over 20 patents and recorded his role as principal inventor of Prego Spaghetti Sauce in his book “It’s in There!”. In Preble County he expanded the family farm to over 800 acres and secured its heritage as a 200-year-old single family ownership recognized by the State Ohio.”
Horace’s plaque induction reads as follows: “Known as an “Auctioneer’s Auctioneer,” Kramer conducted over 10,000 auctions during his 70-year career and was inducted into the Ohio Auctioneers Association Hall of Fame. He started the Preble County 4H Sale of Champions and provided leadership and charitable auctions for American Legion, Eaton Little League, Eaton Country Club, and many other community organizations. He facilitated Sara Swartsel’s donation of her farm to the Preble County Historical Society.”
Nominations to the Hall of Honor can be made by visiting the Preble County Historical Society’s website at www.preblecountyhistoricalsociety. org and downloading an application to complete and submit. You also may email the Society at lisa@ preblecountyhistoricalsociety.com or call the Society at 937-787-4256 and leave a message requesting a nomination form.
“Attendance was good,” White said of the weekend. “We were very happy. The crafters, the vendors were very happy, and so they had a good steady flow of people. I think it was great, especially our first year back after being canceled last year.”
White urged those who have not done so to sign up for a membership with the Preble County Historical Society.
“Thank you to everyone who showed up to support us and taking a little bit of history that weekend and who continue to support us,” she said. “I do want to encourage – a lot of people said that they wish they would have known about it. My advice would be to make sure that they sign up to become a member so they can get on our monthly mailing list. They can see all activities and events at the Historical Society and keep up with those.”
For more information, visit www.preblecountyhistoricalsociety.com.
Reach Braden Moles at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @BradenMoles