Sunday, October 06, 2002

Butler, Warren to celebrate bicentennials

By Randy McNutt
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        In Butler County, organizers of the 2003 county Bicentennial celebration are looking for the county's oldest couples-not necessarily those who feel they've been married for 200 years.

        In Warren County, bicentennial organizers are searching for relevant items to be placed in a county time capsule. Hey, where's that cul-de-sac blueprint?

        Of the area's nine counties (excluding Montgomery), only Butler and Warren will reach their 200th milestones next year. For better or worse, their birthdays will come when Ohio also celebrates its Bicentennial.

        While the Bicentennial is expected to awaken interest in the Buckeye State's past, local organizers hope to make enough noise with their celebrations to keep the public's attention as the state's party is peaking.

        Butler and Warren will have plenty to talk about next year.

        Butler, 20 miles north of Cincinnati, was named for Gen. Richard Butler, who was killed in the defeat of Arthur St. Clair's army in 1791. The county seat is Hamilton, formerly Fort Hamilton and the home of the Soldiers, Sailors and Pioneers Monument building.

        Warren, about 15 miles north of Cincinnati, was named for Gen. Joseph Warren, who was killed at the Battle of Bunker Hill during the Revolutionary War. The county seat is Lebanon, home of the Golden Lamb Inn.

        The Butler County Bicentennial Committee is preparing for its celebration by asking for help from cities, villages and townships. In addition to the oldest couple, the committee is looking for the oldest man and woman who are native to Butler County, people older than 100 years and others who have longevity in their fields.

        Bicentennial Director Rhonda Freeze, Trenton's vice mayor, said the categories are flexible. “People making nominations can add their own categories such as oldest schoolteacher, oldest military veteran, oldest pastor etc.,” she said.

        The oldest man and woman will be crowned at the Butler County Bicentennial Birthday Ball in March.

        State Rep. Greg Jolivette, a former Hamilton mayor, will help the committee coordinate state bicentennial events with county ones. So far, plans include history walks, a scavenger hunt and a logo contest for students.

        Ms. Freeze, who works for the county's Department of Job and Family Services, is looking for bicentennial volunteers and business sponsorships.

        In Warren County, the Bicentennial kickoff will be on March 24, 2003, at the county administration building.

        “Participation in this county-wide celebration is an opportunity for all Warren County cities, villages and townships to display their unified pride and stand as one in our great county,” Commissioner Pat South said.

        The portable Bicentennial bell will be taken to festivals throughout the county, including the Springboro Freedom Fest (May 17), Mason Heritage Day (Aug. 23), Franklin River Days (Aug. 30) and Lebanon Apple Festival (Sept. 30).

        In case you're wondering, area counties were formed in these years: Hamilton, 1790; Adams, 1797; Clermont, 1800; Highland, 1805; Preble, 1808; Clinton, 1810; and Brown, 1819. Through an act of the Ohio legislature on March 24, 1803, Montgomery, Butler and Warren counties were among the first 12 counties formed officially on May 1, 1803.


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