Friday, March 14, 2003

Shandon keeps a Welsh flair

Church is central to Butler Co. village

By Karen Puckett
Enquirer contributor

[photo] Jon and Sian Stow are owners of Plas Cadnant Bed and Breakfast and Welsh Store
(Craig Ruttle photo)
| ZOOM |
SHANDON - Through 200 years, one thing that hasn't changed in this Butler County village is the deep-rooted sense of community instilled by its Welsh founders.

As Ohio celebrates 200 years of statehood, Shandon residents, as well as visitors from outside the village, are celebrating their own rich history.

"It's hard to say how many people live in Shandon because there is no real defined area ... the estimate is somewhere around 250," said John Francis, local historian.

Originally named Paddy's Run,the area was settled by the Welsh family of Edward Bebb. William Bebb, his son, served as governor of Ohio from 1878-79. Many families from Wales followed Bebb's pursuit of the American dream, and a community was settled.

The congregational church, organized by the settlers in 1803, remains an integral part of the community.

"The name of the church has changed through the years, but many of the traditions have stayed the same. We are the oldest church with continuing services in Butler County," said Margy Beckner, member of the Shandon Congregational Church of Christ.

Beckner is also a chairwoman for the church's Bicentennial Celebration, which is simultaneously taking place with the village's. Many activities are planned for the celebration, which is being held on the weekend of Sept. 3 at Shandon Congregational.

Recovery of a time capsule buried on the church's 175th anniversary will highlight the festivities. In the capsule are letters from former and present members, newspaper clippings, a Bible, films, tape recordings of services and photos.

"It will surely be an emotional experience for the community. Many of those included in the capsule have passed on and many families are coming to remember them," said Beckner.

The church's bicentennial will be capped on Sept. 7, with the burial of a new time capsule.

Also included in the yearlong Bicentennial Celebration will be the May 17 dedication of a plaque by the Longaberger Basket Co. and the Morgan Township Historical Society. The plaque will be placed in front of the old firehouse on Ohio 126, which runs through the center of town.

The annual Strawberry Festival June 14 will have a bicentennial theme.

"The Strawberry Festival will be a time where people open their doors and allow the community to shop and tour their businesses. There will also be craft vendors set up along the road," said Sian Stow. She and husband Jon are the owners of Plas Cadnant Bed and Breakfast and Welsh Store.

Siín Stow, a native of Wales, felt an instant connection with Shandon.

Plas Cadnant is one of the few remaining structures built by Welsh immigrants in 1832. A residence was added in 1848 and the home has since been used as a post office, school house, dry goods store, supper club, ice cream parlor and antiques shop.

Plas Cadnant opened in November 2001. The bed and breakfast boasts three suites with individual styles brimming with Old World charm.

For more information on upcoming events or to make reservations at Plas Cadnant visit Web site or call (513) 738-4180.

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