Sunday, September 21, 2003

Ohio Bicentennial Notebook

Marker commemorates library's place in history

By Randy McNutt
The Cincinnati Enquirer

DOWNTOWN - An Ohio bicentennial historical marker will be dedicated at the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County at 10 a.m. Oct. 4.

By erecting the marker, the Ohio Historical Society will recognize the library for its contributions to Ohio history.

The public is invited to attend the free ceremony, at the main library at Eighth and Vine Streets. The event will celebrate the library's 150th anniversary and feature John Fleischman, author of a new book about the library.

The School for Creative and Performing Arts will provide music. Friends of the Public Library will serve refreshments.

The library started on March 14, 1853, making it one of the nation's oldest public libraries. Its first reading room opened in 1856.

In 2000, library officials said, America's 52nd largest county in population had the third-busiest public library in the nation, with the second-largest collection.

Its history is chronicled in Free and Public: 150 Years at the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. Fleischman will sign copies, which may be purchased in the Friends' Shop.


Betts House honored

WEST END - An Ohio bicentennial historical marker recognizing the Betts House as the oldest building in Cincinnati's basin area will be dedicated at 10:30 a.m. Oct. 8 at 416 Clark St.

The event is free and open to the public.

Speakers will include ElisabethTuttle Miller, retired curator and historian of the Betts House, and Councilman James Tarbell.

The house, built in 1804 by William and Phebe Betts, is a part of the Betts-Longworth Historic District.

While Cincinnati was settled, William Betts and sons built a brickyard on the Betts House property to make bricks to build the new city.

In 1995, the Betts House Research Center was established to study building materials, offer lectures from preservation experts and conduct educational outreach programs.

Underground Railroad events

COLUMBUS - In the Freedom Celebration in Columbus today, the Ohio Bicentennial Commission's Underground Railroad Advisory Council will host two programs.

They are "A New Birth of Freedom: Ohio and the Origins of the Emancipation Proclamation" and "A Freedom Celebration of Ohio's Underground Railroad."

A number of events, all free and open to the public, will run from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

They will be held in and around the gazebo at Goodale Park, at Buttles Avenue and Park Street. They will feature celebrations in song and stories of the people who escaped slavery and those who helped them in Ohio.

At 1:15 p.m., author Ann Hagedorn will read from her Underground Railroad book Beyond the River, with music by Allen Shwartz.

At 2:30 p.m., Marie Hope will perform as Harriet Tubman, and at 3:30 p.m., Leslie Blankenship as Phoebe Wing Benedict.

The event will also include booths and tables with information about Ohio's Underground Railroad history and an encampment of the 5th United States Colored Troop, which mustered out of the park in 1865. It will hold a re-enactment at 4 p.m.

Shuttles are available from the Victorian Village Health Center parking lot, west of High Street between Third and Fourth avenues.

The event is co-sponsored by the Underground Railroad Advisory Council, the Westerville Public Library and the Ohio Humanities Council.

Information: (614) 882-7277, extension 160. Or see the Freedom Celebration section at

Bicentennial Notebook runs periodically. Send items to Randy McNutt at the Enquirer, 7700 Service Center Drive, West Chester, OH 45069. Telephone: 755-4158. Fax: 755-4150. E-mail:

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