Johnstown Independent

Bicentennial celebration

Porch pets are concrete way to raise needed funds

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Lorrie Cecil/ThisWeek
Megan Atwood, owner of the Split Ends Salon in Johnstown, displays the stone animals the Johnstown Historical Society is selling to raise money for the village's yearlong bicentennial celebration in 2013. The animals are available for purchase by visiting Split Ends at 28 S. Main St. Oliver Bigelow (left), Johnnie Raccoon (back center), and Ms. Monroe are $25 each and the raccoon babies, Wy and Dot, are $20 a pair.

In 2013, Johnstown will be 200 years old, and raccoons and pigs will help the village raise money for a year full of bicentennial celebrations.

The Johnstown Historical Society is selling concrete "porch pet" raccoons and pigs for up to $25 each directly from the society, or an order could be placed at the Split Ends salon on South Main Street.

According to Downtown Johnstown Inc.'s website, which lists all of the special activities that are planned and being planned for the bicentennial, the porch pets are named in recognition of John Brown of Boone County, Ky. He owns the land that also included Raccoontown, a settlement of Wyandot indians who first lived in what is now the Johnstown area. Brown sold the land to Dr. Oliver Bigelow in 1813 and had plotted the land in 1817 for future use in Monroe Township.

For sale are Johnnie Raccoon and his young ones, Wy and Dot -- Get it? Wyandot? -- and a pair of pigs named Miss Monroe and Oliver Pigelow.

Terry Priest of the Johnstown Historical Society explained the significance behind the animals.

"In Johnstown, it's all about the raccoons for the bicentennial, 1813-2013," he said. "Raccoons have always been plentiful here. They still are."

Priest said the early settlers who came to the Johnstown area in 1805 found fresh water at Raccoon Creek.

"The stream got this name probably from the Native-Americans, the Wyandots, who settled here earlier and whose settlement was known as Raccoontown," Priest said.

He said Johnnie Raccoon was named partly to honor Brown, whose Revolutionary War payment in land was purchased by Oliver Bigelow, the town's founder, and to acknowledge the school's Johnstown Johnnies.

Miss Monroe and Oliver Pigelow are two of five mascots of the Johnstown bicentennial, Priest said. He said Miss Monroe's breed appears to be a Chester white.

"Oliver Bigelow's hometown of Johnstown, N.Y., seems to be a likely possibility for the town he founded 10 years after Ohio became a state," he said. "(The name) Monroe was probably in honor of James Monroe, later president."

Priest said the black and white Hampshire pig is renamed Oliver Pigelow and was developed in Hampshire, England.

"Together, Miss Monroe represents the township created in 1812, and Oliver Pigelow represents the incorporated town in 1813," Priest said.

Priest said those interested in ordering any of the concrete porch pets should call the Johnstown Historical Society at 740-967-8721 or the Split Ends salon at 740-967-6243. Johnnie Raccoon and each pig are $25 each, and Wy and Dot are $20 as a pair. Buyers will be called when the porch pets are ready to for pickup.