Olentangy Valley News

History today

Society always looking for local relics

We at the Powell Liberty Historical Society hope some of the readers of this column will have old photographs or other materials representing the area to give or loan to the library at the Martin-Perry House to enhance our genealogy and subject files. Many objects are always on display; others are stored and brought out for special displays.

Our constitution states: "The society's functions will be to discover and collect any materials which will help to establish or illustrate the history of the state and our area, its exploration, settlement, development, progress, education, arts, science, agriculture, manufacturers, trade and transportation."

Some of these are lofty goals, because in 2014, it's increasingly difficult for current residents to offer anything related to exploration or settlement -- but you might be able to provide something of significance related to farming or local businesses. We appreciate receiving material that will let people know about our community as it has grown over the last 200 years.

I've noticed particularly that there are not many photographs of families or businesses from the first half or more of the 1900s. We do have a few excellent ones mounted on heavy cardboard and some old postcards showing Powell streetscapes, homes, schools and rivers.

At present, we are seeking any photos of the property on the west bank of state Route 315 just south of the Powell Road bridge. Herman Mulzer had a saw and grist mill on the edge of the Olentangy River and his home was on the hillside. We have some wonderful family pictures from the 1800s but would like to see the property after he and his wife died and before that home burned in 1967.

Since the society was formed in 1986, we have received some unique gifts. A 1908 poll book, a banner from the Brown Fruit Farm, and a diary from the Civil War are among the memorabilia in our collection. A billystick and badge belonging to Constable Harold Butcher, the telegraph key used by Albert Martin when he worked for the railroad in the late 1800s, and a framed copy of the Mona Lisa that hung in an early Powell school are other interesting items. Autograph books and calling cards are very old and include some artistic elements. They reveal a bit about the individuals and times of days far removed from now, and are some of my personal favorites.

School yearbooks have been donated to us, but many years are missing. We are fortunate to have one from the Powell High School class of 1913. There are duplicates for some years, mostly given by those who regularly attended the old Powell School reunions for many years.

A voluminous deed to a piece of property on Powell Road was presented to us last year and provides a great deal of information on early landowners.

We would be delighted to receive photos or items from Powell businesses, the Powell Speedway, local events and more. Please contact us at info@powellhistory.org if you have questions or items to donate, or wish a tour to see what we have on display. And remember, we are making history all the time, and nothing is too new for us -- though we certainly want to capture the past before we lose the possibility of collecting what has historic value.

Carole Wilhelm is a member of the Powell-Liberty Historical Society.