Grove City's annual Heritage Celebration serves not only to remember the town's early history as a farm community, but to preserve it.

"Someone has to carry it on," said Rick Hahn, a member of the 76th Ohio McCook's Brigade Civil War reenactment group.

"If we don't preserve a record of our past, we're going to lose it forever," he said.

The brigade was one of the groups taking part in the Heritage Celebration held June 3 and 4 in Century Village at Fryer Park. The event, put on by the Southwest Franklin County Historical Society and the city, featured entertainment, hands-on activities, building tours and demonstrations of vintage trades.

Hahn was portraying an 18th century Ohio military man. Other members of the reenactment group were in costume as soldiers from the War of 1812 or the Civil War.

"This is our hobby, but it's more than just a hobby for us," said Hahn, a Pataskala resident who has been involved with McCook's Brigade for nearly 30 years.

"We're really educators. At an event like this, we try to teach people about the weaponry and equipment our ancestors used during a time of war.

"If people can see it, touch it, smell it and taste it, it's going to resonate a lot more than just reading about it in a textbook. That's what makes an event like this so valuable," he said.

Hahn and his colleagues fired their weapons during demonstrations and talked with visitors both young and old about military history.

"Kids often ask us if we're Amish," he said, referring to the 18th and 19th century military clothing. "Adults want to make sure we know what we're talking about."

On June 3, Barb Howison, a Grove City resident and one of the founders of the historical society, was stationed in the Haines-Black House, a mid-1850s structure that now depicts a general store.

"This was the Kroger and the CVS of the 1840s," Howison said. "This was where people came to buy their dry goods or the material they used to make their clothes. They could also purchase their pots and pans here or spices for cooking."

Howison said she was enjoying telling youngsters about the vintage goods displayed on the shelves and in the display cases of the general store.

"They seem really interested in the salves and ointments," she said.

"Today, we would never think of putting something like that on a blister or a bee sting, but that's what they had to use back in those days," she said.

The Heritage Celebration "is a wonderful opportunity to learn about our local history and how people lived in those days," Howison said.

"When you step into these historic buildings, you get a real sense of what life was like back when Grove City was just a small village," she said.

Historical society members Carol Wilhelm and Ruth Osborne were giving tours of the Kegg-Kientz Log House, a home built between 1860 and 1880 by William Kegg on land located on what is now Beatty Road in Grove City. The land and house were later purchased by the Ruoff family. The land was sold in 1960 to the Kientz family, who donated the house to the historical society and the city in 1997.

"We're so lucky as a community that these buildings have been preserved for our community," Wilhelm said.

"If you don't save structures like this, they're gone forever. They aren't coming back," she said.

Learning about the past can help people appreciate what they have in the present, she said.

"Something like a chamber pot, they have no idea what it was used for. They don't realize there was a time when you didn't have electricity or running water. You had to get your water from a pump, or often walk a long distance to a river or stream," she said.

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