Whitehall, founded in 1947, has less history than many of Franklin County's older municipalities, but its legacy continues to grow as the city reshapes itself in several key ways, including the construction of the $50 million mixed-use Norton Crossing development.
That history now can be preserved in new display cases made by one of the city's unofficial historians, Whitehall City Council President Jim Graham.
Graham, 72, has lived in Whitehall since 1954. His council term ends Dec. 31; he did not file a petition to run for a fifth term.
Ward Sager, a trustee of the Whitehall Historical Society, approached Graham about making the display cases.
"(Ward) showed me one display case they had and asked if I could duplicate it, (but) it was easier for me to make my own design," Graham said.
Graham, a career union carpenter, learned to apply those skills to furniture-making and, in this instance, to display cases made of oak and glass.
Graham made six 6-foot-tall display cases and two more that are 4 feet tall. The eight display cases are each 42 inches wide.
As a commercial carpenter, Graham said he began making cabinets and other furniture that fill the home he shares with his wife, Marie.
"I've made things for (family and friends) ... but I've never made a dime doing it," Graham said.
Graham designed and made the display cases he donated to the historical society from January to March, he said.
The glass was provided by Columbus Glass and Mirror, said Steve McLoughlin, a past president of the society.
Sager sanded and finished the display cases, McLoughlin said.
"Now I've started the work of sorting through what we've had in storage to put in the display cases," he said.
The items in the cases will be sorted into categories, McLoughlin said, including the National Road, aeronautics, schools, police and fire, businesses and public service.
Those who have fond memories of kitschy meals at the Kahiki will find remnants from the restaurant in the businesses cabinet, while an original Main Street sign will reside in the National Road case, McLoughlin said.
The case dedicated to aeronautics will contain, among other items, coveralls worn in the 1940s by pilot trainers at Norton Field, he said.
The display cases are inside the historical society's offices at the Lustron home, 400 N. Hamilton Road, at the south end of the parking lot at Whitehall Community Park, 402 N. Hamilton Road.
The Lustron home -- one of about 2,500 prefabricated houses built by the east Columbus company between 1948 and 1950 -- is open by appointment by calling 614-586-5647, as well as during the Whitehall Historical Society's monthly meetings.
The society meets at 6:30 p.m. the second Wednesday of each month at the Lustron home.