Clock Tower

Out of the Clock Tower

Hello and welcome to the Greene County Archives' blog, "Out of the Clock Tower".  Please join us as we share information on archival issues, news, special events, and highlights from our collection.

Before the archives program began in Greene County in 1996, permanent records were stored in every conceivable space, in basements, garages, and closets. Usually they were in boxes of various shapes and sizes, although seldom adequately labeled, but occasionally they were just in loose piles of books and papers. Most notable were the old records stuffed into the clock tower of the County Courthouse, where they shared their home with pigeon droppings.

Now, there is a clean, environmentally controlled, well appointed location for the county archives, where our historical records are housed in standard sized boxes on steel shelves. We have taken note of their journey in the name for our blog.

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Jan 08

Staff Favorite Records, Part III: Maps

Posted on January 8, 2021 at 10:30 AM by Melissa Dalton

This week, we take a final look at the Favorite Record Series from our Newsletter! In the December issue, Melissa highlighted one of her favorite records, Maps!

The Archives holds collections that document the rich and unique history of Greene County, Ohio. Each record provides a key to unlocking and understanding a piece of our collective past, be it a tax record that indicates a family member owned property, or a marriage record illustrating a distant relative married in the County, or a birth record demonstrating that same relative started and raised a family in the County.
I review and write about a variety of these records every week, be it for the blog or a social media post. When it came my turn to write about a favorite record of the Archives, the first thing I thought of was maps.

Maps seem so general, but each week, they make an appearance in a social media post. They are full of information and help tell stories. A great example of this is using maps in conjunction with surveys. Surveys are complex; they are written using legal jargon, and many times, do not fully reveal a location. However, when you include a map, it all becomes so clear - landowners, neighbors, and property lines are evident. Maps clarify complex records or information, and provide a visual representation that may otherwise be lacking.

Our maps also demonstrate the changing landscape of Greene County over two centuries. The maps indicate development of the towns, villages, and cities of the County, as well as the highway systems, housing developments, parks, sewage systems, and even the changing election precincts as populations increased or decreased in particular areas. Some of the most interesting maps illustrate the path of the infamous 1974 Xenia Tornado, one of the worst in our nation’s history. These maps provide invaluable information to researchers in learning about the County and provide a great educational tool in the classroom to highlight local history topics. In particular, we use an 1896 Map of Osborn in a classroom activity to help students learn how to read a map, as well as some history of the village prior to moving to a new location after the 1913 Flood.

1974 Map of Path of the Xenia Tornado (JPG)
?1974 Map of the Path of the Xenia Tornado (Greene County Archives)

1896 Map of Osborn (JPG)
?1896 Map of Osborn (Greene County Archives)

If you are conducting property research or genealogy, don’t overlook or underestimate the value of maps. They may help clear ambiguities and may prove to be a valuable record.

Until Next Time!


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