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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Oct 13

Mark Your Calendars: The Greene County Archives is Celebrating its 20th Anniversary

Posted on October 13, 2016 at 2:50 PM by Elise Kelly

On Wednesday, October 19th from 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM, the Greene County Archives will be celebrating it's 20th Anniversary. This event is open to the public. Exhibits will be on display throughout the archives, showcasing interesting, historical records.

       Gillian Hill - Oral History Interview
We will be playing an oral history interview of the former archivist, Gillian Hill on video.   Hill discusses her near 20 year experience as the County Archivist.

In addition, we will be sponsoring a fun scavenger hunt in the archives. Visitors will have the chance to locate important government records that are over 100 years old throughout the archives. If this does not sway you yet, we will also have cake for all who come!

How did we get here?
In July 1996, the Greene County Commissioners decided to create a new position (Records Manager & Archivist) for the county.

Up until this time, the county did not have an archives. Records were being stored in department basements and in the clock tower of the courthouse.

In order to better preserve and manage these records, an archive was needed.
         In the Clock Tower of the Courthouse

In 1997, Hill and the archivist assistant began to catalog and store records on the shelves at the new archives located at 140 E. Main Street in Xenia. In order to fill the shelves, Hill spent "endless hours probing dark, dirty storage areas rescuing dusty, moldy deteriorating documents."

The Archives building had a rich tradition. It was previously a grocery warehouse, a stable, an advertising agency and an auto parts store. You will notice that the building's facade has changed over many years.

                                           1904 Palace Stable

                                     Circa 1970s Auto Parts Store

                   The building housed the archives on the second floor.

Notice the crack and the buckling windows in the former archives building.
One day in 2011, an ominous looking crack began to develop down one of the walls in the archives. Soon the archives' windows began to buckle. Even the drywall was starting to crumble and behind the drywall, the bricks were beginning to crumble also.

This was a serious problem. A company was hired to shore up the building.
                                    The archives building being "shored up."

Staff had to evacuate the building because it was unsafe to be inside. Eventually it was decided that the building was no longer inhabitable. During the frigid winter months of 2012, the records were moved to our new current location at 535 Ledbetter Rd.
 Current location of the Greene County Archives - 535 Ledbetter Rd. Xenia, OH

Sadly the 143 year old building had to be torn down. It is important to note however that the old sandstone bricks and part of the facade were the only original parts of the building. Several times throughout its 143 years, the building was altered using different materials.

                    The former archives building being torn down in 2012.

An archives is a wonderful place to learn more about historical events, places and people. If you get a chance, come visit us at our new location at 535 Ledbetter Rd. We welcome all to come and join the festivities Wednesday, October 19th from 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM.

Until Next Time!

This Week's Trivia Question: The former archivist, Gillian Hill was asked to help the county commissioners prepare a ceremony to commemorate the centennial of laying of the Greene County Courthouse cornerstone. What did they discover in the cornerstone in 2001?

Answer to Last Week's Trivia Question:
Where was the Craig School located in Greene County? Answer: In Spring Valley Township


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