PDT Staff Writer
For a number of years, some great old Roy Rogers memorabilia sat in the basement of the Portsmouth Post Office. No one was paying any attention to it. Every once in a while someone would roll into town from somewhere like Cleveland, and they would go into the room, sift through a lot of stuff to find treasures related to the King of the Cowboys, Scioto County’s Roy Rogers, who grew up as Leonard Slye on Duck Run.
Now, the Roy Rogers Festival committee has gone through the room and found items to display at the new Roy Rogers Museum at 625 Second St. in Portsmouth. And today they will hold their VIP Open House for people to see collectibles from the life of the man who made the song “Happy Trails To You,” a part of the American way of life for decades.
Wednesday will mark the official ribbon-cutting at the museum, but two days ahead of that event folks will get a preview of what is in store for visitors.
“There was a Ron Smith at the Post Office who called me and said there were some things down there and wanted to know if we wanted anything because they were going to clean the room out and throw it away,” Garnet Davis, Secretary of the Roy Rogers Festival Committee, said. “Jane Lilly, the President (Roy Rogers Festival), and I went down, and we almost had a heart attack. Up and above all of the garbage that we found, we have enough left over of what was in the basement of the Post Office to start up a small museum. So this is what we have done.”
Among the items found in the basement were posters, pictures, including a picture left hanging on the wall signed by Rogers and the artist, George Little, and paintings by Native American artist Robert Learned Hand, who was born in Portsmouth. In addition the two found books, comic books, two showcases, and other items.
Davis said they had been told there was nothing of any value in the basement, but that is not what they found when the went through the room.
“We dumpster dived is what we called it,” Davis said. “And we confiscated everything that they were going to throw out - furniture and everything. So this is what we have salvaged and put in our museum, and we have a few other things that we have done on our own, and that’s what we have at the museum right now.”
The VIP Open House is today from 2-4 p.m. at the new Roy Rogers Museum.
The annual Roy Rogers Festival kicks off Wednesday with guests including Dan Haggerty, best known as TV’s Grizzly Adams on “The Life And Times Of Grizzly Adams.”
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at firstname.lastname@example.org