Rushtown memories – sweet history of those Grand Old Days


By Bob Boldman - Contributing Columnist



Boldman

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According to local history sources and the Booklet “Families along the Canal and bygone Days,” compiled by Henrietta Montavan – “Rush Township was petitioned by Levi Kirkendall, June 2, 1867.” And christened in honor of Dr. Benjamin Rush, prominent physician, writer, educator, humanitarian who was born in December of 1745 in Byberry, Pa, 12 miles from Philadelphia. In June of 1776 he was elected to attend the provincial conference to send delegates to the Continental Congress. He was appointed to represent Philadelphia that year and so signed the Declaration of Independence.

There was a time that Rushtown was a thriving stopover along the Ohio Erie Canal. A post office was established in 1878, and remained in operation until 1959. Besides the post office, Rushtown had a Railroad Station and the Crichton’s Inn was located near where McDermott-Rushtown Road connects with SR 104 and the Ohio Canal. For those in Southern Ohio, it was a popular summer vacation spot with a large dining room, accommodating up to 100 people; 30 guest rooms; and a space in the yard for summer tent camps to house the overflow. Visitors could access the inn by rail – a Norfolk & Western station was located in Rushtown a short distance away – or by canal – the Ohio Erie Canal was also nearby. Crichton’s was known as a “swinging place” with a very popular attraction. Edward A. Glockner explained: “There was a huge forty-foot handmade hammock up there, and boys and girls would go up there and swing each other!” Besides the gigantic hammock, entertainment at the inn included music, dancing, meals, hiking trails, and outdoor games. The resort also offered a medicinal herb garden with cultivated ginseng, billiards, horseshoes, and a “two-lane bowling alley where you had to set your own pins.”

Marjorie Drew Lloyd relates, “When you arrived, there were fresh linens for the guests – the next clean linens you washed for yourselves. Guests also cleaned their own rooms, and families vacating the city heat would come for a month and do all their own cooking. It was nice, a home away from home, and even in the off-season, the inn’s 30 rooms generally were full on weekends and holidays.” Crichton’s Inn closed in 1919 “when another mode of transportation was encouraging people to seek more complex entertainments farther away from home; the Norfolk and Western Railroad.” (Sources: Henry Towne Bannon – “Stories Old and Often Told, Being Chronicles of Scioto County Ohio.” Baltimore: Waverly Press. Page 274) – (1927.)

Food for thought: What Is History? The American Historical Association states that, “most people believe that history is a “collection of facts about the past.” This is reinforced through the use of textbooks used in teaching history. They are written as though they are collections of information. In fact, history is not a “collection of facts about the past.” History consists of making arguments about what happened in the past on the basis of what people recorded (in written documents, cultural artifacts, or oral traditions) at the time. Historians often disagree over what “the facts” are as well as over how they should be interpreted. The problem is complicated for major events that produce “winners” and “losers,” since we are more likely to have sources written by the “winners,” designed to show why they were heroic in their victories.”

When I write a story about the past through research of old newspapers, history books and by word of mouth; I arrive at conclusions, of the story told. In the early days of television there was a T.V. show, “Dragnet,” the main character was a detective, Joe Friday. And who could forget the question, “Just the facts, ma’am”? That line, delivered in classic straight-faced style, would set the precedent. Truthful history is what the writer strives for and with accuracy. What is reported and written at times is through face to face personal interviews. So writing about history – without living through a particular time period, is conjecture on the part of the writer. There too, is always a thought for the reader, who might see it differently. My stories for instance are from what I am told (the interview,) written sources or oral history. Fact checking all stories is a tedious but necessary attribute in writing history. Sometimes facts may get left by the wayside, by the mere lapse of wording or chance. As Edmund Burke so eloquently spouted, “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.” Memories of the past can reach a pinnacle within ourselves – only we can relate to. Tomorrow is a new day, yesterday is history!

Boldman
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By Bob Boldman

Contributing Columnist

Bob Boldman is a local historian. He can be reached by email: g.boldman5@gmail.com

Bob Boldman is a local historian. He can be reached by email: g.boldman5@gmail.com