Centennial memories

 Image courtesy of the Groveport Heritage Museum
 Sixty years ago, this past Labor Day weekend, the village of Groveport celebrated its centennial with five days of music, games, baseball, bicycle races, speeches, parades, dancing, and fireworks.

People began settling in what would become Groveport soon after Ohio statehood in 1803. Eventually two towns formed – Wert’s Grove and Rarey’s Port – in the 1820s and 1830s along the Ohio and Erie Canal and what was then known as the Columbus-Lancaster Road (now Main Street).

The two towns flourished side by side, separated only by College Street, as the canal brought business growth and residents to the villages. A rivalry developed between the two towns’ founders – Jacob Wert and William Rarey – that soon escalated into petty arguments between the two and confusion regarding mail delivery and canal timetables.

The townsfolk tired of the rivalry and confusion and in 1847 voted to form one town – Groveport – using the suffixes of the names of the two former towns.

From Aug. 30 to Sept. 3 in 1947 the village celebrated its centennial. A highlight of the event was a visit from WLW Broadcasting Company’s country music show "Midwestern Hayride" featuring its stars Ernie Lee, Millie Good, Len Sosby, Rome Johnson, Mike Wilson, Red Turner Bill Thall, Lafe Harkness, Rays Sosby, and Leige Turner.

Shown here is the program from the centennial, which, along with a list of events, includes a detailed history of the village. Pictured on the cover is Groveport Town Hall as it looked in 1947.

The centennial committee consisted of Charles Coon, chairman; Warren Rarey, co-chairman; Thomas Sexton, secretary; K. H. Ackerman, treasurer; Jay Daniels, Robert Codner, Mary Klamfoth, Herman Martin, Elma Woerlein, Paul Chapman, Lillian Meloy, Melvin Coakley, J. R. Buchman, Ruth Dildine Hanway, Walter Dyer, Mrs. Parker Morrow, E. A. Snyder, Forrest Klamfoth, Paul Glendening, and Robert Rohr.

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