By Linda Dillman
From humble beginnings great things take place.
In the village of Lockbourne, one such beginning was the creation of the Lockbourne Heritage Society in 1992, an organization dedicated to preserving and promoting the history of Lockbourne.
The Lockbourne Heritage Society was begun by five individuals. Their goal was simple—bring attention to the history of the village and recognize notable events in establishing plans for the continuing evolution of the community.
“Along with those goals was the desire to have the village’s remaining six canal locks and several buildings included on the National register of Historic Places,” said Society President Jane McJunkin. “The locks, part of a series of eight in the village, were integral in the Ohio & Erie Canal system.”
With its close proximity to Columbus, Lockbourne served as a junction point between the Columbus Feeder and the Ohio & Erie Canal, which brought goods and services to the interior of Ohio and allowed farmers and residents to fully engage in regional and national trade.
“That helped America and our nation grow,” said McJunkin. “The Lockbourne Heritage Society membership eventually grew to 47 members, but has dwindled to around 13 due to older members passing away and the younger generation not having the time or, in some cases, the interest. It is important for every community to have its own identity, something that local residents can point to as their own unique contribution to their area. Lockbourne is rich in history in Hamilton Township, as well as the Hamilton Local School District. The heritage society is dedicated to helping preserve the past for future generations.”
The society raises fund for projects through their semi-annual fish frys—one during Lent and another close to Flag Day. The next one takes place on June 2 and 3 in the town’s Historical Hall. Fundraisers also include the sale of t-shirts, Veteran’s Memorial bricks, pottery, afghans and decorative lighted wine bottles.
At one time, the land around the Ohio & Erie locks and canals in Lockbourne was nothing but weeds. The society assumed responsibility for mowing, weeding and cleaning the area.
Over the last three decades, the organization also donated thousands of dollars benefiting the village, including building the former Veteran’s Memorial Park and buying new flags and flowers each year.
The society also provided concrete for the shelter house in Locke Meadow Park, sponsors the village’s Easter Egg Hunt, donates to the annual Christmas Party and purchases Ohio Historical Markers. Members provided food and household goods for a family displaced by fire, made monetary donations to five local churches and supported the Lockbourne Food Pantry.
McJunkin said the society purchased flower barrels and flowers for Commerce Street, bought a sign and materials for a marker depicting Lockbourne’s plat stone, bought paint for several houses and is in the process of getting a historical doctor’s office moved to a new location.
The long-term project includes restoring the interior of the Blake office, which is currently located at the entrance to Locke Meadow Park. The society also hopes to have a museum one day where they can house and share numerous Lockbourne artifacts.
“For our current projects, we are researching a new lightweight lectern that can be used at the gazebo and downstairs at the hall, and we are pursuing a new wireless sound system that also can be used at the Veteran’s Park and hall for meetings,” said McJunkin. “The founding five would be very pleased to know that their dream actually became a reality as our Ohio & Erie locks and canals have been added to the National Register of Historic Places thanks to our members and volunteers who work tirelessly to reach our goals—it really does take a village.”