By Andrea Cordle
Throughout the year the Grove City Welcome Center and Museum will spotlight Ohio history.
Through the month of March, visitors can stop by the museum to learn about Simon Kenton, a frontiersman in Ohio and surrounding states. On display is a large fiberglass bronze statue of Kenton, sculpted by Mike Major of Urbana, Ohio. Major’s piece is based on the original by American Sculptor John Quincy Adams Ward.
“I made this in the late 90s after the smaller sculpture by JQA,” said Major.
Major was contacted about an installation of artwork in the Grove City Library. He thought his large sized Simon Kenton sculpture would be a good fit, but it was too big for the library. It is now on display at the Grove City Welcome Center and Museum.
The sculpture shows Kenton with a hound dog. According to Major, Kenton was not known to have a dog, but JQA Ward thought the piece needed something extra.
“People love that dog,” said Major. “This was a case of the artist adding a point of interest.”
The dog’s name is Shadow.
According to Don Ivers, curator of the welcome center and museum, Kenton had a remarkable life. He served in the Revolution and Northwest Indian War as well as the War of 1812. He was a friend of Daniel Boone.
“He saved Boone’s life,” said Ivers.
According to the Ohio History Connection, Kenton was born in 1755 in Virginia. After a fight at the age of 16, Kenton believing he killed a man, fled to Ohio. After being involved in several conflicts, Kenton settled in Urbana. He later moved to Zanesfield, Ohio where he died and was buried in 1836. In 1895, his remains were moved to Urbana.
Simon Kenton is the namesake of Kenton, the county seat of Hardin County. Schools in Springfield and Xenia are named in his honor. There is also a Simon Kenton Trail between Springfield and Bellefontaine.
Along with the Ohio history exhibit featuring Kenton, is Indian artifacts. Ivers said the spear heads and hand tools have been donated to the museum.
The welcome center and museum also has a fashion exhibit on display through April. According to Ivers, the oldest piece of clothing in the exhibit is a coat from 1865, with wooden buttons. There is also a coat made of black bear fur. The items on exhibit were donated by local residents.
The Grove City Welcome Center and Museum is located at 3378 Park Street. It is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with extended hours on Tuesdays. For more information, go to visitgrovecityoh.com.