(Posted Sept. 28, 2017)
By Dedra Cordle, Staff Writer
Hours before the history walk of Mount Sterling was scheduled to begin, tour guide Tavion Eyerman was full of nerves.
For weeks, all he had heard from his peers was that no one would show up to the event that he established. Eventually, he began to believe it himself.
As he stood near the entrance of the community center shortly before the 6 p.m. walk, the welcome sight of cars began pulling into the lot.
For a brief second, his nerves were at ease. Then, just as quickly, they started up again as the cars kept coming.
“Really?” he said in disbelief as yet another group of people got out of their vehicles and asked if this was the walking history tour.
After waiting a few more minutes to see if anyone else would show up, the 17-year-old senior at Madison Plains High School took a breath and asked the gathering of 26 individuals to follow him on his 1.5-mile educational trek across the village.
The first stop was Veteran’s Field, which is adjacent to the community center.
“Veteran’s Field was created in 1940 and named to honor those who served,” he said as he went on to explain how the field has changed throughout the years.
On the way to the second stop on the tour, a detour took form in the shape of a large rendering of work boots on Second Avenue. After the excitement of coming across the sculpture wore down, the questions began, but Eyerman had to make an admission.
“This wasn’t on my tour because I complete forgot about it,” he said. “And unfortunately, I don’t know much about who created them or when they got here.”
After all was forgiven, Eyerman led them to other historical haunts such as the First Christian Church and the Mill and Grain Plant that were built in the 1900s, the Knights of Pythias Building, the former cemetery turned parking lot and the village museum, just to name a few. For these, Eyerman had much to share and offered many interesting and little known facts about the background of each location.
Tour-goer and long-time resident Faith Simmons said she was impressed.
“I thought I knew a lot about Mount Sterling, but I learned a lot from this tour,” she said.
And to think, Eyerman just started digging into the history of the village.
It was four years ago and Eyerman and his family had just moved to the village from Grove City. Almost immediately, he said he fell in love with the town.
Recently, Eyerman began restoration projects on the local cemeteries and in doing so discovered a passion for the town’s history.
Using the resources available at the museum and library, he began compiling a list of interesting places to visit and turned that into a walking tour upon the encouragement of a history teacher.
For weeks, Eyerman mapped out which spots to stop at first and jotted down points-of-interest of these locations.
He said he wasn’t sure if anyone else would find them interesting, but felt these were historical facts that needed to be shared with a wider audience should they be willing to listen.
And judging by the reaction from the tour-goers, there was plenty of interest in both these stories and the tour itself.
Eyerman said he was pleased that people actually came out for the walking tour, but was ecstatic that they were able to learn a little something about the community that he loves.
He said he plans to try to make this tour an annual event.