Normally a 50-year anniversary is something to celebrate -- the founding of a town, the start of a company, a wedding, a graduation...
But for residents of Monroe, Ohio, and nearby communities, one 50th anniversary date -- May 10, 1969 -- is anything but celebratory.
For them it was a day of destruction.
The front-page headline of the Sunday, May 11, 1969, Middletown Journal said it all:
“Tornado Rips Through Monroe -- Butler, Warren Areas Hard Hit”
“The village of Monroe was sealed off to curious motorists at 6 p.m. yesterday and that town and others, including 100-resident Maustown, were counting up their losses and injuries from a late-afternoon tornado,” the accompanying article began.
The newspaper reported that the devastation sent a number of residents to the hospital for treatment, including “three members of one family and a 70-year-old woman.” One victim was a 10-year-old boy. Injuries of a “slight nature were numerous,” the paper said.
The 10-year-old, from Maustown, was “apparently the storm’s most serious casualty,” according to The Journal.
He and his parents “were found beneath debris and a tree at their shattered home shortly before 5 p.m.” The parents were also injured.
The 70-year-old woman, whose residence was reported as Middletown Rt. 3, “suffered shock and lacerations” and was admitted to Middletown Hospital, where she had been discharged earlier in the day after “recovery from an illness.”
According to the article, “The tornado, which slashed a path across Monroe, apparently touched down in the Maustown-Pisgah area and then bounced through the center of Monroe in a north-east direction to Interstate 75.”
It pointed out that although “Maustown and vicinity apparently took the brunt of the force of the storm...Monroe, in dollar damage, suffered loss estimated unofficially at ‘much more than a million dollars.’”
A public utilities spokesman reported that “Hamilton and Middletown were apparently unaffected, but that Monroe especially and the Maustown and Okeana communities were hit with power outages.”
The level of destruction in Monroe was so severe that its police chief, Ray Freshour, issued a warning to curiosity seekers via the newspaper. He minced no words in a side article headlined:
“‘Stay out,’ Chief warns”
In the warning Freshour informed the public that emergency lights were being set up to prevent looting, that police were patrolling village streets, and that “guards were posted at all entrances to Monroe to turn away sightseers.”
“‘We don’t want anyone in here. We’re going to shut the town down at dark,” the chief said.
Several Monroe residents recalled the horror of experiencing a tornado.
Reed Musgrave described the funnel as a “dark swirling wind which would expand and contract and hit the ground and bounce back up,” the article continued. “It had that freight train sound,” he added.
Musgrave said that he and his wife watched the funnel for about two minutes before they took cover in the basement, where they prayed.
Another resident, Loy DeHart, opened his windows when he saw the approaching twister and took cover in the basement according to radio instructions, The Journal reported.
“The wind sure had the house working,” he was quoted as saying. “It was like a big vacuum, blowing in and out.”
The tornado didn’t discriminate as it ravaged the village. Anything in its path was doomed.
Among its victims were the Meeker Garage, the local First National Bank branch, Monroe High’s stadium (“where the south end was blown out”), the roof of the Odd Fellows Hall, the roof of an apartment complex on East Street at Ohio 63 and the “sidewalk roof” of the local IGA market on North Main.
Then there was the surreal post-tornado scene at the Monroe Methodist Church. In her pictorial history of Monroe, author Marcia McCartt included a photograph of the church building bereft of roof -- and steeple.
Its caption read : “The Methodist church stands, after the tornado, with no steeple. Anna Hale remembers it vividly. From her Britton Lane home she watched the steeple spinning as it shot through the air. The old sanctuary was later razed.”
The Journal also recounted the frightening adventure of Miami University-Middletown student John Petrocy who had just exited a local store and entered his car when hail stones and the twister struck.
“The next thing I knew the car was rocking back and forth. All of a sudden I felt the car starting to lift,” he recalled. After hearing a “thump” Petrocy exited the car -- only to find part of a roof beneath it.”
“I didn’t get hurt,” he said. “It scared me to death. Here I was standing on a roof.”
According to The Journal, “some persons reportedly took cover” from the twister in the empty Monroe Swimming Club pool. “Others fell to the ground at the North Cemetery.”
There was some good news, however. The Journal reported that “Nobody was injured at LeSourdsville amusement park, four miles west of Monroe, and at Fantasy Farm park adjacent to the LeSourdsville park, although power outages there stopped all rides and amusement devices.”
Our primary source of information for this article came from the May 11, 1969 front page of the Middletown Journal.
MORE PHOTOS OF THE AFTERMATH OF THE MONROE TORNADO CAN BE FOUND ON MIDPOINTE’S DIGITAL ARCHIVES:
MidPointe Library cardholders can access this and other Journal editions via MidPointe’s website: www.midpointelibrary.org > eLibrary > Research Databases > Magazines and Newspapers > Newspaper Archive > Middletown Journal.
Copies of the Middletown Journal are also available for viewing on microfilm at MidPointe’s Middletown location at 125 South Broad Street.
Our second source was “Monroe” by Marcia McCartt, published in 2009 by Arcadia Publishing. It’s available for checkout in the Local History and Genealogy Gallery at MidPointe’s Middletown location.
No library card? No problem! Sign up for your free card at any MidPointe location : Middletown, West Chester, Trenton, Monroe, Liberty Township (2nd floor, Liberty Center) and onboard its Library On Wheels Bookmobile.
To the Moon and...then to Mars!
Today, May 14, 2019, a “Humans to Mars Summit” began in Washington, D.C., to discuss yet another “giant leap for mankind” (*).
It was hosted by the nonprofit group, “Explore Mars” with National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Jim Bridenstine expected to speak.
The program will explore returning astronauts to the Moon in 2024 with plans of sending them to Planet Mars by the 2030s! (1)
According to Space.com, “The annual three-day gathering...brings together scientists, engineers, academics, government officials and other industry leaders to discuss the future challenges and the current progress humanity has made toward launching a crewed mission to the Red Planet by the 2030s…”
At MidPointe Library, librarians were “over the moon” when they heard the news. That’s because their free, popular “Summer Reading Program” for all ages -- set for June 1 through July 31 -- is themed “A Universe of Stories”!
Nothing like a major Space summit to add excitement to a fun and educational endeavor!
With the Moon and Mars in the news, Summer Reading participants can look forward to lots of Space-related fun, special guests, reading for prizes and more.
To celebrate today’s good news about a future journey to Mars, the librarians blasted off a spatially-themed TuesdayTrivia question:
Who was the first American astronaut to fly in Space?
The answer : On May 5, 1961, Astronaut Alan Shepard became the first American in Space. (2) He wasn’t the first person to reach those heights. Just one month before, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human ever to travel to Outer Space (3).
(*) The famous phrase uttered by Ohio Astronaut Neil Amstrong when he became the first man to step onto the Moon’s surface in July 1969. This summer marks the 50th anniversary of that historic walk.
(1)“Humans to Mars Summit 2019 Launches in D.C. This Week: Watch It Live!”
(2) “Who was Alan Shepherd?” available via:
(3)”Yuri Gagarin: First Man In Space” :
For more information on the Moon/Mars project, click on:
Photo of Earth and reflection of Mars from
Moving photo of Mars:
If you’re a fan of all-things-Space, add MidPointe Library to your itinerary!
There’s no better synopsis of the role of women in America’s Space program than the exhibit designed and created by the International Women’s Air & Space Museum of Cleveland.
It’s called “Rocket Girls” and it’s on display at the Middletown location of MidPointe Library, 125 South Broad Street, now through May 31.
While you’re here...
Check out our vast collection of Outer Space-related materials :
www.midpointelibrary.org > Catalog > Outer Space
And our voluminous eLibrary of research databases, books, music, TV shows and more :
www.midpointelibrary.org > eLibrary
No library card? No problem! Sign up for your free card today at any MidPointe location : Middletown, West Chester, Trenton, Monroe, Liberty Township (2nd floor, Liberty Center) and onboard the colorful Library On Wheels Bookmobile.
In the meantime, keep your eyes on the skies! And don’t forget to mark your calendar for MidPointe’s free, “spatial” “Summer Reading Program” June 1 though July 31!
With a fresh-faced, natural beauty she was the perfect subject for the camera.
Indeed, the camera loved movie/TV actress and singer Doris Day, the Cincinnati native with ties to Trenton, Ohio. Doris died today, Monday, May 13, at her California home. She celebrated her 97th birthday on April 3.
Known worldwide as one of America’s leading entertainers, Doris (real name : Doris Mary Ann Kappelhoff) was also dedicated to animal welfare. She established the Doris Day Animal Foundation. *
Doris’s love of animals was apparent even on the movie set. She refused to continue working on the set of Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Man Who Knew Too Much” “unless the emaciated animals on or near the set received proper care...” The production company responded promptly and Doris then “supervised the care and feeding” of the animals. She completed her screen work. (**)
According to one biography (***), Doris’s passion for animal welfare took root after “the auto accident that had wreaked havoc with her dancing career.” Her beloved dog Tiny had “stayed by her side during her convalescence…”
One day while on crutches, Doris took “Tiny” for a walk without a leash. Tiny “ran into the street and was killed by a car...In Day’s own words, she was racked with ‘loneliness’ and ‘guilt’…
“...It was the combination of the closeness with Tiny and the guilt she felt over not using a leash that seems to have marked the beginning of Day’s interest in animal welfare…,” (***) the book continued.
Some locals may be unaware that Doris Day was quite familiar with Trenton.
According to “Welcome to Trenton: Celebrating 200 Years! 1816-2016, (****) in summer months Doris “got off at the Trenton stop (of the Interurban Line) to spend her days with her aunt and uncle who lived at the bottom of Union Street.”
The book recalled that “became good friends with the four Ottinger sisters who lived in the neighborhood, Betty Ottinger Barnes, Clara Ottinger Boxwell, Mabel Ottinger Younger and most especially with Ruth Ottinger Vennefron. She also became close friends with Trenton historian, Edward Keefe. The friendships with Ruth and Mr. Keefe lasted until their deaths…”
Some Trenton residents remembered “seeing Doris sitting on the brick wall in front of Phillip’s Drugstore (later the Tobacco Connection), eating an ice cream…,” the book continued.
“...When in Trenton, residents treated Doris not like a big star, but as one of their own…Upon the deaths of her uncle and aunt, her visits to Trenton ceased, but not our connection to her…”
Today fans in Trenton, Ohio, and around the world will fondly remember the lovely, talented and kind-hearted Doris Day.
(*)The Doris Day Animal Foundation https://www.dorisdayanimalfoundation.org/
(**) “Doris Day -- Doris’ work -- Animal Welfare”:https://www.dorisday.com/work/animal
(***) “Considering Doris Day” by Tom Santopietro. Published in 2007 by Thomas Dunne Books. Available for checkout at MidPointe Library.
(****) “Welcome to Trenton: Celebrating 200 Years! 1816-2016,” compiled by Tammy Woodrey with help from Wanda Woodrey. Available at MidPointe Library-Middletown, 125 South Broad Street.
The accompanying autographed photo of Doris Day appears in “From Bloomfield to Trenton -- City of Trenton Ohio -- Celebrating 200 years! 1816-2016.” Available at MidPointe Library.
The photo of “young Doris Day in the days with Les Brown and His Orchestra” appears in the book, “Considering Doris Day,” by Tom Santopietro. Available at MidPointe Library.
If you’re a Doris Day fan, check out our collection for Day-long enjoyment! :
And don’t forget to peruse our vast set of electronic resources -- books, movies, TV shows, music and more at :www.midpointelibrary.org > eLibrary
No library card? No problem! Sign up for your free MidPointe Library card at any location : Middletown, West Chester, Trenton, Monroe and Liberty Township (2nd floor, Liberty Center).
If you think your mom is out-of-this-world- great, you’re right!
If your mom literally is out-of-this-world- great, then you’re the young son of Astronaut Anne McClain, who’s currently flying aboard the International Space Station! (Click newspaper link below)
Theirs is just one of a “Universe of Stories” about man’s -- and woman’s -- adventures in Outer Space and the families who await their return to Planet Earth.
Explore your own “Universe of Stories” at MidPointe Library’s free “Summer Reading Program” for all ages June 1 through July 31
Read books (any subject -- you choose!), win prizes for your reading efforts, and enjoy special guests!
The program will be conducted at all MidPointe locations : Middletown, West Chester, Trenton, Monroe, Liberty Township (2nd floor of Liberty Center) and the Library on Wheels Bookmobile!
See you at “Summer Reading” -- a down-to-Earth celebration with universal appeal! For more information blast off to: to www.midpointelibrary.org
The Houston Chronicle, March 20, 2019:
Photo by Bill Stafford/NASA
It was a twist of fate destined for the history books.
Young Ohioan-and-future-Astronaut Neil Armstrong could never have imagined that…
The plane in which he was taking flying lessons was built by the same company that years later would create a product to protect him on his historic flight to the Moon!
That company was Aeronca of Middletown, Ohio.
A fan of flight from his earliest days, Neil Armstrong the teenager “took his first flying lessons...in the Aeronca 7AC Champion airplane manufactured in Middletown, Ohio,” according to the website of the museum that now bears his name. (1)
The “Champ was Aeronca’s best-selling model…It was in one of the three Champs at Wapakoneta that Neil Armstrong learned to fly…” (2)
According to Biographer James R. Hansen, Armstrong and two high school classmates learned to fly in the summer of 1946. “Each soloed about the same time..It was a little unusual, though, that Neil earned his pilot’s license before he got an automobile driver’s license,” Hansen wrote. Neil’s father explained why : Neil didn’t have a girlfriend and didn’t need a car. “All he had to do was get out to that airport,” the elder Mr. Armstrong said. (2)
Years later Aeronca would play an even greater role in Neil Armstrong’s life...
After World War II, with light aircraft production ending, Aeronca “began looking for new manufacturing opportunities…” Ultimately, it found them in Space. (3)
“Most notably from this era, Aeronca developed brazed honeycomb panels and structures. These panels were lightweight and very strong, and were used to help send man to Space and the Moon…. (3)
“The panels helped guard astronauts against the intense temperatures of reentry from Outer Space, and were first used on the Apollo 11 command module” (3) which — as fate would have it — served as living quarters for astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin and Michael Collins” in 1969.
The first human to set foot upon the Moon’s surface, Armstrong pronounced : “That’s one small step for a man...one giant leap for mankind.” (4)
It took the courage of three explorers, an army of scientists and a forward-looking Middletown, Ohio, company -- today known as Magellan Aerospace -- to make it all possible.
So far, no word about a driver’s license…
A final note:
In later years, Neil Armstrong continued living as a “Buckeye” on a large farm in the Lebanon, Ohio, area. He taught aerospace engineering at the University of Cincinnati and became associated with computing technologies and electronic systems companies. Armstrong made his home in Indian Hill, a Cincinnati suburb. He died on August 25, 2012, at the age of 82. (5)
(1) From the Armstrong Air & Space Museum https://armstrongmuseum.org/search/node?keys=first+flight
(2) From “First Man - The Life of Neil A. Armstrong” by James R. Hansen. Published in 2005 by Simon & Schuster. Available for checkout at MidPointe Library.
(3) From “Aeronca,” a brochure developed by MidPointe Library. Available in the Local History and Genealogy Section of MidPointe’s Middletown location, 125 South Broad Street.
(4) Armstrong quote from Nasa: www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/apollo/apollo11.html
(5) Neil Armstrong obituary by Legacy.com
The image of an Apollo spacecraft (above) and others can be found on MidPointe Library’s Digital Archives:
www.midpointelibrary.org > eLibrary > Digital Archives.
A replica of the colorful Aeronca Champion Model 7AC (above) can be found suspended above the Local History and Genealogy Gallery in MidPointe’s Middletown location, 125 South Broad Street. Where you find the “Champ,” you’ll find history!
If you like all-things-Space, then visit ours during MidPointe’s annual Summer Reading Program for all ages June 1 through July 31!
This year’s theme,“A Universe of Stories,” coincides with the 50th anniversary of man’s first steps on the Moon!
Participants can read books for prizes, attend entertaining programs and more! The fun takes place at all five branches : Middletown, West Chester, Trenton, Monroe and Liberty Township (2nd floor, Liberty Center).
For information, go to: www.midpointelibrary.org > Contact Us
#triviatuesday - While creating what would become a worldwide best-selling series, this author taught English as a second language. Who’s the famous teacher/author?
Today, May 7 -- “National Teacher Day” (*) -- we honor the dedicated individuals who taught us everything from writing in cursive to the wonders of science.
Today’s TriviaTuesday question is about a famous former teacher:
While creating what would become a worldwide best-selling series, this author taught English as a second language, then trained as a teacher and taught in city schools.
Who’s the famous teacher/author?
The former teacher is JK Rowling, whose fantasy book series breathed life into a young wizard named Harry Potter and garnered a place in literary history.
It all began in 1990. While sitting on a delayed train in England, Rowling became inspired — literally. That’s when the character, Harry Potter, was born. **
Rowling eventually moved to Portugal, where she found work as an English teacher in a language school. Later, in Edinburgh, Scotland, she trained to become a teacher and taught in city schools. But Harry Potter never left her mind… **
“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” was Rowling’s first book in the mega-hit series chronicling Harry’s adventures at -- what else? -- a school. It wasn’t long before the bespectacled student at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry became the #1 subject of choice for student readers (and adults) around the world.
Only a former teacher could perform magic like that.
* Information on “National Teacher Day” was obtained from the 2019 “Chase’s Calendar of Events” available for checkout at MidPointe Library.
** Information on J.K. Rowling was obtained on “J.K. Rowling” @ https://www.jkrowling.com/about/
The portrait of JK Rowling shown above can be found on JK Rowling’s Facebook page available at https://www.facebook.com/JKRowling/
The image of Hogwart Academy at left is from Google Images.
Are you a JK Rowling fan? Hooked on Harry Potter? Who isn’t?
Look no further than MidPointe Library!
Go to: www.midpointelibrary.org > JK Rowling
There you’ll find the adventures of Harry Potter in all forms as well as biographies of his creator JK Rowling!
And don’t forget to look for Harry and his creator in our vast e-collection of books, audiobooks, movies, music and more at :
www.midpointelibrary.org > eLibrary
MidPointe Library salutes our local teachers on this, “National Teacher Day.” *
Our staff is always happy to gather a collection of age/grade-appropriate materials on a specific topic which teachers can use in their classrooms.
To request a collection, teachers must have a valid MidPointe Library “teacher card” and work within the MidPointe Library service area (Middletown, West Chester, Trenton, Monroe and Liberty Township).
Teacher cards are available to public and private school teachers, home educators, state-certified daycare providers and head preschool and day care teachers.
For information on teacher cards, go to: https://www.midpointelibrary.org/page/teacher-cards
For all other information contact any MidPointe Library location! Go to:
www.midpointelibrary.org > Contact us
He was described by “Star Wars” colleague Harrison Ford as a “kind and gentle man, possessed of great dignity and noble character.” *
At 7 feet, 3 inches, actor Peter Mayhew was literally a giant among men. So was his onscreen alter-ego, “Chewbacca the Wookiee.”
The 74-year-old Mayhew passed away Tuesday, April 30. *
However, “Chewie” the character is expected to live on, thanks to very tall actors and a legacy only a true Wookiee could leave behind.
As Obi-Wan Kenobi would tell his fine, furry friend :
“The Force will be with you. Always.” **
* The May 2, 2019, New York Times. Copies are available onsite at MidPointe’s Middletown and West Chester locations.
Photo of Peter Mayhew from the New York Times via Google Images.
If you’re a Star Wars fan, check out MidPointe’s vast collection for all ages!
You can also search our eLibrary for movies, TV shows, books, audiobooks, music and magazines! www.midpointelibrary.org > eLibrary
No library card? No problem! Sign up for your free card at any MidPointe location : Middletown, West Chester, Trenton, Monroe, Liberty Township (2nd floor, Liberty Center) and onboard the “Library On Wheels” Bookmobile.
They did the math. They conducted the experiments. Then they conquered Space.
We’re talking about the “Rocket Girls” whose brains and bravery helped launch America into Outer Space and a pivotal place in world history.
Then they flew there.
Perhaps there’s no better synopsis of the role of women in America’s Space program than the exhibit designed and created by the International Women’s Air & Space Museum of Cleveland.
It’s called “Rocket Girls.”
Fortunately for us and our patrons, it’s currently on display at the Middletown location of MidPointe Library.
It seems only fitting that a prestigious institution like the women’s space museum is located in Ohio. After all, the Buckeye State has been the Earthbound home of many a Space pioneer (think Wright Brothers, John Glenn and Neal Armstrong), industries that have contributed much to the Space program and of course, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in the Dayton area.
Indeed, we “Buckeyes” are quite proud of our association with aeronautics and sisters in Space :
Dr. Judith Resnik of Akron, the engineer/pilot who was killed in the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger in 1986. (The catastrophe also took the life of the first teacher in space, Christa McAuliffe)
Sunita Williams of Euclid, who “holds the record for total cumulative Spacewalk time by a female astronaut” *
Mary Ellen Weber of Cleveland, who has “logged over 800 hours flying as a pilot and has logged 3,500 skydives since 1983 * and...
Nancy J. Currie of Troy, who has “logged over 4,000 flying hours and 454 hours in Space.” *
To locate the “Rocket Girls” exhibit (and a few library books about women in aviation), just look up like all Space enthusiasts do!
You’re sure to spot a red-and-yellow replica of an Aeronca 7AC Champion plane suspended from the ceiling above the display site.
The “Champion” serves as a reminder of the importance of the aviation (and related industries) in this area. It was one of the most popular, private-use planes produced post-World War II by Aeronca, a Middletown, Ohio, company that produced many a plane for use during WWII. Since then, Aeronca has transitioned into a world-renowned leader in the aerospace industry.
See you soon at MidPointe Library-Middletown. And don’t forget to…
Keep looking up!
*The website of the Armstrong Air & Space Museum, (Wapakoneta, Ohio):
Let MidPointe Library be your ticket to Space by attending our “Summer Reading Program” themed “A Universe of Stories” June 1 through July 31 at our five locations! All ages are welcome to participate!
Check out books, keep track of your reading and win prizes for your reading efforts!
Enjoy visits by special guests at our Space-themed events! At our Middletown location, don’t forget to stop by the “Rocket Girls” display to learn about the women who helped make the Space program possible.
You’ll have so much fun in our “Universe of Stories” that time will just fly by!
MidPointe libraries are located in Middletown, West Chester, Trenton, Monroe, Liberty Township (2nd floor, Liberty Center). Books and staff also travel onboard our “Library On Wheels” Bookmobile.
It’s T-minus 30 days and counting until MidPointe Library’s free, popular “Summer Reading Program” lifts off into a veritable “Universe of Stories!”
From June 1 through July 31, adults and youth of all ages will be encouraged to explore MidPointe’s galaxy of books, read about any subject that interests them, keep track of their reading and win prizes for their efforts.
But wait! There’s more! A cluster of guest stars will shine their brightest during special programs scheduled throughout SRP. We hear they’re out of this world!
So mark your calendars for MidPointe Library’s Summer Reading Program, launching at a site near you : Middletown, West Chester, Trenton, Monroe, Liberty Township (2nd floor, Liberty Center) and onboard the “Library On Wheels” Bookmobile.
In the meantime stop by MidPointe’s Middletown location and peruse the remarkable pictorial exhibit, “Rocket Girls,” provided by the International Women’s Air & Space Museum. You’ll learn about the women astronauts who advanced America’s Space program, including those who made the ultimate sacrifice in duty to their country.
Space-related fun fact for today, May 1:
On this date in 1925, Scott Carpenter, “one of the original seven astronauts for NASA’s Project Mercury” (“the first human spaceflight program of the United States” *) was born in Colorado. His stellar background included :
Serving as “John Glenn’s backup pilot on the first Mercury mission to orbit Earth in 1962,” and then flying into orbit himself the same year and…
Being the “first astronaut to eat solid food in Space…!