Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Dave’s Midwestern Ohio Memories from the 50’s & 60’s

A Series of Guest Blogs by an out-of-state Fish Report reader originally from this area about fond memories of growing up in Midwestern Ohio during the 50’s & 60’s.

Knee Surgery & A Summer to Remember


My wife recently had arthroscopic surgery to repair two torn meniscus (menisci?) in her right knee. The photo above was taken shortly after the out patient procedure. She could stand and walk right away and after two weeks, thankfully, she’s doing very well, which means nurse Dave’s duties are over.

Almost 50 years ago, I had surgery for a similar knee problem, requiring a three inch incision that took more than a year to recuperate. The damage occurred during a pick-up basketball game at college. I was attempting to block a shot on a breakaway layup by an opponent. The shot was blocked Lebron-style (right!), but I came down hard on my right knee and was in severe pain. After hobbling off the court, I struggled back to my fraternity house several blocks away to tend to the knee.

Later that summer, I went under the knife to repair the damage. My doctor was the same orthopedic surgeon in Dayton who had successfully rebuilt the achilles tendon of a high school classmate Larry after he suffered a farm accident (Larry eventually became the best man at my wedding). After the operation, I recall being in the hospital for several days, and then being on crutches for about a month. Finally as the summer was nearing an end, I was cleared to drive, even though it was a challenge since my ‘62 Chevy had a clutch and stick shift. So with nothing else to do, I headed back to school at General Motors Institute in Flint, MI a week early, going the long way around Lake Michigan as shown in the map below.


First stop was Chicago, where I met a friend from high school who worked there. We attended a Cubs baseball game at Wrigley Field and saw some of the other sights around Chicago. I still had a big brace on my knee to keep it stable, so it was somewhat of a chore to get around, but at that age, who cared.

Next stop was Madison, WI, where I met up with a fraternity brother who showed me all the hot spots in that college town. Heading further north the next day brought me to Green Bay, where I toured Lambeau Field, the site of the NFL Championship game between the Packers and Cowboys a year earlier. This was before the Super Bowl existed. The game was dubbed the Ice Bowl as the temperature was -15 degrees with a wind chill of -70!. In my view, the Ice Bowl was the best NFL game ever as the Packers won 17-14 on a last second quarterback sneak by Bart Starr.

Next stop was Sault Saint Marie to see the Soo Locks and the gigantic lake freighters. Going through at the time was the ore ship pictured below that was owned by Ford Motor Company and named after Henry Ford II. Little did I know that someday I’d be working for the company and meet the boat’s namesake, Ford’s CEO, nicknamed Hank the Deuce.


Heading south from the Soo brought me to the Big Mac, the bridge connecting Michigan’s upper and lower peninsulas, which was a real treat, as it gave a wonderful vista of the straits.


Mackinac Island island was nearby, but the ferry and room costs would have left me little spending money for the upcoming semester at college. So heading further south, my next stop was Houghton Lake, a pristine lake with some great beaches. While spending the afternoon on the beach, with plans to head further south to Flint that evening, I was told about an open air dance hall called the Music Box along the shores of the lake. So later that evening, off I went to the dance hall pictured below. It reminded me of Eagle Park in Minster and Lindhaus Park in Ft. Loramie, but with no ceiling over the dance floor. And boy was it packed with beach blonde, sun tanned girls vacationing up north. They all loved dancing to the rock music under the stars. But with my bum knee, dancing was a problem, so I instead played the sympathy card to perfection, sitting next to the dance floor with my wrapped knee propped up on a chair. The girls would all come up to ask what happened. I was in seventh heaven and in no pain!


Made it to Flint the next day and started my sophomore year at college, after a summer that started out problematically but ended in a way I’ll never forget. And the knee is still going strong, allowing me to play tennis, golf, walk and ride a bike with regularity and still no pain. Here’s hoping my wife has similar results.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Dave’s Midwestern Ohio Memories from the 50’s & 60’s

A Series of Guest Blogs by an out-of-state Fish Report reader originally from this area about fond memories of growing up in Midwestern Ohio during the 50’s & 60’s.

Miami-Erie Canal User & Pioneer Liwwät Böke 1807-1882


Continuing our series of Miami-Erie canal stories, notable canal users were Natz and Liwwät (nee Knapke) Böke during their separate trips to the United States from Germany in 1833 and 1835 respectively. The map above shows their route along the Ohio River and up the canal to the point where it was completed. Natz and Liwwät were engaged to be married, so Natz came first to find low-cost land, which after a six-month trip he found near St. John, now Maria Stein, in Mercer County. Once land was acquired, Natz send a message to Liwwät that took another six months to arrive.

During her preparations and travel to join Natz, Liwwät kept a diary with detailed sketches. Those records in the Low German dialect of the northern region of Germany where the couple originated were discovered in the mid-1970’s by their great grandson Vincent Boeke, who translated it to English and had it published by the Minster Historical Society. The information and sketches included in this blog entry are from the diary. Note especially Liwwät’s Low German script and Vincent’s English translation on each sketch. As an example, refer to the couple's packing list below.


Both lived on farms in the Neuenkirchen region, near Hannover, Germany. Since Natz’s older brother, according to custom, was to eventually inherit the family farm, Natz & Liwwät decided to venture to the New World for access to low cost land. Their separate travels, first by Natz, followed more than a year later by Liwwät, took them by wagon to Bremen near the North Sea where a wooden sailing boat was boarded destined for Baltimore, MD in the US. From there, a covered wagon was ridden over the Appalachian Mountains to Wheeling, WV, where a flatboat (as shown in the sketch below) was sailed down the Ohio River to the mouth of the Miami-Erie canal in Cincinnati. Early in 1835, Natz returned from St. John taking the canal boat south to meet up with Liwwät in Cincinnati as she was coming down the Ohio with their belongings. They were immediately married there, after having been apart for almost two years.


Returning to St. John with all their belongings was a challenge, because the Miami-Erie canal was only partially completed by that time. As a result, there were occasional portages required as depicted in the following sketch.


After Natz and Liwwät arrived in St. John, a few acres of land were quickly cleared to build a log cabin and some livestock pens, which also provided tillable space for a few crops and a small garden. Up until that time, Natz had been living in a lean-to shack on the property. The sketch below depicts their new homestead.


Liwwät and Natz raised a family in St. John as shown in the sketch below. He died in 1857 at age 57 of complications after falling from an oak tree and she died in 1882 at the age of 75. Both are buried in the parish cemetery in St. John (Maria Stein).


Liwwät’s diary is one of the most interesting books I’ve ever read. It chronicles the life of an extraordinary women filled with determination, faith and love. Pick up or order a copy on-line from the Minster Historical Society.


Monday, August 22, 2016

Boys Cross Country Preview...

The Shelby County Athletic League has been quite a powerhouse in boys cross country the last couple of seasons. In 2015 the league advanced three teams to the state meet for just the second time in history. The only other year that happened? 2014. This year the SCAL is loaded again with Anna and Ft. Loramie already garnering some major pre-season attention. Tradition-rich Russia returns a solid team, as does Botkins, who is riding a two year streak of state meet appearances. Houston and Jackson Center may surprise some folks with their emerging talent and Fairlawn gets an infusion of youth this year. With the Shelby County Preview getting set to open the season on Tuesday, below is my own preview and opinions on the SCAL teams.

Ft. Loramie's Tom Ballas won the County Preview back in 2014

Ft. Loramie
The Redskins made quite a statement last year winning the SCAL championship and finishing 5th at the state meet. Coach Dennis Prenger has all but one of those horses back, which should make Ft. Loramie fans awfully excited. Senior Tom Ballas and sophomores Joe Ballas and Jake Rethman are perhaps the best threesome in Southwest Ohio right now. There's also plenty of talent not far behind with senior Alan Holdheide and juniors Noah Siegel and Collin Luthman. I'm betting the Redskins win the Preview and a lot of other races this season as well.

Anna's Lucas Huber won the County Preview in 2015

Anna
If anyone can match Ft. Loramie's top three runners, it's likely Anna. Seniors Lucas Huber, Bradley Axe and Joel Gaier are back. Not far behind them are seniors Matthew Burden and Kyle Christman to give coach Dean Stewart the most veteran team in Shelby County. The Rockets future will be sophomore Cameron Bowersock who ran as the #7 man on varsity last year. Anna has the longest current SCAL streak of consecutive state appearance at three, and I'm confident they'll have no problem extending that to four.

Austin Fullenkamp was 2nd Team All-SCAL last year

Botkins
Look for Austin Fullenkamp to be a man on a mission. The junior this year was one of Botkins top runners all of last season, but finished an uncharacteristic 7th for the Trojans at the state meet. Coach Ryan Gutman returns a couple other experienced runners from that state team in junior Mathew Prout and senior Konnor Burmeister. Senior Alex Jutte ran for Botkins half of last season and will turn some heads with how much he's improved. I'm also predicting senior Jonathan Yenser will round out the Trojans top five.

Russia coach Doug Foster is back for his 11th season

Russia
Expectations are always sky high in the Russia boys program. That's what happens when you make nine consecutive trips to state from 2006-2014. Last year that streak was broken and you can bet it's motivation for coach Doug Foster's boys this year. Experienced runners returning include seniors Alex Seger and Ethan Monnier, junior Zachary Bell, and a pair of sophomores in Gavin George and Jordan Busse. I also predict an impact from last year's SCAL junior high champ Mason Dapore as he adjusts to the extra mile this season.

Tristin Freistuhler (left) could lead Houston this year

Houston
If Houston was listed on the stock market, I'd be buying. That's because I expect them to rise and exceed early expectations this season. Sophomores Tristin Freistuhler and Ethan Knouff lead a solid group that includes senior Devyn Ostrander, juniors Dakota Francis and Parker Cox, and sophomore Jacob Slater. Coach Bill McKinney lost a couple of promising incoming freshman runners that moved out-of-state, but four other new freshman will make competition for the varsity roster that much tougher.

Look for Parker Morris up front for Jackson Center

Jackson Center
Coach Steve Hoover has a leader back in junior Parker Morris who was a regional qualifier in 2015. The Tigers also return sophomores TJ Esser and Sean March. Top newcomers include junior Jeremy Burch, sophomore Corbin Murphy, and the arrival of freshman Christopher Elchert who had an outstanding 8th-grade season. This group all has similar talent and look for Jackson Center to earn success utilizing pack running as much as possible.

Fairlawn
Senior Nick Brautigam and junior Stephen Blanford return this season for the Jets. When you're a small school with three fall sports for boys, sometimes you have to share athletes, and that's what juniors DJ Graves and Drew Brautigam will be doing as they split time between cross country and soccer. Coach Chris North also has five freshman he's looking forward to joining the mix and scoring points for Fairlawn this year.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Girls Cross Country Preview...

Area cross country runners are set to go on August 23rd at the annual Shelby County Preview. The Preview gives running fans their first look at teams from the Shelby County Athletic League, as well as those from Sidney, Sidney Christian and Lehman. The rotating role of host school has been given to Sidney this year after Russia previously hosted last year. There will be a turnover of sorts in Shelby County girls cross country this season as seven of the top twelve finishers from the SCAL Meet last October were seniors. This year, six of the seven SCAL girls teams have the required five runners for team scoring, but only Ft. Loramie and Russia have seven or more runners to fill the maximum varsity roster. Below are my opinions on the teams and individuals I will be watching next Tuesday night. 

Russia will be aiming for their 7th consecutive Preview title

Russia
The Lady Raiders lose their top two runners from last season, but that's a problem coach Doug Foster has become accustomed to after regional championships the last three consecutive years. Graduated is the dynamic duo of Molly Kearns and Lauren Heaton. Back this year is a strong core that includes seniors Audrey Gariety and Shae Goubeaux, juniors Becky Pinchot and Megan Frazier, and sophomores Anna Fiessinger and Claire Meyer. All six have varsity experience from 2015 and should be strong enough for Russia to captures their 7th straight Preview title and perhaps a 5th straight league championship this October.

Ft. Loramie fans see a bright future in Paige Rethman

Ft. Loramie
The Lady Redskins graduated five of their top seven runners from last year after finishing runner-up in the league standings for the fourth straight year. Senior Kaitlyn Luebke and sophomore Erin Chaney are the top returners this season and should get the most help from a flock of strong freshman. Leading that freshman group is last year's SCAL junior high champion, Paige Rethman. I predict coach Dennis Prenger will see a young Ft. Loramie team blossom into a powerful group over the next few months.

There's another Flora that could lead Botkins again

Botkins
Coach Ryan Gutman has built a very successful program at Botkins during his time, but graduating two-time All-Ohio runner Chloe Flora and her 2nd-Team All-SCAL classmate Kayla Hueker would be tough on anyone. Junior Brooklyn Flora and sophomore Adrianna Jutte will be the nucleus of a young Lady Trojans team this year and I'm betting the two will both have breakout seasons. One thing is for sure, with only five runners on the roster the Botkins girls have to stay healthy to compete as a team.

Houston's Morgan Ely (bottom right) was All-SCAL last season

Houston
The Lady Wildcats have just six girls in their program this year, but that's enough for coach Ron Boeke. Even though the numbers are small, the talent is big with junior Morgan Ely back, a 1st-Team All-SCAL runner last year. Also, returning are solid runners in senior Emma Mertz and sophomore Hollie Voisard. Senior Allie Voisard will run her first year of cross country as well after having success on the track in middle distance this past spring.

Anna, Fairlawn & Jackson Center
The last three teams that round out the SCAL all have their work cut out for them. Anna has just five runners, with three of them being first year runners. Returning junior Gracen Rogers will be the highlight for the Lady Rockets. Fairlawn has no high school runners and just one at the junior high level. Jackson Center will be building for the future with a one junior, three sophomores and a freshman.

Ana Adams might be the best runner in all of Sidney

Sidney Schools
As mentioned above, three Sidney schools will run at the Preview on Tuesday. Sidney High School is Division-I and I look for an emerging star in freshman Ana Adams. Ana put in miles this summer running with the boys team and also attended a cross country camp that featured speakers Sam Prakel who runs at Oregon and Olympic bronze medalist Clayton Murphy. Listening to advice from those two guys would make anyone faster.

Lehman Catholic experienced mild success in girls cross country last year, but gone are their top three, including star Jenna Zimmerman who will run for a loaded Division I Troy her final senior season. The Lady Cavs top returner is junior Alanna O'Leary who was a two-time state qualifier in track this spring. Although Alanna definitely excels more as a sprinter, I anticipate some big improvements this season as her team's #1 runner.
___________________________

The schedule of races for the Shelby County Preview on Tuesday at Sidney High School is as follows:
5:00 PM  Junior High Girls
5:30 PM  Junior High Boys
6:00 PM  High School Girls
6:30 PM  High School Boys


Below is a list of recent Preview team and individual champions (click to enlarge):


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Dave’s Midwestern Ohio Memories from the 50’s & 60’s

A Series of Guest Blogs by an out-of-state Fish Report reader originally from this area about fond memories of growing up in Midwestern Ohio during the 50’s & 60’s.

Miami-Erie Canal Ventures

More stories about the Miami-Erie canal were promised in last week’s blog, so here goes. My dad would always talk about his grandfather, (my great-grandfather), Heinrich, pictured below, who was born in 1844 and died in 1910. He lived through the construction, peak use and eventual demise of the canal system connecting the Ohio River and Lake Erie that passed right through mid-western Ohio and his hometown of Ft. Loramie.

Heinrich was a farmer who loved to build things. For example, from 1878-81, he served on the parish construction committee in charge of building St. Michael’s church pictured below. The construction materials and many of the craftsmen arrived via canal boat, some directly from Germany. Without the efficient transportation system provide by the canal, access to most of these materials and skilled workers would not have been possible. Dad would tell the story about the arrival by canal boat of the 4 large bells that were to be lifted into the belfry, the largest of which weighed 3600 pounds. My great grandfather made arrangements to have one of the smaller bells set up on the deck of the canal boat so it could be rung as it approached the community from the south. By the time the boat arrived with the bell a clanging, the entire town had congregated to meet the boat, cheering its arrival.

Concurrent with the construction of the church, my great grandfather was planning his next project for the homestead farm west of town. He wanted to replaced all the log buildings that had originally been built by his dad, my great great grandfather, Christof. So he made arrangements during the church construction to procure additional materials that he could use to erect new farm buildings with the more modern brick, sandstone and hewn lumber construction materials used to build the church. And great grandfather, as well as my dad, always made it clear that the materials were purchased separately, but at the same bulk prices the church was charged, which saved Heinrich quite a bit of money. So by the following year, 1882, he had built the massive red barn and Victorian brick home shown in the aerial photo below. The brick and sandstone trim on the home matches the church’s. Just a few years later, his son, my grandfather, Frank, bought the farm across the road and ole’ Heinrich commenced to rebuilt all those buildings as well.


Another story dad would tell was how Ft. Loramie’s Green Back Road came to be. During the Civil War, my great-great grandfather Christof and other local farmers petitioned village officials for a new road running south of town connecting SR 705 to SR 66 past where the high school is currently located. The request was denied because several of the village officials, who happened to also be local business owners, were fearful that travelers would use this new route to bypass downtown where their shops were located. Plus likely the war was a factor in the decision. But my great great grandfather wouldn’t take no for an answer, so he convinced his brother, who owned most of the land where the proposed road was to be located, to donate the right-of-way for the route. He then persuaded all the local farmers south of town to contribute funds to construct the road. When ole’ Christof and his brother went to Sidney to register the right-of-way with the County Clerk, they had to post a bond for the road construction, so they handed over the cash contributed by the neighbors, all in Green Back currency prevalent during the Civil War. But the Clerk forgot to ask the brothers what they wanted to name the road, so it was recorded as Green Back Road in light of how it was funded.


Perhaps these stories while growing up about my ancestors building things inspired me to become an engineer and eventually, while working for Ford Motor Company, become involved with the construction of 11 plants in the US, Canada, Mexico, Spain, Portugal, Hungary, Malasia, Thailand, India, and China, plus building our current lakefront home in Michigan. Thanks, ancestors Heinrich and Christof!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Dave’s Midwestern Ohio Memories from the 50’s & 60’s

A Series of Guest Blogs by an out-of-state Fish Report reader originally from this area about fond memories of growing up in Midwestern Ohio during the 50’s & 60’s.

The Area’s First Business - Peter Loramie’s Trading Post

Replica of Peter Loramie’s First Trading Post 1769
The last several blog posts about area businesses included a photo of Minster’s welcoming sign that stated the village is located along an old Indian Trail that linked the Loramie Creek to the St. Mary’s river. In order for the Indians to travel by canoe between Lake Erie and the Ohio River, they had to portage for about 10 miles carrying their canoes between those rivers from what is now Ft. Loramie to New Bremen likely along the well worn trail that eventually became State Route 66. According to this website, Peter Loramie came to the area as a missionary to the Wyandotte and Shawnee Indians about 1769. Shortly after he arrived, Pope Clement XIV suppressed the Jesuit order of which he was a priest, and Loramie was out of the missionary business thousands of miles from his home base. He became a trader with the Indians and built his now famous trading post on the high north bank of Loramie Creek where the stream reaches its northern most point of navigability by canoe before it turns east. See the photo above of a replica of the trading post. So Peter Loramie literally was the area’s first business man - and no, I do not remember him, but based on the photo below, my uncle Tony might have!


By the early 1800’s, as more and more European settlers came to the area, the idea for a canal linking the Ohio River and Lake Erie surfaced. That canal, started in 1836 and completed by 1845, served the area until the railroads took over after the turn of the century. The Loramie Creek was dammed to form Lake Loramie as a water supply for the canal going south, just as Lake St. Mary’s was created to provide water for the canal going north. The historic sign below is located adjacent to the replica of Peter Loramie’s trading post in a Ft. Loramie park where the old canal used to flow.


Fast forward to growing up in mid-western Ohio during the 50’s and 60’s, the canal flowed right through the center of every town along its path. By that time, the canal really served no useful purpose, but it was still a prominent landmark in each community, along with the viaducts and locks along the old Indian Trail. As kids we played around and in the canal, and loved pretending to be Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn as if the canal were the Mississippi River. We also enjoyed playing around the spillway, pictured below, at Lake Loramie. The fishing was always pretty good just downstream of the dam. And the rushing water made for fun wading, always feeling cool and refreshing on hot summer days.


One of the bridges across the canal was called Black Bridge and was situated right where Arrowhead golf course was eventually built. I recall when about 8 years old, my buddy Tom and I were riding our bikes nearby when we noticed two kids run out from under the bridge hightailing it north to Minster on their bikes. So we slipped under the bridge to check out what they were up to. We discovered tucked in one of the bridge joists a Playboy magazine, our first exposure to such materials! I vividly recall this picture of …. but I digress.

Eventually Ft. Loramie filled in the canal and removed the bridges across the canal, and then built a nice park in its spot as shown below with the trading post replica in the background. The oversized yellow Adirondack chair inscribed Leinie’s Lounger, is sponsored by Leinenkugel Beer.


On the other hand, Minster and New Bremen followed another tact by restoring the canal so people can get a sense for its impact on the region as they walk or bike along the canal banks as pictured below.


Click on this informative link by the Ohio DNR to learn more about the Miami-Erie Canal and to enjoy the many amenities along its historic route. The following elevation chart from their website demonstrates the challenges in building the canal. And next week, look for more canal stories.


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Dave’s Midwestern Ohio Memories from the 50’s & 60’s

A Series of Guest Blogs by an out-of-state Fish Report reader originally from this area about fond memories of growing up in Midwestern Ohio during the 50’s & 60’s.

Minster Businesses

Continuing our series about businesses in local communities during the 50’s & 60”s, since our family farm was located just south of the Auglaize County line, we only were a few miles from Minster. As a result, my parents would routinely utilize the services of the businesses in that community. We also had several uncles and aunts living in Minster who we frequently visited.

Our uncle Al and aunt Dorothy owned the local hotel in the center of town on the southwest corner of routes 66 & 119, 4th & Main. We loved visiting there, playing pool in the hotel bar and roaming the old creaky halls and stairs of the ancient hotel now torn down. We were at the Wooden Shoe Inn recently, diagonally across the street from where the old hotel was located. Long time Wooden Shoe owner, Fred Meyer, pictured below tending bar at the Inn, told us a story about Herman Streacker, the proprietor of Streacker’s Implement where my uncle Clarence worked, which was located right next to the hotel. Dad purchased all his Oliver farm equipment from Streacker's. Herman would always come to the Inn for lunch, enjoying a few cocktails with his meal, then return to his implement store walking diagonally across the busy intersection shown below; the shortest way back to his store. My uncle Al and Fred’s dad helped ole Herman safely across the intersection many a time.

On the other side of the street was Bud Sommer’s gas station and pizza place. I became good friends with Bud and his sons. What a fantastic place to hang out as teenagers on Friday nights. And the opposite corner was the furniture store (large red brick building on right in above photo). Never entered the place, but now the town library is located in the building.

We had other cousins in town whom we enjoyed visiting. Uncle Clarence and aunt Ginnie lived on Hanover directly across the street from the high school ball diamond, which meant some lively games during the summer months. They had a great basketball court in their driveway with some smooth concrete for easy dribbling compared to our convoluted barn floor. Also, my aunt Anna Marie and uncle Greg lived in a home on Frankfort St. just south of 4th St. An alley in the rear separated their lot from the Miami-Erie canal, which was close by the hardware store owned by my great uncles Lou Hoying and Joe Westerheide. Also close by were Farno’s grocery store and the Ditch Mill; all provided great opportunities for adventure as kids. Loved playing around the canal, roaming through the well-stocked hardware store, and enjoying popsicles from Farno’s, which were the best on a hot summer day. And in the winter, my cousins recall having to shovel snow off the roof of the hardware store so the flat roof wouldn’t collapse, especially during the blizzard of ’78.


Our uncle Paul, from Osgood, worked at Minster Machine in the foundry, so we’d ride our bikes to the plant and meet him occassionaly when his shift was over. The foundry was quite a place to work, with all the hot furnaces and casting machines, which meant my uncle would be covered in foundry dust as his shift ended. He’d tell us to study hard and go to college so we wouldn’t have to work in such conditions. That being said, Minster Machine produced some of the best punch presses in the world, reinforced years later when I first traveled to Japan and toured a factory there. Setting side-by-side were two identical presses, one with the Minster logo across the top and another with no logo that the Japanese had replicated and made themselves.




Whenever we’d ride our bikes to visit our cousins in Minster, we’d head to the car dealers on the north end of town, Far Motors selling Fords and Linie Hausfeld’s, who always had some cool used cars for sale. The Tbirds, Mustangs, Camaros and Corvettes were our favorites. Invariably, during our bike rides around town, we’d run into Fred Sommer, from the Minster DPW working on some project that would always interest us. The photo of Fred below is from 1965. His son Fred, Jr. is now my bother-in-law.


Wrapping up our bike ride to Minster during the summer, we’d hit the Tastee Freez south of town on SR66 as we headed back to the family farm. The ice cream shop was part of the Meyer Dairy Farm, which eventually grew into what is now Minster’s biggest business, Dannon Yogurt.

I’d be remiss in not mentioning other businesses in town, such as the Cresent Theater, hosting both movies and live plays Wagner’s IGA with their cold storage locker, Fischer Grocery, whose son Rob was on our trip to Virginia Beach documented in this past blog, Ripploh Market, ran by Bill Ripploh, my K of C basketball coach who coached the team for 30 years, Maltinsky’s Mens Wear, ran by the local football coach, Kuehner Bakery and their outstanding pumpernickel bread, Lauts with their cellar full of keg beer, Wonder Bar at the K of C hall, the canning factory in the former Wooden Shoe Brewery, Gudorf & Moorman appliances, Hogenkamp and Heinle funeral homes and Gagel Plumbing.

I can’t forget Buschur Electric, founded by Jack Buschur and his wife Bonnie, a school classmate of my wife’s. Jack and Bonnie have been staunch Minster supporters since the early ’70’s, and Jack’s been a volunteer firefighter as well as active in local politics, as shown below in one of his more serious moments testifying in Columbus about tax reform for small businesses.

The fight for small business income tax reform began when Jack Buschur, owner of Buschur Electric, brought to light the amount of paperwork needed for the Company’s annual return.

As our series of blogs on local businesses in Ft. Loramie, Russia and Minster comes to a close, it’s business owners like Jack and all the other local proprietors who make our country great. Small business represent the heart and soul of a community. I treasure the memories of each and every business owner and pay tribute to their tremendous contributions for our local home towns.