Sunday, April 17, 2016

Circle Round the Square with us Monday

I've been working off and on this week on the program for Monday evening's annual meeting of the Lucas County Historical Society, entitled "Circle Round the Square: The Chariton Courthouse Square Historic District."

The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. Monday in the Lodge at Pin Oak Mash. All are welcome; membership, not a requirement. We'll serve pie and coffee after the meeting. I would have written, "homemade" pie had not Marie Callender become my bestie friend in recent years (each board member is expected to show up with a pie).

This has involved pulling together images, most from the historical society collection, of the square and public buildings just off it, beginning with some taken during 1869 by Ephraim C. Bridge, a photographer who soon turned his hand to optometry and practiced in Chariton until his death during 1912.

The only surviving prints of these photographs are postage-stamp size, part of a collage of dozens of 1869 homes and buildings, but these little images contain amazing detail, so they do enlarge reasonably well although some have faded badly on the two copies of the collage in the society collection.

Thanks to John Pierce, who did a lot of research into these images during the early 1990s, we can identify the location of most of the business images, and I've pulled together dozens and dozens of other images in an attempt to show how the square developed from a boom town of mud and quickly built frame structures into the dignified composition of brick and stone that it had turned into by 1900.

It's been fun to put the presentation together. PowerPoint is my friend. The projector, however, is not and because I don't use it often, a lot of gnashing of teeth goes on before I remember that it's really a fairly simple piece of equipment to operate at basic level. 

And then there's the society laptop, used primarily for presentations and not turned on that often. When I fired it up last week, there were 22,014 "updates" to install --- or so it seemed.

Unless time runs out today, I'll write a little more about Bridge tomorrow. In the meantime, come on down to tomorrow evening's meeting if you're able.

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