OUR OLD BOOK CASE
By Joyce L. Alig, President, Mercer County Historical Society
This photograph of the Sunday School Picnic at Edgewater Park will be on exhibit, Sunday afternoon, 1:00 – 4:00, November 11, at the exhibit of photographs and post cards of Grand Lake Saint Marys, at the Mercer County Historical Museum in Celina.
This photograph belonged to Norman Pierce; his father was Francis Pierce, who may have been on this photograph. Norman Pierce is in his 90’s and lives in Florida. Norman Pierce shared this photograph with Ruth Gray, who brought the photograph to the Mercer County Historical Society. Ruth is 86 and interested in local history. Ruth’s husband was Lewis Gray. Lewis’ father was Arthur Gray who served as Celina’s Fire Chief for years.
A Church in Center Township held its annual Sunday School Picnic at Edgewater Park sometime around the turn of the Century.
Ruth talked with friends about this photograph. Ruth thinks the photograph is of Members of a Church in Center Township, perhaps, the Church of God. Center Township’s history includes over a dozen churches. I referred to the 1978 “Mercer County History” and the 2008, “Passport to Mercer County History, Center Township,” for information about Center Township Churches. I also referred to the 1876, 1888, and 1900 Maps of Center Township on Mercer County’s Maps.
August 31st, Joan Maher Willhoff, 422 E. North St., Coldwater, OH 45828 wrote me about her memories of Edgewater Park.
“I am Joan Maher Willhoff, the daughter of Mark Maher. We lived in St. Marys. Mark’s brothers, Patrick, Alfred and Arcadius, and his sister Mary (Harold) Martin lived in Celina and opened Edgewater Park on April 29, 1923. I think the booth closest to the Highway was one that you threw a ball to try to knock down an item to win a prize. I remember the Merry-Go-Round and the Cottages. I don’t know how long the families lived in Celina after the Park was sold in 1938, but Pat moved to Van Wert, Al to Piqua where he opened a Skating Rink, Arcadius to Greenville (the Mahers’ Hometown), and the Martins to St. Marys where they opened Martin’s Restaurant, which closed in late 1945. In that same location, they opened a record store and also had a Juke Box Route. Perhaps, someone will remember the Martins children (Emma Jane, Joe, and George) and will drop me a line. By the way, the Catholic Telegraph told of the 112 year old woman, Emelie Weil, who died July 2, 2012 in Cincinnati. She was a remarkable women and also was the Grandmother of five of my nephews and nieces.”
This photo is of an old offset map printing plate found by Grand Lake St. Marys State Park employees. The plate will be on display at the November 11 exhibit.
Some of you may remember that WBGU at Bowling Green State University interviewed Mercer Countians about Edgewater Park, November 27, 2006 at the Mercer County Historical Museum. The WBGU DVD “10 Cents a Ticket, the Stories & Glories of old Amusement Parks in NW Ohio.” included highlights of those interviews.
If you recognize the citizens on the photograph, or know the name of their Church, or if you remember Edgewater Park, come to the November 11 Exhibit about Grand Lake Saint Marys at the Mercer County Historical Museum, and help preserve the history of Grand Lake Saint Marys for future generations. Bring your own photographs and stories of Grand Lake Saint Marys, and help the Society preserve this history!
[The Mercer County Historical Society President Joyce Alig, may be contacted at 3054 Burk-St. Henry Road, Saint Henry, OH 45883, or firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-678-2614.]