OUR OLD BOOK CASE
By Joyce L. Alig, President, Mercer County Historical Society
The 12th Annual Autumn Post Card Exhibit, featuring Post Cards of Grand Lake Saint Marys, and old photographs, posters, and memorabilia of Grand Lake Saint Marys, hosted by Local Collectors, will be held, Sunday afternoon, 1:00 – 4:00, November 11 at the Mercer County Historical Museum, a block east of the Courthouse at Celina.
A Century ago, this was the closest you could come to an aerial view of Grand Lake Saint Marys, on a Post Card. A hundred years later, in the 21st Century, there is no Post Card with a full aerial view of Grand Lake Saint Marys, for the November 11 Post Card exhibit. The view is of South Main St. in Celina.
The first aerial view of Grand Lake Saint Marys, may have been a May 1910 ink drawing of a map of an aerial view of Grand Lake which will be on exhibit. This 1910 map was made under the direction of the Ohio Canal Commission. Brian Miller, Park Manager, shared with me, that The Ohio Division of Parks & Recreations has an “off set block” of this map.
The next aerial views of this Lake may have been photographed by airplane pilots at the time of World War I. In the 1930’s, airplanes took aerial views for surveys for the County Engineer’s Office.
The first Ohioan who may have seen this Lake from Outer Space may have been John Glenn, who was the third American in space and the first to orbit the earth, in the Mercury capsule Friendship 7. Why do I mention this fact? David Gray, collector of Mercer County Post Office Marks, stamps, and autographs of famous persons, will be showing his autograph collection, which includes an autograph of John Glenn, at this November 11 Post Card Exhibit. In fact, Gray will also exhibit his stamp with a picture of the atomic bomb autographed by Paul Tibbet, pilot of the Enola Gay. Other autographs are of the doctors of whom implanted the first artificial heart or discovered DNA, the inventor who invented the AK 47, and Officials involved in the Water Gate cover-up, and many other famous people. Gray is the son of Thomas and Esther Gray, and a nephew of former Daily Standard Journalist Gladys Gray.
Back to earth, in identifying the Landings around this Lake, as well as illustrating special events around this lake, which are preserved on post cards, will be the faithful Post Card Collectors, Bob and Sharon Poor of Celina, and Dale Poeppelman of Maria Stein, for this 12th Annual Post Card Exhibit. For the past eleven years, these three Post Card Collectors have shown hundreds of Post Cards, which reflected images of Mercer County scenes. So many guests attended these events, that there was never enough time to see all of the post cards being exhibited. There have been other Post Card Collectors who have also helped with these exhibits. All post card collectors are invited to share their Lake post cards.
The Lake Improvement Association has always added the “Our Old Bookcase” articles, which related to Grand Lake Saint Marys, to their website. With so many citizens in Mercer and Auglaize Counties working so hard to take care of this Lake, it seemed like a “natural idea,” to cooperate with the Lake Improvement Association and to have Grand Lake Saint Marys post cards and photographs as the Theme for this November 11 Exhibit.
Bring your own post cards, photographs, and stories of Grand Lake Saint Marys, and help the Mercer County Historical Society preserve this Lake history! A free Franklin Twp. book will be given to anyone who has a post card of a full aerial photograph of Grand Lake Saint Marys!
[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.]