Enjoying The Past, Learning For The Future

Screenshot 2024 04 24 at 1 57 41 PM
Dave Mast

There’s so much to learn and experience from our past that can help us learn for the future.”

That sounds like a glorious quote from Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt or Martin Luther King.

Instead, it comes from a local historian who understands the value of history and the role it can play in benefiting future days.

That quote comes from Bruce Biggs, board member of the County Line Historical Society, and in making that statement, he defines the essence of everything historical societies and museums entail.

Several area historical societies and museums throughout Wayne County are joining forced to promote the value of learning from our past.

Buckeye Ag Museum and J&R Acres Farming Through the Decades, the Smithville Historical Society, Moreland Community Historical Society, and County Line Historical Society invite the public to travel throughout the area and visit these organizations that are committed to honoring the past.

“The problem we’re facing is that the people who have the knowledge and experience from the past are passing on, and
once they go, our history is gone unless we record it, collect it and pass it on for future generations,” Biggs said. “I wish now that I had sat down with my dad many more times than I did and talked about that type of thing. We can’t afford to wait and recognize the value of our past until it’s too late.”

Ron Grosjean, owner of Buckeye Ag Museum and Farming Through the Decades, reiterated that message and said each entity hopes to share in opening the door to visitors is sharing the knowledge from each host and showcasing memorabilia from the past.

“Each participating museum and organization have their own unique collections to share,” Grosjean said. “We have an incredible number of historical items in our area, and each of us shares the same passion for something we believe is important to keep alive for future generations, and that is our history.”

Grosjean went on to say seeing all of the entities come together is heartwarming and gives people a chance to travel and view some wonderful pieces of history.

“With all of the history present, it should be a wonderful opportunity for families and couples to get out and enjoy our rural areas while learning something about the past,” Grosjean said.

Gail Miller of the Moreland Community Historical Society said the MCHS has recently restored the old Church of God, which was painted by globally recognized painter Claude Ruston Baker, who recently passed away, along with a stunning old-fashioned cabin that is believed to be among the oldest homes in Wayne County.

“Our intent is to create a buzz around history and share everything we’re passionate about that can educate the public,” Miller said.

Buckeye Ag Museum features plenty of old farming implements, with rare tractors and tools and around 10,000 different items on hand. County Line boasts an old-fashioned schoolroom setting, military memorabilia and an array of important local items from the Shreve community.

Smithville Historical Society will showcase its pioneer village, which transports people back into the 1800s with plenty of old-time items.

Matt Reese of the Smithville Historical Society said the entire Pioneer Village and its nine rustic buildings will be open to the public, which will include the Irvin Pioneer Cabin, Sheller House, Village Blacksmith, Wheelwright Shop, Tin Shop Carriage Barn & Pottery and more.

Reese said all of the buildings were brought into the facility in 1990, and all were originally built in the mid-1800s.

“It’s a neat way to step back in time,” Reese said.

That sums up exactly what these groups hope to accomplish in sharing the past with the public, which is helping people step back in time and experience history as each entity works hard to pre- serve the heritage that paved the way for this area to grow into what it is today. “All of our groups hope that everything we offer will provide a glimpse into the past of what it felt like to live decades and centuries ago, as they share the historied past, in hopes that people can learn from it and gain more respect for the trials and tribulations, along with the passion and dedication, of the ancestors of the area who have helped make us who we are is today,” Miller said.