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Excello was built south of Middletown on the Miami-Erie Canal. The community -- which is west of Ohio 4 and south of Ohio 73 -- started in 1865 when Harding, Erwin and Co. built a paper mill, the Excello Paper Co., later known as the Harding-Jones mill. The Excello Writing Paper Mill claimed to be the "first mill to successfully manufacture first-class writing paper west of the Allegheny Mountains." It produced its first paper Nov. 18, 1865. By 1881, it was manufacturing 5,000 pounds of paper a day and employing 130 people, 80 percent of whom were women. It was acquired by the Simpson Paper Company in 1983 and was closed April 30, 1990. An Excello post office opened Nov. 10, 1870. After 1887 Excello was on the Louisville, Cincinnati & Dayton Railroad, which in the 1920s became part of the Armco "Hotline" between the New Miami and Middletown plants. Two brothers from Excello are enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame for their playing and coaching exploits. Tad Jones and Howard Jones, whose father was associated with the Harding-Jones mill, were teammates at Yale University (1905-1907) before going separate ways as coaches; Tad at Syracuse and Yale, and Howard at Syracuse, Ohio State, Yale, Iowa and Southern California. Howard Jones built USC into a national powerhouse during his tenure (1925-1940), winning three national championships and victorious in all five Rose Bowl appearances. (Also see Harding-Jones Paper Co. Historic District, Excello Lock and Morrell's Station.)
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