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Fairgrounds, or the Butler County Fairgrounds, opened at its present site in 1856, then just east of the Miami-Erie Canal. Early in 1856, according to Stephen Cone, the Butler County Agricultural Society paid $3,700 for 39.8 acres in Section 32 of Fairfield Township, which became the nucleus of the present fairgrounds. The first county fair had been held in 1836, first in the streets of Hamilton, then in 1840s on land owned by Dr. Jacob Hittel at the southeast corner of Dayton and North Fourth streets, and in several locations in the 1850s. During the early months of the Civil War (1861), the grounds were used to train troops (see Camp Hamilton). For several years after completion of the Cincinnati, Louisville & Dayton Railroad in 1887, the Butler County Fairgrounds was a stop for the LC&D's passenger trains between Hamilton and Middletown. The LC&D, also later known as the C&D, was acquired by the Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton Railroad, which operated special trains during the annual Butler County Fair. For example, in October 1890, the CH&D advertised a train "every 15 minutes, fare round trip 15 cents" during the fair, boarding passengers at the CH&D depot at South Fifth and Henry streets and at the Pennsylvania (or Pan Handle) station on South Seventh Street between High Street and Maple Avenue.

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