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Mason

Mason is a city in Warren County with its expanded western border formed by the Butler County line. It is separated from West Chester and Liberty townships by Butler-Warren Road. The Cincinnati Enquirer said "Mason, on U.S. 42, is wedged between Interstates 71 and 75." The busiest traffic connection between West Chester and Mason is Tylersville Road.

A city web site says: "June 1, 1803, Revolutionary War veteran William Mason paid $1,700 at auction to purchase 640 acres of land in what is now downtown Mason. In 1815, he platted 18 lots on this land and named the village Palmira. In 1832, two years after the death of William Mason and according to his will, over 40 more lots were platted in the north, south and west of Palmira. When the plat was officially recorded, the name of the village was listed as Palmyra. In 1835, a petition was sent to the federal post office to correct the name of the town. It had been listed as Kirkwood, possibly an error because the postmaster at the time was William Kirkwood. When village officials were informed that there was another Palmyra in Ohio [Portage County], the name was officially changed to Mason." Mason was incorporated Jan, 22, 1839, by the Ohio General Assembly. The Warren County Genealogical Society web site, based on information compiled by Hazel Spencer Phillips, reports the Kirkwood post office established July 27, 1829, with William N. Kirkwood as postmaster, and the name changed to Mason, effective April 25, 1835. 

"Major William Mason emigrated to Ohio in 1795," according to the Western Star's Mason sesquicentennial special section Sept. 1, 1965. "He had fought in the Revolutionary War and the Indian Wars. For his service he was given land in the newly-acquired territory and he added to his land holdings by purchasing additional land. This additional purchase is believed to be the land where Mason now is located," the newspaper said. Major Mason was born in Bedford County in Pennsylvania about 1760. Rose Marie Springman, in her 1982 book, Around Mason, Ohio, A Story, reports that Mason arrived in the area in time to join the 1790 military campaign led by Gen. Josiah Harmar (see Harmar's defeat). The city web site says: "Mason remained a small farming community for another 125 years. In 1970, a year before the town was incorporated to become a city, there were fewer than 5,700 residents. Today (2004), the City of Mason covers over 11,200 acres and is home to nearly 25,000 people and approximately 500 businesses." In 2003, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported that "with an estimated 15,000 people, Mason is Warren County's largest city. (From 1970 to 1990, its population doubled - 5,564 to 11,452.)" In the 1990s, the City of Mason withdrew from Deerfield Twp. Mason also has annexed part of Turtlecreek Twp. 

For much of the 20th century, Mason was closely identified with WLW, Cincinnati's pioneer radio station, licensed in 1922. On the outskirts of Mason were the WLW transmitter (at the northwest intersection of Tylersville and Reading roads) and the station's 750-acre farm on Reading Road, south of Mason. Station owner Powell Crosley Jr. bought the working farm in 1940 "to give the radio station's farm programs a realistic background," the Western Star reported. From 1941, WLW's daily agriculture programs originated from the Little White Studio on the farm, described on the air as "Everybody's Farm."

In 1965, the Western Star said "last year around 16,000 visitors came to the WLW farm . . . ranked as one of the top tourist attractions in Warren County." The farm expanded from 137 acres to 750 acres. In her book, Around Mason, Ohio, A Story, Rose Marie Springman said "Ed and Mame Neal, who were living on the farm when its was purchased, became the first radio personalities connected with the agricultural program series." Construction of the WLW 831-foot Mason transmitter started in 1933 and testing began in 1934. John Price's web site history of WLW, "The Nation's Station," said the station began broadcasting at its authorized 500 kW on the superpower transmitter May 2, 1934, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt pressed a golden key in the White House -- the same key that President Woodrow Wilson had used to open the Panama Canal. The WLW history web site said: "The stories of Mason residents suffering electrical problems because of WLW are legendary.

Reportedly, there was so much free radiated energy that light switches no longer worked properly. When residents turned their lights off, they kept on burning due to the pickup of RF from WLW." Rose Marie Springman said "programming could be sent for thousands of miles, but in Mason those living near the station had a constant light supply automatically from the facility. Those familiar with electricity rigged wiring to light up their yards. The radio programming could be heard whenever a person stood near a downspout on a building in the vicinity. After five years, the wattage was dramatically decreased and the free power was ceased." The proximity of the WLW transmitter was a factor in selecting the site for the Voice of America transmitters during World War II. Bethany Station -- the original name for the Voice of America -- was located in West Chester Twp., north of Tylersville Road, south of Hamilton-Mason Road, east of I-75 and west of Butler-Warren Road. Ten VOA transmitters broadcast to Europe, Africa and South of America. The VOA was built in 1943 by the Crosley Broadcasting Corp., operators of WLW, whose Mason transmitter was a few hundred yards east of the VOA site. (See Bethany Station, Middletown & Cincinnati Railroad, Deerfield Twp. and Turtlecreek Twp.)


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