Journal-News, Wednesday, April 7, 1999
Farmers market has long tradition
By Jim Blount
Uncertainty surrounds the origin of the farmers market around the Butler County Courthouse. Available evidence indicates that the tradition began before 1820, more than 179 years ago. It hasn't always been located around the courthouse, and it has often been a controversial topic.
Earlier historians mention an 80-foot market house being completed in 1817. It was located on the banks of the Great Miami River between present Market and Dayton streets near one of the two ferries that served Hamilton.
Ten years later, city leaders built a larger market house, this one in the middle of High Street between Monument Avenue and Front Street, opposite the present Hamilton Municipal Building.
It was just a few yards east of the two-lane Miami Bridge, the only span then linking Hamilton and Rossville. It was a toll bridge, and going to and from market was one of the exemptions to the tariffs.
The High Street market building is visible in a lithograph of Hamilton believed to have been produced in the 1855-1860 period. In 1861 the market moved to the courthouse square when city and county officeholders agreed on that location.
In those horse-and-wagon days, some farmers left home the previous night to be certain they could open their stands at sun-up. Their horses or oxen usually were sent to a nearby livery stable, but most farmers spent what was left of the night sleeping in their wagons.
Prices weren't posted at some stands, and not all sales were measured in pints, quarts, dozens, etc. Instead, many shoppers wanted to know how much home-grown lettuce or green beans could be purchased for a nickel or dime.
The enterprise was headed by a city market master, whose duties ranged from policing the operation to custodian. Inspectors and other employees managed the markets according to city ordinances.
One of the regulations, noted Alta Harvey Heiser in her book, Hamilton in the Making, imposed a $10 fine "for selling or buying anything intended for market before it reached the market house." She said "sales could be made after hours" and "refusing to sell anything displayed brought a fine of $2."
From 1875 until 1910, the market's future was debated in official and unofficial circles. The issue was its location -- continue around the courthouse, or moved to another venue.
A stay-put advocate argued in 1910 that "the courthouse square had been dedicated to public purposes, its walks widened and all designed to give, first, the market men, the truck men and the farmers a chance to sell and the people to buy."
An opponent countered "that Market Street had been built for the market. The hydraulic had been arched to create a central storm sewer at a cost of $17,000. Then the street had been paved" and "the name of the street had been changed from Stable to Market for market purposes."
Tuesday, Feb. 8, 1910, the market re-opened on Market Street with stalls and wagons stretching from Monument Avenue to North Third Street. The change was unpopular with both farmers and their patrons. June 4, 1912, after a petition drive, the market was moved back to courthouse. It became permanent Nov. 5, 1912, when 56.7 percent of Hamilton voters favored the courthouse site.
Not everyone was enthralled with the market, as shown in this 1870s complaint about High Street conditions: "The litter made by converting this street into public stalls for feeding horses is bad enough, but the disagreeable odors the street exhales from the droppings of horses standing there eight to 10 hours, two or three times a week, is worse.
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Journal-News, Wednesday, April 14, 1999
Darrell Joyce: community leader
By Jim Blount
Joyce Park, a part of Hamilton's public park system, honors a Butler County native who rose from "poor man's college" to community leader. In 1903, Darrell Joyce became the principal of a Hamilton school while still a student at Miami University. He was elevated to superintendent two months after his graduation.
He was born March 12, 1874, in Venice (Ross), a son of Robert and Isabella Townsend Joyce. His father had been an officer in the Civil War, serving in the 93rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment, which included many men from Ross Township.
Darrell Joyce attended school in Venice. "At the age of 18," said the Centennial History of Butler County, "he began teaching in country schools and, after three years experience in the 'poor man's college,' he was elected superintendent of the schools of Venice."
With six years experience, Joyce decided to add a degree. He entered Miami University in 1900 and completed the bachelor of arts requirements in two and a half years. Known for his powerful physique, Joyce found time to play three seasons at first base for the Miami baseball team. He also was a member of Sigma Chi.
Joining him in the 22-member 1903 graduating class was his wife, Henrietta Clay Bedinger Joyce, also of Venice. They had been married Aug. 30, 1898.
In April 1803, while a Miami senior, Joyce became principal of Columbian School in Hamilton. The school, later renamed Jackson Elementary School, formerly stood on Park Avenue, near Progress Avenue.
Four months later, Joyce became superintendent of the Hamilton schools, remaining in that post until August 1929.
"Very few young men have made as rapid advancement in the educational field as Professor Joyce," said the centennial history, published two years after Joyce took over leadership of Hamilton's schools. "His success is due largely to his own unaided efforts, being endowed from early youth with those truly American characteristics, independence and self-reliance."
Joyce also served as a Miami University trustee for 22 years, 1910-1932.
The superintendent's talents and leadership weren't confined to public education. His influence was felt throughout the community.
In 1910, he was an organizer of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce. In 1918, during World War I, Joyce helped form the Hamilton District War Chest. He headed its fund-raising campaign that totaled $410,196, more than twice its original goal. He also was Butler County food administrator during the war.
In 1920, he participated in founding the Hamilton Community Chest (now Butler County United Way), an outgrowth of the war chest organization.
"The success of several of the campaigns of the Community Chest," said an obituary, "were attributed to his untiring efforts, when he served as chairman of the business men's group and also as chairman of the initial gifts committee."
Later, he was active in the local Red Cross, including leadership in fund-raising drives.
In the mid 1920s, he supported the creation of city charter government and the proportional representation (PR) system of voting for council members.
Joyce died March 27, 1936, in Mercy Hospital.
Twenty-nine years later, in December 1955, Hamilton City Council accepted from Mrs. Joyce 226.712 acres, the nucleus for the multi-use park between River Road and the Great Miami River.
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Journal-News, Wednesday, April 21, 1999
Who was Hughes in hospital name?
By Jim Blount
As a member of a new health care group, Fort Hamilton-Hughes Memorial Hospital has reverted to its original name, Fort Hamilton Hospital. The hyphen and the Hughes name were dropped when the hospital became part of the Health Alliance of Greater Cincinnati.
Eugene Howard Hughes, a resident of Liberty Township, directed in his will that the remainder of his estate, after legacies, be used "for the ultimate purpose of founding and establishing . . . a hospital for contagious diseases that shall be adequate for the future needs of . . . Butler County; open to all citizens of the county on equal terms; and that shall be known as the Eugene H. Hughes Memorial Hospital for Contagious Diseases."
Other beneficiaries of his $1,339,952.14 estate included the Hamilton YWCA, the Lane Public Library and the Hamilton Community Home, $10,000 each; the Butler County Children's Home, $5,000; and Greenwood Cemetery, $500.
An inventory of the estate listed 191 holdings, including a variety of stock, corporate and government bonds, several certificates of deposit and a checking account.
The 80-year-old Liberty Township native -- known as Robin Hughes -- died June 21, 1939, in Mercy Hospital. He was born Jan. 2, 1859, on the family farm five miles east of Hamilton. He farmed that property for most of his life, and also spent much time in Hamilton. He was one of the first members of the Hamilton City Club.
He was one of 10 children of Micajah and Phebe Hughes. His father was a co-founder of the First National Bank in 1863, and its first president.
Eugene H. Hughes "spent much time at the First National Bank and Trust Co., feeling particularly close to the organization," said his obituary. "Although never a director or official of the bank, he was always pleased with its progress."
"Many years ago," the obituary said, "he spent some time in farming, following the vocation of his forefathers, but he had retired from this long ago and chose to spend the years following the pursuit of one of his particular hobbies, traveling."
After more than 10 years of litigation involving the Hughes estate, hospital construction started in June 1950 with cornerstone ceremonies May 8, 1951. At that time, the bequest totaled $1.7 million -- or $200,000 more than was needed to complete the project.
After an open house July 25-27, 1952, Eugene H. Hughes Memorial Hospital started service with the care of tuberculosis patients as one of its prime missions.
The original four-story structure, on the southwest corner of Haldimand and Progress avenues, had 88 patient beds.
Later alterations included the addition of a three-floor wing on Progress Avenue, opened April 5, 1965, at a cost of $855,078, of which $684,035 was paid by the hospital, the remainder by federal funds. It was noteworthy because it provided Hamilton with its first full-scale psychiatric treatment center.
In December 1971, the merger of Fort Hamilton and Hughes hospitals was approved, effective the next year. Although there were changes in the corporate name, it was known as Fort Hamilton-Hughes until July 1, 1998. On that date, Fort Hamilton joined University, Jewish, Christ and St. Luke hospitals and Alliance Primary Care in the Health Alliance of Greater Cincinnati.
Fort Hamilton Hospital had opened May 1, 1929, with 142 beds, as Hamilton's second hospital. Mercy Hospital, the first, had opened in 1892. The original Fort Hamilton Hospital was demolished as part of a $40.8 million modernization and expansion that began in 1979.
Gradually, the Fort Hamilton-Hughes complex expanded until it occupied the full block bounded by Eaton, Cereal, Progress and Haldimand avenues.
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Journal-News, Wednesday, April 28, 1999
Harrison was more than a school
By Jim Blount
A Hamilton building best remembered as an elementary school also was part of the city's social, entertainment and military history. The Harrison school -- at 457 South Second Street, opposite Central Avenue -- was demolished in March.
It opened Sept. 2, 1882, as the home of the United German Society, which met there until 1895. From the mid 1880s through the late 1890s, it was known as Music Hall.
It was the scene of a variety of attractions, including plays, musicals, concerts and lectures. Among the notables to have performed or spoken in the building was Ohio's governor, William McKinley -- who was elected president two years after his 1894 speech.
It was an armory before and during the Spanish-American War of 1898.
Attention focused on the structure April 26, 1898, as 75 Hamilton area men prepared to leave home for war. The previous day, the United States had declared war on Spain. That night, more than 3,000 people visited the armory, which, according to a contemporary report, had been "converted, as if by magic, into a military camp where field discipline reigned and the soldiers slept in their blankets."
Tuesday morning, April 26, an observer said, "grim and determined, those heroic men were lined up in Music Hall, while mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, wives and sweethearts, kinsfolk and friends gazed in mute farewell or weeping agony on the faces of those they loved and might never be allowed to look upon again. There were tears in eyes that had never known weeping before."
Members of Company E, First Ohio Regiment, also came home to the armory. They arrived Thursday evening, Sept. 15, 1898. A newspaper said Hamilton's "streets were literally lined from the station to High Street, along this thoroughfare and down Second Street to Music Hall," reached by the tired soldiers at 11:45 p.m.
A year later, in 1899, the Hamilton Board of Education paid $22,000 for the building. Remodeling cost about $17,000 in the summer of 1900 when it was converted into a 12-room elementary school.
It was first known as the Second Ward School, replacing an eight-room school of the same name and a one-room school for black students.
In 1907-1908, four rooms were added to the upper floors and two in the basement.
Two years later, an appraisal valued the school at $44,970.
Part of the expansion was negated in 1910 when state fire officials ordered a fire escape erected from the third floor if it continued in use. Instead, a newspaper said, the cost "was found to be out of proportion to the value of the room" and that level was closed.
In March 1909, the Second Ward School -- and all buildings in the Hamilton district -- were renamed for presidents. The building on the west side of South Second Street became Harrison Elementary School. Actually, it honored two presidents -- William Henry Harrison (1841) and Benjamin Harrison (1889-1893).
It retained that name until December 1952. After the 1952-53 holiday break, a new 34-room Harrison School opened on Knightsbridge Drive.
Later, the former school housed Goodwill Industries, a furniture store and a church.
Vacant since 1986, the building was declared a nuisance by the City of Hamilton in May 1997. City council rejected a proposal to convert it into 23 apartments. The city acquired the property and in January 1999 proceeded with demolition plans. It was razed in March.
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