HOW IT ALL STARTED
The following information was provided by Bob Hines to Rose Jamison:
"The AAHS was really started in 1975 in response to the eminent destruction of the Norfolk and Western RR Station. Charlie Morrison and Bob Hines already had collected some historical artifacts of the area so they called a group of interested people together to form the society. Art and Ada Lou Deal hosted the first meeting of the organization.
The original idea was to use the RR station as the area Museum. (Bob Hines) "We had no idea that the attic of the depot had artifacts in it.
We also didn't know it was one of the original Scioto Valley RR System Stations. We found old tickets, handbills, flags, dated spikes, receipts, lantern and even old shoes from the Scioto Valley RR that made it eligible for a National Register Historic Site designation.
The Heritage Society soon realized that the Scioto Valley RR Station was better suited as a RR museum and meeting room, so they started looking for another location to house artifacts important to Scioto, Walnut, Madison and Harrison Townships.
The old Zero Locker (present museum location) had been donated by the Peters and Rockey families to the town of Ashville. The Zero Locker had originally been a silent movie theater that was run by J P Rockey. It was called, the Dreamland Theater.
No one could have envisioned the historical connections and artifacts that would be found over the years. A reporter for Channel 10 called the museum, Ohio's Small-Town Museum in a Heart of Ohio program. Several years later, members of the AAHS officially adopted that name."
Bob Hines later writes,
"Our museum was started to reconnect people to our community and its past. We recognized that in order to have a vital community, people that live there have to have a strong sense of community and one of the ways to do that is to reinforce pride in community. That is what our museum is all about. We are recapturing and honoring past achievements of a rural community. We are preserving artifacts that are the physical manifestations of these achievements. We are using these artifacts and this information to reconnect with residents and even people that no longer live here so they can be active resources in helping our community solve problems. We are using these items to challenge our children to follow their own dreams. We do not want old buildings to just be objects for vandalism. We want kids to know what older buildings represent and why they exist. We want them to honor and respect the past. We want them to be excited by national and world history when they learn about their connections to that history."
In 1975, the University of Cincinnati found that the people of Ashville had one of the lowest communal identity scores in Ohio. That is people did not generally know much about their history or care about preserving local history. By 1982, Ashville had one of the highest commitment to local history and preservation scores ever recorded. What happened? Our museum happened. The train station restoration happened. The historical cartoon slide show happened. Charlie Morrison, Jack Lemon, Bronson Kitchen, Herman Petty, Charles Cordle, Margarite Brokaw, Rodger Southward, Georgia Dore, Iona Hines, Bob Knode, Emerson and Katie Dum, Ethel Siegle, Mary Reed, Raleigh Featheringham, Jim Moody, Larry Toole and a ton of other people stepped forward and made a difference.
When community development researchers at Ohio State wrote that "no community has come so far", they were utterly amazed that Ashville residents had a nationally recognized museum that has a budget that is less than $10,000 a year. They could not believe that local people were able to mount campaigns to build a state-of-the-art library, a home for elderly, new school buildings, new fire station, scholarships, and more when just a few years ago they were called a dying community. They stand in awe of what has been done by the volunteers who care about Ashville and its heritage.