By Thomas Palmer
These stories from Galion’s past each Saturday are going to be interspersed with information about local history happenings in the Galion area. This is the first of those updates.
Visitors to Galion. It is not unusual for visitors to choose the Galion City Building as their first point of call when they stop in to reconnect with their past. That happened this past Thursday afternoon this week when a husband and wife came into the lobby and asked for any available community brochures.
It turns out that the wife had grown up in Galion in the late 1940s and early 1950s and they were on a quest to identify locations from those years. She had moved away from town before she finished school, so she was not a GHS grad.
It took a few minutes – and a quick call and message exchange with my friend Craig Clinger – to discover that her father, Val Grandstaff, had owned the Galion Square Market, at one time located in the old bank/post office building and replaced with Woolworth’s (today there is an antique store in the space, previously it was both Mo’s and Leah’s).
While she was disappointed that her father’s store was no longer standing, she was happy to discover that her childhood home at 225 Grove Avenue was very much still there.
CCHA. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for information about the new Crawford County History Alliance, a consortium of local historical societies, preservation organizations, museums, and other sites across Crawford County. Ideas in the works include cooperative communication, joint promotion, and coordination of programming.
It’s an idea that has worked well in nearby Richland County with the RichHistory Alliance. As Crawford County is just as proud of its shared heritage, it’s got to be a winning idea here.
Location of original homestead discovered – or not? Your help is needed! In July of last year, a major surprise took place for Galion historians when the original location of the Gill family homestead was possibly discovered in a late 19th century Galion newspaper.
It has been known that David Gill and family came to this area in 1818, the second family to settle in what later become Galion. It was also known that the Gills acquired their large 100-plus acre parcel in the first half of that century, and that by the mid 1850s they had chosen to build on what later became the corner of Gill Avenue and West Main Street (Harding Way West). What wasn’t known was where they had first settled on arriving here.
An 1893 edition of the Inquirer stated that a house then being constructed by a certain “J.F. Igou” was located on the spot where the original Gill homestead was located and that the house was going up across from another house being built by a Charles Cox, both on Sherman Street. While the 1900 census shows that Igou has already moved to Main Street, Charles Cox is living at 445 Sherman Street.
If the address is the same, this would place the Gill home north of Sherman Street and east of Fairview. behind the current house at 444 Sherman Street. Addresses did sometimes change, however, so this needs to be verified. The articles does state that, “There are yet a few apple trees left in the old orchard.” Does anyone in that neighborhood remember apple trees located in that general vicinity or any other evidence of early 19th century settlement – or anywhere else on Sherman? Please drop me a line at: firstname.lastname@example.org if you have information to share.
This evening I discovered this passage in an 1881 History of Crawford County — “Just north of Galion, where David Gill and George Wood settled, there can be seen the remains of their orchard; the young trees for this orchard were taken from one of Johnny Appleseed’s nurseries.” The Wood and Gill families were related, and both arrived in 1818, just a year after the founding Leverich family settled here. This matches the Inquirer account, suggesting if there are any apple trees remaining north of Sherman Street, they may be descendants of actual Johnny Appleseed trees.