AREA CELEBRATES BICENTENNIAL
Display commemorates rural township’s history
Newport – This rural
township in eastern Washington
County has a fascinating
history during the past 200 years, and Eileen Thomas wants people to know it.
along with five friends has created the Newport Bicentennial Station in a
former hair dresser’s shop.
three-room display of historical photos, household items, toys, news articles,
letters , books, and memorabilia is open daily next to Oopsa Daisy Florist on
Ohio 7 just south of the bridge to St. Marys, W.Va.
Hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 6 p.m. Sundays. Admission is
free, but donations are accepted. The Newport Volunteer Fire Department’s
heritage committee also sells coverlets with historical images for $40,
bicentennial T-shirts at $10 and Thomas’ book “Footprints of Newport Township”
The display was developed by
Thomas, Trudy Thomas, Theresa Griffin, Rema Robbins and Alice Greene for
township’s July 4th Celebration.
“We had such a large crowd. People
didn’t have time to see everything.” Eileen Thomas says about the display,
originally set up under two funeral canopies.
That led to the idea of setting up
the display more permanently in a building in a complex owned by Sandra
Binegar. Although the tree rooms are filled with the variety of items, the
display keeps growing.
“People come to visit and then they
go home and bring more things back in here.” Eileen Thomas Says.
John Thomas Jr. of Bear Run is one
of those. He visited Wednesday and brought along a notebook full of photographs
and other information about the township.
Since retiring form the
construction industry because of arthritis, John Thomas, 62, has continued work
started by a now deceased sister researching the Thomas family history. His
computer data base not includes 4,000 Thomases who lived in the area.
The huge family tree may seem
farfetched until Eileen Thomas and John Thomas explain that Daniel Thomas Sr.
had 11 Children and his son Daniel Thomas Jr. had 19.
The Newport history display will remain open so
long as there is interest Trudy Thomas says.
Eileen Thomas developed her
interest in Newport
Township history when her
son. [Perry, sic] now 42, was trying to research his community for an Eagle
Scout badge more that 25 years ago, but couldn’t find anything.
Today, she can tell visitors about
ehf our generations of doctors starting with Dr. George W. Gale, about Dr. John
Ward’s salve jar or about the historic sternwheeler Delta Queen’s Newport Connection.
She also proudly points out the
little red toy tin stove she played with as a girl and Binegar’s wooden toy
“I love this photo.” Eileen Thomas
says, pointing to a large gathering in 1908 around a horse-pulled, hand made,
merry-go-around in the center of festivities on the Greenwood Farm overlooking
“All activities in the old days
were up at the Greenwood Farm.”