PAULDING, Oh (WOWO): Paulding County Ohio turned 200 years old and kicked off a year long celebration with a ceremony at the Branch Christian Church and County Courthouse on February 12.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine delivered the keynote address in the opening ceremonies and commented on Paulding County’s significance in the State and in the former Black Swamp Region of Northwest Ohio.
Kim Sutton, President of the John Paulding Historical Society delivered remarks on the county’s past. Juvenile and Probate Court Judge Michael Wehrkamp detailed the history behind the Paulding County seal and motto.
One of the most poignant moments of the ceremony was Paulding County Commissioner Mark Holtsberry, who talked about Paulding County “answering the call” to military service. Holtsberry noted that in World War I, Paulding County had several female nurses deployed, and that from the Civil War to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, soldiers from Paulding County answered the call – often boarding trains from a depot and tracks that no longer exist, or buses from the Post Office, which is the same today, or the National Guard Armory, which was the first purpose of the church that hosted the opening ceremony.
It was also highlighted that Paulding County has the first County-wide Carnegie Library in the Country, and that the county was the site of a brief war, where a reservoir for the Miami & Erie Canal was to be drained by unhappy county residents, prompting the (then) Governor of Ohio to deploy troops. Armed with picks, axes and shovels – county residents weren’t able to fully breach the reservoir, but irreparably damaged it, resulting in its demolition. Today, a road sits atop part of what remains of the banks.
The ceremonies concluded with a proclamation from the Ohio House as well as the U.S. House of Representatives, followed by a tour of the Paulding County Courthouse which now houses massive, historic photo montages of life over the past 200 years in Paulding County. Collaboration between residents, the Historical Society and Bryce Steiner of the West Bend News made these possible.
More events will be happening across Paulding County over the coming year.