Even though the Olde Main Street Museum and Social Center has been open to the public since last year, it still was needing a few finishing touches before it was ready for its official grand opening. The museum had been work in progress for several years and following much hard work and dedication of the Newcomerstown Historical Society, and its volunteers -- it is now ready to receive visitors.
The museum, located next door to the Temperance Tavern Museum on Canal Street, consists of replications of former businesses that once lined Main Street. Visitors can view memorabilia that is unique to each of the establishments that are featured. Many items were donated by individuals that had some type of connection to the former businesses. The museum also houses various displays of local collections. According to museum officials, the plan is for the collections/displays to be changed and updated throughout the year.
Historical Society President Mary Watts, "We want to keep people interested in the museum and want them to come back to see new displays."
There are plans for several new displays to be added at a later date.
The museum has already proven to be a popular place to hold class reunions and family type celebrations. Even though some of the displays were not quite ready, class members and families have been able to enjoy the replicated Main Street and reminisce about the good old days at Newcomerstown. One popular establishment is the old Baltimore Clothing Store and it's outside (now non-working) porcelain drinking fountain. Many individuals recall getting a drink from the old fountain that stood in front of the store on the corner of Main and Bridge Street. The old Baltimore building was demolished and the drinking fountain was removed in the early 1970s. The familiar Baltimore sign is a near exact replica of the original black and white, lighted, L-shaped sign that was mounted on the corner of the building.
During the grand opening, which was May 30, museum board director Dennis Belle said he felt is was a honor to be able to be a part of the celebration, and see Vane and Barbara Scott's dream for the museum become a reality.
"This museum is all about Newcomerstown," he said.
Watts thanked the museum members and volunteers for their hard work.
"This museum would never have been possible without all the help and support that has been provided by everyone. I am truly grateful," she said.
The ribbon cutting was a special, heartfelt moment for Vane Scott. He stated he was also representing his late wife, Barbara Scott, who passed away last year. Just moments prior to cutting the ribbon, Scott said, "This is for you kid (referring to his wife)."
The scissors used for the ribbon cutting were actual vintage scissors that were once used by Vane Scott's grandfather, who was a former clothing tailor in Newcomerstown in the early days.
The celebration featured a salute from the local veterans, along with the Taps which were performed by veteran Paul Morrison.
Beautiful weather, hot dogs, popcorn and many memories were shared throughout the day.
Wayne Schworm recalled purchasing a dark, blue 1949 Ford from Lelland Shoemaker, when the museum was a busy Ford dealership. Schworm recalls the price for the vehicle was $1,603. Gerald Berkshire, a former resident, now residing in Dover, recalled working at the old Ford dealership.
Many of the Olde Main Street museum visitors said they were surprised to see how much was really in the museum. Visitor Marde (Castle) Hothem, also a former resident, said, "This is all just so nice. I have really enjoyed it today".
Hothem's grandfather formerly owned Jones-Lydick Funeral Home, and her step-father, B.K. Castle owned Castle's Furniture Store, both establishments once being located on Main Street.
The Olde Main Street Museum and Social Center, along with the Temperance Tavern, and USS Radford National Naval Museum will open to the public throughout the summer and will close on Labor Day.