The scheduling of a movie in the Cardington American Legion Community Park on Aug. 27, the first such movie in many years, brings fond memories of my youth.

Those free movies shown during the summer months on Wednesday night, were anticipated as a fun evening for many of us who found regular movie attendance a rarity.

In addition, it was a time to meet up with our friends. I recall being urged by our father to get our farm chores done early so we could get to the park and get a good seat. Drivers getting there early could get a front row viewing by parking (angle parking then) with a full view of the screen which was suspended between two trees.

Looking at the park history, I learned that when the railroad first passed through Cardington in 1851, the railroad owned 12 acres of depot grounds and it was considered to be one of the finest depot grounds along the line.

The village planted 250 Maple trees on the grounds to transform them into a beautiful park. The first depot stood on the east side of the tracks and there was a freight house built on the west side of the tracks in 1858. In 1910 the log cabin was moved to the park site and with its interior filled with artifacts and historical items, it became an attraction to many, including passengers who strolled the grounds while the trains took on water from the huge wooden water tank.

In October, 1962, the Chicago, St. Louis, Cleveland, Cincinnati railroad and the New York Central deeded the park to Post 97 who then leased it to the village for $1 per year, an agreement that continues today. The post deeded a portion to the village for use as a fire house and municipal building. The park now encompasses 3.15 acres.

The park has hosted many events, from private to public and at one time hosted a petting zoo exhibit, depicted on a 1911 post card. During the 1950’s and 1960’s and 1970’s the Legion sponsored ox roast brought hundreds to town. The concrete band stand was the site of many band concerts.

The 1981 tornado destroyed every tree in the park but the village tree committee replanted trees and restored the park’s beauty.

Nothing is free – even those movies in the 1940’s – funded by the village business people. The movie this week, “The Goonies,” is courtesy of FC Bank. So bring a chair or spread a blanket and remember, this is just like “the good old days.”

August of 1946

The moving pictures to be shown in the Cardington park under the sponsor ship of local merchants on the last three Wednesday nights of the summer were “Riders of the Rockies,” “Fugitive Valley,” and “Two-gun Troubador.”

Fred and Luther Smith of Cleveland purchased the Green Gables service station southeast of Cardington on Route 42 from Mr. and Mrs. J. C.Tubaugh.

A top motion picture in August 1946: “Notorious.”

August of 1956

Virgil Guiher, of Cardington, was one of 292 persons who passed the Ohio Bar exam. He was to be sworn in as an attorney-at-law by Chief Justice Carl Weygant.

Lois Betts of Cardington, was one of four county Junior Fair queens chosen a member of the court of honor for the Ohio State Junior Fair Queen at the Ohio State Fair

Bonnie Baker started her 45th year of teaching when school opened. She was pictured greeting Tommy Mattingly and Sandra Osborne on the steps of the new Fulton School building.

A top motion picture in August, 1956: “The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit.”

August of 1966

Linda Willey was named Queen of the Buckeye Polled Hereford Association at the Ohio State Fair. She was a senior at

Cardington High School and the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Harold Willey.

Guests of the Cardington Rotary club at their meeting were Jerry Sellars Junior Rotarian of the month and Ted Weise, student at the Missouri School of Mines, Rolla, MO. Special guest was CHS football coach Kent Reed.

Top motion picture in August of 1966 was “Fantastic Voyage.”

By Evelyn Long

The Sentinel

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