Reflections: Cardington once resembled the old west


By Evelyn Long - Contributing Columnist

Before the 1981 tornado struck Cardington I would be amused when I heard people describe it as looking like a town out of the old west. It really did.

Standing in the business section of East Main looking west with the two story hotel and its veranda on the right and the two- and three-story buildings lining the rest of the streets there was the definite resemblance to those “old west scenes.” Of course, the tornado changed that.

I found a story in the Morrow County Sentinel, dated March 10, 1932, that describes an event on the train coming in to Cardington, as a scene that might have come from “the Old West:”

“A wild western drama was acted on the midnight train of the New York Central near Cardington when passengers were terrorized by a desperado sans garb who pulled a revolver and started to shoot out the lights in the coaches.

Occupants of the cars scrambled beneath seats to escape the bullets as he opened fire on the lights. After frightening the passengers and the conductors, the man took possession of the train and delayed it approximately 45 minutes in its run from Columbus to Cardington by pulling on the emergency stop cord. The train crew was unable to capture the man. At first he fired his pistol rather promiscuously.

Finally, after shooting all of his shells he was taken under control but not until he had opened several suitcases and dumped the contents along the right of way. He is said to have undressed and donned some of the clothing in the suitcases. He was calmed down only after being hit over the head with an air hose.

C. W. Adams of Columbus was reported intoxicated at the incident. He was treated for injuries by a Cardington physician, but escaped before deputies arrived.”

No comment needed; it does remind me of some scenes in the old western movies right here in Morrow County.

80 years ago, August, 1938: A total of 258 tons of stone were placed on the surface of Fourth Street.

The first Morrow County Homecoming picnic was held at the Morrow County fairgrounds. Toledo Municipal Judge Homer Ramey a native of Sparta, gave an address in front of the grandstand. A tug-of-war pitting teams from the townships was held along with a “Gay Nineties” pageant, a style show and a Professor Quiz program on prominent Morrow County natives.

70 years ago, August, 1948: Mary Catherine Graham, 24, died August 23 at Children’s Hospital, Columbus, from polio. Mrs. Graham had become ill five days earlier and had been confined to an iron lung while at Children’s. Her sudden illness was Morrow County’s third case of polio reported that summer.

She was the daughter of Paul and Blanche Sprang and a 1942 Cardington High School graduate. She was survived by her husband, Edwin, and two small children, Thomas and Rosemay.

60 years ago, August, 1958: A total of 23 sheep on the Guy Renz farm in Lincoln Township were killed or injured by roving dogs. A claim for 18 lambs and five ewes was submitted to county commissioners in the amount of $243.

By Evelyn Long

Contributing Columnist

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