Because our nation runs on wheels, I checked the history of our village, Cardington, and found that wheels have been a part of its history, too.
Buggies were the thing, of course, in the early days and the village had the best buggy business with Slicer Buggy Works on West Main Street. When it was destroyed by a fire (the cause was never found) in September, 1912, it was never rebuilt but the automobile was coming into being all across the country. The first automobiles in Cardington were owned by Dr. Green and G. Gregory.
The first automobile garage was operated by a Mr. Babcock and the second by Mr. Buckingham in a remodeled structure that sat on East Main Street, later the home of Long’s Garage.
The Click Brothers had the Hup Mobile Agency on West Main Street (now the site of the Patriot Bar). Several automobile agencies served the village in future years including the Kaiser-Frazer Agency owned by Jake Click, and the 1915 the Weiser Bros. Chevrolet at the Hotel Gregory. Long’s DeSoto and Plymouth (Walter Long, owner) was a well established business for many years. There was even a Morrow County Automobile Association organized in 1915 with directors from Mount Gilead and Cardington.
When Route 42 was the main highway between Cleveland and Cincinnati, Morrow County villages on that route prospered with businesses that attracted tourists. Cardington offered several gas stations – in the 1940’s 50’’s and 60’s including Brown’s (Later Easterday) north of the village, Davis’, the Sperry, Robinson and later Mahaffey Gulf, Kreis and Stephens- later Haycook Shell, Hart Oil,(later Burggraf Mobil, (Mateer, later Snyder and today Mathews’ Service Station) and the Frock gas station south of town. The Duke station replaces the Gulf station on Gilead Street.
None of these were self serve – an employee, usually a young teenager or the owner himself would pump the gas, check the engine and clean the windshield, all for gasoline under $1 a gallon in those days. Many of these stations also offered minor repairs, oil changes or even washed the cars. Some garages, like the Ebert Garage, performed mechanical work only. Then I-71 opened and business dropped, causing many of these stations to close. Today, Cardington village garages, Newsom, Home and Auto, Heacock and others and the filling stations depend largely on the local traffic.
Along the line of driving, do you remember getting your driver’s license?
I was 18 and we had a 1936 Plymouth, on the floor shift- no, not like today’s shift – this was, with the clutch, first, second and drive and reverse. Well, I could drive that old Plymouth up and down the farm lane just fine but my dad said the test was stopping and starting – so one Sunday while coming home from church in Marion, my dad let me drive all the way home with him in front and my sisters and mother in the back seat. Things went smoothly as we sailed along and then we came to the one stop light in the Cardington square – and the light was red – there was a lot of traffic in town because Al’s and the Hotel restaurant were serving Sunday dinner. I stopped at the light and when it turned green, I put it in gear and proceeded to hop in three or four big hops across the square, causing my sisters to drop to the floor in back so no one would know they were with me! I went home and practiced and when I took my test, I passed everything with 100 except for one written question. I took that test in that Plymouth and Patrolman Scott told me I would be a good driver. I’m just glad he wasn’t at the square that Sunday.
90 years ago, July-August 1925: Monna Broilier, 17, of Mount Gilead was entering Wooster University having been awarded the highest average during her four year high school course at Mount Gilead. She had walked to school two miles from her home.
A new pump house was being constructed for the water system for the new Cardington school. Contract was to O E Holt of Cardington and George Weiland of Mt Gilead. The school board was unable to secure a sufficient supply of water by drilling wells and were compelled to pump water from the creek for all but drinking purposes. The new plant was located on the Ella Hartsock land along the creek bank and the water was to be forced from there to the school house.
60 years ago, August 1955: Leonard Benson was named Commander of American Legion Post 97.