Reflections: Looking back at Cardington’s growth


By Evelyn Long - Contributing Columnist



Just 200 years ago, in 1820, had someone drawn a line on the map from Cleveland to Cincinnati and another from the northwest corner of the state to Marietta and then directed attention to the intersecting point nothing would have been found.

Traveling to that point would have revealed nothing but a small river running through a wet, swampy, wooded area with a cut trail passing over that point. There may have even been a few Indians hunting in that area.

Eighty years later, 1900, the village of Cardington was thriving in that area having been founded in 1836. Today, I like to look back and share what the 1900 Cardington Independent wrote about the village, describing it as a “business trade center.”

“No other point in Morrow County is the trade center for so large a territory as Cardington accommodates. It is the post office address for all the citizens of its own township and many of the good people of Westfield, Lincoln, Harmony, Canaan and Gilead townships receive their mail here.”

The long article goes into detail describing Cardington as a good wool producer, the center of corn producing, a heavy producer of pork and large shipper of livestock. “Noted agriculturists such as the speakers at the state farmers’ institute could not refrain from mentioning their surprise at the superiority of things agricultural to be observed by visitors to this place.”

The article praises the town’s education as being “up-to-date and the schools are well-equipped in every particular.” The school library and the ladies library were singled out for special accolades. The article also salutes the town’s lumber industry and its merchants described as alert, quick and accommodating.”

By 1920 things began to change as automobiles entered life and they were used not just for pleasure but to drive to jobs out of town. Village merchants felt the loss as more and more people shopped out of town.

Nevertheless, the town prospered until June, 1981, when the tornado erased most of its business district. The village residents and business people still had that fortitude to start over and today the village continues to thrive with two manufacturing companies employing approximately 900 people. There are very few vacant stores or homes in the village and although it may not be able to claim that 1900 title of a “business center,”

Cardington continues to be home for it many residents who are loyal to its school and merchants. Welcome to the 2020 decade.

Looking back

January, 1900: The Gregory Hotel was being renovated by its owner J. D. Gregory. He was adding a veranda extending from the second story over the walk on the east and south sides of the building and was removing the wind pump which had been used to supply water for the hotel and he installed a gasoline single engine to do that job.

90 years ago: The Cardington Current Topics Club sent over 30 food and gift baskets to those less fortunate over the recent holiday season.

80 years ago: Rose Conaway began her 17th year as clerk of Cardington Township.

60 years ago: Mrs. Cleo Kramer was appointed Cardington chairwoman for the Porchlight Night Appeal for the March of Dimes on Jan. 28.

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By Evelyn Long

Contributing Columnist

Reach us at mcsnews@aimmediamidwest.com.

Reach us at mcsnews@aimmediamidwest.com.