25 Years Ago: May 1-7, 1991
Brandt – Bethel School District Superintendent Judith Campbell is strongly encouraging the voters of the Bethel District to pass a 7-mill levy which is on the ballot. In order to maintain the current academic level and the traditional achievements of students, both in the classroom and in extracurricular activities, then these funds are needed, according to Supt. Campbell. Some of the reasons the budget needs more funds include, a drop in state funding and the growing list of unfunded state mandates on school districts. An income tax levy failed in February and a levy similar to this one failed last November. The current four year operating levy would generate almost $400,000 for the district. (Columnist’s Note: Approximately 60 percent of the voters in the district turned out and said, “Yes” to the levy. The measure passed by a 56-43 percent margin. Supt. Campbell was quite pleased, as would be expected.)
Covington – The village council in Covington is pulling out all the stops to halt the closing of the local National Guard Armory. Councilmen sent letters to their Congressman protesting the possible closing of the Armory. They have also initiated a campaign to encourage the citizens of the community to do the same. (Columnist’s Note: The Covington Armory was ultimately closed and the unit of the guard was moved to Piqua.)
50 Years Ago: May 1-7, 1966
Troy – A Dayton area construction strike has struck Troy. Work on four separate building projects in Troy has been halted by a strike and it is unclear when the work may start again. The sites which were affected by the strike are the new Trinity Episcopal Church in Southbrook, the addition to the S. Market St. Kroger store, the Sherwood branch of the Miami Citizens Bank and the Lumber Mart, near the intersection of the S. Dixie Highway and Union Street. One of the foremen stated his men wanted to work, but they can’t when the union strikes because they will be picketed.
Troy – Trojan Douglas Christian received his bachelor of science in civil engineering degree from the University of Dayton during the institutions recent spring commencement. Christian is a 1960 graduate of Miami East High School. (Columnist’s Note: Doug Christian was the Miami County Engineer for 32 years. He also served 6 years as chief deputy engineer of the county. Doug retired in 2011. He was named County Engineer of the Year in 1999. Doug now enjoys his time with his wife, Sandy (Covault); visiting children and grandchildren, as well as making historical presentations about the history of Miami County covered bridges and long forgotten communities of the county.)
Historical Question: I recently received a query about the history of the old house on the hill, just north of Troy on the Piqua-Troy Road.
We do know some of the history of the farm, house and property. Originally, it was owned by an early Miami County family, which came to the area in 1838. At first, there was only a log cabin when Arnold Brown first settled on the property, but later his son Daniel constructed a home, ca. 1841, on the property.
Daniel was into marketing his farm produce (milk and cheese), as well as being involved in several other entrepreneurial ventures. He was also one of the originators of the First National Bank of Troy.
Little-by-little, he added to the acreage of the original farm and at one time had over 1000 acres.
The family owned the property for quite a few years and several generations. Later, it was purchased by Mr. & Mrs. Walter Kidder, I believe sometime around 1913-14. Mr. Kidder was the “right hand man” of William Hayner (of Troy’s Hayner Distilling Co. fame). Mr. Kidder was the one credited with coming up with the combination lock for the whiskey bottles the company mailed to its customers.
He was also married William Hayner’s half-sister, Georgiana.
The Kidders remodeled the home around 1918 and added some of the other features to the house and property and used it as a retreat and summer home (from Dayton). They named the property “Resthaven Farm.”
They had a large pork operation on the property, which contained about 500 acres on both sides of Troy-Piqua Rd., just north of Grace Baptist Church and the Staunton Grange; the north side of Troy-Urbana (now being developed) to DeWeese Rd and along DeWeese to Polecat Rd.
After Mr. Kidder retired in the 1930’s, they moved from Dayton and lived full-time on the property, which they had until their deaths in 1953 (Mr. Kidder) and 1954 (Mrs. Kidder).
In the fall of 1954, Mr. Frank Montross, a wealthy lumberman in Troy purchased the property at an auction. Tradition says it was for a wedding gift for his daughter. It was later found to have a number of serious problems needing repair. I am not absolutely sure on what happened, but it appears that Montross was unwilling to sink any more money into the property.
The tenant homes, which had been used during the pork operation days, continued to be rented for several years.
It is one of the “saddest” properties in the area in that it was formerly a showplace which entertained several county picnics and other social gatherings in the 1930’s, but then left to ruin. I recall that sometime back in the 1980’s someone purchased the property and was going to restore the home, but I think they found that it would take massive amounts of money. So, once again it sat untouched and is now in ruin.
One word of caution: This is still private property, so a person cannot just wander up there to take a look. You might find yourself in a “conversation” with some of Troy’s finest, if you do.
Patrick D. Kennedy is archivist at the Troy-Miami County Public Library’s Local History Library, 100 W. Main St., Troy. He may be contacted by calling (937) 335-4082 or sending an email to [email protected]