Cinema 1 & 2

It started life as the Wayne Theater in 1921. Today it’s known by that name as well as the very straightforward name Cinema 1 & 2.

Located in Greenville, Ohio’s somewhat busy downtown, I was surprised to find that it appears to be closed. It reminded me of the old twin cinema we had in my hometown. It’s long gone and even the building has been torn down but I rarely drive by without recalling the movies I watched there as a kid.

Little towns need outlets for entertainment like movies theaters and skating rinks just as badly as cities do. Tragically, small towns seem to struggle the hardest to keep these types of businesses afloat.

I view places like this as a cautionary tale to support the businesses we want to keep in our communities. Whether it be a movie theater, a record store or a place with the best milkshakes, if there’s a business out there we want to keep around, we have to do our part and support them.

Here’s hoping that some community group will come along with plans to give the old Wayne Theater a new lease on life!

Stardust Motel

The actual motel is just your run-of-the-mill midcentury motel building and isn’t much to look at. However, the sign is a beaut. You’ll see it if you come into Greenville on Ohio 49.

Greenville Carnegie

The Carnegie Library in Greenville, Ohio is still in use as a library and has this statue outside.

Isn’t it delightful? Reading really does open up the world and make life more enjoyable.

This library has been well maintained and expanded over more than a century to suit community needs. I read an article about the building where the library director said that new isn’t always better.

Of course, this made my heart sing.

Sometimes our rich history wins and the gorgeous buildings of our past live on.

I’ve stumbled into three Carnegie libraries in the last couple of weeks and have shared something about each of them. Scroll back through my page here to find the others and trust that I’ll move on to something else tomorrow!

Remembering Private First Class Douglas E. Dickey

Here’s one more story from the Garst Museum in Greenville, Ohio. If you’ve been following along this week, we’ve talked about Annie Oakley and other interesting exhibits the museum offers.

This is the story of Private First Class Douglas E. Dickey, a regular guy who did something extraordinary. He died on this day in 1967.

It was Easter Sunday when this twenty year old Marine from Darke County found himself faced with a terrible choice on the other side of the world.

The long and short of the story is that Dickey and his battalion found themselves in grave danger. He took one look at his buddies and made an impossible choice. He threw himself on a live grenade, absorbing the blast with his body and saving the others.

PFC Dickey was awarded a Purple Heart for this almost indescribable act of courage.

The exhibit about him includes a video of interviews with people who knew him, including his mother. In this grainy, black and white video, she says that the world is full of people who die for senseless reasons. Her son died bravely to save his friends and she asked how she could be bitter about that.

History comes to life when it’s presented well and when it focuses on individuals and their actions. I can think of no better way to talk about Vietnam and heroism than the Garst has done with this young man’s story.

Look for it in the first room of the museum.

Want more information? Visit the Garst online.

The Garst Museum

Earlier this week we talked about the Annie Oakley exhibit at the Garst Museum in Greenville, Ohio. They do a nice job telling the story of this famous Ohioan but there’s a lot more to see at this museum.

The museum uses local artifacts and regional history to tell a much bigger story. For example, one large room of farm implements, vehicles and other technology consists largely of items donated by locals. It’s all part of a big picture narrative about how Americans farmed, cooked, sewed and got around in the nineteenth century. Their collection of sleighs and their horse drawn mail coach are wonderful.

It is even fun to look at some of the machines and try to guess what they are for – I especially loved the apple cider press and early gas generators.

They have a Main Street where you can catch a glimpse of nineteenth century businesses like the bank and doctor’s office. The same concept is used in showing home life in kitchens, parlors and bedrooms – both plain and elaborate.

There’s an exhibit about the Treaty of Versailles and another about Lowell Thomas. One of my favorite exhibits has military uniforms from the wars we’ve been in. There are many, including a uniform worn by a local woman who was an Army helicopter pilot. Another favorite of mine was memorabilia and the cape of a Gold Star Mother.

There are Scout uniforms, folk art, doll houses, Currier and Ives prints, antique dolls and more packed into this space. There’s something to appeal to most history buffs.

The Garst also has a local research room that is currently closed because of Covid. However, volunteers are still around to help with visitor research needs.

In terms of pandemic safety, they do a great job keeping things sanitized. There are clean restrooms and a nice gift shop. The ladies running the place were also helpful, providing directions to Annie’s grave and lunch advice when asked.

I have another story to tell from this museum- a special story about a young man. Stay tuned. It’s sad but inspiring and one I think we should all know.

Visit their website to find admission, hours and more. And, of course, don’t forget to look out for the Annie Oakley attractions while you’re in the neighborhood.

Little Sure Shot Barn And Birthplace

If you’re making the Annie Oakley pilgrimage to Darke County, be sure to seek out the Annie Oakley Barn mural.

It’s on private property, along US Route 127 and visible if you are traveling southbound. According to a 2016 news article from the local paper, it’s owned by Bob and Donna Peters who have farmed here since 1971.

It was painted by Scott Hagan, an artist who is well known for his Bicentennial Barn paintings. They were commissioned by the State of Ohio in all 88 Ohio counties as part of our birthday celebration in 2003 and he is something of a celebrity for this work.

It took just four days for Hagan to complete this remarkable painting.

Want to see it?

It’s just down the road from the cemetery where Annie and her husband Frank are buried. It’s also near a marker at her birthplace. When you leave the cemetery and head back to Greenville, you can’t help but see this striking artwork.

There is a side road that you can pull into. It’s far less tracked than 127 so it’s safer to stop for a picture or at least slow down for a better view. I continued on this road to a stop sign, turned left to go through a narrow old tunnel and then took another left to get back to 127 – or you can just find a place to turn around.

While you’re in the area, you might swing by her birthplace. The home is gone but there’s a marker and a place to pull over. Look closely at the above picture and you’ll see a large new private residence in the background.

Note that I was there in March and there was no foliage but summer pictures show pretty wildflowers so I’m guessing it’s much nicer at other times of the year. Speaking of flowers, there’s a big greenhouse across the road in case you like your souvenirs to be pretty little living things.