Friday, October 31, 2008

10th Annual Iams Homestead Pioneer Harvest Fest

Our Harvest Fest Committee set a goal of making the 10th Annual Iams Homestead Pioneer Harvest Fest the best fest ever. They succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. Between 400 and 500 people joined us for our annual farm fest. The weather was great; the crowds participated in many of the events; and a good time was had by all.

Many tractors were on display thanks to the owners who came out to support us. the featured tractor this year was a 1929 Cases 25-45 from the Flora Family collection. Each year Bruce Flora brings a tractor for us to showcase and as usual the tractor was a hit with the crowd.

The Chili chefs, Tony and Regina Kleinhenz and Claude Keeling outdid themselves this year and the chili was a major hit with the crowd. The smell of chili cooking over an open fire combined with the smell of roasted hot dogs drew a larger crowd than usual and we ran out of chili very early--the first time ever. Over 20 gallons of chili was prepared and consumed by the crowd. I guess we will have to get a larger kettle for next year.

Each year Tony Kleinhenz and his work crew tills the ground; plants the tobacco; harvest the tobacco; and hang it in the barn to dry. This year we were able to add a demonstration of preparing tobacco for tying into hands and placing into a tobacco press thanks to the efforts of Joe Sowder. Unfortunately, our tobacco crop was almost totally blown down by Hurricane Ike so Joe could only demonstrate placing the tobacco on one stick . He did manage to use some of the tobacco from previous years harvest to demonstrate tying of hands and placing into the tobacco press. All the tools used to include the tobacco press came from Joe's family's farm in Kentucky. We hope to expand this exhibit and demonstration for next year. Joe has agreed to work with us again so there will be many improvements on the exhibit for next year.

We also added a blacksmith demonstration to the harvest fest this year. A good blacksmith was critical in most early farming communities and we thought that our younger generation should acquire an appreciation for the work being done. We did not think we would have a demonstration because the individual who was scheduled for the demonstration cancelled. Thanks to Larry P. Gindlesperger, owner of Eagle & Anvil Forge who volunteered on such a short notice, we were able to have a great demonstration. This was the first time I saw a blacksmith work and it truly was an exciting event. We do play on having a blacksmith at our next event, so come to our function the second Saturday of October next year to get a first hand look at a blacksmith at work.

Another popular event at the harvest fest is making apple butter. Ruth Lange who makes the best apple butter anywhere was on vacation and we had to get replacement cooks. Thanks to Ken Ullery and Bill Greenaway, the show did go on. They did a fantastic job and the delicious smell of fresh cooked apple butter was almost more than a hungry person could take. Fortunately, Ruth Lange left samples from last year's apple butter for us to sample. More than one visitor said this was the best apple butter they had ever tasted and I would have to agree. Come next year for a taste of this year's apple butter. You will not be disappointed.

The Balloon Man and his helper were back again blowing up balloons for the children. I think Harley and Alma Human enjoyed blowing up the balloons for the children more than the children enjoyed the balloons. We had more children this year than usual and the balloons went fast. Harley also conducted another raffle this year for one of his brass cow bells. This was the second year for his bell raffle and the second year I bought many tickets. As usual, I did not win. As long as Harley has the raffle, I will try to win the bell.

Thanks to Walt Fidder and his grandson, we also had a model train display. Trains were an important part of Trotwood's history and the Historical Society operates a Depot Museum during the summer months. Model trains are also a hit with most children and this may be one of the reasons we had more children at the harvest fest this year than ever. Walt has said that they will be back next year. I certainly hope so. I think I probably enjoyed the display more than the children.

One of the most popular events at the harvest fest is the hayrides. Each year Bruce Kettelle brings his wagon and tractor and provides hayrides throughout the day. Thanks to Bruce's "gift of gab" and knowledge of local history, the hayrides are not only fun, but very educational. Bruce, along with Ken Ullery and Phillip Kleinhenz also provided hayrides at Trotwood's annual Halloween Family Fun Walk. Over 700 people took hayrides during a two hour period.

This year Boyd and Geri Hastings set up displays and demonstrations of wool spinning and felt making. Unfortunately, I did not get any pictures of the displays. I will check with others who attended the harvest fest to see if they took any pictures. If they did, I will add to the blogspot.

The premier event of the harvest fest is the corn harvest. Each year Tony Kleinhenz and his work crew uses an old corn binder to harvest the corn. The bundles are then placed in shocks until the day of the harvest fest. The shocks are then loaded on a wagon and taken to the husker shredder. The stalks are run through the husker shredder where the corn is removed from the stalk and the husk is removed from the corn. The corn is placed in a corn crib and the stalks and husks are chopped up for disposal or saved to use as feed for farm animals.

The corn is stored in the corn crib and the Society sells ear corn throughout the year. The corn is $7.00 for a large bag (approximately 1 bushel). Anyone interested in buying corn can contact me at 937-837-5387 or email You may also contact Ralph Kuester at 937-837-5387 or email

In the early days of our country, there were no supermarkets to go to in the winter to buy you food. Families had to preserve their food for the winter. One way of doing this was to dry the food. In the Iams House Museum each farm fest a demonstration of corn drying is held. You can also get a taste of the reconstituted dried corn from the previous year's dried corn. When properly prepared, the corn is very tasty. We also had a special display of ball canning jars on display in the kitchen. The jars will remain on display until the museum closes for the winter on November 30.

Sue Stiffler and her work group did a fantastic job with the country store this year. All items on sale have been donated by Society members and individuals from the local community. A favorite item in the store is the homemade pies and other baked goods. The pies sold out very quickly. I am sure we will have them again next year so if you want to buy a pie, come early--they do not last long. If you did not get a chance to visit the country store, all is not lost. You can also come and shop in the Kris Kringle Shop. The shop will be open 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM December 4, 5, 6 and December 11, 12, and 13.

There were other activities not listed. However, I have included a slide show with pictures of the activities that were held during the Farm Fest.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Historic Glimpses of Trotwood, Ohio

Whether your roots are deep in Trotwood History or you passed through briefly we hope that you think of Trotwood fondly. The Trotwood-Madison Historical Society has created a masterpiece called “Historic Glimpses of Trotwood, Ohio”, containing 224 pages of pictorials with narrative history. It also includes patron pages from families, businesses, churches, organizations, and schools with a name referenced index. This coffee table quality book is our first published history book of Trotwood and will remind you of past experiences and memorable moments that you may have forgotten.

Additional information is available on-line at Clicking on “T-M Historical Society” takes you to our home page. We are currently taking book orders, however, the second printing is selling rapidly. If you want a book you should send your order as soon as possible. Go to to download a copy of the order form. Contact Claude Keeling at 937-837-5387, Ralph Kuester at 937-837-0355 or Regina Kleinhenz at 937-854-4505 for any assistance. The first printing has sold out and the second printing is scheduled to be delivered the Middle of August.. The “Historic Glimpses of Trotwood, Ohio” will no doubt be a cherished memento of lasting value and also makes a great gift.

We hope you will consider purchasing a book to enjoy and at the same time support the Trotwood-Madison Historical Society. If you have friends or classmates that you think would like to have a copy of the book, have them visit our website or contact the individuals listed above.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Legacy Brick Walkway

To help capital improvements to the Iams Homestead, the Society has established "BUY A BRICK" to create a legacy of many individuals, Trotwood-Madison High School Alumni, businesses, and organizations which assisted with the development and preservation of the Iams Homestead property. Names will be engraved on bricks in walkways around the Iams House.

Bricks come in three sizes: standard 4" X 8" paving brick ($50.00); 8" X 8" paving brick ($100.00); and a 12" X 12" marble brick which is by special order. Contact Ralph Kuester at 937-837-0355 for further information or go to Go to to download an order form

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Trotwood-Madison Historical Society

The Trotwood-Madison Historical Society began with a vision to 'Preserve the Past for the Future' at the 1976 Bicentennial Celebration. Requests for information about Trotwood’s History made the founders of the T-M Historical Society realize this data was not readily available.

In November 1979 the Trotwood-Madison Historical Society was established.In March 1997, the Iams Homestead became available and through research, study and negotiations, a plan was developed to purchase the property at 349 S. Broadway. The Historical Society approved the purchase of the Iams Homestead November 1997 with a mortgage of $100,000 that required financing of $65,000. Since November 1979 countless civic-minded volunteers have been working tirelessly to preserve the Trotwood-Madison community’s long and fascinating history.

As a result the Trotwood-Madison Historical Society can proudly claim an impressive array of accomplishments, including:

• Restoring and opening Olde Town’s Train Depot Museum

• Renovating and opening the Iams Homestead Museum and headquarters

• Creating and managing a commemorative brick program

• Publishing a historical book titled, “Historic Glimpses of Trotwood, Ohio”

• Establishing and staffing numerous community events

This is not an offical page for the Historical Society. It is a page I developed to pass information to members of the Society to keep them updated on Society events. The official webpage is located on the City of Trotwood, Ohio webpage at . When the page ovens, scroll down to the Historical Society link and click.