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Amazing Ashville Area Stories

Amazing Ashville Area Stories

There are literally hundreds of outstanding stories associated with the Ashville-Teays Valley area. Some of the short vignettes that appear in my new book will be displayed with artifacts that illustrate those stories on a couple of walls at Ohio’s Small Town Museum in Ashville. I will be building the plexiglas cases and wall mountings that will house each display. Most of these will be in place in early April–about the time that the book is being released nationwide. Here I am with my four-legged friend BUSTER–THE DOG THAT VOTED REPUBLICAN (yes, that is a statue of Buster).

The Perfect Gift for the Viking in Your Family

The Perfect Gift for the Viking in Your Family

Amazing Ashville is going to be your best holiday gift idea for any Teays Valley, Ashville, Walnut, or Scioto high school graduate. You can not only get a copy here, you can get it signed by the author and even inscribed with a personal message.

SPECTRUM BROADCAST ALL OVER OHIO

SPECTRUM BROADCAST ALL OVER OHIO

Keeping Small Town History Alive in Ashville

By Dennis Biviano Columbus PUBLISHED 9:45 AM ET Aug. 19, 2020

ASHVILLE, Ohio — While the village of Ashville just 22 miles south of Columbus may only be a small dot on Ohio’s roadmap, it has a rich history. Friends Bob Hines and Charles Morrison will tell you it’s worth the price of admission to the town’s museum. 


What You Need To Know

Ashville is a small town in Pickaway County that has rich history 
Recently two men who have run the town’s museum for nearly 50 years put their knowledge in writing 
Amazing Ashville is available at Ohio’s Small Town Museum as well as retailers like Amazon, Target and Barnes and Noble

They’ve operated Ohio’s Small Town Museum since 1975.

“So Bob lived just a block from where I had the grocery store. He said, ‘Why are you saving all that stuff for?’ I said, ‘Well, I’d like to some day have a museum, be great if we can do that,’” Morrison said. 

Hines, a University of Cincinnati graduate and an urban planner, has worked on displays at the museum for nearly five decades. 

Recently, the two chronicled some of the town’s memories, personalities and oddities in a book, “Amazing Ashville, The Most Colorful Community in America.”

“There are people representing every aspect of science and art, movies, photography, inventions,” Hines said.

It features people like Jim Cook, the man responsible for putting together a team for Parnelli Jones to win the Indy 500—twice, and also William Ashbrook Kellerman, a famous American botanist. 

The book also plays off the town oddities, like a locally-designed traffic light that’s stood the test of time—a replica of a chicken that paid for its own meals and Buster the dog that voted Republican, which dates back to the 1920s. 

“The Republican candidate was Herbert Hoover. He trained this dog so that when he mentioned the name of the Republican candidate, he’d yelp, he’d get up on his hind legs and jump around. When he mentioned the democratic candidate, which at that time was Al Smith, he would growl,” Hines said. 

“And the kids and the town, they like it, they love it. They just simply can’t believe that things existed like they did, things happened in Ashville, about the dogs and the cats. We’ve got it all,” said Morrison. 

The museum also boasts the oldest “transitional flag” representing the state of Ohio, and the 17 states at the time along with thousands of long-lost photos dating back to the late 1800s. 

Then there’s Ashville and South Bloomfield’s early influence on puppetry in the 1950s and 60s. 

“People were learning how to use a puppet in their hand and rods to manipulate the movement of their hands. Well, Jim Henson came across that idea. He turned it into something called the Muppets,” said Hines. 

It’s all in the book Amazing Ashville, which Hines and Morrison said is their legacy. They’re hopeful folks in younger generations will see the value in their work and preserving the town’s history. 

“We want kids to get excited about the opportunities that are there for them. We want them to understand that old buildings aren’t just something to throw rocks at, they mean something,” said Hines. 

The book has been nominated for several awards in Ohio as well as by the National Council on Public History. 

Amazing Ashville wins a 2020 Ohio Local History Alliance’ OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

Amazing Ashville wins a 2020 Ohio Local History Alliance’ OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

Each year, the Ohio Local History Alliance (OLHA) presents awards honoring outstanding work in local history in our state. History Outreach Awards recognize outstanding local history projects that inspire, connect, and educate local residents. This year a History Outreach Award for Media and Publications is being presented to the Ashville Area Heritage Society for the book Amazing Ashville. The locally popular paperback book was published by Reedy Press in St. Louis, Mo.

Upper Arlington author Bob Hines—a former Ashville area resident—volunteered his time to write and illustrate Amazing Ashville, an entertaining book of short stories and vignettes about people from the rural Teays Valley School District area in Pickaway County. The book has received universal praise from book reviewers for the way it connects local people from the past to a dizzying array of world and national events, movements, and personalities. It has appeared in Amazon’s list of top ten Ohio Fact books and Ohio Travel Guides throughout the summer and is currently nominated for the 2021 National Council on Public History’s best book award and the 2021 American Sociological Association’s best book award on community.

Ashville resident, Charlie Morrison, a co-founder the Ashville Area Heritage Society, worked with Bob Hines over the course of 40 years to uncover many of the stories and photographs that are depicted in the book. Both men will be recognized for their efforts at the annual OLHA meeting on October 3rd.

The book is available in Ashville at the Apothecary and Baker Realty, in Circleville it can be found at Two Old Broads and a Geezer, the Pickaway County Visitor’s Center, and the Pickaway County Historical and Genealogical Library, in Columbus is available at the Book Loft and in Chillicothe it is at Wheatberry Books.

Independent Reviews

Independent Reviews

It is nice to get reviews of your work that are complimentary. Here is one from critic Margaret Quamme for the Columbus Dispatch:

Here is another one from Brooke Preston for the Columbus Monthly:

First Orders Out

First Orders Out

Signed copies

Still getting the knack for signing, sealing, and delivering copies of the book. I have to say I am quite pleased with all the work my publisher, Reedy Press, put into making my book become a reality. Their editors, graphics staff, and marketing staff have truly made this a pleasant experience–even though this is a most trying time for anyone selling a new title. I want to pay them back by selling as many as I can and I want to sell as many copies as I can to support Ohio’s Small Town Museum in Ashville. More importantly, I want people in the community to have a common narrative about what a wonderful, charming place they all live in. Time will tell if I am successful in meeting those goals.

Updating Ohio’s Small Town Museum

Updating Ohio’s Small Town Museum

The trustees at the the Ashville Area Heritage Society have worked to develop a plan that would allow more visitor space, especially for tour groups, enlarge the library–adding access to microfilm viewing of the Pickaway County News, Ashville Enterprise, and the Ashville Home News–highlighting the important artifacts of communal importance, and showing some of the stories that make the area unique. The book Amazing Ashville provides a context for some of the new displays and the profits from local sales of the book go directly to the Ashville Area Heritage Society.

The captions are not up yet for this section which depicts 1900 to 1930.
Expecting April 1st Release

Expecting April 1st Release

Even though I expect several of our events where local book signings would have happened to be cancelled, I will still be promoting online sales at this site and at stores and venues that will remain open. Hey, AMAZING ASHVILLE is a funny, uplifting book that should brighten anyone’s spirits, so I am thinking maybe it can help break us out of this funk.

Some of my peers at Reedy Press were expecting to release their books with the title 100 Things To Do In _______ Before You Die. They are hearing from book sellers that the current crisis might not be the best time to be promoting a book with such a title. That and many of the things to do may be closed. They are also looking for creative ways to sell their books during this difficult time.

Sales Poster Ready

Sales Poster Ready

Sales poster

Claire Ford from Reedy Publishing created this wonderful poster for me to use when I am at events, presentations, or book signings. I like it because it makes it clear that the book is about more than the town of Ashville. It is really the whole Teays Valley School District.

Gearing Up

Gearing Up

My publisher, Reedy Press, is providing me with material to use in the promotion of the book Amazing Ashville. They will be sending the marketing material to the non-Pickaway County media, sellers, and events organizers. It is my job to line up local contacts and send them promotional material. If you know of any local businesses that would like to sell it in Commercial Point or South Bloomfield let me know. Ohio’s Small Town Museum and the Ashville Apothecary will be carrying it in Ashville.