Springfield, Ohio

History and Genealogy

The Centennial Celebration

From The History of Clark County, Ohio
Chicago: W.H. Beers & Co., 1881 - Page 486

By Oscar T. Martin

The 100th anniversary of American independence was appropriately observed in Springfield. The morning of the 4th day of July, A. D. 1876, was ushered in by the firing of cannon and ringing of bells. The business streets of the city were properly decorated with flags, banners and pendants, expressing patriotic sentiments, while many private residences gave evidence of the industry and enthusiasm of their occupants. At 8:30 o'clock in the morning, in accordance with the suggestion of President Grant's proclamation, union prayer meetings were held in the Center Street Methodist and First Presbyterian Churches. One of the largest processions which was ever held in Springfield paraded the streets. It was a complete representation of the triumphs of the century. All the industrial arts were represented, the various departments of the city government, secret societies, choral unions, etc., making several miles in length.

The declaration was read by Rev. H. H. Morell, and an oration delivered by Thomas F. McGrew.

Mill Run Improvement

The stream which was once the principal motive power of the village, but which, in later years, had become a mere sewer and a useful receptacle for the city's garbage, had been for years a source of great annoyance to the property owners from High street west, as its waters were confined within narrow limits by the improvements which had been made along its borders. Every spring, freshets would flood the streets and cellars adjoining High, Market and Center streets, causing continual damage. The City Council, in 1877, proposed to remedy this evil by arching over with stone the stream from the shops of Whitely, Fassler & Kelly, on High street, to Center street. This work was completed in the following spring. This arch was eighteen feet in diameter, with a radius of nine feet. It cost $19,669.90, of which amount $582.44 was paid by the city, and the residue by the property holders between Main, Jefferson, Market and Center streets.

The density of population had become, under the old number of city wards, inconvenient and cumbersome in the transaction of the business of the city, as well as in its elections. The subject or [sic] the division of the city into a greater number of wards had long been discussed. In September, 1879, by the death of Councilman S. C. Warner, from the Fourth Ward, a vacancy was created in the Council, which, by the neglect of the proper authorities, was not filled in the proper time, so that the vacancy continued until April, 1880. Meanwhile, a special act of the General Assembly, passed February 27,1880, amending Section 1,693 of the Revised Statutes, was passed, which provided that, in cases like this, when there was a vacancy unfilled by the neglect or omission of the proper authorities, a majority of the members qualified to vote should be sufficient to pass any ordinance, etc. Under this amended act, the five remaining members of the City Council (which had been equally divided politically) succeeded, on the 24th day of March, A. D. 1880, in passing an ordinance re-districting the city into nine woards, as it is now constituted. This measure was made a political issue in the City Council, and created a great deal of interest. As the Council, on political questions, was a tie, there were grave doubts whether five Coucilmen could pass the ordinance re-districting the city, and the death of one and the absence of the other four, so as to prevent a quorum, was relied upon in an injunction proceeding to restrain the Mayor from issuing the proclamation; but the proclamation was issued before the notice was served on the Mayor, and the injunction proceedings were dismissed. The measure of establishing the nine wards therefore successfully carried into effect.