Clock Tower

Out of the Clock Tower

Hello and welcome to the Greene County Archives' blog, "Out of the Clock Tower".  Please join us as we share information on archival issues, news, special events, and highlights from our collection.

Before the archives program began in Greene County in 1996, permanent records were stored in every conceivable space, in basements, garages, and closets. Usually they were in boxes of various shapes and sizes, although seldom adequately labeled, but occasionally they were just in loose piles of books and papers. Most notable were the old records stuffed into the clock tower of the County Courthouse, where they shared their home with pigeon droppings.

Now, there is a clean, environmentally controlled, well appointed location for the county archives, where our historical records are housed in standard sized boxes on steel shelves. We have taken note of their journey in the name for our blog.

Oct 11

Records Management Training Fair!

Posted on October 11, 2019 at 1:02 PM by Melissa Dalton

Archives Month is well underway, and last week’s blog provided some details for upcoming events, but we want to highlight those from this week!

One event in particular was the 3rd Annual Records Management Training Fair! The fair provides Greene County employees the opportunity to learn about records management in a fun and engaging environment. But, before we get into the event, maybe we should define records management. Records management is the efficient and systematic control of the creation, receipt, maintenance, use and disposition of records (National Archives). So, what does this mean? It means that a business (or the county government in our case) is responsible for addressing the life cycle of a record, and creating a way to manage such records using a policy, likely a record retention schedule. Here at Greene County, all county offices are required to maintain a retention schedule, which determines the life cycle of various records that department creates (retention schedules for each department can be found on the Archives webpage).

Now that you have at least a general understanding of records management, let us tell you about our event! The Archives staff, along with our wonderful volunteers, put together games and informational displays about various aspects of records management. Each station focused on a particular aspect of records management, such as how long certain records should be kept, security, preservation of paper and electronic records, disaster preparedness, proper procedure for disposing of records, Sunshine Laws and public records, and more (Figs 1-5)!

Fig 1. Elise and Joan working the Build-A-Box station, which instructs employees on appropriate reco
Fig 1. Elise and Joan working our Build-A-Box station, which instructs employees on appropriate record storage

Fig 2. Melissa tests knowledge of records management with the Records Management Wheel (JPG)
Fig 2. Melissa tests knowledge of records management with the Records Management Wheel

Fig 3. County employees use displays/exhibits to answer questions on their records management scaven
Fig 3. County employees use displays/exhibits to answer questions on their records management scavenger hunt

Fig 4. Looks like someone is having fun with our games! (JPG)
Fig 4. Looks like someone is having fun with our games!

Fig 5. County employees playing Records Land, our records management version of Candyland! (JPG)
Fig 5. County employees playing Records Land, our records management version of Candyland! (Photo courtesy of County Engineer, Stephanie Goff)

The following day, October 11, was Electronic Records Day. As the world becomes more and more digital, the proper storage and preservation of electronic records is vitally important. The Council of State Archivists (CoSA) published several factsheets about electronic records. A great one for our readers is one pertaining to personal records. If you have ever wondered about proper preservation of your records (be it photographs, bills, taxes, photographs, etc.), or received this error message (Fig 6) and wondered what could have been done to prevent it? Well, this factsheet provides a great introduction (Fig 7)!

Fig 6. CoSA flyer on Error Messages and Codes (JPG)
Fig 6. CoSA flyer on Error Messages and Codes (CoSA)

Fig 7. CoSA Factsheet - Survival Strategies for Personal Digital Records (JPG)
Fig 7. CoSA factsheet on Survival Strategies for Personal Digital Records (CoSA)

Another great factsheet explores why preservation is more than just backing up records (Fig 8). This sheet can be useful for personal or business, but is even more important for a business owner and the proper maintenance of their records.

Fig 8. CoSA Factsheet on backing up records (JPG)
Fig 8. CoSA factsheet on backing up records (CoSA)

So, what do you think? Are there tips in these factsheets that you can implement in for your personal or business records?

Until Next Time!

Council of State Archivists
National Archives

Oct 04

Celebrating Archives Month in Greene County

Posted on October 4, 2019 at 8:29 AM by Elise Kelly

Every year the Greene County Archives host fun and interesting events during the month of October for Archives Month. Our Archivist, Robin Heise, has stated that Archives Month is a “time to focus on the importance of historical records and enhance awareness of what the Greene County Archives does to maintain and preserve records.”

To commemorate and support Archives Month, the Greene County Commissioners recently passed a resolution. The resolution states that “through archives, future generations can more accurately study the past, learn from the accomplishments of their predecessors, trace their ancestors, understand their community’s pride and place, confirm property rights, and maintain laws, while celebrating the history of the Country” (See Fig. 1).

Fig. 1 2019 Archives Month Resolution (JPG)
                     Fig. 1 Greene County Archives Resolution (Greene County Archives)

This past Wednesday, October 2nd, we participated in the social media event #AskAnArchivistDay. Our Public Outreach Coordinator, Melissa, was on hand all day to answer anyone’s questions. She received inquiries about the history of Factory Road and a battle that the Shawnee fought in Greene County. Melissa also participated in a number of #AskAnArchivistDay threads on twitter including one that invited archival repositories to post a favorite dog photo from their collection. Melissa posted this great photo of a boy and his dog from the Greene County Parks and Trails collection (See Fig. 2).

Fig. 2 Boy and his Dog - Parks and Trails (JPG)
      Fig. 2 Photo from Greene County Parks and Trails Collection (Greene County Archives)

Next week, Wednesday, October 9th, the Greene County Archives will be hosting the third annual Records Management Training Fair for Greene County employees. The fair will offer educational games along with information on data security, public record laws, obsolete technology, and appropriate records storage.

The following day we will be participating in Electronic Records Day. The public will have the chance to learn how to properly preserve electronic records. We will also be sharing how technology has changed so rapidly in the past fifty years.

Lastly, the Greene County Archives will be hosting “Spooky Tales from the Greene County Archives” between 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM on Halloween. We will be sharing Greene County ghost stories and will examine between truths and myths using our county records and newspaper articles (See Fig. 3).

Fig. 3 Ghost Stories (JPG)

                                        Fig. 3 Greene County Archives Presentation

Come join and help us to unravel these ghostly mysteries!

Until Next Time!

Bolton, Anna. “Archives Month continues history preservation efforts.” Xenia Daily Gazette 2 October 2019 Published: Page 1
Greene County Archives

Sep 27

The Brief and Tumultuous Years of the Colonial Distillery

Posted on September 27, 2019 at 9:06 AM by Elise Kelly

Previously we featured a blog post on the massive fire that severely damaged the Colonial Distillery located in Trebeins Village (also known as Trebeins Station) in Beavercreek Twp. This week, we want to examine the history of the distillery prior to its destruction.

Built in 1901, the Colonial Distillery was one of the largest distilleries in the country. Constructed with the most modern improvements, this massive and almost entirely new facility cranked out a substantial amount of distilled liquor (See Figs. 1 & 2).

Fig. 1 Colonial Distillery (JPG)
Fig. 1 Colonial Distillery Company, Survey Record 8, P. 60 (Greene County Archives)

Fig. 2 Colonial Distillery (JPG)
Fig. 2 Colonial Distillery Company, Survey Record 8, P. 61 (Greene County Archives)

The distillery also provided work for almost one hundred men who processed 1500 to 3000 bushels of corn each day. Homes for these men and their families were to be built on eighteen acres of land near the distillery.

In order to produce such an abundant amount of liquor, the distillery was always in the market for corn (See Fig.3).

Fig. 3 Xenia-daily-gazette-and-torchlight-Nov-27-1901-p-4 (PNG)
Fig. 3 Colonial Distillery Advertisement, Xenia Daily Gazette, November 14, 1902 (NewspaperARCHIVE)

However, in order to meet such a high demand for its product, much of the company’s corn was brought in from the western states, along the Santa Fe Railroad line.

Early in the company’s history, an enormous iron hopper came loose on the grain elevator and plummeted five stories. A company employee named John Mongold was working in the hopper when it came loose and he went for a thrilling ride in the hopper as it crashed through a wooden floor, a double floor, and ended its free fall by smashing into a boxcar (See Fig. 4).

Fig. 4 Xenia-daily-gazette-Nov-14-1902-p-2 (PNG)
Fig. 4 Xenia Daily Gazette and Torchlight, November 27, 1901 (NewspaperARCHIVE)

Fortunately, Mongold survived the accident with only a couple of scratches.

Two years later in 1903, a small outbreak of small pox had infected some of the distillery’s employees. Oddly, the distillery was not quarantined since the men who were infected worked in isolation. Also during 1903, building repairs were needed throughout the distillery and warehouse. The Hoffman-Ahlers Company and the Corcoran Company, both out of Louisville, Kentucky, were hired to complete the repairs. A couple of months after the work was completed, the companies still had not received payment. Subsequently, both Louisville companies took out separate liens on the distillery on account that they were not paid a certain amount for the work done (See Fig. 5).

Fig. 5 Dayton_Daily_News_Thu__Jul_2__1903_ (JPG)
Fig. 5 Dayton Daily News, July 2, 1903 (

To counteract this argument, the Colonial Distillery claimed that the work done by the Corcoran Company was careless and had to be redone. Furthermore, the distillery asserted that the debt should be offset by the incompetent job. In regards to the lien issued by the Hoffman-Ahlers Company, Greene County Judge Thomas Scroggy ruled in favor of the Colonial Distillery and the lien was released. However, the distillery did have to make a deposit of $11,000 to abide the result of the litigation.

Misfortune struck again, when in 1904, the distillery’s dry house became engulfed in flames. With over $200,000 in damage the owner, M.S. Greenbaum, decided not to rebuild at Trebeins. Greenbaum and his family moved back to Louisville, Kentucky and it was not until the 1930s that the Miami Fertilizer Company took over the remaining buildings.

Until Next Time!

Greene County Archives