BY PAT SHROCK
Click photos to enlarge.
F. R. Harris, in his notable "Chronicles of Greenfield and the
County, McArthur," impressively summarizes the history of
people without a history is like the wind in the buffalo grass," so
runs an old Indian saying. Greenfield has had a history, a rich and
is older than the state of which it is a part. It began its existence as
a part of the great Northwest Territory whose basic law was the
Ordinance of 1787, a noble and tolerant document. On the first engraved
map of the state of Ohio its name appears in letters as large as those
accorded Cincinnati. It was one of a dozen or so settlements which
dotted that vast area north of the Ohio and bounded by the Scioto and
Miami rivers known as the Virginia Military District.
early history is not unlike that of most pioneer settlements . . . first
a cluster of rude log cabins, the successor of an Indian camp, where
wolves howled in the streets at night, then a straggling village along
Main street which eventually evolved into a "pleasant greene
countrie town" largely dependent upon its agricultural interests
for support; and finally the thriving little city of today affording all
the necessities and many of the luxuries of life.
McArthur first visited the site of the future Greenfield with a
surveying party in 1796. Returning in 1799, he platted the town in neat
checkerboard squares. A free lot was offered to the first girl and
another to the first boy born in the new town. He set aside land for a
school, a meeting house and a burying ground. He reserved the lot on the
southwest corner of Jefferson and Washington streets for a courthouse
and a jail.
Settlers began arriving in the spring of 1800.
was incorporated as a village in 1841.
For many years milling, tanning and quarrying were the principal industries in the small hamlet while its merchants provided the staples of life for the townsfolk and the farmers and woodsmen of the surrounding area.
The Baltimore & Ohio
Railroad was extended through Greenfield in the late 1850's, and
industrial expansion came in the 1880's with the founding of what are
now The American Pad & Textile Co. by the late Edward Lee McClain
and The Waddell Co., Inc., by the late John M. Waddell.
Greenfield is located in
South Central Ohio, in the northeast corner of Highland county and
adjacent to Ross & Fayette counties.
Greenfield lies 69 miles
east of Cincinnati, 54 miles south of Columbus, 24 miles west of
Chillicothe and 50 miles north of the Ohio river. It is served by States
Routes 28, 70, 138 and 41.
Greenfield is the marketing and industrial hub of a rich agricultural area whose fine farm land is drained by the watersheds of several streams. The picturesque terrain shifts from slightly rolling on the north and west to the forested hill ranges of the Scioto and Ohio river valleys on the east and south. Greenfield is 912 feet above sea level.
The population of Greenfield and its immediate environs is estimated at close to 6,000.
Municipally, the village is administered by an elective mayor, a six-member council, clerk, treasurer and a three-member Board of Public Affairs which operates the municipal utilities system.
Greenfield has a full complement of churches and civic, fraternal, patriotic, school and welfare organizations.
The municipal hospital, supported in part by taxation, has a 22-bed capacity. An expansion program is in the planning stage.
Greenfield has a Class A school system with an enrollment of more than 1800 and a faculty of 72. The physical plant consists of McClain High school, the Elementary school, McClain Cafeteria, McClain Garage and McClain Field, all clustered on a handsome campus.
Natural gas service is supplied by the Dayton Power & Light Co., telephone service by the Ohio Consolidated Telephone Co.
Principal industrial products include marine (life-save) equipment and outdoor apparel and accessories, shoes, road-building materials, hosiery, office equipment and showcases, machine tools, foundry castings, fire nets, ambulance cots, stretchers, mortuary tables & printing.