A Glimpse of Worthington in 2003

Worthington celebrated its bicentennial in 2003. Much has been photographed and written about the celebrations that year, but as a historian I was acutely aware that I often wished that people in 1953, 1903, 1853 or 1803 had left us images of everyday life as well as their celebrations. Yes, they left us maps and minutes of meetings, portraits of well known individuals and black and white pictures of groups like families and sports teams. We're extremely grateful for all of that, but wouldn't we like to know what they looked like shopping in their community or celebrating holidays together. What did it feel like to live there?

It is difficult to know whether historians of 2053 or 2103 will appreciate photos of everyday life, or in what form to preserve them to allow such images to survive that long. But with that goal in mind, I roamed typical 2003 activities in Worthington with digital camera in hand. I intentionally did not focus on specific groups, but rather tried to reflect the spirit of the entire community. I hope current and future residents enjoy this tour, and are not too upset about all of the things I left out.

The Old Worthington Business District -- A decade later some of the stores in 2003 Worthington have been replaced by new ventures, but many remain. My photos began as I walked south on the west side of High St. from the Village Green, crossed High St. at New England and walked on the east side as far as North Street -- covering much, although not all, of the Old Worthington business district.

Saturday Farmer's Market  -- Sponsored by the Olde Worthington Business Association, the Farmer's Market in 2003 extended along High St. from the Village Green to New England on Saturday mornings from May through October. Offerings had to be locally grown such as vegetables and flowers or homemade such as jams and jellies or honey and muffins. Offerings varied from garden seedlings in the spring to gourds and dried wreaths in the fall. Pictures were taken on June 14th and September 5th.

Memorial Day Parade -- Sponsored by the American Legion, Worthington's Memorial Day parade was known throughout Ohio. Early morning rifle and cannon shots on the Village Green alert participants to organize at Sharon Memorial Hall. The traditional veterans groups, bands and drill teams, kids on decorated bicycles and firemen in their hook and ladder trucks form up to proceed south on High St. between crowds of spectators on both sides all the way to Walnut Grove Cemetery for concluding Memorial ceremonies.

Worthington Arts Festival -- This annual June event sponsored by the Olde Worthington Business Association was a juried show featuring about 150 arts and craftspersons. Booths occupied all four corners of the Village Green and complimented the regular Saturday Farmer's Market south along High St.

Market Day -- This annual September event was Worthington's largest single day festival including about 250 exhibitors from farm products to handmade crafts, food booths by local groups, and traditional events like the Library book sale and Historical Society flea market. On all quadrants of the Village Green and south on both sides of High St. it reflected the days when the village offered shopping venues for the surrounding agricultural community harvest.

Around the Village Green -- From pioneer militia drills to the activities shown above, the 3.5 acre public square established by Worthington's Scioto Co. settlers has been the center of community life. Any day one can walk the four quadrants surrounding the Rt. 161/23 intersection and see memorials and historic markers as well as sign boards announcing upcoming community events and stop in the Senior Center where various activities are in progress. On Sunday evenings throughout the summer hundreds enjoyed free concerts organized by the city Parks and Recreation Department.

If you enjoyed the bicentennial year in Worthington, perhaps these photos brought pleasant memories. If you can only wish you had been here, this is a glimpse of the 200 year-old town you missed knowing.

              -Jennie McCormick

              Historian, Worthington Historical Society

              2013

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