22 February 2008 by Published in: General News 16 comments

It has now been six weeks since I sent my letter to Governor Ted Strickland of Ohio, inquiring as to what the state intended to do to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. Sadly, and as I actually expected, I have gotten absolutely no response. That just verifies what I had suspected all along, which is that Ohio is pretty much a historical wasteland.

I wish I could say that I am surprised by the lack of a response, but I can’t.

Scridb filter


  1. Dan
    Fri 22nd Feb 2008 at 10:32 pm

    I can’t believe I’m going to do this… I need to defend Ohio!
    Two reasons….
    Emerson Opdycke and the superb Soldiers and Sailors Monument of Cleveland.
    But, I still prefer Nashville.

  2. jgilot
    Fri 22nd Feb 2008 at 10:35 pm

    I live in Columbus as well and agree with the ‘historical wasteland’ condition we are in. I left Washington, DC to pursue a Masters degree towards a career as an archivist (it was much cheaper for me to move back to Ohio for in-state tuition) and am trying to finish up the degree as soon as possible so that I can beat feet out of here! I’ve worked at the Library of Congress and the CWPT (not trying to toot my own horn) and Columbus has reduced me to working at a Sherwin-Williams store while I’m in school. Finding a job in the historical/museum/archives field is out of the question in this town. The OHS is so financially strapped that the staff and the hours are a mere skeleton of what an institution like that should have.
    Anywhere…here’s to December, when I’ll earn my degree and head to a new, more historically conscious and supportive town!

  3. tomrod
    Sat 23rd Feb 2008 at 4:31 am


    I have this image of the OHS now working in tattered rags with long hair, unkept beards an no food as well as cuts and bruises! OK – I just finished watching the movie “Andersonville” and it left an impression on me

    I live in the Columbus area too!


  4. Sat 23rd Feb 2008 at 9:36 am

    I am disappointed as well. In November I contacted Tyrone K. Yates, Ohio House of Representatives – District 33, about efforts to restore the 5th and 27th USCT regimental flags. I received an automated response promising a reply, but I am still waiting. Sadly, I will share your experience with my three History of Ohio classes next week (we are discussing the CW).

  5. Steve Meserve
    Sat 23rd Feb 2008 at 11:51 am

    Kelly said: “efforts to restore the 5th and 27th USCT regimental flags”

    Just to clarify a point: You can’t “restore” a flag. The best you can do is stabilize and preserve it in its present condition to delay deterioration as much as possible. The folks at Textile Preservation are masters of the art; but they will be the first to tell you their job is conservation; not restoration.

    Unfortunately, proper conservation is not an inexpensive process. A few years ago, I helped the Jefferson County Historical Society raise several thousand dollars to clean and re-mount the Stuart Horse Artillery flag in their museum in Charlestown, WV. It was well worth the extensive fundraising effort, but it was privately done. State and federal agencies simply do not have the budgets to do all we would like to see them do to preserve historic artifacts and sites.

    The best way to get funds from them is show a potential financial return. Here in Loudoun County, Va., we are working on plans for the 150th anniversary of the war that concentrate on the potential for increased tourism with its attendant benefits for the county’s economy. We are getting a better response from the county government with this approach than we ever got simply asking for funds.

  6. Sat 23rd Feb 2008 at 4:13 pm

    Ohio may be a void with regard to Civil War history (but thankfully the citizens of Ohio left many reminders of their state’s sacrifices on the battlefields in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Tennessee, and Georgia.).

    However, I think the “historical” itch in Ohio is oriented toward aviation history and other 20th century topics.

  7. Valerie Protopapas
    Sat 23rd Feb 2008 at 4:50 pm

    Really, folks! You’re expecting the POLITICIANS to respond? And without a single bribe too! Shame on you for being so naive.

    Go to the media, especially the “People” areas in the newspapers and local television. Human interest stories get LOTS of attention. If you have a particular soldier or troop or whatever, send the info along together with any memorials extant in the area. Once the media gets on it, the pols will get involved – the like the “face time” or the mention in the paper.

  8. Zack Fry
    Sat 23rd Feb 2008 at 7:58 pm

    Mr. Wittenberg:

    As a history student at KSU, I sympathize with your angst over the State of Ohio’s apparent carelessness in remembering our contributions to the War as we approach the sesquicentennial. Fortunately, there are still plenty of us out there who strive to preserve the story of Buckeyes in the conflict. You might enjoy a relatively new site I’m helping to moderate – http://www.ohiocivilwar.org – hopefully an important step in the direction of preservation.

    With my compliments,
    Zack Fry

  9. Sat 23rd Feb 2008 at 9:50 pm


    Your site looks very interesting, and I will check it out.


  10. Bob Chamberlin
    Sat 23rd Feb 2008 at 10:04 pm

    Wow! Nice. I have a feeling we need to begin taking matters into our own hands. The Historical Society is off limits to the public in so many regards anyways. Their budgets are null. Their employees are bunkered down. Same old story all around government. It looks like the right idea is finally implemented no thanks to the State…..arrgggg! However, let’s stop expecting much from government. It leads to no result and frustration. The power of the individual, so long as freedom remains, will accomplish great things. The government will create dead end soldier databases. The people will create this! Awesome!

  11. James Eastmen
    Sat 23rd Feb 2008 at 10:09 pm

    I second this one….OhioCivilWar.org. Nothing like it out there! Great stuff. All the government can do is the S&S nps database. yawn! haha. Thanks for the recommendation Zack

  12. Sun 24th Feb 2008 at 2:22 pm

    Politicians interested in history? What a novel concept. Their interest is in votes and kickbacks. They have learned nothing from history.

    We have been interested in history here at Ohio in the Civil War since 1995.


  13. Nike Peters
    Sun 24th Feb 2008 at 4:20 pm


    I vist often. Great site!

    Mike Peters

  14. John
    Sun 24th Feb 2008 at 10:18 pm

    It is rather discouraging however from all of these very extensive sites it looks like some folks are on to something. That can be a good thing!

  15. Sun 24th Feb 2008 at 10:31 pm


    Indeed it can be, and I sincerely hope that’s how it works out.


  16. John Markley
    Wed 27th Feb 2008 at 1:05 am

    I had a chance to look over and register at OhioCivilWar.org.

    I love it! It’s about time people tap into the new technologies that allow for collaboration. It’s kind of like a forum but on steroids! Kudos to you for bringing it to us.

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