Posted on July 12, 2017 by Delaware Gazette
Every once in a great while, you have to clean out your bookcase. It’s good to be able to read all the titles by tilting your head to the right and having all the books in order. When you start laying books on top of the books that are standing, it’s time to start weeding them out. My problem is that I have done this before and I don’t think there is one book in the whole bookcase I can part with.
All this is leading up to what I just found. It’s an old Delaware County map. I had to take it out to the kitchen counter where I could get a better look at the fine print in order to find the date. And there it was, 1983. That wasn’t so very long ago. Just 34 years, to be exact.
What has happened to Delaware County in the past 34 years? Does the word, “Everything!” fit for an answer?
On this map, there are four columns of names of roads that total up to 280 in the county. As I read the names of these roads, almost every one of them is familiar to me. Years of campaigning door to door, in the entire county, four or five times, will do that to you.
Some of the names are really interesting. To name just a few, we have Bean-Oller, Burnt Pond, Hogback, Justamere, Monkey Hollow, Panhandle, Peachblow, Seldom Seen, and lastly, Todd St. Rd, (which very few people believe is its real name).
There is absolutely nothing about any “Polaris Parkway” on this certain map. Polaris had not yet become a word in the everyday vocabulary of the citizens of Delaware County. But, we all know that “Polaris” has changed almost everything from what it was like back in 1983, to what it is now.
I am beginning to refer to the days before Polaris as “Old Delaware County.” “Polaris” is the underlying reason Delaware County has ranked among the fastest growing counties east of the Mississippi River, almost continuously since the exit was cut into I-71 in the southern part of our county.
The reverse side of the map shows the City of Delaware, with the list of street names sounding a little more normal. Navigating through the downtown, you have to know Central Ave., from Winter St., from William St. Also, you will see that Sandusky St. divides the East side from the West side., the same as William St. divides the North from the South. I ran across the street “Elmwood Dr.” which had been called “Dent St.” for a very long time, until it got changed to something much more elegant sounding.
When I read the real estate transfers in the paper, I see very few of the ‘old Delaware” addresses listed. The names I find now are almost all names unknown to me. That’s because they are the names of the streets in subdivisions that have been put in place in the city and county since Polaris came on the scene.
I sometimes wonder if any of properties on the old streets and roads are doing any selling or buying at all. But there is no end of activity in the subdivisions of the county. And, you can almost forget about finding a good yard sale to go to when they are in the newer subdivisions. (My favorite yard sales are the ones at Wesleyan Woods and the ones at the Liberty Presbyterian Church.)
I have found one more point of interest in this old map. So many of the great older names found in the advertisements aren’t in business any longer. They included The News Shop, Jim Keefer’s Quick Print, Georgetowne Pharmacy, Delaware Shell Station, Keith McMullen Real Estate, World Wide Games, Parker’s Men’s Wear, Uhlmans, Hallmark, and the last, but not least, is Pizza Villa.
Those great names may be gone, but my hat’s off to those who are still with us. The familiar names listed from 34 years ago that are still in business today are Trimble Insurance, Oberfield’s, Hilborn Insurance, and Disbennett Realtors. Also I just noticed that one of the ads has the words “Call Collect” added for your convenience. I haven’t heard of anyone calling “collect” since who knows when.
Please forgive me if any of the above names of businesses are still in business, or no longer in business. I don’t have time to do much proofing, because I have a bookcase to clean out.
Kay E. Conklin is a retired Delaware County recorder who served four terms. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a degree in sociology and anthropology.
The Delaware County Recorder is a member of the Delaware County History Network of organizations working to preserve and promote our historic heritage.