The Lucasville Historical Society has been a critical fixture in the town of Lucasville, Ohio, serving to bridge the gap between local history and personal and familial significance. It aims to be a central hub for historical records from the area, and its large collections, mostly gleaned from personal donations, demonstrate the penchant for the preservation and exhibition of history within the community. Pat and John Smith, who currently help run the Historical Society, are in the process of relocating and restoring the society’s records. These endeavors have not been effortlessly accomplished however, as Pat and John struggle to garner enthusiasm from the community and incite philanthropy. In its present state, the historical society, including the documents and artifacts collected over the years, occupies the basement of another one of its member’s houses. While the basement provides a temporary, dry space for storage, it is far from ideal. In the basement, there is little room to display the collections and to organize files efficiently. Most artifacts remain in cardboard boxes, and documents reside in filing cabinets, producing few opportunities to showcase historical pieces and allow others to access files. The attic of the Emmanuel United Methodist Church also accommodates part of the collection, including antique shoes and clothing. With no more available space, Pat revealed with frustration that the historical society had to start turning away donations of artifacts. However, she is optimistic that the approaching bicentennial celebration will renew excitement about the historical society and promote its importance.
In March 2019, we spent time digitizing a portion of the Historical Society’s records. The files encompassed a wide range of subjects from floods to local businesses. Scanning exposed how expansive the collection truly is; we quickly realized that we needed to modify our ambitions of making it through an entire filing cabinet shelf of documents into a more feasible goal. Pat would intervene as we worked, shuffling fondly through various files and recounting anecdotes. Even though she is not a Lucasville native and would downplay how much she knew about the area, it was easy to recognize her genuine appreciation for the local history and desire to preserve it.
Aside from the documents and artifacts available within the Historical Society’s confines, there is still a significant amount of history to be explored that is retained only in the minds of local historians and other community members. Tom Adkins, a librarian at the Pike County Library, introduced us to local lore lying beneath the surface of Lucasville.