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Brief History of Pleasant Plain Village

On November 13, 1852 …. Samuel Craig founded the Village of New Columbia after the Railroad came through his farm. New Columbia had 33 lots at its founding.

On February 11, 1876 …… The Village of New Columbia’s name was changed to Pleasant Plain Village. This was done because the Post Office was designated as Pleasant Plain, so the name of the Village was changed to correspond with the Post Office.

A SUMMARY OF EVENTS
1803—1952
3/1/1803 Ohio was the first state created from the Northwest Territory and admitted to the Union.
3/24/1803 Ohio’s General Assembly created Warren County, effective May 1, 1803.
6/15/1807 William Craig acquired land which included the future site of New Columbia (Pleasant Plain).
5/9/1829 Samuel Craig purchased the land which became New Columbia (Pleasant Plain).
1838 Abram Butler laid out the neighboring town of Butlerville.
1843 Records show that a log school existed in 1843 on the site of the present school building. It was known as Salem Township School District #14 and had been built several years earlier. The school directors were Samuel Craig and William Wills. (Later, a two- story brick facility was erected in its place.)
4/16/1851 The first Post Office was established. It was named the “Pleasant Plain Post Office” at the time of its establishment. (See entry for 2/11/1876 on the following page.)
1852 The Hillsborough & Cincinnati Railroad was built through the town site. (The railroad eventually became the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad and later the CSX Railroad.)
11/13/1852 The town site was surveyed and founded as New Columbia by Samuel Craig. Craig began to sell the land off in lots and the community started to grow.
1850s The first railroad station was built on the south side of the tracks. It had a large well and pump station on its eastern side to supply water for steam engines. Large pens were constructed on the north side of the tracks to facilitate loading livestock onto the trains.
5/5/1859 Peter Spurling bought properties just north of the railroad tracks on the west side of Goshen-Wilmington Pike or Main Street (currently St. Rt. 132) from his father, Henry Spurling. The lot closest to the railroad tracks had a two-story building and warehouse. He operated a mercantile store and had a hay and grain business in the warehouse. The two-story building outlasted the warehouse. Before it was demolished in the later half of the 1900s, it housed grocery stores, pool rooms, a barber shop and a tavern.
3/16/1860 Harlan Township was created from Salem Township and established by the Ohio State Legislature.
1860 Walter and Enos Greeley acquired land just north of the railroad tracks and on the west side of town. There they built a grist mill and dug a pond to supply steam power to run the mill.
1861-1865 Several men from New Columbia and the surrounding area were called to serve in the American Civil War.
1866-7 Henry Morgan acquired land and built a two-story building at First Street and on the east side of Goshen-Wilmington Pike or Main Street (Pleasant Plain Road & St. Rt. 132). The ground floor served as a store for several merchants including Morgan, John G. Oonk, W. H. Page, William Schnell and others until the 1950s. For a time, it housed the post office. The upper floor was used for private residences. After a fire, it was converted into a one-story building. (It is now the workshop for the McHenry Equipment Company.)

Ralph Markham acquired Lot #1 on Main Street by the railroad and built the brick hotel (the Pleasant Plain House). Its basement tavern was a well-known meeting place. The town also had several other taverns during this era. The hotel tavern was closed in 1874 by new owners.
1868-9 The Free Will Baptist Church was established and built in the southern part of town on the east side of Goshen-Wilmington Pike or Main Street (St. Rt. 132).
1871 An apothecary was established by George K. Blockson in a small frame building on the lot south of the hotel. Dr. Nathan Troth (a physician) also worked out of this building. (The building was moved and used as a post office in later years. See entry for 1889).
1874 A two-story building was constructed on the south side of First Street (Pleasant Plain Road) by John G. Oonk. The bottom floor was used by Oonk for storing potatoes. The upper floor was eventually rented to the IOOF Lodge and used as its first meeting hall. In later years, other businesses located on the bottom floor. For a time, traveling shows and local entertainers performed on a stage on the first floor. It was also the location of the post office for a time. The upper floor was also used by other organizations and for private residences. (The building is now the headquarters of the McHenry Equipment Company.)
1875 The Methodist Episcopal Church was founded and built on First Street (Pleasant Plain Road). It is now the residence of Cora Yelton.
7/1875 A tornado ripped through the town, destroying one home and damaging others. Limbs were torn from trees.
2/11/1876 New Columbia’s name was changed to Pleasant Plain by an act of the Ohio General Assembly so it would correspond with the name of the post office. (See entry for 4/16/1851.)
8/15/1876 Lodge #656 of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows was chartered.
1877 John Homer built a two-story store building north of the railroad tracks on the east side of Main Street. It has been used as a store, pool hall, tavern and sandwich/ice cream shop since, The upstairs was used as a ballroom and for private residences. It is now a single story building (after being partially destroyed by fire) and is divided into apartments. (It is currently owned by Art Lovin.)
1885 The IOOF Lodge #656 purchased Lot #3 on Main St. (currently St. Rt. 132) and built a new two-story building. The top floor was used as a lodge meeting hail. The lower floor was rented as a store.
1887 A large building was constructed on First Street across from the Oonk building and original IOOF Lodge Hall by Mark and Bart Hahn. It eventually became a blacksmith shop and several blacksmiths set up businesses there. It later became the McHenry Equipment Company’s workshop. It is now a storage building for that business.
1889 The apothecary building (see entry for 1871) was moved across Main Street and placed at the northwest corner of the Morgan store building and across from the hotel. This served as the post office several times until 1961. (The building no longer exists.)
1896 The German Lutheran Church was built on the lot just north of the school property (on or near the current residence of David Coleman). The church building was eventually relocated and is now used as a barn on the Koch property south of town.
1/6/1898 A train derailment occurred in town.
1898 Several men from the area served in the Spanish-American War.

The Starbuck Sawmill opened for business on the present site of William C. McHenry’s property. It operated successfully for several years.

The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad built a new depot building on the north side of the tracks and east of Main Street.
1899 Fires destroyed the new IOOF Lodge Hall and the grist mill. The grist mill was not rebuilt. The Lodge Hall was. Several merchants set up businesses on its lower floor. From From1900 to 1914 William Kenney operated a store and post office out of the building. Most notable of the merchants was William H. McHenry who ran the store from 1922 to 1963 (The store is currently owned and operated by Dwayne Bishop.)
1900 The Dewey brothers of Blanchester constructed a feed and grain warehouse. Silas Gudgeon opened a hay and grain business. (These businesses were along the south side of the railroad and east of Main Street.)
1903 George Howard erected a hay and grain warehouse near the Dewey brothers and Gudgeon businesses.
10/1/1903 The U. S. Post Office Department established the first rural mail route for the Pleasant Plain area. A second route was established on June 1, 1906.
Fall 1906 A passenger train derailment occurred and one man was killed.
1911 A second railroad track was laid parallel to the existing track. There was another train derailment near town.
1913 The present school building was constructed. (It is now the town council headquarters, and pre-school and kindergarten classes are conducted there by the Village Christian Schools.)
1915 The IOOF Lodge disbanded. The upper floor of the building was converted into living quarters.

Pleasant Plain became an incorporated village with an elected council and mayor.
7/7/1915 A windstorm came through town, greatly damaging the Baptist Church and other buildings.
5/10/1916 The Baptist, Lutheran and Methodist Churches merged as Presbyterian. The old Baptist Church later became the new congregation’s place of worship.
1917-1918 World War I took community men to serve overseas.
1917 The Morrow Feed & Supply Company opened on the south side of the railroad and to the east of Main Street. The company sold coal, lumber and livestock feed and installed a milling machine. Buildings that had been used by the Dewey brothers and other businesses along the railroad, were taken over by The Morrow Feed & Supply Company which remained in business into the 1980s.

Early 1 920s W. D. Stewart built and owned the first radio set in town.
Early 1920s W. D. Stewart built and owned the first radio set in town.
1922 William H. McHenry acquired the disbanded IOOF Lodge building and opened his long-lived grocery-general store and farm equipment business.
1926 Electricity came to Pleasant Plain. In August of 1926, the town entered into a contract with Loveland Light & Water Company to supply electricity for the town. Cincinnati Gas & Electric Company/Cinergy is the current provider.
10/27/1927 The National Limited hit a truck hauling milk and derailed. There were injuries to those in the truck, but no deaths.
7/30/1934 The Morrow Feed & Supply Company was destroyed by fire. The company was able to recover and rebuild.
10/1934 A fire cistern was constructed near Morrow Feed & Supply Company for town use.
2/1939 The new Butlerville School was completed and opened its doors for instruction. The Pleasant Plain community became part of the Goshen School District.
1941-1945 World War II took citizens overseas and people of the community worked and sacrificed for the war effort. Area citizens were appointed to the Tire Rationing Board and Mayor Lee Leak headed the Defense Council of Harlan Township. Mexicans arrived in the Pleasant Plain area to work on the railroad due to the absence of railroad workers who were serving their country.
5/1946 The Television Age began in Pleasant Plain when the Howard family acquired the first set in town.
1949 The town council purchased a pump and hoses for fighting fires.
6/23/1950 The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad station closed its doors forever.
10/23/1950 Pleasant Plain’s streets were first lighted.
1951 The Pleasant Plain Presbyterian Church made an agreement with the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad and acquired the old depot building. On August 3rd, the building was moved across the railroad and southward on St. Rt. 132 (Main Street) to its new home—the south side of the Presbyterian church building.
9/ 6-7/1952 Pleasant Plain celebrated the one hundredth year since its founding as New Columbia.

Most of the events on the preceding pages were compiled from Nelson Stewart’s book, History of Pleasant Plain, Ohio ‘formerly New columbia,) which was written for the town’s centennial celebration in 1952. References to current or present times refer to the publishing date of this book (2002).