Orange cones everywhere. Lane changes from left to right and back again. Questions as to where to turn to get to where you’re going. A stretch of Route 235 through the Park Layne, New Carlisle seems to be some blacktop to be avoided this summer.
Ohio St. Rt. 235 has been a major north-south path of travel for western Clark County for more than two hundred years.
It has a varied history. Besides having had at least four names, it has been home to towns that were, were not and yet are there today.
If that sounds confusing, it is mind-boggling to find that in just the mile between Gerlaugh Road and U.S. Rt. 40, this mysterious piece of blacktop has more than forty businesses and five restaurants. In the past, those figures were doubled.
Our personal favorite is no longer there, but as teenagers, we frequented J&J Frostop RootBeer Stand on the northwest corner of Rt. 235 and U.S. Rt. 40. In the 1960s, this was the place to be after school let out down the road at Tecumseh High.
According to Beers 1881 history of Clark County, the land (section 34) was at one time home to the Indian village of Chinchima. In 1805, when Henry Williams Sr. moved to that area, it was known as Long Prairie and was still part of Champaign County.
Benjamin Prince’s 1922 history of Clark County says the US government established the road to link Fort Washington (Cincinnati) with Fort Meigs (Toledo), in the process putting the land we know today as New Carlisle on the map. This was when the entire area was known as Greene County, even before Champaign County times.
If that’s not enough to confuse the weary traveler, New Carlisle was called Monroe when Henry Williams moved in. Before that the town was called York.
Another town, Stringtown, shows up in old newspaper social columns. A string of homes located on the west side of the road, according to a Feb. 26, 1872, Springfield Republic paper, “Stringtown, situated at the New Carlisle, Dayton and National Road crossing, is the most fertile county Ohio can show.”
Our Ohio 235 is the “Dayton” part of the above description. It was Dayton Pike in 1895 and is now known as Dayton-Lakeview Road. From 1926 to 1969 it was Ohio 69.
Ohio 235 has endured much change over 200 years. From Indian village to pioneer settlement to root-beer and roast beef restaurants, the road is here to stay. It is comforting to know that what was, and was not and now is, will forever be a part of our heritage here in Clark County.
For over two years, my husband and I explored roads throughout Clark and Champaign counties for a column we wrote called Rambling Roads. We came to know of many residents who also wanted to share their own unique road stories. Sometimes roads intertwine among our memories like threads of a spider web, weaving blacktop and adventures so tightly that one cannot be drawn forth without the other coming along for the ride.
Whether it’s past residents, ancient peoples, present communities and their hopes for the future, we appreciated getting to know them and the input from readers. Hopefully as we take a look at some of these same roads through our 2017 windshield, we’ll get to know more of what makes this community some of the best that “Ohio can show”.
Contact Connie at the above email address or through this paper.