Friday, April 17, 2015

Open House May 2 to Kick Off Self Guided Driving Tour of the Ithaca area

Arcanum Wayne Trail Historical Society will introduce a new program, A Historic Self Guided Driving Tour of the Ithaca area, during a reception Saturday May 2 from 9:00 to noon. Staff will be on hand to answer questions about the driving tour and the points of interest highlighted along the drive. Come by for a cup of coffee and pick up a brochure with detailed driving directions and information about the points of interest. The Historical Society is located at 123 W. George St.

Ithaca was the first settlement to prosper in Twin Township serving as a trading center for what is now southern Darke County. When platted in 1832 by John Collville Ithaca was known as Twinsborough. State Route 503 was known as Ithaca Pike, before that it was a military road which was used by Gen. Anthony Wayne when he brought his troops north from Ft. Washington (Cincinnati) through Ithaca, Beech Grove to Ft. Jefferson and on to Greenville.

Points of interest highlighted will give a glimpse of times long ago: Beech Grove Cemetery and Church; Ithaca Cemetery where the founders of Arcanum and Ithaca and also a Revolutionary soldier are buried; a site in Ithaca where a church was destroyed by a wing tank falling from an Air National Guard plane; and the speculated location of the first settlement of white people in southern Darke County. There are several one and two room schools sites along the route.

This is the last project the late Bill Gunder, local historian, worked on for the historical society. Bill, great grandson of the founder of Arcanum, William Gunder, was dedicated to preserving local history which resulted in the publication of several books, he digitized thousands of local photos, reference materials and papers of the late Anita Short, author, certified genealogist and local historian. Bill had hoped this would be the first of several driving tours focusing on communities in southern Darke County.

Brochures are also available at the Darke County Visitor Bureau and can be downloaded from,

Contact Barb Deis for more information, 678-7832.

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