Wednesday, April 22, 2020

New Sign Marks Annie Oakley Childhood Home

Journey up Route 127 to the location across from Star Greenhouses near North Star. A new sign catches your eye with a memorial below marking the site where Annie Oakley’s childhood home once stood. Stand in the spot and see the trees and woods where Annie shot and trapped game to help her mother in desperate financial times. Her game was superior quality and brought a good price because she had such sharp skill that her birds were not riddled with buckshot. Eventually, Annie earned enough money to pay off the mortgage on the house.

Traveling a little farther east to Spencer Road in Willowdell, you will see the marker for Annie Oakley’s birthplace on the “old Swallow farm.” From there with a couple of short turns, you are on the Greenville–St. Mary’s Road driving southwest toward Route 127 to pay respects to Annie Oakley and Frank Butler at their grave site in the Brock Cemetery. The map created by Richard Wright illustrates that each of these sites is within a few miles of one another.

Following its mission to preserve the accurate memory of Annie Oakley and support the National Annie Oakley Center at Garst Museum, the Annie Oakley Center Foundation (AOCF) most recently spearheaded the project erecting the new sign at her childhood home. Generous donations to the AOCF, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, provided funds for the new sign, and volunteers continue to preserve this and the other historic sites associated with Annie Oakley’s life in Darke County. Jenny DeMange and Chelsey Grillot of Star Greenhouses are the volunteers who graciously maintain the beautiful landscaping that enhances the North Star site while Paula Rutschilling donates her efforts to ensure that the flowers at Annie’s birthplace show the love and admiration that people have had for the “world-famous sharpshooter” from Darke County. In addition to the new sign, the AOCF has replaced the historical markers in the Brock Cemetery and in front of Garst Museum to foster a better understanding of Annie Oakley and promote tourism in Darke County.

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