Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Hebron Crossroads 3-23
By Jeff Gill

Superior! That describes our Lakewood Symphonic Band, and the score they received at the last district band competition in Newark.
In fact, Lakewood’s band has received a Superior rating for 21 years in a row. David Wolford, the outgoing director, tells me that’s actually 27 out of 28 (the Disco era threw everyone off).
Still, 21 consecutive years of excellence. . .sounds like a program worth holding onto, don’t you think?
Did I mention that to vote in the May 6 schools levy election, you have to be registered by April 6, which is just around the corner? If you aren’t registered to vote, you should be (call or e-mail me for a registration form and one will be delivered); if you are registered, check your friends and neighbors. Maybe even your spouse needs reminding. . .

The Spring Fling craft show was a fulfilled prophecy last weekend at Hebron Elementary, with beautiful weather and bright colors on all the craft project indoors as well. Kim Gowdy and Lyn Lockwood not only put on a great program, but they had a voter registration table set up. (You can register in Newark at the County building by Wendy’s, at the same place where you can absentee vote, by the way).

This Saturday, Mar. 22, is the next Books & Coffee, and this is the month for "Under the Tuscan Sun" by Frances Mayes. We’ve been needing an evocation of warmth and light, which this book brings by the jug (of olive oil).
We’ll be at 612 W. Main in Hebron with the coffee pot on! And I’ll have some voter registration forms there, too.
Next month’s third Saturday is "Desire of the Everlasting Hills" by Thomas Cahill (the "Jesus" book in his Hinge of History series starting with "How the Irish Saved Civilisation"). Closing out for the summer in May we go with a nod to a long-read but short reading classic, Anthony Trollope's "The Warden."

Spring Break is already here, and a number of families will be taking vacations that the snow helped prevent. By the way, did I mention you might want to register to vote before you go on vacation? I mean, just so you don’t forget when you return, sinnce they’re due in by Apr. 6 for the May 6 election. Oh, I did mention that, didn’t I.

With Spring, remember to be wary of the helpful fellows with the pickups who drive up and tell you what a great deal they have on sealer for your asphalt. Or the guy at your door who "just happened" to be driving by and saw some loose shingles, or a bad mortar join on your chimney, and "just happens" to have some leftover supplies from another job he just finished.
If a contractor or home improvement specialist shows up at your doorstep unexpectedly and unasked for, be alert. If they have a deal too good to be true, it is. And if they say their name is John Sherlock, you’ve got a real scam-meister on your hands. (Google that name if you don’t believe me!)
And if somebody, man or woman, is on your porch and won’t go away when you ask because "they just want to help you out so much," the Hebron Police Department is happy to take your call and come explain trespassing to your unwanted guest.
Spring is "scam season" according to the state Attorney General’s office, and we all can help look out for each other this time of year. Home repair scams are one of the biggest fraud crimes around, and we help them continue with our greed.
Call a local contractor or builder, and if you don’t like something they do, you can talk to them about it while you stand in line to vote May 6, instead of having to figure out where the nice man with the bucket of black goo went when he left your house in a truck with North Carolina license plates.

Jeff Gill is pastor of Hebron Christian Church and a local historian and archaeologist; if you have local news of interest, or need a voter registration form, call 928-4066 or e-mail disciple@voyager.net.

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"Historic National Road"

Just under the familiar white and black US Route shield signs along Rt. 40, a new red, white, and blue emblem now marks the Licking County stretch of "the Main Street of America."
With recognition as a "National Scenic & Historic Byway" by the Department of the Interior and the National Park Service, US Route 40 through Ohio now carries an insignia declaring that you are on the "Historic National Road."
Under those words on the new signs is a distinctive new logo. Framed by the shield outline used for US routes, the blue top portion carries six white stars; one for each state the original National Road project passed through in the early 1800’s.
From Cumberland, Maryland where the road began, following the Braddock’s Road path of 1754 (cut through the wilderness by troops under the command of a 22 year old George Washington), the route went through Pennsylvania, western Virginia (now WV), across Ohio, then Indiana, and originally was to end at the capital of Illinois, Vandalia.
By the time the National Road was completed, the Illinois capital had moved to Springfield, and the sights of the new nation had looked up to cross the Mississippi.
For Ohio, an outline of our state is superimposed on the red stripes below the blue, with the path of Route 40 a "blue highway" marked across the state.
Long before the interstate highway system, before the better-known Route 66, or even before "the Lincoln Highway" of Rt. 30 (the first cross-country paved road), the National Road was living up to the "Main Street" designation for the nation, just as it is Main Street where it passes through Hebron, Ohio, and many other midwestern towns.
One of the marks of the history built into the streetscape of the National Road can be seen in Hebron as you walk along the sidewalks. The original structures built along the road are set far back, with only newer buildings hugging the shoulders. The specifications for the National Road called for it to be wide enough "to turn around an ox-cart," and that width still defines the setback along Hebron’s West Main.
Old stagecoach inns, original gas stations, roadhouses and classic motels all line the route, and are visible to the casual observer. More cautious examination of many structures along 40 can reveal even more historic detail to the pedestrian or to drivers out of their cars.
To encourage such roadside exploration, tourism development, and local pride, these signs remind longtime residents and new arrivals that this isn’t just any old road, but it is the "Historic National Road."