FOR THE RECORD

Things are opening up in Union Township — but with caution. Most of our businesses are following Miami County guidelines of masks, sanitizer, distancing. They all need the support of local residents.

West Milton was not able to have a Memorial Day Parade this year but State Route 48 from Ludlow Falls to the north, and south to the Union Township line banners of military personnel are flying in honor of those who have served. The city workers hung flags from the street lights and the Rotary Club placed flags at various places throughout Milton. A beautiful and stirring tribute to our military, our country and our beautiful flag.

The West Milton Fourth of July activities have been postponed to Labor Day, Sept. 7. The plans at this time are for a parade, a special activity in the park (to be announced) and evening fireworks.

The West Milton Community Garage Sale also has been rescheduled for Aug. 6-8.

The Milton-Union Public Library is now open their usual hours, but with restrictions. No meetings are being held and a limited number of people may be in at the same time. Craftacular Wednesday, Puppet Play With Miss Wendy, Teen Story Time With Tina and other programs are on line. The Summer Reading Program is open to all ages. For more detailed information call them at (937) 698-5515.

The source for Ludlow Falls history is from Miami County History 1981 edited by E. Irene Miller and published by the Miami County Historical Society. A volume is in the M-U Library genealogy room to be read on the premises. There is so much more history and many familiar names than there is room for here.

The town is named for Israel Ludlow, a surveyor who stopped at a big spring north of the village while en route to Cincinnati with a wagon train in 1800. When he moved on some of his train decided to remain.

The building of a narrow gauge railroad was in 1879. Various trains continued until the Penn Central which was abandoned March 31, 1976. There were two depots, one destroyed by a train wreck and the other moved in the early ’70s to the corner of State Route 571 and Rangeline Road, where it remains. Some of you might remember it as a gift shop for the Little Country School House restaurant.

In 1901, a traction line ran from Dayton to Covington and across State Route 36 to Piqua. It is said to be the highest traction line in the world entering Ludlow. It stood 85 feet above the low water mark. It went out of commission in 1927 due to the advent of the motor vehicle. It was reduced to junk and sold three years later.

In 1881, there were three saloons, the last one closing around 1891. The town has been dry since. There was a jewelry shop, a hat shop where they made the hats for their customers, there were several blacksmith shops and a hotel. At one time there were two restaurants. A building built in 1885 was later Gallagher’s Grocery. The post office was located there and he contracted with the Standard Oil Company to sell gas. This facility was still in operation in 1981 but has been boarded up for many years. Mr. Gallagher was named Postmaster of the year in Ohio and also Postmaster of the year in the United States in 1956. They still have their own post office, now operating half days. Ludlow also had their own school, eventually housing three rooms. It was closed in 1939.

Ludlow is probably best known for its Christmas lights started in 1950 with one string of lights strung by the Boy Scouts. The fire department took over and a life-size nativity scene was added in 1965. Approximately 65,000 bulbs and 55 miles of wire were strung every year demanding approximately 1,500 volunteer hours to erect the display, direct traffic and be on hand. It was open 23 nights. The record attendance in 1976 was 136,881. The largest crowd for one night was 14,625 in 1974. I still run into people, sometimes in the strangest places, who say that their family used to go there every year. It was indeed a beautiful sight with the colored lights spanning one of Ohio’s natural gorges, plus all the other various displays. The last year for the lights was .

I appreciate a reader letting me know that I made a mistake in the Laura column. The McCool/Randolph Farm is just west of Laura, not east. And I understand there will soon be a much needed cell phone tower going up on that property.