Ithaca, Ohio

The following was written by Barb Deis some time ago for our library display and when AWTHS was compiling a brochure about the “historic driving tour” of Ithaca and Beech Grove. We felt our readers would enjoy the history of Ithaca, Ohio located in southern Darke County. Link for driving tour brochure:

Ithaca EUB Church         1954

 Evangelical United Brethren Church in 500 block of South Pearl Street was hit and set afire  by a wing gas tank accidentally released from an Illinois National Guard plane.

Ithaca Open Bible Church

6715 Cross Street

Currently on the site where the junk yard was. Before building this church the congregation worship in the old Baptist Church north outside of Ithaca.  

                                    Ithaca Grocery Store * 6767 Cross Street

The Grocery Store dates back to the late 1800s.

The Electric Railroad ran along the east edge of Ithaca next to the grocery store from 1901 until 1925 coming north from Dayton through Gordon on up through Arcanum to Union City.  The tracts ran between Arcanum Ithaca Rd. and Cromwell’s Greenhouse, taking up part of their front yard.

Bill and Myrtle Miller purchased the building in 1931 continuing the grocery business.  The Post Office was located here at that time, Mr. Miller was assigned the duties of post master  

As was the case in early days the Post Office was located in a store or someone’s home.  At times it was in Jacob Thomas General Store, the IOOF building, and 617 N. Main St.

The store was open as a grocery store or carry-out until around 2010.

Part of the building was and still is today a private residence.                (2015)

            Township House * Now Ithaca Village Office*  611 N. Main Street

This very old building was used by Twin Township Trustees then sold to Ithaca for $1.  The Twin Township offices moved to Arcanum when the Arcanum City Hall/ Opera House was constructed   Currently the building serves as the village office, and  is home to the fire bucket and ladder wagon used by the village between 1840 and 1942.   The bucket and ladder wagon was built by Rumsey & Co., S.R., N.Y.

Until recently elections were held here.  In the early days it was a busy place for village business and social events.                                                   (2015)

                                    Independent Order Of Odd Fellows Building

Constructed in 1900 by IOOF the three story building stands in the center of the village at the intersections of State Routes 503 and 722. 

Over the years it has hosted many businesses organizations.

Trivia* Ithaca Street Names and Why the Alleys are Named

When John Colville platted Ithaca there were four streets and several alleys.

There were 24 lots, 12 on each side of Main St.

Main St. dividing the village east and west. (St. Rt. 503)

Pearl St. is the street east of Main St. running north and south to city limits.

Cross St. is dividing line of the city north and south, running through business portion east and west to city limits. (St. Rt. 722)                                                                                When Ohio came up with a program to fund stop signs and intersections for alleys leading to State Routes, it required the alleys to have names. The Ithaca village street commissioner at the time, Richard McCoy, was a bird lover so the story goes, so the alleys are named:                                                                                                 Warbler, East and West Swallow, Waxwing, East and West Peacock, Sandpiper, Killdeer, and North and South Sunbird.

                                                Hoover House * 630 N. Main St.

The northern side of the house at 630 N. Main St. believed to date back to 1856 is constructed of logs.  Richard and Norma Hoover discovered the logs when making an interior change to the house.  They have  deeds dating back to 1900.  Information told to them is the house had been a stagecoach stop.

An account by Mrs. Barney Collins in “History of Darke County” may substantiate that idea; “that was in the days when Hen Wikle drove stage (hack) from Lewisburgh and Euphema to Greenville twice a weeks.  Several Greenville girls attended that college-among them my sister Lucinda- and these girls always rode to and from college in Wikle’s hack”.  The college mentioned by Mrs. Collins could well have been the Lewis Institute in Euphemia on Rt. 503 a short distance north of Rt. 40.  Many wanting to continue their education following 8th grade attended here.                                     (2015)

W. Thomas General Store                                          Facade Now Front Of Building at Cliffton Mills, OH

The Thomas General Store was opened in 1859         two years before the Civil War started.                           The Thomas family continued to serve Ithaca and Southern Darke County until 1952.                      Several years later an auction was held                        of the contents. Also sold at auction was the facade.  The facade is now on one of the buildings                      at Clifton Mills across from the mill.

      *We have a number of stories about the Thomas Store and families, including the Hamilton’s, on our web site under blogs.                                          

Ithaca Cemetery 1859

“The measurement beginning at a stone planted on the section line between John Colvilles and A. Huffers land at the s.w. corner of the grave yard thence east along the south line of said grave yard, 12 rods to a stone…etc…containing 1 acre, also a carriage road on way from the Ithaca and Greenville Road or Free Turnpike to said acre of land.”

In summers of 1964 and 1965 Anita Short and her mother Ruth Bowers recorded all known and readable stones in the Ithaca cemetery.  Many graves in the oldest section were originally marked by stones but the stones were gone by that time.  The list complied at that time can be found at the Arcanum Library or Arcanum Wayne Trail History Society titled “Gateway to the West-Ohio, Darke County, Ohio, Cemetery Inscriptions”.   

The oldest burial by tombstone inscription:                  Richard Robbins d. 3-7-1825 ae 44-7-14         War of 1812               Robbins was most likely entombed elsewhere and later moved to the Ithaca Cemetery. 

Founder of Arcanum, William Gunder and his wife Nancy, as well as the founder of Ithaca, John Colville and his wife Dicea, are buried in this Cemetery along with other members of their families.  Nancy and Dicea Rice were daughters of Martin and Barbara Tillman Rice.

Captain William Ashley’s marker can be found in the southwest corner of the cemetery.  Ashley, a Revolutionary War veteran, was buried on his family farm on the west edge of Ithaca.  When members of DAR Greenville discovered Ashley’s grave wasn’t marked and could not be marked because the property was then owned by another family, they placed a military marker for him in the Ithaca Cemetery.  

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See our blogs for other Ithaca stories as well as our newsletters, research library, and AWTHS Facebook page.

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