Seeing Things, Saying Things

Musings About Writing, Photography and Teaching

Signs of Their Times

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Mantua, Ohio, is a village of just over 1,000 in Portage County, Ohio, that is probably as typical as any town of its size in America.

There is still life there, but it is hardly a growing place and that reality is unlikely to change anytime soon, if ever.

Small towns like Mantua are rich in history, much of which can be found in the central business district.

Downtown Mantua is a mixture of blight and prosperity with some vacant store fronts and viable businesses sitting side-by-side. I’ve seen much more advance stages of decay in other places.

I recently had lunch with a member of the local Rotary Club as part of my serving as a consultant for a project the club is undertaking to put up signs to tell the history of the Erie Railroad line that once went through town.

The rail line has been abandoned and is now a hike and bike trail. While in Mantua I also took the opportunity to photograph some faded signs that link to another era.

The one that most intrigued me sits atop this post. It from a storefront with a window that shows that the business was founded in the 1850s, but part of the lettering has been scraped away.

It probably will always be a mystery to me as to what was founded there in 1856.

Unlike the other signs, this one is still in relatively good shape. Whoever owns this property has sought to keep it up by painting it. The bright trim against the gray siding looks sharp.

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Written by csanders429

January 28, 2017 at 9:19 am

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