Hilltoppers soak up local history



Third-grade students at Hilltop Elementary School received a lesson in local Canfield history during their Canfield History Walking Tour, visiting several historical sites and buildings on the village green and surrounding areas during the day-long tour May 30.

Scheduled stops on the tour included Ruggles-Coope House, Old Courthouse, Christian Church, Odd Fellows Hall, Methodist Church, the Green and bandstand, Farmers National Bank, Mahoning Dispatch, Township Hall, War Vets Museum, Canfield Historical Society’s Bond House, Presbyterian Church, Christian Church, Village Cemetery, Canfield Village Middle School, Old Turner School, WPA Building and the Old Texaco Station.

With the exception of the Mahoning Dispatch and Bond House, the third-grade teachers relayed the history of the locations to the students, highlighting the Ohio Historical Markers at the sites. The students received tours of the Mahoning Dispatch and Bond House, with presentations from volunteers at those buildings.

While the students visited the Mahoning Dispatch, Nancy Newton of the Canfield Historical Society gave them an in-depth tour of the old newspaper presses and machines in the museum. Newton also gave the students a brief history of the Mahoning Dispatch and even turned on one of the antique printing presses. Rosemary Gnagy of the Canfield Historical Society was also on hand to answer any questions.

As a special treat on the tour, the students were invited to tour the house of David Goddard, which was formerly The Canfield House. Goddard shared his automated musical instruments with the children, including his player piano, and let them look at his several collections throughout the house.

At the Bond House, students were treated to a history lesson of the house from Laura Zeh, Canfield Historical Society curator.

Zeh told the students the story of how the society came to own the Bond House and the history of the families who owned it prior to the society obtaining it.

Zeh pointed out several historical objects to the students, explaining the historical significance of each one. She showed them a clock on the wall which was called a wag on the wall and showed the students the society’s Waterford crystal collection and the Chickering piano, which was brought to Canfield by ox cart.

“The difference between a piano you might have in your house and this Chickering piano is that our piano does not have as many keys and octaves as your piano,” Zeh said.

Zeh also played a guessing game with the students by holding up antique household items and asking the students if they knew what each was used for.

To refuel about half-way through their tour, the students enjoyed a brown bag lunch on the green, while soaking up some sun as they soaked up the local history.

The Hilltop Elementary PTO provided bottled water for the students during the tour and popsicles when the students returned to the school after their tour.

Prior to the tour, students also participated in the “Where’s Snoopy in Canfield” project, for which the students were assigned a historical location in Canfield, from a possible 30 locations. The students then visited their location, including the historical marker, had a picture taken of themselves, along with their Snoopy, and wrote three clues about the location so other students could guess where they were.

This year marked the fourth year of the tour, which was originally created by Hilltop Elementary School third-grade teacher Jenny Beil and C.H. Campbell third-grade teachers Marian Bailey and Heidi Snyder. The teachers researched the historical stops to correlate with third-grade content standards, which includes learning about your community.

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