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Poland Township celebrates its 225th birthday

POLAND TOWNSHIP — On July 23, 1796, surveyors traveling from Conneaut, Ohio, traveled 68 miles through swamps, hills and trees to reach the southeast corner of the Connecticut Western Reserve.

“The surveyors put up a post marking the southeast corner of the Western Reserve, and Poland Township, as it turned out,” said Dave Smith, a trustee of the Poland Historical Society. “On the post, they wrote: to the north, Lake Erie 68 miles, to the east, Pennsylvania, to the south, latitude 41 degrees, and to the west, they wrote, New Connecticut, July 23, 1796.”

On Saturday, Poland Township celebrated 225 years since the posting of that marker, which designated the area “Town 1 Range 1,” or the first 5-mile-by-5-mile area surveyed in the Connecticut Western Reserve. The anniversary event took place at Poland Township Park, about 2 miles northwest of the location of the famed marker.

During the celebration, members of the Poland Historical Society, dressed in period clothes, came out of the woods and drove a stake into the ground in a re-enactment, according to Laurie Fox, president of the Poland Historical Society.

A new plaque chronicling the history of the township was dedicated shortly after.

“I think everybody had a good time,” said Fox, who guessed the event drew about 400 people based on the number of hot dogs that were eaten.

The celebration also featured a flag-raising ceremony by local Boy and Girl Scout troops, the national anthem sung by Renee Burnett, appearances by Poland safety services and their vehicles, karate demonstrations by ATA Martial Arts and a fresh produce stand from Countryside Farm.

For the kids, there was face painting, balloons and many hands-on games.

Botanist Kyle Filicky led two nature tours of the 115-acre park, which includes a mile-and-a-half of nature trails, four gardens — a butterfly garden, a native prairie garden, a hosta garden and a fern garden — and a wetlands area, as well as soccer fields and a cross country course, according to Ken Filicky, chairman of the Poland Township Park Board.

He said Saturday’s celebration was the first large event held at the park.

“This is the first one and it’s gone off without a hitch,” Filicky said.

Smith said there’s a lot to know about the area’s history. Poland’s name, chosen by two of its first settlers, honors Polish generals who assisted America in the Revolutionary War, he said.

In the early 1800s, many people settled along Yellow Creek, which runs through Poland Center, spawning a second community.

“At one time, Poland had more people than Youngstown,” Smith said. “Eventually, because of the railroads and other things, Youngstown became larger.”

The historical society, which brought a display to the park, handed out souvenir wooden markers that read “Town 1 Range 1.”

“It’s been a great day,” Smith said.

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