Saturday, December 29, 2012

December 28th, 2012 - The end of Chapter 2

As of 4pm Friday December 28th, I finished my last day at the County Engineers.  I was going to go to 32 (18 more months) but those at the retirement board made my decision to go early a tough one.

I enjoyed most parts of my job, especially the historical and cartographic portions.  It helped having a supervisor like Brian Cole to work for as well as the rest of the employees, both union and office personnel.

I remember parking my XL125 and XR350 behind the courthouse with the Sheriff's and Auditors motorcycles.  The old St Francis Motel building which I carried my bicycle up 4 flights of stairs to where my office used to be, is no longer there.  All that remains is the sandstone arch entrance.

The one thing I will miss is working with the maps.  Around 15 years ago I took the County Highway map which I used to edit and draw by hand, and brought it into the digital world.  I traced the centerlines of every Village, City, Township, County and State road in the county from aerial photography.

Working with the road records was another aspect I enjoyed.  Using every resource I could including deeds from the earliest life of Stark County and maps from various decades of multiple centuries I ended up drawing 95% of all the records from the 1800's in digital format.  It gave me a personal gimps into the history of Stark county that few will ever know.  If you saw the map I created, you'd be amazed where some roads used to go and places that no longer exist such as the Falls of Sugar Creek.  Big thanks to John Snively who helped me narrow down the location of the falls.

Learning the history and having access to the data I did, helped me to help some people find a part of history missing from heir lives.  One was a woman from Denver whom I helped locate the parcel of land where her great grandfather once owned a general store.    She gave me the lot number so I scanned and scaled an original plat of the town where his store was located and overlaid the plat on modern aerial photography.  She took that map, flew to Ohio and walked the land her ancestral grandfather did almost 200 years before.  That tract of land which was a lot in the town of Calcutta which used to lay at the foot of the Bolivar Dam outside Bolivar, Oho at the confluence of the Sandy Creek and Tuscarawas River.  The town does not exist anymore, it was abandoned about a century ago and later vacated from record.

Another that comes to mind was a woman who was born in  the early part of the 20th century.  She was trying to find what she thought was a rest area on what is now SR800 near where it crossed some railroad tracts south of Canton.  When she was a child back in the 30's, she remembered stopping there when the family would drive south to visit family.  After a bit of hunting, all I could find in the area was an orchard.  When I called her back and told her all I found was the orchard, memories came back to her and she remembered her parents buy fruit there.

All these old records and the County Map will now be left in the hands of my good friend and co-worker Andrew Koehler who will more than likely be taking over these two portions of my job.  While I don't wish upon him the extra work load, I know those old records will be in good hands.  Andrew also rode his motorcycle to work on my final day, then stayed after and waited for me to finish packing up my office to leave.

I'm sure it's going to be an adjustment but I am looking forward to the next chapter in the misadventures of MxMike164

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