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Posts Tagged ‘The Plain City Historical Society’

Second Annual Forest Grove Cemetery Tour Hosted By the Plain City Historical Society is Wednesday, September 25 at 5:30 pm.

Buy tickets here in the pharmacy for the Second Annual Cemetery Tour at Forest Grove Cemetery in Plain City. The event, which is being presented by The Plain City Historical Society, was a lot of fun last year when Joe and I attended. Costumed Historical Society members will tell about the many Plain City residents now spending eternity in Forest Grove.

The Cemetery Tour takes place on Wednesday, September 25 at 5:30 to 7:15 pm in the oldest section of the cemetery, the circle on the west end. The tour begins at 5:30 and will end at 7:15.

Be sure to wear comfortable shoes as the ground is uneven. You can also bring a lawn chair in case you need to take a rest.

We have tickets for sale here in the pharmacy. Tickets are $5 each and will benefit The Plain City Historical Society. You can also buy pre-sale tickets at the Historical Society, 111 West Main Street. Tickets will also be available the night of the event.

Rain date is Saturday, September 28.

To like The Plain City Historical Society on Facebook, go HERE.



Plain City Historical Society’s First Annual Spaghetti Dinner at Ann and Tony’s Restaurant in West Jefferson on June 14, 15, and 16.


The Plain City Historical Society is sponsoring their First Annual Spaghetti Dinner fundraiser which will take place on Tuesday, June 14, Wednesday, June 15, and Thursday, June 16 from 5 to 7:30 pm at Ann & Tony’s Restaurant, 211 East Main Street in West Jefferson. 

The fundraiser is for one Carry-out dinner per ticket and includes spaghetti with meat sauce, salad, and bread (no substitutions are allowed). Tickets are $10 each for one Carry-out meal.

If you would like to purchase tickets, please contact Bernie Vance at 937-642-4192 or 614-570-2962.

Tickets can also be purchased at the Historical Society during regular business hours. The Historical Society is open Tuesdays 10 am to noon, Thursdays noon to 3 pm, and Saturdays 10 am to noon. You can also purchase tickets at the Historical Society’s monthly meeting held on the fourth Tuesday of the month at 7 pm at 111 West Main Street in Plain City.

Like the Historical Society on Facebook HERE.

Like Ann & Tony’s on Facebook HERE.


We Have Lost a Wonderful Person and a Wealth of Historical Knowledge with the Passing of Joe Hofbauer.


On March 29, we lost not only a wonderful person, but a ton of Plain City history with the passing of Joe Hofbauer.

I knew Joe through the Plain City Historical Society where I sometimes helped him file documents and newspaper clippings and also from Saint Joseph’s Catholic Church where he and his family had been members all of his life. Over the course of many years, Joe always had wonderful stories to tell me and I wrote several articles about him.

Joe and his wife, Mary, are also animal lovers and they helped trap many, many kitties on their property to be spayed and neutered.

We send much love to Mary and to Joe’s daughters, Mary Catherine and Julia Ann, and the rest of his family. Joe was a very special person and he will be greatly missed.

To read Joe’s obituary, please go HERE.


In 2007, I visited Joe at his home and interviewed him for an article (below) that appeared in the Bulletin at Saint Joseph’s Catholic Church. Joe not only knew a lot about Plain City history, he had a very unique history of his own.

Snapshot of a Family: The House of Hofbauer

Joseph G. V. (Joe) Hofbauer’s memories of his family and Saint Joseph’s emerge from his thoughts like fully developed snapshots—colorful and detailed; that his memories seem like pictures is not surprising since Joe was a photographer most of his life.

Joe’s life didn’t begin behind a camera however. Rather, he found himself, as a young boy, surrounded by sausages and steaks and racks of lamb.

Joe’s father, Joseph Vincent Hofbauer, owned a meat market in Plain City for almost forty years.

Born in Pfaffenhausen, Bavaria, Germany, the elder Joseph Hofbauer worked as an apprentice butcher in Hammelburg, Germany for over six years, beginning the difficult job when he was only 17 years old.

In 1928, at the age of 23, Joe’s father left Germany for the United States.

“He left because of the turmoil about the war,” Joe said. “Hitler was taking over. He didn’t like that.”

A family from German Village sponsored Joseph and paid his passage to America. Once in Columbus, Joseph worked for the David Davis Meat Packing Company, saving his money to pay back his sponsors and in the hope of one day having his own meat shop.

Things were tough for Joseph, but he kept working and saving and learning all that he could about the new country he was living in.

“My dad didn’t know any English when he came here. He just picked it up from listening to the people around him.”

With a bit of money saved, Joseph returned to Germany for a family visit in 1933. While at home, he befriended Anna Josepha Kress, a girl in his hometown of Pfaffenhausen. Joseph continued to write Anna after returning to Ohio.

In 1934, two major events occurred in Joseph’s life. First, he finally purchased his own shop, Cut-Rate Meat Market, in Plain City. Secondly, he gained his United States citizenship.

The years to come were also filled with life changing events. In 1935, Joseph sent for his darling Anna to come to Ohio from Germany. The couple married in June of 1935 at St. Mary’s (South) Catholic Church in Columbus. Anna then joined her husband, helping with the family business.

“At one time there were four different meat markets in Plain City. My dad was the only one who did his own butchering, so the other meat markets would come to my dad to order meat to sell in their stores.”

Joe’s Dad sold meat to each of his competitor’s.

After Joe was born in 1936, he also spent many days in the family shop.

“When I was little, if the shop got really busy, my mom would take me down to the Fitzgerald’s and they would baby-sit me.”

The Fitzgeralds, who looked after Joe, were Edith and her mother, Ella, who Joe called “Fitzy.” Edith would become Sister Edith of the Dominican Sisters, a wonderful and holy gift from Saint Joseph’s parish to the world of vocations.

Once he was older, Joe worked in the family meat shop. He continued to work in the shop after high school, before deciding he needed a change.

“I decided I didn’t really care for the meat business. I kept getting cut too many times.”

So instead, Joe began a career as a photographer with the Scotts Company, flying across the country to take pictures of beautiful lawns to promote the company’s products.

Leaving Scotts, Joe served as photographer in the Army, touring Korea and Vietnam. Once he was out of the military, he put his photography skills to use as a civilian, as well, working for the Marysville Journal-Tribune Newspaper and later for the Adjutant General’s Department.

Although photography replaced the family meat business for Joe, nothing ever replaced his Catholic heritage. Joe continued to share his family’s love of Saint Joseph’s; a love fostered from childhood.

“Every funeral, every wedding, anything that happened in the church, I was an altar boy.   There were only two altar boys then—me and Tom Lamb.”

Joe also remembers the days when Sunday school wasn’t for the weak of spirit.

“There used to be an altar railing up front. Every Sunday after Mass all the kids had catechism. The priest would come out from the sacristy with a chair. He’d sit down behind the altar railing and all us kids would bring our catechism books up with the book open to the page we’d studied that week. He’d look at our page and ask us questions. The whole congregation was watching.”

And if you didn’t know your catechism?

“He’d hand back the book and say, ‘You study a little bit more and come back next week.’”

While catechism was hard, equally difficult was digging out the church basement. There wasn’t always a basement at Saint Joe’s. It was added around 1960 to provide more space for a growing congregation.

“When we started, the basement had just enough room for a furnace and some coal. That’s all that was down there. We dug the rest out by hand with picks and shovels. We’d take wheelbarrows of dirt over to a farm conveyor belt that went from the basement out to a truck. Once the truck was full, we hauled it out to a farm.   The priest even helped. That dirt had been there over one hundred years and no one had disturbed it until we did. It was hard.”

A slightly easier task for Joe than digging out the church basement was convincing a pretty Columbus girl to go out with him.

On their first date, Joe gave his bride-to-be, Mary, a taste of his sense of humor.

“We went to this rather classy restaurant. They brought out a vegetable tray first and there were hot peppers on it. Mary asked me, ‘Are those pickles?’ I was always kind of ornery, so I said, ‘Yeah, those are pickles.’ She bit into one and her face turned red and her eyes watered. She said, ‘Those aren’t pickles!’”

Luckily Mary forgave Joe for his “tasteless” joke. In 1963, a new member was added to the Hofbauer family when Joe married Mary Kungis at St. James the Less Catholic Church in Columbus.

The Hofbauer family continued to grow when Joe and Mary had two daughters, Mary Catherine and Julia Ann.

Families grow. But over time, they also diminish.

While Joe’s parents, Joseph and Anna, are no longer living, their memory lingers providing images of a church, a town, and a time that exists now only in the photographs Joe Hofbauer so lovingly treasures.


Joe is pictured here with the late Bob Converse at the Plain City Historical Society.

In 2005, I nominated Joe for a Preservation Hero award from Heritage Ohio. Below is the essay I wrote explaining why Joe deserved this award. You can also read about all of the award winners for 2005 HERE.

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Joe Hofbauer, Plain City’s Preservation Hero

The first meeting for the Plain City Historical Society was in 1982. But even before that time, Joe Hofbauer was actively saving Plain City’s historic treasures. For Plain City’s Sesquicentennial celebration in 1968, Joe and a few other people asked Plain City residents to drop off their old photos so they could be copied. Today, many of the photos Joe is working to preserve are ones that initially came from that Sesquicentennial project, as well as thousands of other originals donated to the Historical Society.

Joe Hofbauer is the founder of the Plain City Historical Society. Joe used to be a professional photographer and had a fishing column in the Marysville Journal Tribune. Many of the photos in the Plain City Historical Society archives are from his personal collection and are photos he actually took. Joe is a walking, talking wealth of information on Plain City lore. But he worries that once he is gone all that information will be lost. So he is working to preserve and chronicle the photos and papers the Historical Society has for future generations.

One of the projects Joe is currently working on is in conjunction with the Plain City Library. The Library already has 27 volumes of copies of Plain City photos in their reference section, which Joe and members of the Historical Society documented, providing dates, stories, and names of people. Some of the photos from those albums have been scanned and included in the Ohio Memory project. The photos in these volumes are copies from the Sesquicentennial celebration. There are also four volumes of Plain City stories in the reference section of the Library. The Historical Society also has thousands of original photos, as well as negatives, that are not included in these volumes.

The Library and Joe are working to scan in all the photos from both the 27 volumes housed in the Library and the originals at the Historical Society. Once they are scanned in, there will be a database of photos that the general public will be able to access.

The Plain City Historical Society is housed in a few rooms next to the Plain City Village offices. Joe and other volunteers have been working to clean the rooms up and organize items so that the public will eventually be able to visit and do research for a few hours a week.

Joe works dauntlessly on archiving for the Historical Society. He clips important articles from the local papers and gathers information on houses that have sold in the area. He also clips obituaries each week from both the local paper and the Columbus Dispatch. He has stacks and stacks of clippings that he files weekly about local people.

Joe also conducts a meeting once a month for the Historical Society, often complete with speakers. These meetings have been continuous since the first one in 1982.

Joe takes requests several times a week from people wanting information about their relatives or other genealogical material. He has gotten requests from as far away as England and Germany. Joe also helps any groups in the community who need historical information on Plain City.

Joe also has tons of historical items stored at his home. From a portion of Reed Bridge (which is no longer in existence) to a fountain/lamp post that used to be in Plain City, Joe has hundreds of very important items that he is safekeeping until the Historical Society can have adequate space to display the articles. Until recently, Joe had also been storing a desk that belonged to Colonel William L. Curry, a famous Plain City resident of the 1800s. The desk has now been moved to the Historical Society rooms for eventual public display.

Joe, by the way, has a signed copy of Colonel Curry’s History of Jerome Township, (on display in the Historical Society) which he found while digging through a box of books at a yard sale—further proof of the lengths Joe will go to in order to find and save historical items.

Without Joe, all of these items would have been lost, most probably, to landfill.

Joe also lives in a historic home and has documented and written a complete history of the house and grounds.

Basically, the only reason Plain City has a Historical Society is because of Joe Hofbauer. He has gathered photos and stories and other documents that would have been lost forever if he had not taken an interest in the history of our village. Joe has been preserving Plain City’s past for most of his life with very little recognition for his efforts. He is a true Preservation Hero.

The photos below show Joe with the albums of photos which are part of the photo preservation project at the Plain City Public Library.

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The Plain City Historical Society’s 4th Annual Bean Supper is Saturday, October 24 from 11 am to 3 pm.


It is time once again for The Plain City Historical Society’s fall fundraiser: the fourth annual ham and bean supper.

Their delicious bean soup and cornbread will be on sale Saturday, October 24 at the Plain City Presbyterian Church, 231 East Main Street, Plain City from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. Your $7.00 ticket will buy ALL YOU CAN EAT ham and bean soup, cornbread, iced tea or coffee, and a dessert. You’ll also get delicious Miller’s Olde Fashioned Ice Cream!!

For more information or if you would like to contribute or provide a dessert, please contact Kathy Cosgray at 614-873-5562 or Rosemary Anderson at 614-873-4191.

Tickets are available for sale at the Historical Society during their regular hours: Tuesdays and Saturdays 10 am to noon; Thursdays noon to 3 pm.

Carry-out is available.

Like the Historical Society on Facebook HERE.

Please note that although the flyer above says “2014,” this is the correct date, Saturday, October 24, for 2015. 

There is A Lot Going on September 11.

If you try to do everything that is being offered on Saturday, September 11, you are going to need all day Sunday to recuperate from too much fun!

First off is the Shekinah Festival and Auction, which actually begins Friday, September 10, with a 7:30 pm concert by Jonny Diaz, a Dove Awards nominee for Best New Artist of the year in 2010. Admission is free to the concert and some food stands will be open during the evening.

The rest of the festival gets underway at sunrise on Saturday the 11th with hot air balloon rides and breakfast beginning at 7 am. Pancakes, sausage, coffee, and donuts will be some of the mouth watering breakfast items available. As always, there will also be lots of other food, activities for children, and many homemade items for sale. The much anticipated auction gets started at 10 am with the furniture and crafts portion. Plain City artist, Jim Converse, has donated a hand carved piece featuring bluebirds perching on an axe. The hand-quilted quilts will be auctioned at 1 pm. Many of the auction items, including the Converse bluebirds, can be viewed on the web site.

This is the 31st year for “The Biggest Little Festival in Ohio,” which is the main way Shekinah Christian School raises money to keep their tuition rates affordable. Please stop by and support them.

After you’ve had your hot air balloon ride and stuffed away a few pancakes, you might want to head to the “Game Day 5K Run and Walk” at Glacier Ridge Metro Park (if you can waddle after loading up on goodies at Shekinah). Check-in begins at 8 am with the race beginning at 9 am. This race, which is sponsored by the United Way of Union County and Jerome Village, allows every participant who finishes to enter into a raffle to win a pair of OSU FOOTBALL TICKETS. Additionally, former OSU Quarterback Craig Krenzel, 2002 National Champion, will be available to sign autographs. The walk/run will take place on the paved trails through Glacier Ridge. If you wear an outfit or costume supporting your favorite football team, you might win an award, as well, for “team spirit.” For more information and to register online, go to: United Way of Union County

After sprinting the 5K, you can then meander back to Plain City to participate in many activities associated with the Union County Covered Bridge Festival. Quilt displays, a visit with Tom McNutt, NBC 4 Garden Expert, and much more are on the agenda in Plain City for the day from 9 am to 4 pm. Additionally, in Marysville, you can take a covered bridge bus tour or visit the “FestiFair: Arts, Crafts, and Antiques” in the uptown area. You can also stop by the Marysville Public Library the whole month of September to see their Covered Bridge Exhibit. For more information, call the Union County Convention and Visitors Bureau at 937-642-6279.

As we already mentioned in an older post, The Plain City Historical Society will also be hosting a Perennial Plant Sale on the sidewalk outside the Historical Society (111 West Main Street) from 10 am to 4 pm.

If you are not exhausted by the end of the day, it won’t be from lack of things to do.