Darke County – My Historic Hometown

West central Ohio is the best place in the world to live work and rear a family.  I am fortunate that our local papers print Statehouse Updates, but often we forget to talk about how great our local communities are.  For the next few months I will periodically focus a column on the unique characteristics that make each county in western Ohio the best place to live work and rear a family.  This month I will discuss Darke County.

With over 600 square miles of land and 900 acres of parks and preserves, Darke County is a great place to live work and rear a family. I would know. I call Greenville home.

Darke County contributes so much to the state of Ohio. It is usually considered one of the largest agriculture producing counties in the state with over 1700 farms specializing in the production of soybeans, corn, and eggs. Over 90 percent of these farms are family or individual owned and the entire county is an epicenter of small businesses.

One of the county’s larger employers is KitchenAid, now Whirlpool.  Tours are given to show the craftsmanship and quality of the well-known appliance as well as cooking demonstrations and new item showcases at the KitchenAid Experience Retail Center.  Even Governor John Kasich visited this factory following a Maid-Rite.

The county also hosts other major employers such as Midmark, Fram, Greenville Technology, Brethren Retirement Community and Wayne Healthcare.  The continued success of these businesses and other large and small employers is why our unemployment rate remains below state and national averages.

Even if I wasn’t born and raised in Darke County I would know that it is one of the best places in the world to live work and rear a family because of its rich history. Fort Greenville was host to General Mad Anthony Wayne who oversaw the genesis of the American Army as he prepared soldiers to battle Native Americans trying to maintain claim to western Ohio.

Fort Greenville later served as the site of the signing of two major treaties that opened up the west for American expansion.  These treaties are known as first and second “Treaty of GreenVille.”  In addition, Fort Greenville continued expanding America westward, by hosting the introduction of Lewis and Clark where they became great friends prior to their exploration of the Northwest Passage.

Annie Oakley, the treasured sharpshooter was born in Darke County. From here she traveled the world with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West. It is hard to come to Darke County and not understand our remaining respect for Annie whose remains call the county home to this day.

Adding to Darke County’s rich history is Earle Baltes who opened Eldora Speedway in 1954.  This half mile race track has hosted legends and legendary races.  In recent years, the current owner NASCAR Champion Tony Stewart is elevating the track to new levels. Billed by the industry as one of the best dirt tracks in the country, Eldora is expected to continue to gain national attention by NASCAR and motorsports enthusiasts around the country.

The past makes Darke County an Ohio landmark and the future promises continued economic growth and notoriety worldwide.  Darke County is one of the best places to live work and rear a family thanks to an exceptional history and hardworking people.

Please give me your opinion on this topic and others in the news this month by completing an online survey at tinyurl.com/buchyAugust2014.

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