A new series begins today on 1808Delaware. From time to time, we will be sharing stories from our own archives about events, places, and people we have met during the time we have been publishing. We are calling this “Looking Back.”
We begin today with a rather enjoyable evening we spent in 2019 with a few hundred Delawareans lining South Sandusky Street. As it turns out, the evening began with a walk from the historic Courthouse to the and around the campus of OWU. When the time arrived, we found ourselves witnessing a bit of history unfolding.
This is what we experienced that October night:
Hayes Statue Unveiled; Delaware Celebrates
Perhaps it was the cooler weather, or maybe it was the scene of fire engines and equipment lining two blocks of Sandusky Street. Or, just as likely, it was the opportunity to watch history take place before one’s own eyes. Whatever the reason, a very large crowd filled downtown Delaware on Friday night for the October First Friday.
The event was marked by the official unveiling of a new statue of native son President Rutherford B. Hayes, one which, speakers noted often, looks in the direction of the site of his birthplace on East William Street. Fittingly, it took place on Hayes’ 197th birthday.
Hundreds and hundreds of onlookers sought the best position to view the ceremony and, at its conclusion, the removal of a covering over the standing image of the country’s 19th President.
Speakers included Delaware Mayor Carolyn Riggle; Delaware County Commissioner Gary Merrell; Steve Bunyard, President of Grady Hospital; Peter Watson, President and CEO of Greif, Inc.; and a visiting dignitary, His Excellency Manual Maria Caceres Cardozo, the Ambassador of Paraguay to the United States. Also sharing remarks was Bill Reitz, Hayes Statue Committee Chair. US
Congressman Troy Balderson made a surprise appearance and shared a few remarks.
During the unveiling, the music played was “Fanfare for the 19th President,” composed by Judge David Hejmanowski.
Back to the fire engines. Children up and down Sandusky Street were enjoying roasting s’mores with members of the Delaware Fire Department, practicing using water hoses, and enjoying great food with their parents.
Several photos from the evening are below.