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A Short History of Prairie Depot, Ohio

From the Toledo Blade - Oct 19, 1985


Prairie Depot

Toledo Blade - Oct 19, 1985

Wayne 150th Birthday Really 600-Year Event

By DON WOLFE

Wayne, O, preparing to celebrate its sesquicentennial next year, would need 600 years if it wished to cover all of its historical names.

This Wood County community of less than 1,000 population has held four names in its lifetime. Virginia Lewis, Wayne postmaster, does not have a historic timetable on file, but she occasionally hears oldtimers talking about it.

Freeport was the original name, followed by Prairie Depot, Kremlin and Wayne.

Town Laid Out in 1836

The town, which bumps up against Montgomery Township right in the residential district, was laid out in March, 1836. It was built on a woodland site. Log cabins were the prevailing housing fashion. Freeport was the name of the town.

In 1852, the government gave the town a post office, but insisted on changing the Freeport name. There was another Ohio post office with the same name in Harrison County. So the name became Prairie Depot, even though the fairly new settlement had neither a prairie nor a depot.

Then the Toledo & Ohio Central Railroad came to town and changed its name to Kremlin. Mrs. Lewis gasped when she first heard that name at the post office, and still wonders how the Russian-related name sneaked into the village history.

The railroad's action in adding another name really created confusion. Some townsfolk made their own selection from the three, and stuck with it.

When a passenger train would come into the new station, people would rush not only to see the train, but to hear the conductor call "Freeport, Prairie Depot and Kremlin." Passengers, who could take in the entire town in one glance, didn't know for sure where they were.

In 1927, the government gave the town its present name, changing the post office from Prairie Depot to Wayne. It was named in honor of Gen. Anthony Wayne.

No More Changes

In 1931, residents submitted a petition to council asking that the town remain Wayne forevermore, and the names of Freeport, Prairie Depot, and Kremlin be discarded. This was in time for the 100th anniversary celebration, which took place in 1936.

Among the orators of the centennial program was Grove Patterson, then editor of The Blade, who, with his wife, Esther, lived on a farm near Wayne.

Bonnie Holeman, general chairman of the upcoming celebration, said a committee of 60 already is working on the program for July 4 to 6 next year. The committee hopes to use as much of Main Street as possible for a flea market and parade.

A family-oriented picnic is planned on the closing day.

The committee is raising funds through a raffle to finance most of the program. It should be a great homecoming occasion for former residents

Article and photos courtesy of Dan West at www.west2k.com


Owner/Source Dan West at http://www.west2k.com
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