My name is Ed and I moved to Tiffin in early 2007. I became very interested when the local newspaper began mentioning the possibilities of a Civil War museum coming to Tiffin. I learned more about the idea and about Mark Young's proposal to move to the "Old Post Building" or "Cornerstone Building" in Tiffin, as it is called today. I belong to the local Civil War Roundtable here in Tiffin and became very enthusiastic about the reality for a major collection of Civil War artifacts to be presented to the general public. I plan to help there on a volunteer basis.
I would like to present my opinions, as I am not a Seneca County politician, a Tiffin businessman, a university person affiliated to either Heidelberg or Tiffin or a city politician. I don't need to worry about making enemies or friends of these associations or worried by using the old saying, "I'll scratch your back if you do mine."
I originally went to the city council meeting last fall when the discussion of getting grant funds to help move the Civil War museum into a beautiful empty building that looks like the Lincoln Memorial. A building that has been empty since I moved here and probably long before that. It now has been more than a half a year since that city council meeting, and I thought it was so close to becoming a reality and all the loose ends were ready to be tied. I now read about building codes for the building to be disability accessible and the fire code, which cost extra money. I read now where there is another problem of using extra grant funds for either the museum or for paving a street. I am no expert on all the details and obligations of everything involved, as I am not a politician, but time is slipping away.
I wish I was a business person here in town or belonged to a business organization, a business club, Chamber of Commerce of Tiffin or Seneca County, as I would be backing the opening of the museum before the original grant money is lost at the end of year.
The Ohio Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission already has made plans for future bus tours leaving Columbus to go around the state to different Civil War historic sites, one of the last stops being the Hayes Presidential Home and Library in Fremont. Wow! Just a little drive down SR 53 back to Columbus, and you go through Tiffin, home of The American Civil War Museum of Ohio. You want extra city business revenue?
The Civil War sesquicentennial begins this fall with the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's election and lasts for five years, but Civil War history always will continue. I would think that the business people here in town would think that sightseeing people would stop to see a fabulous collection of Civil War items and learn more about Tiffin with its history of being the home to the 49th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and commander Col. William H. Gibson, whose statue is on the courthouse square, and for visiting Tiffin Glass and the other museums, The Ritz Theatre and both universities.
Edward Ginnever of Tiffin is a guest columnist.
Tiffin has so many possibilities with the museum. The universities could give college credits for working at the museum. People who come to Tiffin for both universities' functions or symposiums could visit the museum. School class outings from around the area could visit. The Tiffin-Seneca Heritage Festival would have another place of interest on its downtown showcase. The Seneca County Fairgrounds could coordinate with the Heritage Festival to have a Civil War show in the fall.
The people in this town with political authority and money should look to the future with interest for the community, not their own needs. No one is going to stop to see a paved street. It is a golden opportunity now; don't let it slip away.