The fifteenth Ohio National Road Interpretive sign was unveiled on July 29, 2011. The sign, commemorating the City of Vandalia as the Crossroads of America, is located at 122 West National Road, Vandalia, OH 45377. Shown seated on a newly-installed memorial bench near the yet-to-be-unveiled sign is ONRA President Dean Ringle.
Speakers at the ceremony were (left to right): Historical Society of Vandalia-Butler (HSVB) President Joe Dranschak, Ohio National Road Association (ONRA) President Dean Ringle, ONRA Past-President Cyndie Gerken (who served as the ceremony’s emcee), and Vandalia Mayor Bill Loy.
A standing-room only crowd of about 75 gathered to participate in the ceremony and witness the unveiling of the sign. It was a very hot morning, but thanks to HSVB President Joe Dranschak’s wife Jennie and grandson Jaiden Henderson (not shown), all were kept comfortable. Jaiden continually served glasses of ice water and punch, and Jennie made sure there were plenty of delicious cookies and brownies to help us all maintain our strength!
The Crossroads of America Ohio National Road Interpretive sign was unveiled by (left to right): ONRA President Dean Ringle, HSVB Joe Dranschak (obscured from view), and Vandalia Mayor Bill Loy, as ONRA Past-President Cyndie Gerken and HSVB member Tim Garwood look on.
The ONRA Board of Trustees was well-represented at the ceremony and those attending were (left to right): President and Franklin County rep Dean Ringle, Past-President and Miami County rep Cyndie Gerken, Signage Committee Chair and Franklin County rep Mike Peppe, Secretary and Muskingum County rep Mary Ellen Weingartner, and Montgomery County rep Paul Seibel. One of ONRA’s most active members, Denny Gibson (not shown) was in attendance and kindly took this and other photos.
The Vandalia Crossroads of America Interpretive sign was designed and sponsored by the Historical Society of Vandalia-Butler. Shown here are Society members who were in attendance for the unveiling, beginning with the front row (left to right): John Klepinger, Carolyn Klepinger, Ed Kovacs (HSVB Trustee), Arlene Setzer (HSVB Vice President), June Frantz and Bonnie Armstrong (HSVB Trustee). In the second row (left to right): Barbara Weng Kimmel (HSVB Membership Chair), Thelma Karns, Jay Phipps, Joe Dranschak (HSVB President), Helen Lawson, and Bud Brown (HSVB Trustee). In the back row (left to right): Larry Karns, Connie Karns, Tim Garwood, Rob Anderson (Vandalia City Manager), Roy Hamilton, Wanda Weber (HSVB Secretary), Mary Lou Barga, Candice Farst (Vandalia City Councilwoman), and Robert Walker.
The Crossroads of America Interpretive sign is installed just west of the original “crossroads” (the National Road and old Dixie Highway) on the south side of the National Road (US 40) on property owned by St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church. Shown here admiring the newly unveiled sign are (left to right): City of Vandalia Communications Manager Rich Hopkins, St. John’s Lutheran Church Pastor Gil Santiago, Harry Snyder, Carol Wasch and Beverly Maxwell.
Members of the late Carl Calvin Karns’ extended family attended the sign unveiling ceremony and gathered at the bench which had been donated in his memory by his wife, Thelma. Sitting on the bench (left to right) are: Susan Kirker (Thelma’s niece), Joann Galloway (Thelma’s sister), Thelma Karns and Ava Stephens (her Great-Granddaughter). Behind the bench (left to right) are: Connie Karns (Thelma’s daughter), Larry Karns (Thelma’s son), Rosella Price (Thelma’s cousin), Chris Stephens (Thelma’s Grandson), Zane Price (Thelma’s Great Grandson), Karen Tyson (Thelma’s cousin), and Kristy Stephens (Thelma’s Granddaughter-in-law).