By Danielle Coots
For the News-Current
BEAVERCREEK — The Beavercreek Historical Society hosted Heritage Day at the Wartinger Park to allow visitors to be transferred back into the simpler times of the 1880s.
The Heritage Day event has existed in some form since 1976 when it was originally known as Herb Day hosted by the Flower Garden Club.
“Each year we honor one of the Beavercreek pioneer families. The city and the township proclaim this event as honored family’s day,” Vice President of the Beavercreek Historical Society Robert Wagley said. “This year, we’ll honor the Anton Zink family.”
Anton Zink was born on May 6, 1846 in Fautenbach, Germany, son of Franz Zink and Theresia Sucher. His family immigrated to the United States, making Beavercreek their home, when Anton was 14-years-old in 1860. The family lived on a Beavercreek farm with his aunt’s family. This farm later became known as the Zink Homestead.
At the age of 18, Anton joined the US Infantry, Company K, 82nd Regiment. During his service to our country, he was wounded and suffered a disabling injury to his right hip, leading him to be discharged in 1891. After a small trip out west to claim free land from the government, he shortly returned home to Beavercreek to help his uncle with the farm. During this time, he returned to Germany twice and came home the second trip married. He met and married Anna Ketterer, daughter of the Burgemeister of Fautenbach in Germany.
Anton and Ketterer were married in the Holy Trinity Catholic Church on Feb. 13, 1877. They had nine children, which grew up in Beavercreek. Anton died Jan. 3, 1929 followed by his wife’s death on Nov. 2, 1930.
“One thing we’re most proud of and excited about this year is how much the children will enjoy the day. The parents are always impressed with the non-commercial nature of the event,” Wagley said. Throughout the event, children interact and connect with the pioneer culture by holding chickens, playing checkers on a homemade checker board with checkers made out of slices of corn cobs, playing tug-of-war, search for pennies in straw, and much more. After the children participated in the activities, they were given a cookie.
Heritage Day allows visitors to experience the way life was lived in the early settler days by viewing the fully furnished log cabin houses on the property, experience a general store with penny candies, and take part of some specialized crafts during the times, such as spinning and blacksmithing.
For entertainment, The Jacob Coy Middle School show choir provided entertainment throughout the day. In addition, a food vendor was available to provide homemade hot dogs, brats and pulled pork sandwiches. The selected vendor also provided potato salad and homemade pies and cookies.
“It would be difficult to have actual pioneer food. In cooler weather, we used to make bean soup over a bonfire and sold homemade pies and cookies. Due to the lack of volunteers, we have had to select a vendor who is willing to follow the menu we wanted,” said Wagley.
The Beavercreek Historical Society estimated that they received approximately 400 visitors, even with the rain.
Danielle Coots is a freelance writer for Greene County News.