Ladies and gentlemen, a lot of folks have told me how much they’ve enjoyed the time we’ve spent back in the 1960s.

Tooling around in our old Studebaker, we’ve gone grocery shopping, eaten at local restaurants, visited auto dealers, gas stations, auctions and other uptown businesses – it seems we’ve been everywhere, man.

Of course, as it is now, life was happening back in the 1960s, so I thought we’d take a peek at what was going on in those days. Let's take a look back at June of 1961 – 60 years, a nice, round number.

On the north side of town, as they say, if you build it, they will come. Photographed by an outfield fence, Dick Shaffer and Jim Burton were discussing the new city recreation park project that was nearing completion. Many of us have played baseball or softball at the facility of what is today known as Richard Shaffer Park.

I’m not sure what’s more amazing, that the park’s been there 60 years – or the fact that the last baseball game I played there was 30 years ago.

OK, let’s move on. While work was being completed on the new ballpark, work was about to get started on a new golf course being built on the other side of town. A story in the local newspaper read, “Work is expected to start this week on the golf course for the Hillsboro Elks Lodge as the organization continues its drive to sell $65,000 worth of debenture bonds. Since there is some assurance that the goal might be reached, the group has decided to proceed with the work on the course. The other part of the project will be a clubhouse. Estimated cost of the project has been placed at about $121,000 (or approximately how much it costs to build a deck for your house in 2021!).”

On the front page, there was a photo of a familiar face – Hillsboro’s Robert A. “Bob” Hodson. In June of 1961, Bob had been named chairman of the Retail Merchants Division of the Chamber of Commerce, and he called a meeting to be held at the Columbus & Southern Electric Co. to discuss future plans and activities of the retailers. On May 25 of this year, Bob and his wife, Dorothy, one of Highland County’s most benevolent couples over the years, celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary.

Happy anniversary and God bless you, Bob and Dorothy Hodson!

In another story from 60 years ago, local weather observer Tom Knott reported that May weather in Highland County featured high rainfall and a temperature spread of 48 degrees. Knott reported rainfall for May 1961 was 5.96 inches, compared to a 25-year average of 3.92 inches. It rained 17 of May’s 31 days, with the heaviest rain being 2.2 inches on May 7. Mercury-wise, the hottest day was May 15, when the thermometer hit 81. The coldest day was May 27, when the mercury slid to 33 degrees and some ice, but no snow, was reported.

Out at Rocky Fork Lake, it seems there were an inordinate number of weekend mishaps as a front-page headline read, “Accidents mar lake outings.” In one instance, a driverless car rolled down a hill at North Beach and crashed into boats at the Sunset Docks there. One boat was destroyed. In another incident, two boats collided near North Beach, but no one was injured. A minor accident was reported on East Shore Drive, and a Montgomery County youth was injured while swimming. Reported attendance at the lake of the weekend was about 26,700 people (which seems like a lot to me).

In the sports realm, Hillsboro's Joe Hiestand was one of eight sharpshooters named to the 1961 All-America Trapshooting Team. It was reported that Hiestand had been named to the All-America team several times previously.

And there was another beginning and another end. In June 1961, it was reported that Highland District Hospital had received a federal allocation of $63,344 to help construct a new hospital. And in June 1961, the last Baltimore & Ohio train left Hillsboro after 109 years of railroad service on that line.

On that note, let’s pause for now, and we’ll continue next time.

Steve Roush is vice chairman of the Highland County Historical Society Board of Trustees, a vice president of an international media company and a columnist and contributing writer for The Highland County Press. He can be reached by email at