A Peek at Brookville's Past
The articles below provide a glimpse of yesteryear in Brookville, Ohio. These articles and pictures are compiled from information contained in our vast collection on area businesses, people, events, calamities and other items too numerous to mention. An article appears each week in our local newspaper The Brookville Star. We hope you will enjoy reading these samples.
Brookville Home Defense Organization
In 1942, a meeting to form a defense council for Brookville was held in the council rooms and the head of the different units were named. The first meeting to organize was presided over by Kenneth Karch, President of the Brookville Chamber of Commerce.
Particular attention was drawn to the fact that this Home Defence Organization was being formed to comply with a government request. It was being done all over the United States. The possibility of Brookville ever being bombed was vague, but Brookville needed to be ready to help neighboring cities, if they would ever need Brookville's help.
At the organizational meeting, they named the members of the Priority Board, so they could begin functioning. The heads of the different units were: Fire-Ira Pierson; Police-C.L. Weidel; Transportation-Ed Moler; Communication and alarm System-Ralph Wise; Collection-Dan Eby(this was for collection of waste paper, old iron etc., if and when requested by the government or other agencies); Electricity-Lester Garland; Health-Dr. C. W. Thomas; Agriculture-Mrs. B. Fleagle; Recreation-L.D. Martin; Public Information-V.J. Balerhausen. Priority Board members were, Mayor, Charles Fox, J.L. Keener, Rev. Homer Felty, Harry Ardery, Carl Oswald and Rev. Joe Hendrix. In addition, the Women's Organization was to assist in numerous duties. One of which was to canvas the homes of Brookville to ascertain how many the village could house in case evacuation orders were received in Dayton.
Mr. Herschel Hawkins, represented the local branch of the American Legion and pledged the support of that organizatin to Mr. Weidel for police duty. Other support was assured by the Chamber of Commerce, Churches, American Legion, Women's Clubs, Doctors, Civic Organizations and also from the general public.
Later, after plans were completed and perfected, there were a couple of practice calls to see how quickly they could answer calls and to learn what needed to be done after they reach their destination. The priority board cautioned that everybody should keep cool and not get alarmed, as there were no enemy planes in the sky around Brookville.
J C Peffly & Son Chevrolet
In 1917, J.C. Peffly & Son, a Brookville Auto Dealer, announced that he had taken an agency for the Chevrolet car, stating that he felt it was the greatest low-priced car on the market. It had a two-unit electric starter, a three quarter floating axle, a mohair top, 102 inch wheel base, 30x3½ inch non-skid Goodyear tires, easy riding cantilever springs at a low price of $490.00, f.o.b., Flint Michigan. He also sold the Overland with 7 different models, priced from $650.00 to $1,950.00. The agency phone number was 83. The Brookville Historical Society has no information as to where in Brookville this agency was located. Information for this article was taken from a 1917 issue of the Brookville Star. This agency was just one of many auto agencies that operated in Brookville in 1917.
Thokey Photo Studio
Priser's Photo Studio operated at 104 Market Sytreet in Brookville beginning in the 1940's. Clarence Priser did professional photo work for many years. He also specialized in doing Brookville and other local school class pictures. In 1981, Mr. Priser left the photo business to become the pastor of a church in Sparta, North Carolina.
Larry Thokey, a Brookville native took over the studio when Mr. Priser left Brookville. Mr. Thokey, a graduate of Brookville High School in 1957, learned photography in the U S Army Photo School at Ft. Monmouth, New Jersey. While operating the photo studio, Mr. Thokey contributed much to the community. He was active in the Brookville Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club. He worked at the Community Picnic over the years and donated financially to the Brookville Community Scholarship Foundation. Mr. Thokey also did Brookville School's class pictures.
When Mr. Thokey left the Photo Studio in 1996, he too went into the Christian ministry just as his predecessor had done.
This is a photo of the Charles Prass Shoe Store in the early 1920's, when it was located on Main and Walnut Street in Brookville. John Prass was a German shoemaker who started his shoe repair in a building that was the first to be built on the first platted lot in Brookville in 1850. In 1876 Prass moved the building to the rear of the lot for his shoe repair business. He built a brick home on the front of the lot to become his residence His son, Charles Prass, learned the shoemaker trade from his father and joined him in 1898. In 1909, Charles set up a retail shoe business. In 1925, he moved the business to the Somers Building on Market Street (was the bank parking lot, now a vacant lot) and continued at that location until 1945. After Prass moved to Market Street, a presser named J. J. Stonecash occupied the building until 1929 when Charles' son, George Prass, opened a barbershop there until 1935. At this time another son, Dick Prass remodeled the building as a residence and it remained in the Prass family until 1955. It remained a residential property until 1983 when it was torn down to make room for a new house.
Barbering in Brookville
The Brookville Barber Shop was started in 1904 at its present location of 207 Market Street by Arthur Creager. Later, Tommy Vorhees acquired the shop and he had Abner Dalby working with him. After that, Mr. Vorhees sold the shop to Herb Nickols. In 1918, the shop was bought by Dave Good. Mr. Good had Ray "Rusty" Clinger, Wilbur Bader, Bob McCan, Max Black and Bob Tucker working for him. A customer was able to acquire soap and a towel to take a bath in the rear room. A number of customers would come in to have the barber give them a shave. In 1922, Dave Good sold the shop to his partner, Wilbur Bader. Ray Cinger and John Harry worked for Mr. Bader. After the death of Mr. Bader, John Harry bought the shop. In 1962, Harley Gentis acquired the shop. Dave Good was still working there. After over 50 years in the barbering business, Harley Gentis sold the shop to Adam Harris in 2012. This business continues to thrive today.