This photograph from the Pleasant Hill History Center shows the Civil War monument located in the middle of town from 100 year ago! The museum has an area dedicated to the monument, as well as exhibits about the amazing residents who have called Pleasant Hill home, from the inventor of teflon and Mikesell's potato chips to famous horse trainers and adventure-seekers. The museum is open 3-7 p.m. on Mondays.
Pleasant Hill Museum Highlights History at New Home
By Judy Deeter
PLEASANT HILL - On December 8, 2014, a new era in history began for the historical museum in Pleasant Hill. On that day, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held for the re-opening of the Pleasant Hill History Center's new location at 8 E. Monument St.
For most of its existence (until 2013), the museum had been known as the Oakes-Beitman Museum and was housed on the second floor of Oakes-Beitman Public Library on State Route 48. Today visitors from near and far learn the town’s history in the new, spacious East Monument Street building.
The public library in Pleasant Hill—the Oakes-Beitman Library—was established through the will of Mrs. Ella Oakes Beitman Wampler. Upon her death, her home was given to the Village of Pleasant Hill to be used as a library. Today, the library is a branch of the Troy-Miami County Public Library. The Oakes-Beitman History Museum was established in 1976 and for years was housed on the library’s upper floor. It became independent from the library in 2004, but the name and the library location remained the same until 2013.
According to a document titled History of the Pleasant Hill History Center, “In 2013, the Oakes-Beitman museum was dissolved and the Pleasant Hill History Center was established with all assets and artifacts legally transferred to the new history center.”
The Pleasant Hill History Center building was built in 1964 by the Citizens National Bank Co. After serving as a bank, the building was owned by the Jackson-Sarver Funeral Home. In 2013, Brian Sarver of the Jackson-Sarver Funeral Home offered to donate the building to the Pleasant Hill History Center for use as a museum. On September 30, 2013, the Pleasant Hill History Center board voted to accept his offer. The task for the museum board was then to turn the building from use by the funeral home to a public museum.
Work on the future museum building soon began. Repairs were made to the plumbing and new heating and air conditioning units were installed. The Miami County Foundation gave the museum a grant of $5,000 to pay for the heating and air conditioning units. On April 12, 2014, volunteers worked all day to remove the old bank’s drive through window from the building.
The Miami County Health Department gave the museum an occupancy permit on June 20, 2014 and on July 15 that year movers took the heavy items from the museum’s home on the second floor of the library to the new East Monument Street location.
The Pleasant Hill History Center tells the story of the town through artifacts, pictures and books. It is a delight to walk through the center and of see the photos and artifacts from long ago.
The town of Pleasant Hill traces its history back to 1843 when it was originally known as Newton. Both the village and township of Newton were named in honor of Sir Isaac Newton, an English physicist and mathematician. It was incorporated as Pleasant Hill in 1866. During 2016, a celebration was held and a new history book published to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the town.
The history center features a large display room, a room honoring military service of local veterans, an educational room with memorabilia from Pleasant Hill schools, and a reference room with local research materials.
Town residents who have become known nationally or internationally known are highlighted in the exhibits. Famous residents include: Jesse Beery, a renowned horse trainer and founder of the Beery School of Horsemanship; Daniel W. Mikesell, founder of the Mikesell's potato chip company; Roy Plunkett, the inventor of Teflon; and Daniel West, philanthropist and founder of Heifer International.
One of the area’s most familiar military monuments is the Civil War Soldier at Parade Rest statue in downtown Pleasant Hill. It is in the middle of the town at the intersection of State Route 48 and State Route 718. It was erected in 1895. Information about the statue and other Pleasant Hill historical site is available at the history center.
An historical walking tour of Pleasant Hill has been created by the history center. A walking tour brochure is available at the history center.
The Pleasant Hill History Center is open on from 3-7 p.m. on Mondays. It is located at 8 East Monument Street, Pleasant Hill, OH 45359. For further information, see the center’s website: www.pleasanthillhistorycenter.com or contact them by email: PleasantHillHC@Yahoo.com.