GREENVILLE – After many months of restoration, the Garst Museum and Annie Oakley historical markers have been repainted and installed at numerous locations around Greenville and Darke County.
According to local historian Dick Brown, the cast signs advertising the Garst Museum date back to 1971. Brown thinks they were an idea of Ralph Gelder.
Gelder was a Garst Museum board member and interested in military history. He was the artist who intricately painted Anthony Wayne’s face on the original “Visit Garst Museum” markers. They have been repainted over the years and are currently red and gold. Today, these markers are located at Greenville’s city limits.
The Annie Oakley historical marker was originally located along U.S. Route 127 North at a roadside park near Beamsville. The park’s dedication was jointly sponsored by the Anthony Wayne Parkway Board, the Darke County Historical Society, the Ohio Department of Highways, the Greenville Chamber of Commerce and the Beamsville Christian Church. It was dedicated to Annie Oakley on Aug. 12, 1955. The bronze plaque was donated by Gail Davis, TV star who portrayed Annie Oakley, and western star, Gene Autry, head of Flying A Productions. The plaque was unveiled by Rush Blakely and Maxwell Black, nieces of Annie Oakley.
Recently, after 63 years in service, the Annie Oakley Park was closed and the sign returned to Garst Museum. It has been restored thanks to the Annie Oakley Center Foundation and placed in the front yard of the Garst Museum.
Several families, foundations, and organizations helped fund the restoration of these historical markers. Garst Museum thanked the Brown Family Foundation, the Annie Oakley Center Foundation, Rodney Oda, Jeff and Susan Barker, and Eunice Steinbrecher for their help in preserving these signs.
The Garst Museum is located at 205 N. Broadway, Greenville. For more information, call 937-548-5250, email [email protected] or visit www.garstmuseum.org.