Birth of a city
David Shumway, a Beavercreek resident for 53 years and retiree of WPAFB, set out to find information regarding the creation of Beavercreek as a city and surprisingly found that it hadn’t yet been recorded. So, he took it upon himself to preserve the history of the trials and tribulations of the creation of his community.
“It started out as a simple passing thought and grew rapidly from there,” Shumway said. “I started writing it for my own edification, but Ms. Graff (Beavercreek Township Trustee) and Ms. Kincer (President of the Beavercreek Historical Society) encouraged me to have it printed. It can now be found at the Greene County and Beavercreek libraries, Wright State archives department, City Council, Township Trustees, Beavercreek Senior Center and the Beavercreek Historical Society.”
Shumway’s curiosity began during a conversation with Dayton Daily newspaper editor about developing a column as a community contributor. When discussing possible topics for the column, she informed him that historical issues would be a good idea. After throwing ideas around, the question of how Beavercreek became a city inspired him. That began his two-week search for connecting the dots and writing a comprehensive paper, which turned out to be over 90 pages.
Even though Shumway remembered some of the details of the creation of the city, because he had a small part in it as an observer, he couldn’t remember every needed detail. He was involved in the Beavercreek Jaycees, knew many Beavercreek Township Trustees, the Committee of Eleven, and Charter Commissions. He helped with fundraising, participated in a community survey and worked on the first election. But, that wasn’t enough. So, he used his connections from the past to navigate through personal interviews, old newspaper clippings, meeting notes and minutes, photographs, and other archived documents to piece together historical events so many years ago.
The Beavercreek area was originally settled in the early 1800’s, but didn’t become the city that we know it as today until February 1980. Before being called the City of Beavercreek, the property was known as Beavercreek Township. But, discussions from area communities such as Fairborn, Bellbrook, Kettering, Dayton and WPAFB all wanted to annex portions of the township. For 16 years, beginning in 1964, Beavercreek Township fought the annexation efforts in and out of the court system.
The case had been passed to four different county judges. It’d been appealed twice and ruled upon twice by the Ohio Supreme Court before finally being permitted to divide the western two-thirds of the township into the City of Beavercreek in late 1979, making Beavercreek the 234th city in Ohio. The formation of Beavercreek was officially proclaimed by the Ohio Secretary of State in January of 1980.
Shumway interviewed people that were active in the community during the controversial time of court interventions, such as, Vivian VanAusdal, Scott Hadley, Carol Graff, Colonel (Ret.) Byron (Lee) Schatzley, Steve Kline, Lucia Ball, Dwight Wolf, and Jerry Petrak.
“We have tremendous resources available and we should use them,” said Shumway.
With the help of Graff, Schotzley and Kincer, Shumway’s research resulted in a historical piece of work that will be cherished by the community of the City of Beavercreek and a well known piece of memorabilia to the Miami Valley.
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