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Waynesville, Port William & Jeffersonville Railroad Book

A number of you have been aware of the partnership I have developed with Mr. Mike Mason of Port William, Ohio over the past 3-4 years. For those unaware, Mike is the man whom I was told to contact for learning about the “Grasshopper Railroad” by a local historical society. The line that once ran through Port William – even down my in-law’s driveway! He also farms 1,000 acres, has been on ESPN as a dirt track racer, and many other amazing things.

I first was recommended contacting Mike back in 2011, but he owns a lot of farmland and works it himself, so he is usually unavailable for much of anything from April to November (farm season).

I managed to track his phone number down, and recall talking to his wife Jean for the first time one spring. She just said, ‘he will be available to talk to you around October or November’! I was like “really”?! It was true.

Some months later I finally got to meet Mike. He was skeptical of me at first, unsure who I was, but after some Q&A on railroad terminology and details on the Grasshopper, we quickly became great friends!

Mike had two great-grandparents, and all all four of his grandparents (maternal and paternal) own mills or businesses that once used the Grasshopper Railroad for shipping goods out of or into Port William. So he had family ties to the old line just as I did.

For the past 40 years he’s collected information, photos, maps, and history on the old line. His hope for those 40 years was to write a book on the line. There was a LOT of misinformation on the line in books and on the web.

Mike wanted to tell the TRUE story about the line from start to end, and had nearly given up on writing a book until I happened to get with him.

I’m in the business of graphic design, and having helped my mother-in-law Sabrina Kiser (retired English high school teacher) with getting a couple of her books she wrote in previous years (Dove’s Trail and Mountain Mist) started, I offered to help Mike fulfill his dream of writing and publishing a book in trade for him helping me to know all about the old line.

He agreed and for the past 4 years I’ve scanned, cropped, and re-touched images, created artwork of old stations and maps of the old route, converted pages of hand-written notes to electronic copy, edited text (over and over), dove into searching online for old newspaper articles, taken road trips to photograph images of old road crossings, helped get Mike a publisher, set-up a Facebook page for the book, and many other things covering the line’s 31.5 mile length.

In all the many hours of work we’ve put into the book, I’ve never made 1¢ nor have I wanted it. Actually Mike did buy me lunch one day! 🙂

My desire was to help Mike fulfill a dream and for me to know that I helped preserve history. I’d also always wanted to help write a book from start to finish.

With all the work I’d put into helping Mike with his book, he offered to list me as “co-author” of the book! So not only have I helped Mike, I’ve helped preserve history, learned a LOT about Mike, the railroad, and this area, and have become a published co-author too!

Better than that, Mike has vowed to give me all the material he has collected over the years on the railroad and there is a LOT. I’ve already make plans myself to donate all those items to the Clinton County Ohio Historical Society when that day comes. I love history and want it protected!

The past 4 years has been an amazing journey and the trip is nearly finished. This morning, Mike’s publisher David Braughler let me know that the books should be done in a week or so. David also said that he has the book listed on his site and is taking pre-orders on the book.

So with much happiness, I share this link for those who love history, love railroads, live in SW Ohio, or know me or Mike and want to see what we did. We hope you enjoy it!

https://braughlerbooks.com/…/story-waynesville-port-willia…/

I have a page on Facebook for the book and will be sharing even more there as I get time at: https://www.facebook.com/grasshopperrailroad/. I’ll also share some of the strange things that just happened to work out to help us make this book happen. Some things had to have some Divine guidance! We are both very excited and hope what we’ve done will be useful to many.

– Roger W. Starnes, Jr.

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John Bryan State Park Disc Golf Course

I’ve been working in Yellow Springs since 2004 at Bing Design. Years ago, the grounds near Antioch College had a disc golf course near our office that we could play. Around 2009 the college took out all the baskets for the discs without any more about the course closure. Later I found out that John Bryan State Park had acquired the ‘holes’ and was going to install them, but the course didn’t happen for years. Last summer I took my lunch at the park and saw they had finally put up the baskets!

Today, I decided to play a round at lunch. I have a bag of about 20 discs that is normally in my car, but none were with me so I bought one at the park office. Of all days to play, I chose a day with strong winds and 30+ MPH gusts! Learn hard and improve fast I say!

I asked the park office if they had a course map when I arrived, and the woman on duty said ‘no, they planned to map the course out but had not’. This evening I got online and it seems there are NO MAPS for the course anywhere. Just folks wondering if it is going to happen or how the course is laid-out. It is as if the park maintenance crew just put up baskets and moved on to another project.

According to the park they have an 18-hole disc course, but I only counted 8 ‘holes’ visible to me per the image below. I suppose some may be in the woods, or in another place out of view, but I did not see them.

So… I tried to take note of where I was on the course today, and have made an unofficial, somewhat inaccurate course map below for John Bryan State Park’s disc golf course. I saw tonight how to use my iPhone’s map to mark exact locations, so maybe by the weekend I’ll have the baskets marked properly. But for now, I failed to get pics for all the holes and didn’t write down where some were. I don’t think I have all the goals numbered properly, and simply could not find some of the ‘holes’ (if they are even set-up).

So far there do not appear to be tee boxes established on the course yet as it seems the course is still a work in progress. But the course is still fun and very accessible! Hopefully I’ll find the rest of the ‘holes’ to complete this courtesy post!

Click map to see full-size – thanks to Chad Barner for pin locations and tee box suggestions

Photos of the ‘holes’ from today are below (click to see larger shots)…

Hole 01
Hole 02
Hole 03
Hole 04
Hole 05
Hole 06
Hole 09 (?)