Hart - the Gurney Family and a bit of history Multi-cache
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This is a cache that I hope will be interesting for those who enjoy learning about the history of a community and the people who lived there.
For those of us who have been around the Hart area our entire lives we are aware of John Gurney Park but I'm wondering how many people like me knew little to nothing about how it got its name or who John Gurney was? I hope this multi-stage cache will be as interesting for you as researching for it was for me.
Who was John Gurney? John Asa Gurney fell in battle on July 1, 1898 in San Juan Santiago De Cuba during the Spanish American War. John had graduated fourth in his class at West Point and had a promising military career. John was born on November 8, 1871 to Theron and Helen Gurney. Theron was born on December 12, 1836 at Chester, Ohio. He attended Willoughby University Ohio and in 1861 graduated from Ohio State and Union Law College at Cleveland, Ohio. Theron and Helen (I couldn't find background history on Helen, otherwise I would have provided that information as well) were married on March 27, 1862. Before coming to Hart in 1866 to practice law Theron was the principal of the Union Schools at Chardon, Ohio. During his years in Hart, Theron held the office of township supervisor, township clerk, Hart Village president, justice of the peace, miller, farmer, Oceana County Clerk and Register of Deeds and was elected to the state senate in 1888. Sadly, at the third stage you will discover that John wasn't Theron and Helen's only child who died young.
The first stage will bring you to Hart's Historic District (please see below for a description of what is in the historic district - you may want to spend some time visiting/touring). You will need the dates from the Church and Randall School to find the second stage.
Second stage. For the North coordinate take the date of the Church and subtract 1622 to calculate the last three numbers for: N43 42.XXX. For the West coordinate take the date of Randall School and subtract 1304 to calculate the last three numbers for: W086 21.XXX. You will need to read the plaque to calculate the third stage's coordinates. You can almost feel like you've traveled back in time looking at this stage and imagining what the dedication was like...
Third stage. For the North coordinate take the date the second stage was erected and subtract 1748 to calculate the last three numbers for: N43 42.XXX. For the West coordinate take the same date and subtract 1302 to calculate the last three numbers for: W086 22.XXX. The third stage will bring you to a historic and somber location for the Gurney family. You will need to find the year Theron passed away to locate the cache at the fourth stage.
Fourth (and final) stage. For the North coordinate subtract 1789 from the year Theron passed away to calculate the last three numbers for: N43 42.XXX. For the West coordinate take the same date and subtract 1383 to calculate the last three numbers for: W086 22.XXX.
If you are interested in seeing the farmhouse that the Gurney's built in 1868 and lived in go to N43 42.174 and W086 21.421. It is very near John Gurney Park and has a very 19th century look to it. The house is now privately owned so please don't stop there to look around, however you could park across the street and take a look at it from your car...
The Hart Historic District referenced above has numerous old-time attractions and historical buildings to appeal to all ages. You can tour a restored 19th century church, one room schoolhouse, log cabin and Chief Cobmoosa's house (restoration in progress); also, an original grist and flour mill, and windmill. In the mill you'll find an animated doll display in action. The church basement houses the extensive and unique "Seymour Rider Indian Artifacts Collection", a must see for antique, Indian and history buffs. During the month of December, the Historic District is adorned with oldtime streetscape holiday decorations and animated dolls are on display in the Farmer's Market building. Open hours are 12-3:30pm Wednesday afternoons, 9a-12pm Saturdays or by appointment made through Hart City Hall (231-873-2448) during regular business hours. Over Labor Day Weekend, the district hosts an Annual Heritage Days Celebration featuring arts and crafts, flea market, kids' games, live music and other entertainment, antique vehicle raffle and a pig roast and dinner on Sunday. All buildings and displays are open during the Heritage Days. The Heritage Days Celebration coincides with an Annual Area Pow-Wow.
I hope you have fun with this cache!
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