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HISTORY

Click to view/print a current map of Vandalia and Butler Township.

History of Vandalia

In 1838, Vandalia was founded by Benjamin Wilhelm.  The village was laid out in 33 lots along east National Road and Nelson Street.  Mr. Wilhelm was elected as its first mayor and the village started to grow.

The first church in the village was built in 1838, by the United Brethren congregation on the northwest corner of Troy and Nelson Street (Dixie Drive and Kenbrook today).

During those early years, the village had hotels, blacksmiths shops, a steam sawmill, meat markets, and a carriage shop.

The first school was established in 1869 at the northwest corner of Perry and Nelson Streets.  Vandalia became an independent school district with ten additional districts in the township.

In 1900, Butler High School was built at the intersection of Peters Pike and National Road for Butler Township students.

Vandalia flourished in the late 1870's.  The demand for hose-drawn vehicles and their repairs helped to create thriving businesses in the village.  By 1881 the population was 315.  in 1920, the Vandalia and Butler District School Boards voted to create a centralized school system.  What is now known as Morton Middle School was opened January 22, 1922.

Vandalia was outgrowing its village status by 1959, and the voters chose the Council-Manager as its form of government.  This made the village a municipal corporation, and on January 1, 1960, Vandalia became a Charter City of the State of Ohio.  Vandalia celebrated the 150th year of its founding in 1988.

Additional Reading

Click to view/print "Vandalia-Butler, Crossroads of America" from the Vandalia-Butler Chamber of Commerce Resource Guide.

Click to view/print "History" from the Vandalia-Butler Chamber of Commerce publication, The Vandalia-Butler Community...A Timeless Treasure.

 



History of Butler Township

(Click to view/print an 1875 Map of Butler Township - including historically significant locations)

Butler Township is located in the northeastern part of Montgomery County, Ohio and lies between the Miami and Stillwater Rivers.  This area became a township in 1817  and was named after a field officer who had served in the Indian War.  Within the township were three villages - Little York, Chambersburg, and Vandalia (Chambersburg was renamed Murlin Height).  Vandalia became incorporated in 1849.  There were two railroad stations known as Tadmor and Johnson's Station.  There were post offices at Little York, Tadmor and Spankertown.

In the 1900's, Butler Township had its quota of mills, distilleries and woolen mills.  It was a farming community, as the soil was rich and fertile.  There was also a large supply of raw materials but no transportation to take them anywhere.  This eventually changed as roads, turnpikes, canals and railroads were built.

In 1880 the population was around 1,250.  in 1989 approximately 11,000 people.

Interstate Routes 70 and 75 provide access in every direction for township residents.  The Dayton International Airport is located in Butler Township, but belongs to the City of Dayton.

The Amateur Trapshoot Association, established in 1924, was located well west of the village.

In the past one hundred years, there have been major changes in Butler Township; Butler Township is a growing community with a proud and rich heritage of historical significance.

Additional Reading

Click to view/print the history of Butler Township as taken from the 1919 edition of "The Memoirs of the Miami Valley".

 



History of Vandalia-Butler Schools

In the lower level of the Brown School House you will find an in-depth historical photo essay depicting the evolution of the Vandalia-Butler Schools.  This includes a large lighted map of Butler Township, noting the locations of all schools of the past, many old photos including one room schools.  Also on display are many pieces of paper memorabilia, including graduation announcements, grade cards, school play programs, Aviator newspapers, etc.  Antique school furniture and books are also on display.

See more pictures on the History of Vandalia-Butler Schools exhibit page.

 


 



History of Vandalia Churches

This congregation has built four structures in Vandalia.  Growth of the congregation made it necessary each time to acquire more room.  About 1839 or 1840 the United Brethren society erected a one-story, brick church at the northeast corner of the present intersection of Kenbrook and Dixie Drive.  A second church was built in 1869 at the same location, it had a spire and bell.

A third United Brethren Church was built at the northeast corner of the intersection of Perry Street and Old National Road.  It was dedicated in July 1918.  A merger in 1946 caused a name change to "Evangelical United Brethren Church."  Growth of this church required an Educational wing to be built onto the building and was dedicated June 1952.

By 1954 the congregation had outgrown these facilities and they purchased 2.4 acres on the east side of South Dixie Drive between Tionda Drive and Scott Avenue.  Ground was broken for the (fourth) new church in April 1962 and the old church was sold to another denomination.  On Easter Sunday 1963 the congregation held its first services in the new church.  Another merger with the Methodist church changed the name again to the Vandalia United Methodist Church in 1968.  This is a Sesquicentennial Church.

The German Evangelical Church society was organized in about 1844 or 1845 and met in member's homes until the one story brick building was built in 1853 and dedicated 1854 by Rev. A. Shaeffer.  It is believed it survived until 1882 and closed because it had only twelve members.  (It was located on the south side of National Road just east of the present Vandalia Flower Shop.)  No records or pictures were found for this church.

In 1858 a group of 30 members who lived in Vandalia withdrew for convenience from the Old Stillwater Lutheran Church (located in the township) and formed St. Johns Evangelical Lutheran Church.  This group met in member's homes and the United Brethren Church until their church was completed in 1864.  This church was a one-story brick with cupola and bell and stood east of the present building, which was built in 1968 at 122 W. National Road, Vandalia, Ohio.