The Hamlet of Stark

Sour Grapes and Saddle Sores

George Hirst

The Hamlet of Stark April 7,2005

The village of Stark is four miles south of Wyoming, today it consists of seven houses According to Mrs Marie Shane two of the seven houses, all of which are occupied, are of recent construction.

Stark Congregational Church UCC is still in the area. The Rev Mr. David Koehler, comes from Peoria every other week to conduct services to a faithful congregation. Stark Church was organized February 1885

A lot of people remember the chicken suppers which were an annual event. When the congregation decided they did not have the number of folks to do the supper and closed it, there was a definite sense of loss in the area.

Leeson's history of Stark County has a short report. Stark Village was never platted, it grew up spontaneously as soon as the railroad was opened. It was a competitor to Wady Petra for the trade of the township. The businesses were a grain elevator, a general store, live stock sales , insurance, millinery, a creamery, a blacksmith, shoemaker; and a restaurant. Eric Weberg was the Railroad Agent and E. Morrow was the postmaster. With the houses that were built and with the stores and shops the hamlet had a business like appearance.

Two things are remarkable about this report. One is the fact that the village continues to exist with people moving in and out. It is not a community but a residential area. Tthe second is the competition that was between these two villages. They were both railroad towns, both had RR depots and post offices as well as an assortment of retail stores and services.

Why did these villages disappear as villages? The best answer I believe, is the advent of the automobile and the eventual loss of rail service which changed the way people lived.

In J. Knox Hall's History of Stark County on page 111, is a list of twenty-one minor villages in the county. There are eleven of that number that are in some form of existence. Those eleven are: West Jersey, LaFayette, Castleton, Osceola,Speer, Stark, Camp Grove, Elmira, Duncan, Modena and Wady Petra. The major reason for their existence is that people live there, that makes them important. Since spring is here (there are some other items that I about which I need to write) I am not going to do any more of the villages for now, but I will get back to them.

People call each of their houses in each of those towns home, and people, residents of Stark County, are what we are all about. It is not what you can do there, or what you can buy there, Bradford or Toulon or Wyoming are bigger but even those of us who live in those three towns still have to go other places for our some of our needs. But they are still home! We must be "other centered" and respect all of our towns and villages, even the hamlets.

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Created by KKris. Last Modification: Tuesday 12 of August, 2008 08:03:55 EDT by KKris.