Sunday, December 4, 2016

A Visit to Tipp City

 Tom and I both remember the same thing when we think of Tipp City: Spring Hill Nurseries. As a child we both went there with our parents, he coming south from Findlay, me north from Miamisburg. Perhaps we passed one another on one of these outings?

 Our first stop, for that reason, was Spring Hill Nurseries. I tried to find it from memory - unsuccessfully. I thought it was south of Main Street; Tom remembered it being north. I pulled over to the side of the road and plugged it into Google Maps. Turns out I was close, just a few streets to the east of where I was driving.

 In the winter, at least, it isn't the usual nursery operation we remember. The outside greenhouses are empty, many in tatters. The main building houses some discount operation. About the only thing we found plant-related were bags of hyacinth bulbs.

 So after a disappointing stop, we headed back to town. I turned left on Main Street thinking downtown was closer to I-75. Tom thought it was east. Tom was right this time.

 We found the city much improved from our last visit, decades ago. It's steeped in antique shops, reminiscent of Waynesville. It really is a nice, clean, pleasant small town. On shop owner estimated the population at about 20,000. [It was actually 9809 in 2013]

 Due to a church bazaar in full swing, and Christmas shoppers, parking was at a premium. We found a spot a couple of blocks south of Main Street on Third Street and walked the short distance. It was a cloudy, chilly (39°) day but at least it was calm.

 Many storefronts promise antiques. They were everywhere and are probably the overall theme of the town.

 In one shop I marveled at this "bottle tree". I can't help but think of Farmersville's own Winter Zero Swartzel when I see something like this. He operated what is known at the "Bottle Farm" west of the village, and placed bottles atop fence posts throughout his property. Readers of Pinehaven are familiar with the story.

 "Ghost signs" are prominent, and still quite visible on the sides of various downtown buildings. I enjoy looking for these in Cincinnati but Tipp City seems to have more in a smaller area. Battle Ax Plug tobacco was an important 19th century item. Here's another "ghost", though not nearly so clear.

 Gem City Ice Cream, too, was a Miami Valley favorite.

 We spent a couple of hours walking the town, enjoying many antique shops. Tom showed no sign of slowing down (he's seven years younger than I) but I have trouble standing that long. My bladder can't handle the long stretches, either. Thank goodness for the Tipp City Public Library, conveniently located on Main Street, and replete with rest room.

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