Welcome to the Zane Trace Alumni Association Page!
The Old Factory
A small village once thrived where Zane Trace School now stands. Our school was first known as the Gravel Pit School, then as The Green Township School from 1916-1922 and then Centralia from 1922-1965 after which, it became known as Zane Trace.
In the second half of the 1800’s, a flour mill was built on the southern bank of the Kinnikinnick Creek where the Norfolk & Southern Railroad trestle now crosses State Route 180. This mill was built of brick and the machinery consisted of large cog-wheels made of wood. A great deal of skill in craftsmanship was used in creating it. The power for the mill was provided by a large water-wheel, propelled with water supplied by a dam that was built further up the creek. Farmers from the area would bring their wheat in to the mill to be ground into flour. One of the millers was a Mr. McCartney. His great- grandchildren, Annis and Clyde McCartney, were students at Centralia High School in its early days. A very fine grade of flour was produced at this old mill.
Later on, the flour mill was remodeled into a woolen mill where a very good quality of English broadcloth was produced. The machinery for this mill was imported from England. It was made of wood and was very costly. It was shown on a 1860 Ross County map.
The mill shut down for a while and then was started up again by a Mr. Bennett. This venture was financed by local settler and businessman, John Crouse. Today, Crouse Chapel Road is named for him. People from England came to Ross County to work in this factory. Mr. Bennett sent his finished product of broadcloth by boat down the Scioto and Ohio Rivers to New Orleans. Here, it was exchanged for gold, which was brought back to Kinnikinnick on foot or on horseback.
Many houses were built as homes for the English folks that came here to work. Six or seven houses were built above the Kinnikinnick where our school now stands. Several more were built along the banks of the creek. This village of houses was known as “The Old Factory.”
A saw mill was later built near the woolen mill. The saws worked in a similar way to a crosscut saw except it worked in a perpendicular way that only allowed it to cut only on the down stroke of the saw. This caused the process to be very slow. The saw mill was powered by a large water-wheel. Another mill was located farther down the creek.
A carding mill was also built nearer to the town of Kinnikinnick. This is where people would bring in wool that was combed and made into small bundles. The women could then use their spinning wheels and spin the wool into skeins of yarn. This could be then turned into cloth for many useful purposes around area homes.
In 1860 there were 6 mills still shown on the Ross County Map. They included, 2 saw mills, 2 paper mills, a flour mill, and the woolen mill located near the school.
The woolen mill shut down again as people could no longer afford to buy the expensive broadcloth. The residents began to change and after some time, the area known as “The Old Factory” became a shady and undesirable place to live. Many of the homes fell into ruin as people abandoned them. The old mill was used for a while as a barn until it fell to the ground. There is now, no evidence to be found of this once thriving community.
The Alumni Committee would like to thank the following people for their recent donations of memorabilia from our school systems past.
Mr. & Mrs. Robert Sigler - Faculty member CHS (Kay is A KHS Grad) - box of old Kingston School photos from Ms. Elizabeth Black.
Joann Lemley-Kingston HS class of 1949 -a scrapbook of her high school years 1947-49 including many sports clippings, programs from plays, as well as other memoriabila
Shirley Kelley Irwin -Kingston HS class of 1961 (in honor of her father, Francis Kelley KHS class of 1936)