Marion County Historical Society’s Hall of Fame
While MarionMade’s Celebrate Marion Gala is only two years old, the effort to recognize Marion’s notables has a far longer history. The official Marion County Hall of Fame resides inside the Marion County Historical Society’s Heritage Hall, and has since 1988. A nomination process for new inductees is held annually.
The Marion County Hall of Fame was the concept of former Marion County Commissioner, the late John W. Watkins. A committee of community leaders was convened to discuss the concept, create the Hall of Fame, and establish the membership criteria and selection process. This group, the Honors Panel, includes representatives of the Marion County Historical Society and various community educational, governmental, religious, and social agencies. Heritage Hall was chosen to house the Hall of Fame Wall which displays the commemorative bronze plaques recognizing each inductee.
Since the creation of the Hall, 23 individuals have been chosen as members, ranging from Marion founder Eber Baker to entrepreneur and philanthropist George H. Alber. What all members have in common, besides being deceased, is that they “have brought fame and honor to Marion County by their personal accomplishments.”
The purpose of the Marion County Hall of Fame is to permanently recognize persons who have made direct or notable accomplishments to the Marion County area in education, the arts, business/industry, government/civil service, literature/media, history, sports, agriculture, and who by their lives brought credit to Marion County.
To be eligible for membership, an individual must be deceased for more than five years and must meet one or more of the following criteria: born in Marion County, lived in Marion County at least five years, died as a resident of Marion County, and/or be entombed in a Marion County cemetery. In addition, the nominee must have been associated with a significant historical, artistic, or humanitarian activity in Marion County.
Applications are available via the Historical Society’s website at marionhistory.com. Nominations must be made using the official form and be accompanied by supporting documentation of the candidate’s qualifications. All nominated candidates will be reviewed by the Honors Panel, who will make the decision on which candidates, if any, are approved for acceptance. Individuals chosen for membership will be honored with a commemorative brass plaque to be placed on the Hall of Fame Wall in the auditorium of Heritage Hall. The plaque will be revealed as part of an honoring ceremony which is open to the general public.
Additional information is available by contacting the Marion County Historical Society at 740-387-4255.
Marion County Hall of Fame Members
- George H. Alber – Entrepreneur & Philanthropist
- Eber Baker – “Founder” of Marion
- Henry M. Barnhart – Inventor & Industrialist
- Judge John Bartram – Pioneer & Civic Leader
- Dr. E. Maud L. Bull – Physician & Church Leader
- James H. Godman – Civic Leader, Auditor of State of Ohio
- Florence Kling Harding – First Lady of the United States
- Warren G. Harding – 29th President of the United States
- William H. Houghton – Manufacturer
- Edward Huber – “Father” of Marion Industry
- George W. King – Industrialist
- Rev. Milton E. Lashley – Community-wide Social Ministry
- R.T. Lewis – Real Estate Developer, Philanthropist
- Mary Dennison Gailey Mangrum – Violin Prodigy, Concert Artist
- Joseph Morris – Humanitarian, Conductor on Underground Railroad
- Dr. Charles E. Sawyer – Sanatorium Founder & Presidential Physician
- Frederick S. Smith, MD – Medical Pioneer & Congressman
- Dr. Frederick A. Stengel – Optometrist & Museum Benefactor
- Stanley B. Stowe – First County Agricultural Agent
- Norman Thomas – Six Time Socialist Candidate for President
- James Francis Thorpe – “Athlete of the Century”
- Henry A. True – Banker, Historian, Philanthropist
- Benjamin Waddell – Philanthropist & Humanitarian Purpose