Perrysburg gets grant to share city history

PERRYSBURG – A book of local history due in time for the city’s 2016 bicentennial got a boost this week
with the announcement of a $10,000 donation to the project.
Way Public Library received the grant from the Daughters of the American Revolution to publish
"Perrysburg Village Voices: Hometown Stories of the Past," the compilation of a series of
interviews that began in 2002.
The library was supported in its grant application by DAR’s Fort Industry Chapter in Toledo. Donations
have also been received from the city, as well as local civic groups, said Richard Baranowski, local
history librarian at Way, who worked on the project.
Baranowski, a fifth-generation resident, said he didn’t start the front porch interview series thinking
it would lead to a book, but he now sees it as the perfect way to spread the stories he gathered.
"It’s part of any public library’s mission to provide and preserve information unique to the area it
serves," he said. "I believe there would be great interest and lasting importance to the
community with this project.
"We were just doing what we think we should be doing."
About 80 interviews featuring the stories of local politicians, business owners, farmers and community
members were pared down to about 50 and transcribed for the book. The stories also touch on Perrysburg
Township.
"If you don’t write it down, it’s forgotten and lost," Baranowski said. "When people die,
history dies with them.
"But we’ve been able to preserve their voices. This way, descendents can actually see and hear their
ancestors."
Though plans aren’t yet set, Baranowski said he expects the book will play a key role in celebration of
the city’s bicentennial in about a year and a half. The first run of the book will produce 1,000 copies
to be sold at-cost for $25. Any proceeds will benefit the library’s local history department.
Also featured on the pages will be 175 photos submitted by those interviewed – picture of the people and
places that made up Perrysburg in different eras.
"The pictures make (the book)," Baranowski said. "Some date all the way back to the
1850s."
Baranowski said the local DAR chapter was "instrumental" in pursuing the grant.
"I think it will be a great thing for Perrysburg, especially with the bicentennial.
"They’re going to discover Perrysburg like they never knew it."