Well, here we go…
Happy Valentines Day and welcome to the very first Portage District Library’s Local History Blog. My name is Steve Rossio and I am the Local Historian here at the Portage District Library. I guess to kick this off I will give you a bit of information about myself…I was born in Kalamazoo but grew up here in Portage; off the corner of Milham Avenue and Oakland Drive. I attended Angling Road Elementary, West Middle School, Portage Northern High School (where I had my father, Dick Rossio, for a teacher) and finally Western Michigan University where I received my BA in Public History. I have been employed with the Portage Library now for over 13 years and have enjoyed every minute. I have always been a history buff and am a collector of World War I and WWII U.S. Militaria which I use for school visits and veterans displays here at the library. I am also involved in Civil War Reenacting of which I am a member of the 66th Ill, Company D, also known as the Western Sharpshooters.
Well that’s enough about me now on to the goal of this blog. I would like to provide you, the reader, with an insight into what goes on in the life of a Local Historian. That means that each entry will contain tidbits about my day, interesting things I uncover about Portage while processing the collection, popular genealogy or history websites, and anything else I think of that you, the reader, might like to know about. I am also including a section commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the American Civil War featuring what happened 150 years ago on this date. So enough of the introductions…lets get on with it!
February 14th, 1861
President-elect Abraham Lincoln and his party departed Columbus Ohio at 8:00 a.m. for a twelve-hour train trip to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In spite of a pelting rainstorm that lingered throughout the entire trip, large enthusiastic crowds gathered to greet Lincoln in the towns along the route. Not being one to disappoint the people, Lincoln made numerous impromptu speeches from the rear of the train, to the point that he nearly lost his voice.