Grove retires from Johnston Farm Board


PIQUA — For more than a decade city of Piqua Deputy Chief of Police Marty Grove served as a board member for the Johnston Farm & Indian Agency. Although he recently retired from the board, he has fond memories of his board service, deep respect for the staff of the Johnston Farm, and a sense of excitement for the site’s future.

“I was on the board when The Ohio Historical Society (now Ohio History Connection) turned the day-to-day operation of the site over to the board,” Grove said. “It was a scary time. I suspect every board member worried about how we’d fare financially – at least I know I did.”

“Fortunately, it all worked out,” Grove said. “We (the board) fulfilled our initial six-year agreement with The Ohio Historical Society, and we’ve recently signed another. Passing that milestone seemed like a good time for me to step aside and let new blood contribute their time and talent to the board.”

“During my term on the board, the site’s transition has been dramatic,” Grove said. “We just recently celebrated the renovation of the Johnston family home, celebrated the site’s 50th anniversary, and set to work on expanding and modernizing the museum. The museum project should be completed soon.”

“The board has also engaged in strategic planning as we prepare for the retirement of long-time Site Manager Andy Hite,” Grove said. “It is an exciting time for the site.”

“A part of me would like to stay on the board and see still other projects completed,” Grove said. “One of those projects is the clean-up and restoration of the Johnston Family Cemetery. Still another is the construction of a parking lot near the museum. And still another project waiting for the board is some major maintenance work on the barn.

“I’ve always been fascinated by the barn,” Grove said. “It is thought to be the oldest barn still standing in Ohio. We know from documents that were written by Colonel Johnston himself that some of the logs used in constructing the barn were salvaged from Fort Piqua, constructed in 1795 by General “Mad” Anthony Wayne.”

The fort was located approximately where the museum is located today. It was constructed for defense against the Indians, but fortunately, the fort was never attacked. It was used primarily for supplies needed by the army.

Grove’s introduction to the site was through Leadership Piqua. His class visited the site as part of their introduction to the city of Piqua. Class members were encouraged to get involved in a community organization, and then Piqua Police Chief Bruce Jamieson was also encouraging officers to get more involved in the community. It proved to be a natural fit.

As a board member, Grove not only attended meetings, but got involved in any number of activities. He’s helped set up for presentations, move displays and furniture, and even helped paint the boathouse.

Grove also had high praise for the composition of the board. “Every member of the board brought a different kind of expertise,” Grove explained. “Each and every member contributed in different ways working together for the good of the organization.”

“We are going to miss Marty’s cheerful willingness to help with virtually any project,” Site Manager Andy Hite said. “We’ll also miss his advice and wise consul concerning security as well as his connection to the staff of the city of Piqua.”

Board President Mike Gutmann agreed.

“Marty was an excellent board member,” Gutmann stated. “He was always engaged. He served as a liaison between the site and the City of Piqua. In addition, he provided insight and ideas concerning security and safety issues that were most helpful to the operation of the site.”

Grove was born and raised in Piqua. He joined the Piqua Police Department 31 years ago, steadily being promoted though the ranks.

Although his siblings have all moved from Piqua, Grove still lives in close proximity to his parents, Tom and Ruth Ann.

His two sons, Kurt and Darrin, are also graduates of Piqua High School. Both sons have relocated out of the area.

“The project that will bring me back as a volunteer,” Grove said, “is the cleanup and restoration of the cemetery. Whenever that project is undertaken, I’ll be happy to return and help.”

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