History

Earliest Records
The earliest known history of the Shawnee Township Road Department comes from the 1920s and 1930s. At that time, there were approximately 25 miles of Township roads. No actual road crew existed at that time so the 3 elected Trustees handled any problems.

The roads were all stone at that point so the road surface was graded using "machinery" which was pulled by a team of horses. Four horses hitched to a v-plow that was constructed of planks cleared snow. Road ditches were mowed by various farmers' horses hitched to mowers.

Progress came to the Township as electricity was expanded to the outlying areas in 1936-1937. However, fire protection still came in the form of neighbors using bucket. Also, in the early 50s subdivisions began to appear which started the increase in Township road mileage. Paved roads also came on the scene.

The first appointed Road Superintendent was O.V. (Vernie) Miller. The appointment came in either 1953 or 1954. At this point, an actual Road Crew started to form.

In the 50s and 60s, equipment was put into use. In the mid-60s, dump trucks were put to use for plowing and salting. In the 60s, a pick up truck with a wooden cap was also used to salt roads using a small spreader box that was filled manually. Additional residents who owned trucks with plows were contracted to help with significant snow events (the names Dale Hover and Frank Roof come to mind).

Late 20th Century
In July of 1973, Kenny McCune became the Road Superintendent upon the retirement of Vernie Miller. The 3-4-man road crew was supplemented in this era by summer labor which came in the form of college students. This practice existed until the early 80s. The full-time crew expanded to as many as 7 (including the superintendent). It was at this time that "courtesy" services such as brush and leaf pick up were started.

Also, the road crew moved to a new home. A new Road Department building at 2530 Fort Amanda Road replaced the small garage on Zurmehly Road. This move came in April of 1981.

Kenny McCune retired in October of 1993 and longtime assistant Gary Nelson became superintendent. By this time road paving programs (contracted to the Allen County Engineers on an annual basis) had grown to in excess of $100,000.00 yearly.

Gary Nelson's retirement in December of 1997 led to the appointment of Paul (Pete) Riffle on January 1, 1998. Mr. Riffle was the road superintendent through November of 2006 at which time Mr.Riffle lost his battle with cancer. Mr. Riffle's passing was a huge loss to Shawnee Township and he is greatly missed.

In 2007 Mr. Howard Gray was appointed road superintendent.

Present Day
At present, the road crew consists of 5 full-time employees (including the superintendent). They are now responsible for 51.96 mile of roadway.

Many thanks for this Road Department History go to Paul and Orlefa Loyer (long time Hume Road residents) and Audrey McCune (wife of Kenny McCune and daughter of Vernie Miller).

Any additional historical information concerning Shawnee Township will be gratefully accepted. Please contact Howard Gray at 991-7941 or forward material to: 2530 Fort Amanda Road Lima, Ohio 45804.