I’m old enough to remember back to 1989 and the Nike advertising campaign that celebrated the remarkable athletic feats of Bo Jackson using the tag line Bo Knows. Nike paired Mr. Jackson with some of the biggest athletes of his era, Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, Mary Decker (and Bo Diddley too), to promote Nike’s latest cross-trainer footwear, suggesting that Bo Jackson’s multi-sport talents were the result of the Nike shoes he was wearing. No doubt Bo knew his sports but nobody — not even Bo — knows Kent history like our own local legend Roger DiPaolo.
Roger knows Kent lore and like Bo he’s willing to share his talent for all to see. Besides being editor of the Record Courier he’s published a new book, titled Rooted in Kent, that features 101 tales from Tree City (Kent) history and last week he shared an interesting piece of Kent coincidence between February 1910 and February 2010 that he dubbed harmonic convergence separated by a 100 years. Here’s what Roger Knows:
In February 1910 a winter storm raged in Kent leaving a foot of snow on the ground (sound familiar). Local business leaders convened to discuss the need to work together on a more official basis and from that the Kent Board of Trade (later re-named the Chamber of Commerce) was born. The Kent Courier (owned at the time by William Steward Kent) hailed the formation of the Board of Trade in an articled headlined “Now For A Greater Kent!”
The article continued: “Let us all cooperate with them (the newly formed Board of Governors of the Kent Board of Trade) in every possible way. Speak a good word. Lend your helping hand. Stand up for your town and for those who are endeavoring to promote its welfare. Be a booster, there’s no room for knockers anywhere. Get in line. A strong pull, all together, will put Kent where it deserves to be, in the front rank of Ohio towns of its size. Boost!”
The Courier left no doubt of its support for the new group by running a banner notice over its nameplate: “The Board of Trade Needs You and You Need It. Get Together.”
Roger concluded his remarks that 100 years later Kent still needs its Board of Trade.
Happy 100 Years to the Greater Kent Area Chamber of Commerce.
I don’t have any Kent winter pics but this picture gives you a sense of what drivers were up against before the days of plow trucks.