by Polly Horn

Based on the format used by her father for his weekly column in The Sunbury News titled "Around the Community," Horn has produced a Powerpoint of photos as a backdrop for the history of the buildings around the square.  Using the highwheeler Bill Whitney used as his logo,  Polly and later her brothers rode it in parades around the square advertising the column.

Horn has spent most of her life in the community leaving to get a college education at Lake Forest College north of Chicago and then to Cleveland as a social worker in the Hough slums during the early days of the racial riots.  She married Jack Brehm and moved to Delaware where she worked for the American Red Cross and Scioto Village School for girls and still had time to help her husband and family with The Sunbury News.  In Delaware Jack and Polly spent evenings and weekends renovating a four family apartment house on William Street as an investment for their children's education.

Having lived in one of the richest communities and one of the poorest, Polly was happy when they purchased the old Willison home on Letts Avenue which brought her back to Sunbury only a few blocks from her childhood home.  While the house was condemned at the time of purchase, the Brehms began a ten year renovation to make a very comfortable home for their three children. 

A year before the third child entered kindergarten, Polly was asked to return to Community Library where she had volunteered as a child and worked as a teen.  She was head of children's services and programming for all ages. One of her most popular programs for school children and community groups was a slide show of old photos of the area gleaned from the newspaper files and other local  photographers. Historical tidbits from area residents enriched the slides.

During this time Harold McMilllan bought the Hopkins House and donated it to the Community Library in memory of his wife Mapledell. It was to be used as part of a new library and a local history museum. 

In 1982, Jack died suddenly and Polly finished projects on the home but did not start the new ones.  The same year she took computer courses with Len Weatherby in what was to become the Myers Inn. 

In 1986, Polly married Bob Horn.  Five years later she became director of the library and with Ray Wirick led a campaign to pass a bond issue to build the new library.  After renovating two buildings, this was Horn's first experience designing a building.  It would not fit on the existing property near the Myers Inn so land was purchased from Russell Miller  - an act which opened the farm to development.

The Hopkins House was no longer close to the Community Library so the Board of Trustees wanted to sell it.   When the only buyers were hoping to open B & Bs, it became apparent the building might be lost for lack of funds.  Some of the Library Board members and Horn rallied the community to form the Big Walnut Area Historical Society and take over the renovation o the building.

Work progressed slowly over the years.  First funds were raised then the work completed and the cycle began again.  When Horn retired in 2005 she became a full time volunteer to get the museum open.  It opened July 4th 2008, 28 years after McMillan's gift.  Work on the building continues.

Meanwhile, Horn converted the popular slide show to a Powerpoint, which became one of many she makes available to classes, clubs and groups in the community.


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