Recreation & the Arts 1900-1939
Children played with simple toys in the 1900s including the most famous rag doll of all, Raggedy Ann. Raggedy dolls were popular with parents because they could easily be patched when there were holes in them from children playing with them.
During the spring of 1916 the Hilliard Theater Auditorium was built. Hilliard Auditorium was located on Center Street, west of the Winterringer store. Today, it is the NAPA auto parts store. Families of Northwest Franklin county were finally able to attend cultural events. The first event that took place in the auditorium was the Hilliard High School graduation.
On May 27, 1916 the first motion pictures were shown. Shows could be seen on Wednesday and Saturday night of each week. Instead of previews to shows coming soon there would be some type of singing or story or poetry readings. Frank Winterringer’s daughter Esther would often play piano during the movies since there was no sound in movies at that time.
Many performances were offered at the Hilliard Theater Auditorium. Performances such as a traveling opera company, magician's shows, basketball games (an independent team made up of ex-high school players), wrestling matches and dances. The Hilliard Band was popular for nearly every social event.
Besides attending performances at the Hilliard Auditorium you could take dancing classes. Popular dances including the one-step or two-step and the waltz could be learned at a cost of ten lessons for $5.00. Churches and organizations also held bazaars and dinners in this large room.
In the late 1920's entertainment at the Hilliard Theater came to an end with the arrival of the talking pictures because people could drive to Columbus to see movies where the people talked.
Other ways families spent their free time together was watching soap box derby races. In the 1930s many boys would work with their fathers to build a soap box derby car. Once completed, towns would build wooden ramps so derby racers could race their cars. Families would even visit neighboring towns to race their cars.
More Information & Primary Sources
The Quartoquecentennial of a Pride Community-1978 Hilliard, Ohio
Overview Compiled and Edited by Beth Glenn
Northwest Franklin County Historical Village