GIBSON CITY — The Gibson City Through the Years Historical Walk is set for 2 p.m. Sunday, July 21, in the pavilion at Gibson City’s North Park, with proceeds going toward the city’s sesquicentennial celebration in 2021.
The event features historical local characters and businesses being portrayed, including Dale W. McMillen Sr. from Central Soya, D.K. Roth from Gibson Community Hospital, Stephen S. McCall from Gibson City Canning, Henry Hager from Hager Lumber, Elmo Meiners from M&W Gear and a lifeguard from the Gibson City pool.
Tickets cost $10 each, with free entry for children age 15 and younger. Tickets are available for purchase at the Moyer District Library in Gibson City.
Following is biographical information, provided by the library, about characters to be portrayed at the event:
Dale W. McMillen Sr.
Mr. McMillen founded Central Soya in 1934 in Decatur, Ind. Prior to opening Central Soya Co. Inc. and McMillen Feed Mills Inc. in Gibson City in 1940, Mr. McMillen had been actively engaged in the feed business for more than 26 years. He had operated plants in Fort Wayne, Ind., along with Buffalo, N.Y., and St. Louis, Mo.
“Mr. Mac,” as he was affectionately known, had a national reputation as one of the most progressive pioneers of the commercial feed industry. In 1933, he purchased a closed beet-sugar plant in Decatur, Ind., and it was there that the plant processed soybeans.
Mr. McMillen was born in a log cabin near Van Wert, Ohio. Mr. McMillen started his business career in the family’s feed and grain business, moving to Fort Wayne, Ind., in 1911.
Among his philanthropies was the founding of the Wildcat Baseball League with the motto “Every Boy Makes the Team.” In appreciation for the financial backing and continued support of the baseball program in Gibson City, the baseball fields east of the city’s North Park bear his name and are known as “McMillen Fields.” Locally, his charitable endeavors included the Gibson Community Hospital, swimming pool renovations and McMillen Homes.
Mr. McMillen was a 33-degree Mason and held honorary degrees from Oberlin College and the Indiana Institute of Technology.
Mr.McMillen often praised what he called the wonderful spirit of Gibson City.
Gibson Community Hospital
D.K. Roth, a respected citizen of the Gibson City area, worked diligently toward the construction and establishment of a 50-bed general hospital to serve 21 townships.
In the late 1940s, he invited a group of local businessmen to discuss the need for a hospital in Gibson City, with the consensus being that it would be “too costly.” After a second meeting of civic-minded men who encouraged his idea, “the ball started rolling,” Mr. Roth said. During the building campaign drive, he and his wife generously pledged a monetary gift in addition to 100 acres of land south of town to be auctioned.
Mr. Roth, who served as president of the Corn Belt Hatcheries Inc. and the Corn Belt Mills Inc., was active in farming and community affairs. He was born on a farm in Tazewell County in 1872. In 1901, he moved to the Gibson City area following two years in Fisher. His wife was the former Leanna Mosiman of Middleton, Ohio.