Kenmore’s city status started and stopped with this man’s signature

Little is known about Kenmore’s transition from a village to a city in 1922, but one thing is for sure: Vern Christy had a part in it.

Christy, a Marshallville native who moved to Kenmore in 1909, served as a member of the Village Council during Kenmore’s formative years. “He was, in fact, instrumental in collecting signatures of the 15,000 residents of Kenmore required to have (it) declared a city,” reported Lee McCutchen, who interviewed Christy’s wife, Ida, in 1984.

But that was just the beginning – the beginning and the end – as Ida would explain: “It was just about this time that Akron came forth with their decision to annex (Kenmore). Kenmore’s Mayor Hollinger and several on the Village Council were much opposed to the ‘takeover’ and determined not to concede. The evening of the Village Council meeting at which the annexation papers were to be signed, Akron came prepared with subpoenas. When the first subpoena was served on Mayor Hollinger, council members Christy, Goetke and Jones and a fourth member ran from the meeting to forestall the signing of the annexation papers. The four were cited in contempt of court and the sheriff was sent to ‘track them down.’

Verne Christy did not go home that night, but at 3 a.m. the sheriff was there banging on his front door, demanding he come out. Christy’s son-in-law, Walter Edwards, answered the door and asked what Mr. Christy had done, ‘murdered somebody?’ The answer was no, but ‘they were out to get him, and would, dead or alive.’

The four were located, and still refusing to sign, taken to the county jail. Elmer Prentice went down to bail them out, willing to go to almost any figure to post bond for them. The judge refused to set a bond, sentencing them each to a week in jail. The four did sign the annexation papers, but they still served their full time.”

Learn more about the Vern & Ida Christy and their place in early Kenmore history at www.kenmorehistorical.org.

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