As 2013 closes, ‘The State Of’ looks to the past and future of the county

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As the year 2013 comes to a close and all of Switzerland County gets used to writing ‘2014’ on date lines, Vevay Newspapers believes that this is the perfect opportunity not only to look back at what has been accomplished during the past 12 months; but also to allow different entities to look forward, giving us ideas and information about what is yet to come.

Of course, there is no crystal ball, but Switzerland County is poised on a variety of different levels to excel and thrive as it moves into 2014 and beyond.

Our schools continue to show excellence; industry and tourism are growing; the agricultural community is seeing a bright future; and even though we don’t have a hospital here, our safety and security continues to be at the forefront.

Our legal system both leads us and protects us; and as we look towards the future, we are ever mindful of protecting and preserving our past.

The year 2013 allowed Switzerland County to celebrate its 200th birthday, and I often wonder when the Dufours and others established a community here in 1813, if they could possibly imagine what the town of Vevay and the county as a whole would look like two centuries later.

Did they even think we’d still be here?

How about the Centennial celebration in 1913? As Vevay celebrated 100 years, did those residents imagine a bridge and dam system spanning the Ohio River; or a multimillion dollar casino complex drawing people from all over the region?

Did they imagine computer technology and educational opportunities?

There are still many people living here in the county who remember the Sesquicentennial in 1963.

The county was an agricultural hub then. Tobacco was king here, and I’m sure if we could go back to that time and tell them that 50 years later tobacco would still be grown here, but in small amounts, they’d tell us we were crazy.

Then they’d go back to their jobs and the Shoe Factory or Randalls or Plastic Moldings, and they’d feel secure that those factories and those jobs would be here forever.

Talk of a tourism office and an innkeeper’s tax would be silly, because, “Who’d want to come to Vevay, anyway?” There was no Swiss Wine Festival in 1963, it would evolve from that celebration; including a hiatus in the 1970s when things got a little out of control.

We lived in a time here when the funeral coach doubled as the ambulance; when the dentist was on the second floor on Main Street and Dr. Blair was building his office building on East Main; and the main section of town was filled with small, independent businesses like Scudder’s Department Store and Osborn’s Clothing and Shoes and the Package Store and others were fixtures here – and are now gone.

But they’ve been replaced by new enterprises, and as we move into the future, we can all be assured of that old saying, “The only thing that stays the same is change”.

Throughout this edition of Vevay Newspapers, you will find different community leaders addressing what has gone on in their areas and what may happen in the future. It’s a snapshot of where we were, where we are, and where we’re heading.

– Patrick Lanman