Friday, November 9, 2007


Milton Caniff was born in Hillsboro, Ohio. Last month I made a sort of pilgrimage there to see the Caniff sights, many of which are described in Harvey's biography, Meanwhile. It's also where the Ohio Historical Society placed a marker to honor Caniff -

The marker was placed in 2003 and is in front of a library. I asked the librarian if she knew why this site was chosen. Even though she'd been with the library at the time, she wasn't sure (and that was that). I had many addresses for the Caniff sites, but one I didn't was the Western Union office where Caniff had worked as a boy. I asked the librarian if they had a city directory for Hillsboro around 1920. She said if they did it would be in the Genealogy section, which she gestured towards (and that was that).

My next stop was the Caniff home, on 149 E North Street. Here is the home as it was then and today -

I then went to Webster School, where Caniff attended some elementary grades. It looked to have been completely redone since he'd been there, with only the tall part of the building looking original. Today, the school has been replaced and sits empty.

Next stop was the Episcopal Church where the Caniff's attended, for which, according to Harvey, Caniff's grandfather laid the cornerstone (I couldn't find the cornerstone, perhaps owing to to the greenery around the base of the church). Milton attended kindergarten at the Parish School here.

It was edifying to see some of the sights that were still there from Caniff's youth: the courthouse, the war monument, and the opera house. What he could not enjoy was a Frisch's Big Boy, which I ordered to go as I exited the small town charm of Hillsboro, Ohio, which hasn't forgotten its most famous son.


Mike Lynch said...

Matt, thanks for this. This was very interesting to see.

John Ellis said...

Very nice Matt, makes me wish I had made a trip to Hillsboro to see Milton's old stomping grounds when I was in Columbus last month For the Festival of Cartoon Art...and I remember cursing my stupidity when I saw a Frisch's on the to the airport to return home...haven't had a true "Frisch's Big Boy" (or Buddy Boy or Brawny Lad) since I was about 18...aaarrrhhhhg! ;)

Anonymous said...

Matt, sorry you didn't get more assistance at the library. Wish
I'd been there to show you the folder we have of information, etc. on Caniff and Steve Canyon.

Matt Tauber said...

me too!!

Anonymous said...

Matt - next time you come though Hillsboro, email me first and
I'll have the folder ready. We
have a copy of Caniff's birth announcement in the local newspaper. (His father worked for the paper.)