MVHS Dedicates New Ohio Historical Marker

IMG_1042A new Ohio historical marker will soon be added to downtown Youngstown to recognize the historical significance of Harry Burt’s Good Humor Ice Cream Bar and the Ross Radio Company.

“We are very proud to be able to dedicate this new Ohio Historical Marker on West Federal Street to remind visitors and passers-by of the great historical significance of the landmark building that is now developing into the Tyler Mahoning Valley History Center,”  remarked Executive Director, Bill Lawson.  “We are also pleased by and thankful for the support received from the Ohio Historical Markers Grant Program and the James and Edith Ross Foundation to underwrite the cost of this Marker dedicated to the story of Harry Burt and the Good Humor Bar, and the Ross Radio Company.”

State Senator Joe Schiavone, with Jonathan Kinkade (from the Ohio Historical Society), MVHS Board Member James Sisek, MVHS Executive Director Bill Lawson, and MVHS Board President Dr. William J. Cleary.

From 1922 to 2008, prior to when the Mahoning Valley Historical Society announced plans to develop a regional history center at this location, the 22,400-square-foot commercial building at 325 West Federal Street in downtown Youngstown housed two notable local businesses.  Harry Burt, a confectioner who invented an ice cream product that would become a national icon in the mid-twentieth century, purchased the building in October 1921 and remodeled it to realize his vision for creating high quality factory, retail store, restaurant and assembly spaces under one roof, thereby promoting his name and his products.  James Ross bought it in 1935 to house his electronics distribution company that expanded to meet the growing demand for radio and then television equipment and technology, and for a brief period of time provided a local shipping point for a national network of clandestine gun smugglers determined to aid the cause of Jewish settlers and refugees in Palestine during the chaotic months leading up to the declaration of the new State of Israel.

Administered by the Ohio Historical Society, the Historical Marker Program enables Ohioans to commemorate and celebrate local history and to learn more about the state. Designed to be highly visible and permanent, the historical markers are large cast-aluminum signs that tell stories about aspects of Ohio’s history. Markers were awarded based on a set of criteria, including historical significance, geographic diversity and historical periods.

This marker was researched by the Mahoning Valley Historical Society with financial support from the Ohio Markers Grant Program and the James & Edith Ross Foundation.