Speaker Series

The 2023/ 2024 Speaker Series is Scheduled! 


Monthly Speaker Series 2023 - 2024 

Third Tuesday (usually) of the month   **   Free & open to the public!

RecPlex West Theater (Rec West)
965 Miamisburg Centerville  Rd.

 Reception 6:30 p.m.        Program 7:00 p.m.

Enjoy refreshments and historical education. 

Donations welcome and appreciated.

**NOTE -- Please enter on the south side of the building using the east doors that are closest to the theater. Park between the Subaru dealership and the building for the shortest walk.

 September 19, 2023 
Tim Riordan
Cincinnati’s Chattanooga Choo Choo Railroad
The Cincinnati Southern Railway is the largest municipally owned railway in the U.S. After the Civil War, the City of Cincinnati built a railroad to Chattanooga to open Southern markets to Cincinnati manufacturers and merchants. Speaker Tim Riordan, a former Cincinnati Deputy City Manager who served 10 years on the Board of Directors of the Cincinnati Southern Railway, will provide a history of that railroad that was financed, built, and is still owned by the City of Cincinnati after 150 years. This is the railway that inspired the famous song: ‘Chattanooga Choo-Choo’.

October 17, 2023
Andy Hite 
A Canal for the West: The Miami & Erie Canal
The canals of Ohio were created to provide access to more lucrative markets for Ohio farmers and industries. While raw materials flowed out, boats returned with consumer products from all over the world at prices many Ohioans could now afford. The face of retail in Ohio changed forever once the canals came here. The completion of the canals also brought the first big growth spurt to Ohio, especially if a town was fortunate to have the canal pass through.
Andy Hite, the former Site Manager of Johnston Farm & Indian Agency for the Ohio History Connection, serves as a Trustee and Vice President of the Canal Society of Ohio. He has been a member of the American Canal Society, and served on its Canal Boat Committee.

Watch this presentation on YouTube

November 14, 2023

Bill Albers

Christmas Truce on the Western Front - WWI 
World War I, the so-called Great War was only 5 months old and there were already many casualties on both sides. The first Christmas at the front lines of the 4-year war became a Christmas celebration of a size that had never taken place before and most likely will never happen again. Many believe it was a miracle that thousands of soldiers put down their weapons and stopped killing to celebrate Christmas. The lecture will cover the history of World War I and the events that led up to the Christmas Truce.
Bill Albers is a Dutch-American who was born in Amsterdam in 1940 and survived the 5-year long German occupation during World War II.  He served in the Royal Dutch Air Force as a jet aircraft mechanic and earned a degree in mechanical engineering before coming to the US in 1965 to continue studying engineering.  Bill became a US citizen in 1977 and has held a variety of positions with different US companies.  He now is busily retired and spends time volunteering at museums while still holding a private, commercial, and ground school instructor pilot license. 
Watch this presentation on YouTube
January 16, 2024
Paul Cooper

Frontier Between the Miamis: Pioneers in Ohio 1783-1800

With the signing of the Treaty of Paris that ended the American Revolutionary War, Americans soon crossed over the mountains from the East Coast looking for new land and new economic opportunities in Ohio country. Conflicts often resulted with the native people who inhabited the land. Floating down the Ohio River was the main pathway west. As more settlers arrived they left the villages on the Ohio and moved up the Miami Valley to create new towns. 
Paul Cooper, a retired Air Force Brigadier General and pilot with 35 years of service has always been fascinated with Frontier History as his grandmother told stories of covered wagons heading west past the home where she grew up.
Watch this presentation on YouTube

February 20, 2024
Ed Ross

Ida Weller - A Woman Ahead of Her Time
Farmer, educator, activist, and artist, Ida Weller was one of the most influential women in 20th century Centerville. This presentation  will explore her life and legacy. A photographic tour of her estate will also be shared.

Ed Ross is a retired businessman having worked with several local manufacturers. In addition to being the Board President of Centerville Washington History, he is also the Chairman of the Centerville Board of Architectural Review. He and his wife live on the Ida Weller farm and homestead.
Watch this presetation on YouTube


March 19, 2024

Ed Roach - National Park Service

Post-1908 Trip into the Wright Brothers’ "Clunky" Business Affairs

Wilbur and Orville Wright earned fame through the invention of the airplane.  Between 1899 and 1905 they went from experimenting with kites to having a practical airplane that could cycle through takeoffs and landings as long as its fuel lasted and its pilot remained alert.  But their years after 1905 did not see the same level of success.  Though they attained financial security as seen through the construction of the Hawthorn Hill estate in Oakwood and through Orville not having to work for a living for the last three decades of his life, they found themselves ill-equipped to commercialize their invention.  Between 1908 and 1909, Wright companies formed in France, Germany, and the United States, but none of them became significant players in the pre- or post-Great War aviation industry.  Wilbur and Orville Wright were great engineers and inventors, but they were clunky capitalists whose attempts to capitalize on their invention proved anticlimactic.

Edward Roach is the historian for Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, a U.S. national park commemorating the Wright brothers with sites spread around the Ohio city of Dayton. Originally from Gettysburg, PA, Roach holds bachelor's and master’s degrees in history. Before joining the National Park Service, he taught English with the U.S. Peace Corps in Ukraine. At Dayton Aviation, Roach is responsible for managing the park’s museum and library collections and historic preservation and environmental compliance programs. He also conducts research and publishes on a variety of topics connected with the Wright brothers and their business history.The Wright Company: From Invention to Industry was published by Ohio University Press in 2014. Presently, he is working on a history of the Wrights’ French company, the Compagnie générale de navigation aérienne. He lives in Dayton with his cats.

Watch this presentation on YouTube

April 16, 2024
Rosemary Thunder Schwoebel

A Vietnam Memoir - Adventures of an American Red Cross ‘Donut Dolly’ 1968-1969

A Vietnam Memoir follows young Rosemary Thunder after healing from a broken engagement to finding friendship, flirtation, and adventure in the basecamps and firebases in South Vietnam. Her job was to take men’s minds off being in a war zone, mainly through the recreation programs the Donut Dollies designed, produced and presented wherever a Huey helicopter could take her. Rocket attacks did not deter her from her mission to improve the morale of “our guys.” But she didn’t get out of Vietnam unscathed as several frightening incidents and a life-threatening illness presented challenges.

Rosemary Schwoebel may have graduated with a bachelor’s degree in French, but she held many different jobs throughout her life – from a Mary Kay team manager to a jail minister. She lives an active outdoor life with her husband at St. Leonard’s retirement community.

Watch this presentation on YouTube


May 21, 2024

Billy Ring, Miamisburg Fire Dept. Capt. (Ret.)

July 1986 - Miamisburg Railroad Chemical Tank Car Fire

At 4:25pm on July 8, 1986, a 44 car Baltimore & Ohio railroad freight train, traveling at 45 miles per hour southbound to Cincinnati, derailed near Miamisburg, Ohio. Some of the cars contained white phosphorus forcing city officials to evacuate 17,500 people from Miamisburg and nearby towns on Tuesday. Wednesday afternoon, after all but a few hundred people had returned, the fire flared again and more than 30,000 people spent Wednesday night and Thursday morning away from their homes, causing one of the largest evacuations to occur in Ohio’s history, up to that date. Mr. Ring will take us step-by-step through the entire incident and show us actual video footage of the events that occurred.

Mr. Billy Ring is a lifelong resident of Miamisburg, Ohio. In 1995 he retired from the Miamisburg Fire Dept. after 27 years of service. He also retired from the Dayton Regional Hazardous Materials Response Team as a HAZMAT Coordinator, serving both Montgomery and Greene Counties. He has served on the Miamisburg High School Tech Prep Advisory Committee and on the Sinclair Community College Safety Risk Management Advisory Committee. He is currently serving as an Instructor for U.S. Department of Labor’s OSHA 10- & 30-Hour Course Training Certifications. Mr. Ring owns and operates his own business, The Administrative & Technical Services LLC, an industrial safety, consulting and training service. Ring has been a presenter & speaker at numerous conventions, conferences, and workshops for over 40 years. 


2024/2025 Speaker Series Schedule (pdf)

February 21, 2023
Tanya Maus: 19th Century Quakers in Southwest Ohio (click for YouTube video of presentation)

Select sessions from 2022 are available on YouTube:

FDR’s Confidential Crusader by Mike WilliamsWatch the presentation on YouTube

Hidden History of Dayton by Tony Kroeger Watch the presentation on YouTube

The War in Ukraine and the Future of Geopolitics by General John R. Allen - Watch the presentation on YouTube


 Enjoy videos of our 2020/2021 speakers on YouTube