An entrepreneur and a progressive village council have Johnstown poised to reap the economic benefits of medical marijuana.
On Aug. 12, 1926, a one-eyed tenant farmer with a dead pig and a shovel put Johnstown on the map. Jim Bailey, “who lost an eye years ago,” according to the Johnstown Independent, was having a bad day, digging a hole in a “quaking bog, which was recently drained” on Friend Butt’s land to bury a sow that had drowned in a watering hole the night before. A few feet down in the black muck, “his spade struck something hard and he soon discovered what proved to be the remains of a great discovery.” His one good eye “bulged out enough for a pair.”
An expert called in from Columbus pronounced the great discovery to be the skeleton of a mastodon. It was not just any skeleton: It was one of the most complete such specimens ever found. The expert estimated the creature’s age at about 30,000 years, but the Johnstown Independent was skeptical: “How he or anyone else knows that it has been so long since this monster roamed and reigned we leave it for the reader to determine, but in our conservative way we will say this big boy has been dead a long time.”
A historical marker at the village border promotes the mastodon as the town’s claim to fame. A few days after the news of the great beast’s discovery spread, 10,000 people paid 25 cents a head to trample on Butt’s farm and gaze in awe. From the Aug. 19, 1926, Johnstown Independent:
“C.A. Benedict, the photographer, sold on Sunday 2,000 pictures at 10 cents each to the visitors and could have sold more. A dozen people were unable to serve the crowd at a