Where did all the people go?

The U.S. census for 1960 indicates 569 people lived in Fairfield Township.

By 1970, the number had dropped to 139. Counting the 139 was probably as difficult as counting the rest of the state. Some of them were hiding out in the hills!

But that would not, by direct inference, mean that Fairfield contained 430 residents. Far from it. If on a good day, half that many lived there, we’d have been surprised. East and west, Fairfield had three streets. North and south, another six, seven if you count the alley that ran north of the grade school.

With numbers so small, there were obvious downsides.

For example, we had trouble finding enough boys for a good game of baseball. As equal-opportunity kids, we improvised. If you were a boy, you got to play.

If you were a girl, you got to watch. We made up our own games, established our own rules and tried to remember that if we won today, we’d lose tomorrow. Games could last for days, depending on who had the ball and needed to go home for supper. Game suspended till tomorrow.

For the older kids, dating was an issue. If “she” didn’t want to go out with “you,” you had to go to Laurel to find somebody else. We didn’t go to Brookville for dates. We weren’t good enough, I think. The girls from Connersville were more willing. Mostly, we found a bottle of wine and drove to Cincinnati or Oxford.

And everybody pretty much knew what everyone else was up to.

Nobody who left Fairfield ever returned, except for Charlie Brown, who got out of prison often enough to make it back long enough to steal another car.

When the government began its fair-market value buyout program, the folks just left, one by one, to nearby towns. The older people stayed longer. Some held out in hope of better offers, none of which came. The houses were condemned.

Downtown Fairfield on a busy day. (Classy cars, huh?)

More about this image: HERE