Hypes volunteered to refurbish sign

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 29, 2007

More than a year ago, Charlie Hypes, of Custom Signs in Proctorville, noticed that the Proctorville sign was in disrepair.

He alerted members of Operation Tidy Up Lawrence County (TLC) and told them he would not only refurbish the sign, but he would do it at no charge. Several months later, in the summer of 2007, Taunya Wilson, a founder of Operation TLC, decided to take Hypes up on the offer.

Hypes took the faded and barely legible sign and refurbished it to what it is today, the eye-catching greeting “Proctorville-Home of the Rome Beauty Apple.”

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Members of Operation TLC were overjoyed at the sign’s new look and the generosity of one of their community members. Wilson noted that Operation TLC focuses mainly on litter control and beautification, but that not everyone can get out to pick up trash on the side of the road.

“Everyone has a talent, whether it is repairing a sign or roasting a pig for a fundraiser.

It is wonderful when people give of themselves to become part of the solution,” Wilson said.

Rosalie Gillette Bailes was particularly grateful that the sign and the Rome Beauty Apple were getting some restored awareness. Her family was responsible for making the apple the worldwide, branded fruit that it is today.

In 1816, Joel Gillette bought 100 fruit trees in Marietta.

In them he found a seedling.

He gave the seedling to his son, Alanson, calling it a “worthless seedling.”

Luckily, Alanson did not agree with his father, and planted the seeding on the riverbank, downstream from his home.

Years later, he went back to check on the seedling and found that it contained clusters of bright red apples. Originally named “Gillette Seedling,” the name was changed to Rome Beauty in 1832, the township’s namesake.

Rosalie Gillette Bailes continues to live on the original plot of land in Rome Township, where the Gillettes originally settled.

Local historian, Betty Burcham, provided the chronological data about the Rome Beauty Apple and the history of the Gillette Family.