FREDERICKTOWN — A blue corduroy jacket designed in 1933 to keep Fredericktown Future Farmers of America delegates warm on a trip to Kansas City has become one of the most iconic images in youth agricultural education today.
That history will be forever noted in a bronze historical marker, unveiled in a ceremony at the Fredericktown High School gym Saturday night.
The Fredericktown FFA jacket is the first Ohio Historical Marker to feature an article of clothing. It is Fredericktown’s first historical marker approved through the Ohio History Connection.
The 225-pound bronze marker features a brief history of the jacket, designed in 1933 by Fredericktown agricultural teacher and Fredericktown FFA chapter advisor Dr. J.H. “Gus” Lintner. It also features a reproduction of a photograph of the 1933 FFA chapter; obviously very proud of their jackets, the chapter is photographed from behind, showing the stitched design on the back.
The marker was unveiled by Neil Overly and Linden Scheff, who were members of the 1933 Fredericktown FFA chapter. Overly graduated from Fredericktown in 1936, and Scheff is a 1937 graduate. They were watched from the gym bleachers by present FFA members and FFA alumni, many of them wearing their jackets.
Overly and Scheff were presented with individually sown, exact replicas of the 1933 FFA jacket design by Mark Hoops, with Universal Lettering Co. Universal Lettering, based in Van Wert, who made the first FFA jackets and are still turning them out 85 years later.
Ohio History Connection Chief Financial Officer Jeff Ward said the FFA jacket marker is the first in Fredericktown and the 13th to be raised in Knox County. It joins some 1,600 other historical markers across the state “in the telling of Ohio’s story,” Ward said.
Fredericktown graduate and Ohio FFA Vice-president Holly McClay said that most people she meets don’t know about Fredericktown, yet the Fredericktown jacket has been worn by millions across the U.S. Dale Crabtree, with the National FFA organization, said there are currently 670,000 FFA members who proudly wear the jacket today.
Fredericktown Local Schools Superintendent Matt Chrispin said the process for the wording of the historical marker was painstaking. Every fact on the marker had to verified, including Dr. Lintner’s employment with Fredericktown schools. This was a well-known local fact that proved elusive, Chrispin said, until old treasurer’s records turned up that showed Lintner’s name on the school payroll.
Also at the unveiling ceremony, Fredericktown Mayor Jerry Day and councilmembers Dusty Frazier and James Hobson presented new welcome signs for the village identifying Fredericktown as home of the FFA jacket.
The historical marker will be displayed near the school entrance.