Side A: Village of McGuffey
The Village of McGuffey was named for John McGuffey, who in the 1860s first attempted to drain the Scioto Marsh. A larger and more effective drainage effort, made by others who entered Hardin County in the 1880s, continued for several decades until thousands of acres of land were in production, principally of onions for which the marsh became nationally known. During the era of highest production of onions, most townspeople were involved in planting, weeding, and harvesting. The fields were bordered by windrows of willow trees to decrease wind damage over the black silt-like muck that was originally ten or more feet deep throughout the marsh. Successful treatment against wind erosion and oxidation reduced the depth of muck to only a few inches.
Side B: Great 1934 Onion Strike
McGuffey was once the center of the national onion trade. From the turn of the 20th century to just after World War II, the rich organic soil of the original immense Scioto Marsh wetland was a productive seedbed for onions, potatoes, celery, asparagus, hemp, and mint. In its heyday of onion harvests, thousands of crates of onions were stored during winter in large specially constructed "Storages." During the summer of 1934, the American Federation of Labor (AFL) issued its first chapter—No.19724—for an agricultural worker's union when seasonal onion workers, many from southeast Kentucky, struck the larger onion growers for increased wages and more work days. In the ensuing violence, union president Okey Odell was badly beaten and many workers were escorted out of the state. Nationally significant, it was one the nation's first strikes involving a union of agricultural workers.