CLINTON -- A family toy-making business prevalent in Clinton in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s is still making its presence felt in the community, decades after it left.
Rich Toys, headed by the manufacturing-prominent Rich family of the early 1900s, became known in its heyday for producing some of the most well known toys, trinkets, and other items. Settling in Clinton in 1934, the company would eventually find more suitable economic conditions in Tupelo, Mississippi in the mid-1950s.
The memories the company created in Clinton have not been forgotten, and Rich family members and in-laws in town met at the Clinton County Historical Museum whileto observe the company's famous toys now on display.
"I just see these things, the toys and antiques, and it gets me going," Rich family son-in-law Jim Patti said Friday. "This always fascinated me, that the Riches always had so much going. I was just very close to my in-laws when they were alive. That connection just always makes me want to know more about them and what they did."
At one time the largest toy maker in America, according to Patti, Rich Toys also produced things like blank ammunitions for the United States military, and sporting goods such as polo mallets. The company's reach spread from coast to coast at its peak.
The family wasn't in town Friday simply to gander at the historical items at the museum, however. After conversation, some photo opportunities, and other pleasantries exchanged, the family presented Clinton County Historical Society board member Jan Hansen with a check for $5,500 to aid in the museum's future.
Hansen, holding back tears as she received the check, later reported the specifics of how the money would be used.
"This will go toward our second building on the property and getting things in there," Hansen said. The museum acquired the building just south of its main structure at 601 S. First St. last year and plans to expand to that building, expanding its collections and offering more displays for interested Gateway-area museum-goers to see
Patti was more than pleased to be able to offer the check to museum officials Friday morning. The self-admitted history buff expressed his love for the subject, particularly regarding Clinton. A part of a family whose imprint is heavy on the city's history, Patti's interest in keeping that history alive continues to grow.
"It's just a fascination with the history of this town, and you'd hate to see it get lost," Patti said after presenting the donation. "Stuff like (the donation) really will help, and show people that town was something at some point. It really was. [Our family] just wants to make sure that that never gets lost. That's what this is all about."