The last quarter of the 20th century saw much growth and change in Knox County . In 1976, Fred Lorey and our Historical Society published his excellent history of Knox County during the
U. S. Bicentennial year, the year that our Pittsburgh Plate Glass Works closed. Record cold weather in 1977 and the blizzard of 1978 were big news. In 1979, Betty Winand became Mount Vernon 's first woman Mayor, and Bert Moore was among those taken hostage in Iran, to be released in 1981 after 444 days in captivity.
In the early 1980's, prominent downtown businessmen undertook the revitalization of South Main St. storefronts, actor Paul Lynde died, the new Knox Community Hospital opened, and the Mount Vernon Post Office celebrated its 175th year. In 1986, Beck's Drive-In closed, and the Agricultural Museum opened at the Fairgrounds. The following year our Knox County Historical Society Museum opened on Harcourt Road , and soon after, the Public Library expanded and the Bible College at Bangs closed its doors.
After 121 years of operation, the Ringwalt Store closed in 1990, and the First Knox National Bank later expanded to fill the block. In the early 1990's, the Kokosing Gap Bike Trail opened and was later extended to Danville . Coshocton Road became busier with many new businesses as well as the Knox Village Square Shopping Center . The citizens of Fredericktown funded their new Public Library in 1994, and in 1995, local Cooper Industries operations became part of Cooper-Cameron.
The later 1990's saw the opening of the new Mount Vernon Middle School and the closing of American National Can, originally Shellmar. And in 1999, Cooper-Cameron's Mount Vernon operation became Rolls-Royce Energy Systems, Inc.
The new century brought two major expansions to our KCHS Museum , and the County got a new jail, health department, and other facilities. And as we celebrated Ohio's Bicentennial in 2003, we looked forward to new school facilities throughout the county, a restored Woodward Opera House, and much growth in tourism in and around Knox County, just in time for our own bicentennial celebrations in Mount Vernon (2005) and Knox County (2008).