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The Marion County Board of Developmental Disabilities has its roots firmly entrenched in a day when Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower, Jonas Salk announced the discovery of a polio vaccine, Sir Edmund Hillary became the first man to climb Mt. Everest, and the New York Yankees won their fifth consecutive World Series.

It was 1953.

The events that were occurring in Marion County, Ohio, while not as publicized, were no less significant. It was the year that the forerunner of today’s Marion County DD was founded.

The organization was the Marion Area Retarded Children and Adults, which became known by its acronym, MARCA. The organization began the first school for the developmentally disabled in a single room at the Children’s Home. There were 12 students in the original class and the teacher, Charlotte Lister, earned $60 a week, collecting five dollars from the parents of each child.

Each morning, Ebersole drove the streets of Marion County each morning in a black, 1941 Packard, through the streets of Marion to round up the teacher and nine of the children and transport them to school.
Over the years, the school was moved from the Children’s Home to the Salvation Army, a Baptist Church, the building that now houses the Marion County Senior Citizens Center, and finally to the current campus on E. Harding Highway.

In 1967, with the passage of Ohio House Bill 169, each of Ohio’s 88 counties was required to form a county board of mental retardation and developmental disabilities, and the Marion County Board of Developmental Disabilities came into existence.

A separate board was formed to oversee a sheltered workshop and Marca Industries was born. The name, Marca Industries, is actually a salute to the founders of Marion County’s original school for children with disabilities.

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