Old City Directory Provides Glimpse Of Findlay In 1888

EDITOR’S NOTE–This is another article on Findlay-area history adapted from a series written from 1959 to 1974 by the late R.L. Heminger, publisher and editor of The Courier.






One of the earliest Findlay city directories in existence today is that concerning the year 1888. This was one of the oil and gas boom years. The great Karg well had “come in” in January, 1886, and by 1888 Findlay was really humming. There were many industries, the population was four times what it had been previously and money was flowing freely.

Findlay College was in its third year, having opened in the fall of 1886. There was a full-page advertisement in the 1888 directory for the institution which was described as “a first class college in every particular.” The location was at “College Square,” readers were told. Dr. J.R.H. Latchaw was the president.

Courses were described as follow: “Classical, classical preparatory, philosophical, philosophical preparatory, scientific, scientific preparatory, theological, higher English, elocution, normal, oratory, business, typewriting, stenography, drawing, crayoning, painting.”

On another full page is an advertisement for the Findlay Church Furniture Manufacturing Co.

“By utilizing the advantages offered manufacturers in the use of free gas for fuel, specially invented machinery, devised for the saving of labor in this business and economy in management, we are enabled to compete successfully in our estimate for furnishing churches, halls, etc.,” reads the advertisement.

The office and factory were located at the corner of Lima Avenue and Ninth Street along the Lake Erie and Western Railroad (now Norfolk Southern). This was in West Park.



THE OFFICERS OF THE firm were as follow: Dr. F.W. Firmin, president; F.B. Zay, secretary; John W. Zeller, vice-president; Charles E. Niles, treasurer; and E. Dietsch, general manager.

“We also design and make wood materials of every description, style and finish equal to any in the market,” the public was informed.

Another full-page advertisement told of the Dietsch and Daugherty furniture operation, conducted at 330 and 332 W. Main Cross St. in Findlay. This was at the northeast corner of Main Cross and Liberty streets, which was later to be the home of the bakery and confectionery store conducted by the Dietschs for many years, prior to construction of the new home of the firm just across the street.

The products of the Dietsch and Daugherty firm were described as follow: “Children’s carriages, refrigerators, sideboards, parlor suites, office furniture, etc.” It was added that “an hour can be profitable spent in looking through our warerooms.”

The owners were Andrew Dietsch and A.C. Daugherty.



THE FINDLAY BUSINESS College and Conservatory of Music described its instructional offerings in another full page. The principals and proprietors were Oller, Mitchell and DeGood. C.J. Oller later became cashier of the Commercial Bank and Savings Co. which was organized here in the early 1900s. Prof. J.L. DeGood was one of the faculty members.

The institution was located at 223-227 S. Main St., in the block later occupied by the Knights of Pythias Lodge, No. 85.

In addition to commercial subjects, such as bookkeeping, shorthand and the like, the school also taught pipe organ, violin, flute, piccolo, cornet and all other musical instruments.

“Our patronage,” said the firm’s advertisement, “consists of wide awake industrious young ladies and gentlemen.”

It was further pointed out that “students may enter at any time.” There was a further statement “no vacation.”

The directory, published in Detroit, listed 5,070 names.

The 1880 federal census had given Findlay a population of 4,633.



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