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. The following is the fourth in a series based on H.R. Page’s “Illustrated Findlay.”
By R.L. HEMINGER
We continue the story of Findlay’s great growth in the oil and gas boom days of the late 1880s, as described in H.R. Page’s “Findlay Illustrated,” published in 1889:
“The growth of the religious interests have also been in keeping with the rapid development of the city. The Congregational society has put up a fine new church in the Swing Addition (northwestern Findlay). The Methodists have erected the Howard M.E. Church on the north side and are getting a church building in readiness in the Heck Addition (north Findlay) to accommodate worshippers located so far from the center of the city. The United Brethren people have erected a beautiful and substantial brick building on west Hardin street, and the Episcopal denomination is at present erecting a small but beautifully designed gothic structure on the addition put on the market by the Cory heirs ….
“During the past season, the southern part of the city extending to the Chamberlain Hill addition has had an unparalleled growth and this year the growth continues as rapidly. The large fairgrounds of the County Agricultural Society are located in this part of the city and the proposed line of the (Mahoning Railroad) extension to the east runs along its south line ….
“PERSONS WHO HAVE NOT visited Findlay since 1884 can scarcely form any conception of the great growth which has taken place, either in the additions north of the river and in those south and southwest of the city, but passengers who travel along the line of (the Lake Erie and Western Railroad) can see daily evidences of the growth taking place ….
“In 1884, along the line of Lima Avenue, there were no residences west of Main Street, except those erected by Dr. A. Hurd (on Hurd Avenue) in 1880, and by A. H. Balsley in 1881…. There were no houses within a quarter of a mile to the east and north of them and none at all to the south, although there were three within a half mile to the southwest and west.
“Since 1884, there have been erected near them, the fine residences of Mrs. S.P. DeWolfe, Mr. (J.W.) Taylor, S.C. Moore, N.W. Adams, A. Chanel, D. Stough, E. Lichtig, J.B. Rothchild, A. Nichols, A. Shaler and many others of less note. Also the large four story brick building … occupied by Andregg & Heusner of the Findlay Table Works, a large planing mill conducted by J. Oman & Sons, and near the large brick building of the Church Furniture Factory. These lie to the south, the west and northwest, while to the north and east fully as many more residences have been erected during the same period, before reaching to Main Street ….
“And the construction of residences, brick blocks, manufacturing establishments, in all parts of the city goes on with the same vigor which had distinguished the past three years of unparalleled growth.
“The population of the city at the present time is variously estimated. The prevailing opinion among men best calculated to judge, and who have no desire to place the figures beyond the actual amount, is that the number in inhabitants within the incorporated limits will reach 22,500 to 25,000.”
REFERENCE WAS MADE above to the fact that the proposed line of the Mahoning Railroad would run along the south boundary of the old fairgrounds, then on West McPherson Avenue. Quite a legal dispute arose with regard to the railroad’s acquisition of a portion of the fairgrounds for its extension eastward. The railroad originally ended at its intersection with the Lake Erie and Western in West Park. The Mahoning, the old Tangent line or old Findlay, Fort Wayne and Western, ran to Fort Wayne, Ind. The road wanted to add mileage on eastward through eastern Ohio to Pennsylvania.
An agreement was eventually worked out between the railroad, the fairgrounds officials and the railroad went through, but it only extended its lines to the junction with the New York Central and the Findlay-Carey branch of the Big Four east of Findlay.
The County Agricultural Society, however, did not keep the McPherson grounds very long after the railroad bought part of its property. In 1890, the grounds were sold and a new site on the south edge of Findlay was acquired.