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The Park That Almost Was

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 article is the sixth and last on H.R. Page’s “Illustrated Findlay” which was published during Findlay’s gas boom days of the 1880s. The book was reprinted in 1986 by the Historic Preservation Guild of Hancock County.

 

 

By R.L. HEMINGER

 

 

The city of Findlay almost had another park within its borders at one time.

The prospect is described in the H.R. Page “Illustrated Findlay” volume which we have been describing in recent weeks.

The situation concerns to former county grounds which were located in the West McPherson Avenue area many years ago. The area, consisting of 29.4 acres of ground had been bought in 1868 by the Hancock County commissioners for county fair purposes. It extended from South Main Street west to what is now Western Avenue.

At that time there was no railroad and no stone quarry to the south. In fact some of the area now occupied by the railroad and quarry was included in the fairgrounds on the south side. The sharp drop down to the railroad tracks and the quarry did not exist at that time. The drop came about through the construction of the railroad later, for right-of-way purposes.

When the railroad projected its line east from its original terminal in West Park, the desired ground included some of the fairgrounds. Seven and a quarter acres were involved and the company and the county were unable to come to terms readily on a price. Injunction proceedings were eventually instituted to try to get a settlement.

 

 

AT THE TIME THE PAGE volume was published there was pending an offer from the railroad to pay $1,000 acre for the ground it wanted. The suggestion was further made that the county sell the rest of the land and get a new fairground. It was proposed to sell the city 22 acres and the balance of the land to a real estate syndicate for development. The land which it was suggested the city buy was Byal Park. The land which it was proposed be sold to a real estate group was along Main Street.

The railroad eventually got its land, but the city did not go along on the proposal to buy the 22 acres for a city park. Instead, the Holiness Association, a religious organization, bought it later on, making a camp meeting ground from it.

The Page history said “the prospect of a new city park is looked upon favorably by the people and the hope is entertained that the matter will be adjusted.” The Page account pointed out that “the city has no large park and this is the only place which is so well adapted to the purpose lying anywhere near the center of the city.” Author Page went on to comment that “the most of the ground is well shaded with forest trees and there is enough of it cleared to lay off in beautiful designs and equally fine drives.”

The city, according to Page, was lacking in park areas. He said there were only two, one in the Carnahan Addition and one in West Park.

The Page historical work contains pictures of many early homes in Findlay. Among those shown are residences of Dr. Jacob Boger, W.H. Campfield, George W. Myers, David Joy, J.B. Wagner, John Poe, Gage Carlin, Dr. Jacob A. Kimmell, J.S. Patterson on South Main Street; John A. Scott, Judge Jacob F. Burket, G.W. Ruhl, W.E. Snyder on West Sandusky Street; Dr. Anson Hurd on Hurd Avenue; J.B. Rothchild on Summit Street; D.B. Beardsley on Center Street; Presley E. Hay on East Lincoln Street; George Carrothers on North Main Street; and E.L. Kridler on West Hardin Street.

 

 

THE VOLUME ALSO HAS large pictures of some of the Findlay industries of the boom days, as well as some Main Street businesses and churches and schools. On the opening page is a picture of the chapel which was once located at Maple Grove Cemetery, but which is no longer in existence. The chapel was located where the war memorial is now situated.

When the Page historical matter first appeared it was in nine separate sections, with each section an individual unit. Later, many individuals had their nine sections bound together to make one complete volume.

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