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.
By R.L. HEMINGER
Some of the country’s big brewing concerns were owners of Findlay property in the business district at one time.
Names of the concerns are still (in 1968) to be seen on some of the local buildings, long after the properties were sold. They are worked into the pattern of the structures so as to remain there permanently.
It was around 1900 that breweries began to be interested in buying properties in the American cities in which they sold their products. Those which bought realty in Findlay included Pabst, Schlitz and the Cleveland-Sandusky Brewing Co. The brewery properties were located on parts of Main Street, as well as on East Crawford, East Sandusky and East Main Cross streets.
When the breweries began to get interested in such ownership, it was to protect their business and make certain of outlets. Later, they considered it a good investment from the rental income standpoint.
Literary Debates Of Other Years
Findlay has long been known as a community in which literary societies find much favor. Newcomers say they are surprised at the flourishing existence of such organizations here, especially among men.
Findlay interest in this field goes far back. Before the turn of the century, there were men’s literary groups, as well as those for women.
The Findlay Literary and Debating Society at its meeting March, 1899, discussed the subject “What Is Will?” with Dr. Jacob A. Kimmell, Findlay physician, leading the analysis, dealing with this important element of man’s mind.
Participants in the ensuing discussion included Ralph D. Cole, Aaron Blackford, John Poe, J.J. Cole — all local attorneys — and Dr. J.R. Mitchell, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church.
At another meeting, S.N.E. Priddy, oil producer, discussed education, urging greater emphasis on modern science in the school curriculum. Those joining in the discussion included Dr. M.S. Williamson; John W. Zeller, school superintendent; John F. Smith, high school principal; and Ralph D. Cole.
The Men’s Fraternal and Social League of the First Methodist Church heard a discussion of the proposed Panama Canal by John F. Doty, Findlay attorney.
Extending Findlay Streetcar Lines
Around the turn of the century, there was much interest in extending Findlay’s city streetcar lines into the rural areas and on to other localities.
The electric streetcars had made their debut in the 1890s on Findlay’s Main Street. In 1899, a movement to extend the tracks on to Mortimer (North Findlay), five miles north of the city to provide a connection with the Nickel Plate Railroad, later the Norfolk and Western.
The extension was accomplished not long afterwards, one car going to Mortimer every hour.
There was considerable agitation to extend the lines south to Arlington, Williamstown and possibly Kenton. The city tracks stopped at Yates Avenue, near the corporation limits on the south. A public meeting was held in the assembly room of the courthouse to promote interest in the extension, in 1899.
The old Hancock County fairgrounds were located nearly a half mile on south of Yates Avenue on the site of the present Hosafros Addition. There was always strong agitation, especially at fair time, to have the streetcar lines at least extended as far as the fairgrounds, but it never materialized, nor did the extension on to Arlington and farther south. The fairgrounds site was abandoned around 1920. A hack met the streetcar line at Yates to take fairgoers onto the grounds while the fair was going on.
Shortly after 1900, the owners of the city line started to extend its tracks on north, eventually reaching Toledo.