Looking back to the turn of the century

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following 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.


J.C. Donnell bought the old First Presbyterian Church at the northeast corner of South Main and East Hardin streets in 1901 when the church built its new edifice at the southwest corner of South Main and West Lincoln streets.

He announced that he planned to build a three-story structure on the site containing ground-level space and rental apartments on the top two floors.


The Findlay board of education in 1901 re-elected John W. Zeller superintendent of the Findlay public schools at a salary of $2,000 a year. He had been head of the schools since 1877. The board also renamed John F. Smith high school principal, fixing his yearly salary at $1,500. He had become principal in 1888.


Early in 1901, the Findlay Bar Association, at a special meeting, paid tribute to the memory of John Marshall, the famous U.S. Supreme Court chief justice, joining with lawyers across the country in recalling the 100th anniversary of Marshall’s start of his court career. Findlay attorneys who spoke at the local event were Judge George F. Pendleton, E.T. Dunn, Col. J.A. Bope, Judge Silas E. Hurin, Theodore Totten, Nimrod W. Bright, R.J. Kibler, Merle N. Poe and John E. Priddy. The president of the bar association was Aaron Blackford, who presided.


Jacob F. Burket, of Findlay, who served as chief justice of the Ohio Supreme Court, went to San Francisco, with the party of Gov. George K. Nash in the summer of 1901 to witness the launching of the U.S. ship “Ohio” in the harbor there.


John C. Firmin, Findlay druggist, was elected president of the state druggists association at their convention in Dayton. (The Firmin drug store was located at 319 S. Main St., where Muir’s drug store was later situated.)


William J. Frey, owner of the Frey drug store in Findlay, was elected chairman of the state Democratic central committee.


In the winter of 1901-02, there was a road show at the Marvin Theater almost every night. It was one of the biggest seasons the local theater ever experienced, with quite a few big stars billed.


The Happer Perfume and Extract firm, located on East Main Cross Street, just across the road on the north side, was shipping its products widely early in the new century. Some went to Australia. The plant operated only in the winter time.


A delegation of Findlay men went to Washington early in 1901 to ask the federal government to construct a building here to house the post office and other government facilities. The party included J.C. Donnell, J.A. Bope, E.T. Dunn, Clinton Corthell, P.S. Shoupe, William P. Wiseley, Dr. Jacob H. Boger and William Heckert.

Rep. Archibald Lybrand, of Delaware, the 8th Ohio District member of Congress, had advised the local community that he thought the time was right to approach the authorities at Washington on the subject of a federal building in Findlay.

(A few years later, Findlay was to be given such a building, which was constructed on Broadway. The building was later the public library.)


Fire destroyed the first M.E. Church on West Sandusky Street in 1901. It was the third edifice the congregation had built since its establishment in the 1830s here.

The church immediately began plans to erect a new building on the same site on West Sandusky Street or to buy the E.T. Dunn home and site at the southeast corner of South Main and East Hardin streets. The decision was made to remain on West Sandusky Street.

The Elks’ lodge eventually bought the Dunn home and erected its lodge home there. Mr. Dunn was a prominent Findlay attorney.



About the Author