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.
By R.L. HEMINGER
In September 1908, the C.F. Jackson Co., owners of the Glass Block department store, embarked upon a new venture by opening an automobile garage on Broadway directly behind the Hancock County Courthouse. Space in the Corwin block, now the Masonic Home, was leased. F.J. Collingwood, who came to Findlay in 1905 as head of the store’s jewelry department and who later became floor walker, was named to have charge of sales. Harry Bennett, who owned one of Findlay’s first automobiles at the turn of the century and who had become an experienced auto repair man, had charge of service and repairs.
In June 1911, Mr. Collingwood and E.C. Edwards bought the automobile business of the Jackson company and began its operation under the firm name of “Collingwood and Edwards.” (Subsequently, Mr. Collingwood bought out Mr. Edwards’ interest. Herbert Summers bought the Bennett auto repair business).
In 1911, the Adams Bros. and Co. of Findlay began the manufacture of motor trucks, and the first truck built went to the Jackson company for delivery purposes. The Jackson company was weighing the matter of motorizing its entire city delivery system, but a factor that was a concern was the state of a number of Findlay streets that could not handle the truck traffic.
Later in 1911, the Jackson company bought a heavy-duty truck from the Adams firm to be used in transporting freight. The first use was made in moving a carload of sugar from the railroad to the store.
“The machine is a beauty and is an excellent specimen of its kind of trucks that are being put out by the Adams company,” said the Morning Republican of June 22, 1911. “It is driven by a four-cylinder motor of high horse power, which is so quiet in running as to be scarcely heard. It is the open type, but is equipped with a top and hanging curtains at the sides.”
On Sept. 20, 1915, announcement was made that the Jackson company was installing wireless telegraph apparatus at Findlay and Norwalk in order to establish a direct and private means of communication between the two stores. Permission for such a project had been obtained from the U.S. Navy department, which controlled such wireless. Towers 25 or 30 feet high were erected on the tops of the Findlay and Norwalk buildings to bear the antennae, which were some 75 feet from the ground. The two stations received from Washington at intervals during the day the correct time of day. The stations went into operation Oct. 8, 1915.
The two-story brick block on West Sandusky Street directly behind the Jackson store was sold by Henry Davis to E.E. and K.S. Jackson in November 1916. Clarence T. Jackson came to Findlay from Norwalk to become affiliated with the Jackson store in early 1920.
On Aug. 5, 1923, an explosion occurred in the refrigeration plant of the Norwalk store of the Jackson company. There were three deaths and serious injuries were received by some.
In May 1924, C.J. Jackson resigned as president of the company, and E.E. Jackson was named to the post, also becoming the manager of the Norwalk store of the company. K.S. Jackson, treasurer of the company, became manager of the Findlay store.
The Findlay store became the scene of a tragedy on the night of Jan. 30, 1927, when the night watchman, Peter Grant, was slain by bandits, who gained entrance through a third-floor window. They bound and tied the watchman and then dynamited the company safe and escaped with around $2,500. A nationwide search for the bandits started and they were eventually caught, one in Dallas, Texas and the other in Detroit. Both were indicted by the grand jury and were convicted after trials in common pleas court. Both had long records of criminal activities and were sentenced to long terms in the Ohio State Penitentiary.
The extensive damages and claims entailed by the Norwalk store explosion proved very heavy and the Findlay store discontinued business April 22, 1933, following a closing-out sale. The S and S drug store bought the drug and toilet goods; the Boston store took over the stock of dry goods, furnishings, notions, jewelry and hardware; while the millinery department went to the Simon store.
In April 1934, the food area of the store was re-opened by Paul R. Gohlke, who conducted the “Gohlke’s Market” there for two years. The new store’s entrance was on the West Sandusky Street side. Window space was leased by a number of Findlay merchants for display of their goods. Harold Walker, who had been the Jackson decorator, sponsored the project. The Jackson building was subsequently purchased by the Hancock Savings and Loan Co., R.C. Firestone and C.M. Huber.