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
Many exceedingly interesting facts about the Findlay boom days of the early 1890s are contained in the pamphlet entitled “Memorial to Congress in behalf of a government building at Findlay, Ohio.”
Findlay citizens at the time were seeking support for a bill to appropriate $100,000 for a post office in Findlay, citing the great growth of the community as a reason for the new structure.
Here are some of the facts:
“In 1880, Findlay ranked as the 40th city in the state in population. In 1890, it had advanced to the position of the 11th city in Ohio.”
“The valuation for taxation of property, real and personal, in 1880 and 1890 follows: 1880, $1,340,418; 1890, $4,683,140. The increase amounts to 249.4 percent in 10 years. In 1891, under a reappraisal, the valuation rose to $6,770,091, making a gain of 44.8 percent in one year.”
“In 1880, there were 522 transfers of real estate involving property worth $413,142.29. In 1890, there were 1,980 transactions involving property worth $2,224,221.84.”
“The official school enumeration in 1880 was 1,418, while in 1890 it stood at 4,552, a gain of 214 percent in 10 years.”
“In 1880, we had four public school buildings containing 24 school rooms, with 59 children in each room. In 1891, we had 13 public school buildings containing 79 rooms, with 55 scholars for each room.”
“We have four and one-half miles of double track electric street railroad, altogether nine miles of track, all as well equipped as any in the country, operated with profit to the company which owns it and to the satisfaction of the people. It cost $200,000. We have 12 miles of single-track horse street railroad, in like manner conducted and at a cost of $100,000. Two of the street railway systems are authorized U.S. Mail lines.”
“In addition to our great natural advantages, the city of Findlay has a most valuable auxiliary to its permanent growth in being located in one of the best agricultural sections of Ohio. During the last 20 years, northwestern Ohio has made more rapid advancement by reason of the opening up of new railroads through its rich farming lands, than any other section of the state.”
“The fertility of its soil is unsurpassed and within this rich belt numerous cities have grown up. Of all these, Findlay stands at the head, having developed into the largest and most important point in northwestern Ohio, Toledo alone excepted. Drawing a line diagonally across the state from Cleveland through Columbus, Springfield and Dayton to Cincinnati and in the section north and west of this, embracing over one-third of the state, Findlay stands pre-eminent, with the exception already named.”
Public improvements were cited as follows:
Waterworks, with an abundant supply of water. The cost of the system was $350,000.
New courthouse, costing over $320,000.
Findlay College, costing over $100,000.
The pamphlet closes with a report by Postmaster S.C. Moore, in which he says the post receipts are growing rapidly. In the fiscal year which ended June 30, 1891, they amounted to $24,356.41. This was a gain of over 260 percent in 10 years, the postmaster said. He anticipated that the receipts would reach $75,000 in the next decade.
There were three mails daily in and out of Findlay in 1892 and three tri-weekly star route mails in 1830, while by 1890 this had grown to 14 mails, 25 pouches received daily and 16 mails and 28 pouches dispatched daily. The money order business in 1891 amounted to $131,210.96.
“In view of our present condition and wants and of the many precedents, we hope this bill will be favorably considered and become a law,” concluded the committee in its appeal for favorable action in the appropriation.