By MORGAN MANNS
FOSTORIA — One hundred years ago, Fostoria was the proud home of a company that made the Allen car.
It was 1918, a time before flappers, bootleggers and the Jazz Age.
Community members are being invited to experience the Roaring ’20s and celebrate Fostoria’s history during the Allen Car Centennial on Saturday.
Hosted by the Fostoria Area Historical Society, the event strives to educate guests about the rich history of their hometown through various family-fun events, in hopes of attracting more support for the organizations that preserve it.
“There’s so much history in the small town of Fostoria, not just glass or railroads. We want people to come downtown to our three facilities and experience all of that history,” said Jon Wonderly, historical society board member and event organizer.
“We’re hoping this will help people to be inspired to learn more about Fostoria’s history.”
All three of the Fostoria Area Historical Society’s museums — Fostoria Museum, 123 W. North St.; Foster’s Museum, 105 N. Main St.; and the History Corner, 123 N. Main St. — will be open throughout the day.
The History Corner will offer various children’s activities, including face painting, a root beer float stand and ice cream sundaes.
Foster’s Museum, which houses various artifacts owned by or relating to former Gov. Charles Foster, and the Fostoria Museum, which houses a plethora of artifacts from Fostoria’s history, such as an antique fire truck, old photos and the Allen car, will be open beginning at 9 a.m. for community members to wander through.
Weather permitting, the Allen car will be put on display outside the museum.
Three cars have been manufactured in Fostoria — Fostoria Light, Seneca, and the Allen car, which officials have said was superior to others in its day because it was a “higher-end, quality built vehicle.”
Fostoria’s Allen car is one of 11 known to exist out of thousands that were built a century ago. The Allen car was manufactured by Fostoria’s Allen Motor Car Co.
The company was established in 1913 by brothers Eugene and Warren Allen. They bought the Peabody Buggy Co. in Fostoria and began building the Allen car.
One of the last Peabody buggies to be manufactured in Fostoria is also housed in the Fostoria Museum.
“We’re excited” about Saturday’s event, Wonderly said. “It’s not every day you have a birthday for a car. We hope families will come and enjoy the day and learn about their hometown. It’s going to be a fun night in Fostoria.”
In celebration of the Allen car and the Roaring ’20s, the historical society will host a variety of downtown events on Saturday.
The main event of the evening will be period drinks, featuring cocktails and hors d’oeuvres from the 1920s, as well as live musical entertainment by The Singamajigs, a lady barbershop group.
The Bourbon Affair, Findlay, will provide the libations under a tent on West North Street next to the museum.
Attendees will also have an opportunity to win raffle items.
Cost is $40 per ticket and includes two 1920s-style cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, as well as a seat at a high table where ticketholders will enjoy the Jazz Age music. Guests are being encouraged to dress in clothing from the ’20s.
Tickets are being sold at the Fostoria Senior Citizens Center, 125 W. North St., from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays.
Wonderly said 125 tickets will be sold, and they’re selling at a “brisk rate.”
“We’re trying to reach a lot of younger people as well,” he added. “They’re the future of Fostoria and we want them to care about their history.”
The downtown festival will also include an antique show and flea market at the YMCA Annex, 125 W. North St. Nearly three dozen vendors have signed up for the event to sell trinkets or display their antiques. But organizers are looking for more.
Meanwhile, an auto show will take place along Main Street in downtown Fostoria from noon to 4 p.m. Registration is free and can be done before the event or the morning of. The first 25 entries will receive a dash plaque.
Trophies will be awarded, including Best of Show and People’s Choice.
Enter the show while purchasing a ticket for period drinks, or contact Steve Cramer at firstname.lastname@example.org. Older cars from the 1920s are encouraged but all vehicles will be accepted.
Proceeds from the day will go toward renovation of the Fostoria Museum.
Wonderly said the structure, built in 1900, is in need of new garage doors, a new roof, new windows, a heating and cooling system and other restorations.
“We don’t get any city or state funding,” Wonderly said. “It all comes from donations and our dues. We want people to come see the improvements we’ve made to the museum and all the work that still needs to be done.”