Unusual snapshot reveals a
forgotten Bluffton of 100 to 125 years ago
Yes, this is a Bluffton street intersection. But, where? Only one clue reveals the location. A street sign on the right side of the intersection reads “GROVE ST.”
Yes, this is a Bluffton street intersection. But, where? Only one clue reveals the location. A street sign on the right side of the intersection reads “GROVE ST.” A second street sign on the pole next to the Grove Street sign, not readable however, identifies what is today’s Kibler Street
A handwritten sentence on the photo’s back side confirms the location. It reads: Bentley Road and Grove Street Bluffton, Ohio – looking into Kibler Street.
Below the handwriting it is a stamped “Neu-Art Studio, photographers, Bluffton, Ohio.”
This photograph came from Paul Klassen, one of Bluffton’s oldest residents, today in his ninth decade.
Here’s what we know and don’t know about this scene.
• We don’t know the year the photo was taken. There are several hints. First, none of the streets are paved. We simply need to learn when paving took place. (It’s more difficult to learn than you may think.) Actually, Grove Street was bricked before it was paved. That occurred sometime in the early 1920s.
• Street poles and electrical wire help determine a year for this photo. Bluffton’s electric power plant opened in 1897. The telephone arrived in the early 1900s.
So, based upon absence of bricks and presence of electrical wires, this photograph was snapped sometime between 1900 and perhaps the early 1920s. We're guessing early than later.
Some additional photo observations:
•There exist either three or four large boulders on the far right property. Today that property is owned by Rob and Jan Young. Those boulders may be parked in the Young’s back yard today.
•Curbs exist on three of the four intersection corner. Who constructed them? The village?
• A closer examination of the photo reveals a vegetable garden near the Grove Street sign.
Beyond all of the hints, we have no idea the name of the photographer who took this photo and why the photo was taken. It certainly demonstrates significant changes that have taken place at that intersection in the past 100 to 125 years.
We’ve enlarged portions of the photo for viewers to study.
Kibler-Grove intersection 100 to 125 years ago