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When Bluffton was a boom town

Decade of the 1890s makes it our Golden Age

No question about it.

Bluffton’s experienced its Golden Age during decade of the 1890s. Bluffton was a boom town during this decade.


• Oil and natural gas was discovered in Findlay 10 years earlier

• Town hall built in 1887

• Water plant in service in 1896

• Telephone arrived in 1898

• Central Mennonite College opened in 1889

• Population in 1900 was 1,783; 50 years earlier the town has 12 families

• Northern Ohio Railway with passenger and freight service

• Lake Erie and Western Railroad with passenger and freight service

• Bluffton was one of the largest shipping points for dressed poultry in the United States, according to an news item in the Bluffton News.

A detailed Allen County Assessor’s report of statistics from 1895 is included at the bottom of this story.

Looking at a copy of the Bluffton News in 1896 you will discover an incredible variety of retail items available on Main Street. Here’s a partial list, based upon a full page listing from a copy of an 1896 Bluffton News:

Bixel & Welty’s –

Eyes tested, bargains in ladies belts and waist sets, all watches repairing done quickly and fine work guaranteed, Parker pens, gold watches

Scheid & Bixel –

First class work our motto only, Kitchen sinks and pumps, wood and iron pumps of all sizes or kinds, milk cans, creameries, gasoline, roofing, spouting and guttering done on short notice, new line of porcelain basins, repairing gasoline stoves, new line of bath tubs, lavatories and closets, we reline creameries and make all styles of milk cans to order, agents for Steiner’s improved copper creamery, hot air, steam and hot water heaters.

Simon Herr –

We sell The Crescent bicycle is the fastest wheel on earth and holds the one mile record, made March 27, 1896, time one minute, eleven and three-fifths seconds

Bixel & Basinger’s –

Salt fish of all kinds, just received, the best coffee on the market is San Marto, pickles, five cents per dozen, just received, a car of Michigan salt, which we guarantee not to get hard in the barrel, seven pounds of good rice for 25 cents

Variety Bazaar –

Hammocks 18 feet long for 50 cents, lawn mowers cheap, ladies belts for ten cents, cups and saucers 25 cents a set

Wilson & Co. –

Prepped to give you low prices on clothing

A.J. Owens –

Brick business room for rent, next door to post office

J.E. Lugibill’s –

Most complete stock in all kinds of notions

J.L. Doty’s –

First-class goods at reasonable prices and 16 ounces make a pound, cheap iron fence, exclusive sale in Bluffton of the World’s Fair Chase & Sanborn’s coffee, best on the market

Wise Clothing & Shoe Co. –

One dollar buys a pair of boy’s solid leather shoes, sold elsewhere at $1.25, children’s wash suits from 50 cents to $1.50, overalls and working shirts, five hundred pairs of ladies’ fine kid button shoes, small sizes at less than cost of manufacturing

C.B. Mann –

Barns for rent

Bluffton News –

When in want of envelopes, letter heads, note heads, bill heads, statements, cards, circulars, wedding invitations of all kind, in fact anything in the printing line, remember we can do the work as well as you can get it done at any other office in Northwestern Ohio, and usually at a much less price.

Moore & Runner’s eating parlor For a fine lunch, the only place in town offering Lowney’s chocolates

John Fett Hardware –

Lawn mowers, the Dandy steel wind mill, hammocks, Krause riding cultivators, John Deere walking cultivators, a new line of buggies

Miss Ida Gratz –

Sewing by the day

Wilsons –

Carpets and lace curtains, almost anything in the line of shoes, we will give you the lowest prices on clothing ever heard of

Bogart Bros. – New $60 ladies wheels which they will sell for $42.50 each

Hauenstein’s – Townsend remedies, wallpaper, drugs

Diller & Lugibihl Fine line of Leonard cleanable refrigerators, roofing and spouting

N.C. Herr, jeweler – First class musical instrument and strings

Bracelin’s drug store

Western Telephone Co., has a line in its office completed to Findlay., headquarters on the following goods, hammocks, screen doors, lawn mowers and gasoline stoves, Townsend’s remedies

Bluffton Steam Laundry

Herr Opera House

More businesses We are aware of business names of several of the following, but not aware of their retail or service offered:

Doty & Mann

Bixel Bros.

D.W. Waldman

Kissaberth & Thrapp

H. Ruhl

Amstutz & Luginbuhl

J.E. Lugibill

Frizzell & Oberly

W.J. Staater

Buckeye Pipe Line Co.

Allen County Assessor's Report of Richland Township 1895



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