Springfield, Ohio

History and Genealogy



Manufacturing Interests


From The History of Clark County, Ohio
Chicago: W.H. Beers & Co., 1881 - Page 474


By Oscar T. Martin

We have now reached a period in our narration where the history of Springfield is identified with that of its manufacturing interests. It is impossible to separate them. To note the advance of the city in its material interests the reader is referred frmo this time to the chapter on the industrial interests of Springfield, and which forms a part of this history. The inventions which have gained for it an international reputation, the enterprise and thrift which continually demand extensive additions to large establishments to provide facilities for the annual increase of business, and which yearly extends its conquests until the uttermost parts of the earth are brought within its dominion, there find proper recital.

It simply remains for us to make outside notes for the prominent events which have transpired, or give special features of progress.

The taxable value of real estate within the corporate limits, at this time 1853, as fixed by the Appraisers, and subsequently equalized by the County Board of Equalization was $699,976, while the value of buildings ascertained by the same authority was $527,400. The increase in buildings and consequent increase in value of the real estate had for the most part been confined to the eastern portion of the town. "Old Virginia" lagging behind its more thrifty neighbor. It had a number of neat and tasty private residences erected in pleasant situations and adorned with a variety of trees and shrubberies; until within a year or two of the time of which we write, there had not been a business house west of Mill Run. There were thirty-six groceries and taverns in which 43,384 gallons of intoxicating liquors were sold annually, at a then estimate of $24,800, yet these were all monopolized by the east end. Now, however, a change came over it. The season of 1853 was prolfic of new houses, and improvements were visible everywhere. The western locality began to feel the spur of progress. A three-story brick business room on the corner of Main and Factory streets, and an imposing school building which then would have done honor to any city in the State, were among the evidences of advancement.

A writer in the Republic of January 3, 1854, gives the result of the last season's operations. It is inserted here as the observations of an eye witness, who writes, as he says, "for the benefit fo those who are interested in the property of our growing city."

"At the east end of Columbia street may be seen the suburban residence of Mrs. Warder, occupying an elevated position. This is an English cottage after the Gothic style, and is said to be one of the best built hoses within the corporate limits. On Spring Hill, looking down upon the placid waters of Buck Creek and the quiet inhabitants of Sleepy Hollow, is the handsome, convenient residence of L. H. Olds, and a little further north fronting the Urbana Pike the tasteful and pleasant dwelling of A. A. Hayward. On Buck Creek, a large oil-mill has been erected by Mr. James Barnett, who is driving business with his usual energy. Passing over to the east end of High street, on a lovely spot of ground, is the large and, we should think, pleasant, residence erected by Rev. Mr. Moore. Also the beautiful, showy, elegant and convenient dwelling completed last spring and now occupied by Mr. Wallace. A little further west is the model cottage of Mr. J. B. Fisk, built in the form of a cross. We like this style very much. Next is a substantial home built by Father Foos, in which to spend his remaining days. Still further west is the handsome residence of J. B. Morris, which is a specimen of New England style and is a credit to him as a gentleman of excellent taste. Opposite the female college stands the mansion of William Foos, finished last season, and is about perfect in its internal and external arrangements. This is too good a house to have so little ground around it. On the south side of the city, east of Dr. Gillett's, Mr. G. W. Turner has erected a very fine house, and when entirely completed will be quite conspicuous; and immediately east is another of about equal proportions, and a little similar in external appearance erected and now occupied by Mr. James A. Bean. These two houses, occupying as they do a very elevated and conspicuous portion of ground, will give the stranger as he passes through the city an idea of the elegance of taste being displayed by those of our citizen now erecting their new homes. The probable cost of these buildings is not far from $40,000."

In speaking of the improvements just completed in the business portion of the town the same writer says: "On Main street is a three-story brick with iron front just erected by Messrs. Birdseye & Diehl; on Limestone street, near Main, may be seen looking down upon all its neighbors the first and only four-story building ever erected in our city, built by our active and energetic citizen, Peter Murray, who has done more toward the improvement of our city than any man living in it. One of the rooms is being fitted up for the use of the Clark County Bank, soon to be put in operation by Messrs. Hertzler, Harrison and others. The upper part of this building is to be added to the Murray House.


Celebration of the Laying of the Atlantic Cable


The popular enthusiasm excited all over this country by the attempt to join the Old and New Worlds with the electric cable, found expression in general celebrations in all the cities when the marvelous connection was made. On Thursday, the 5th day of August, A. D. 1858, a cable dispatch to the Associated Press, New York, from Cyrus W. Fields, dated from the United States Frigate Niagra at Trinity Bay, New Foundland, announcing that the cable had been successfully completed was posted on the bulletin board at Springfield. This simple announcement produced an intense excitement. All business was suspended. The streets were thronged with people, discussing the news, and exchanging congratulations. There were doubts suggested upon the authenticity of the dispatch. The impossibility of the cable successfully working after being laid found many advocates. On the following Monday night the message of the Queen of England to President Buchanan, in which the royal lady congratulated the President on the successful completion of the international work, was received, and about midnight the reciprocating answer of Buchanan was also read. On Tuesday morning the citizens were awakened by the ringing of bells and the thunder of artillery. In the afternoon the independent military companies with the fire organizations paraded through the streets. In the evening the messages of the Queen and President were read from the balcony of the city hall by Dr. Seys. The reading of the messages was responded to by a salute from the artillery. Hon. S. Shellabarger followed with an able and appropriate address. The principal streets were in a blaze of light from the illuminated houses and bonfires, while the joyous peals of bells mingled with the thunder of cannon on the Market square. A torch-light procession was formed, which, headed by Tuttle's band, marched and countermarched for several hours. Flags waved from the principal buildings and streamers with appropriate sentences were suspended across Main street. The ceremonies of the day and evening were the exultant appreciation of a grand achievement.