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July 22, 2019

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The Bluffton Story - part 1

Written by Bluffton 6th graders in 1953-54

Note: Bluffton sixth graders in the 1953-54 school year (graduating class of 1960) created a booklet titled "The Bluffton Story." The following article is part of that booklet, which is now in the history collection at the Bluffton Public Library. This series continues each week on the Icon.

No author listed
In 1888 Howe's "Historical Collections of Ohio" had the following to say about Bluffton:

"Bluffton, on the L. E. and W. and W. C. and W. Railroads, is in the northeast corner of Allen county. It was laid out in 1839 under the name of Shannon, which it retained for many years. Newspaper, The News, Independent, N. W. Cunningham, editor. Churches: One Lutheran, one Methodist, one Catholic, one Reformed, one Presbyterian, and one Dissenters. Bank: Daniel Russell, proprietor and cashier."

In 1904, one of the principal industries of the town was the Bluffton Turned Goods Co., which had been established here in 1849 by Ira Townsend. This company manufactured hardwood handles and operated until the "nineteen-thirties". During its last years it was operated by Cal Balmer.

In 1904, there were two stone quarries. One, the L. J. Siddall quarry, now known as the Buckeye, was one of the first in this part of Ohio. Siddall for many years operated a grist mill here with his father, on Riley Creek, then later went into the stone quarry business.

The other principal quarry in town at that time was the Bluffton Stone Co., John Amstutz, proprietor.

At the same time, three cream separator companies were operating in Bluffton. One was the Arras Cream Separator Co., founded by J. D. Arras, inventor of the separator, who sold out to John Fett and W. C. Augsburger. Peter Diller was operating the Sanitary Cream Separator Co., and the third was a company later to become the Bluffton Manufacturing Co., headed by Henry Zehrback.

Bluffton, Ohio is located in Allen county near the Hancock county line and has a population of 2, 415 (1950 Census). It is 15 miles north east of Lima and 16 miles south west of Findlay on route U.S. 25, the Dixie Highway.

The people of Bluffton are civic-minded and can boast of a progressive little community. There are several civic groups in the community including the Bluffton Businessmen's Association, the Junior Chamber of Commerce, the Lions Club, and other small organizations.

The community has been building a new half million dollar sewage plant and at the time of this writing it still owns and operates its own electric light and power plant along with a water works that supplies the town's daily consumption of 250,000 gallons of water or just over 10 gallons per person.

The town can boast of ten miles of well-lighted, paved streets.

We are serviced by the Nickle Plate and the Akron, Canton, and Youngstown Railroads, the Greyhound Bus line, and four trucking firms.

There are 100 business establishments in Bluffton with a total of 166 employees that receive an aggregate wage of $4,000 per week. Bluffton has had no labor trouble for 15 years. The census of 1950 breaks the Bluffton population down as follows: 45 foreign-born whites and 2,370 native whites.

Bluffton has two full-time policemen. Mr. Lee Coon, our street commissioner, also patrols by day and Mr. Albert Reichenbach patrols during the night.

We the co-authors of this book would like to extend our appreciation to the many fine people that were so kind in helping us gather our information on Bluffton's past and present. It would have been impossible for us to gather and compile this book without their aid.

Note of appreciation:
We the co-authors of this book would like to extend our appreciation to the many fine people that were so kind in helping us gather our information on Bluffton's past and present. It would have been impossible for us to gather and compile this book without their aid.

In appreciation we thank:
Mr. Ardon Baker, Personnel Manager, Triplett Electrical Inst. Co.
Rev. Alvin Beechy, Mennonite Church
Miss Sylvia Biederman, Supt., Bluffton Community Hospital
Mr. C.A. Biery, Editor, Bluffton News - Retired
Mr. Guy Corson, Chief, Bluffton Fire Dept.
Mr. Eli Deppler, Manager, Bluffton Telephone Co. - Retired
Mr. Samuel Diller, Research Consultant
Mr. Milton Edwards, Editor, Bluffton News
Mr. Clair B. Fett, Bluffton Slaw Cutter Company
Mr. Taylor Hampton, Vice President, Nickle Plate Railroad
Mrs. Charles Hankish, Roman Catholic Church
Mr. Armin Hauenstein, Rexall Drug Store
Rev. Robert King, Methodist Church
Mr. Charles Lloyd, Manager, Boss Manufacturing Co.
Rev. Leonard McIntire, Presbyterian Church
Mr. A.B. Murray, Supt., Bluffton Public Schools
Mr. M. M. (Dode) Murray, Church of Christ
Rev. V. C. Opperman, Evangelical & Reformed Church
Dr. L. L. Ramseyer, President, Bluffton College
Mr. Elmer Romey, President, Citizens National Bank
Mrs. Mary Schiffke, Bluffton News
Mr. Ralph Stearns, Asst. Postmaster, Bluffton, Ohio
Mr. Clarence Stonehill, Clerk, Bluffton Fire Dept.
Rev. Rueben Short, Evangelical Mennonite Church
Mrs. Walter Gratz, Church of Christ Scientist
Mrs. E. C. Stultz, Lutheran Church
Mr. R. L. Triplett, President, Triplett Electrical Inst. Co.
Rev. Robert Welch, Missionary Church

Mrs. Roger Bell
Mrs. Josephine Burkholder