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March 23, 2019

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Historical Bluffton

East side of Main circa 1906

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Here's another post card photo of Main Street probably around 1906. It was no doubt taken the same day as the previous photo. The photographer simply moved north a few hundred feet.

In the window of the "restaurant" (today Forever in Stitches), a sign reads "Soda." The fronts of these stores have changed very little since this photo was taken.

A view of the east side of Main circa 1906

Main Street circa 1907

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We recently showed you the west side of Main Street at the turn of an earlier century. Now we show you the east side from the same era. In this view, the photographer was standing in front of what today is Citizens National Bank, looking toward the town hall.

Main Street snapshot circa 1915

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There are times when small packages offer huge surprises. This photo represents one of those times. The original photo is a snapshot measuring 2 by 3 inches. It is taken from a family album, but carries no explanation.

When enlarged the photo reveals much. Of course, you recognized the view is Main Street Bluffton taken from what today would be in front of Common Grounds coffee shop looking north. Judging the Ford Model T on the left, which appears to resemble a 1915 model, that puts this photo in the mid-1910s.

The final steam through Bluffton

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Here's a rare black and white photo of the last-ever steam locomotive to pass through Bluffton. It was in the mid-1980s.

The Lima-built NKP Berkshire locomotive was pulling a steam fan excersion train from Muncie, Ind., to Bellevue. The trackage through Bluffton since has been downgraded by Norfolk Southern. Steam locomotives are too heavy to risk travel on the local rails.

When steam ruled the rails

NKP 703 pulls a fast freight through Bluffton toward Bellevue

When steam ruled - Click on photo to enlarge

Here's a poor quality, but important photo of Bluffton in the late 1940s or early 1950s. The scene is from Cherry Street looking south toward Railroad Street.

The Bluffton depot, which is now located at the Buckeye park, was alive with activity, servicing as a stop on the Nickel Plate Railroad. The depot served passengers and freight stops. The freight train heading north toward Bellevue is pulled by Lima-built Berkshire 703.

50,000 pounds of wool wanted

Bluffton's Russell Hotel

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Here's an extremely rare glimpse of Main Street Bluffton prior to 1900. The photograph is a tintype measuring 6 1/2 by 9 inches. Of all the tintype photos taken of Bluffton, this is the largest we've ever seen.

The photograph shows the Russell Hotel. It was once located where the Citizens National Bank is today on the west side of Main Street. There are other photos of the hotel that can be seen in early Bluffton post cards of Main Street.

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