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January 24, 2021

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Bluffton 4th of July 1915

Here's a Bluffton photo from what is believed to be a 1915 Fourth of July parade.

We base that upon the year of the vehicles in the photo, the bricked Church Street and the Russell Hotel on the left. The hotel burned to the ground in 1919. A very close examination of the license plates shows a "5."  We also take into consideration the style of the dresses worn by the women walking toward Main Street.

Several interesting observations:
• Elementary school in the background
• Cars parked on one side of the street and buggies angled parked on the other side. Was that an unspoken town law?
• The building in the rear on the left is Miller's Feed and Sale Barn

The character with the bike is dressed as Uncle Sam. The three young boys watching him, in our minds, have roamed Bluffton's Main Street for the past 100 years. As the changing Bluffton scene moves forward, these three young boys simply change identities.

This photo comes from the collection of Alan and Adele Eaton of California. Alan is the grandson of Jesse Steiner, who grew up on Columbus Grove Road near the Zion Mennonite Cemetery.