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How many saloons in Bluffton in the 1890s?

Twelve or thirteen, no one knows for certain

By Fred Steiner

How many saloons existed in Bluffton in the 1890s? No one is really certain. There may have been 12 or 13... and they moved around and changed hands often.

Piecing together what we know about many of these establishments the map provides a picture of saloon locations in the 1890s.

Consider today that nearly 40 businesses exist between the town hall and the public library, including Vine and Cherry streets. Imagine in a dozen of those as saloons. How many offered 100 proof drinks and how many were for men only?

One of those saloons, The Monarch Billiard Saloon, posted this advertisement in a July 1893 issue of the Bluffton News.

"Take notice – Having just added to my former large stock, some of the best brands of fine liquors and wines I am now prepared to offer for sale such as: • 8-year-old Overholt rye

• 12-year-old Crow

• 7-year-old Gugenheimer rye

• 10-year-old Kentucky Club

• 6-year-old Crystal Rock

• 8-year-old Hancock Club


• 9-year-old Crow

• 6-year-old O.F.C. Taylor

• 9-year-old McBrayer

• 7-year-old fine Bourbon

• Hennessy & Co.’s Cognac Brandy

• Jeneva Gin

• Imported Port wine

• Blackberry wine

• Blackberry brandy

• St. Julian wine

• California grape wine

• Missouri Riesling wine

• Kreuter bitters, etc.

If you believe a dozen is a large number, consider that Putnam County had 50 saloons at this time. Wild times.

For the rest of this story and additional photo click HERE.