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Historical Bluffton

Bluffton's Swiss Day tradition

C. 1950-1960 Swiss Day photograph from the Bluffton Public Library at

Pictured here: a photograph of several unidentified individuals gathered around a piano, taken during a Swiss Day celebration held in Bluffton, Ohio. According to information written on the back of the original photograph, the pianist is Nancy Wismer Hilty.

On a Festival of Wheels tangent: 1888 view of Jackson and Grove

Browsing for stories connected to the theme of Bluffton's Festival of Wheels--which is headed our way on Friday, June 14--this horse and wagon wheels image made us say "Whoa!"

By Fred Steiner

Barns, wooden fences and empty lots were all that occupied the neighborhood of Jackson and Grove streets in 1888, when this picture was taken.

Handling the powerful rig in the photo were Peter Diller (left) and Albert E. Lugibill, in the fancy striped coat on the right. The horses are a pair of Percherons owned by Bucher Brothers, taken around for stud services.

From a note on the back of the photo, written in 1959, we learn the following: The house in the left background is now occupied by Mrs. Addie Graber. Looking east, the photo was taken from the corner now occupied by the Paul Clark residence.

Read the whole story at 135 years ago, this was the Jackson-Grove intersection of Bluffton

Bluffton's 100 year-old love affair with Harmon Field

Click HERE to open a 236-page booklet in the Bluffton Public Library Digital Archive Collection. The booklet, “The Harmon Field Story,” provides rare photos of the early days of Harmon Field plus a detailed history of the Harmon Foundation.

In its infancy it was a community park

By Fred Steiner

A Bluffton fixture turns 100 this fall, and it is as vibrant today as it was during its 1924 inaugural year. This centenarian goes by the name “Harmon Field.” However, in its beginning it was much, much, more than simply a high school football field, as it was originally created as a village park.

"Those ravishing seniors and teachers" at Bluffton High School in 1974

The headline reads: "Those ravishing seniors and teachers." School's been out for 50 years for Bluffton High School alumni in the class of 1974. Check out the 1974 Buccaneer courtesy of the BHS online Wall of Fame HERE.

Not on your tin type: c. 1880s image preserved by Raid, Boehr, Steiner

By Fred Steiner

A true Bluffton classic, perhaps taken in the 1880s ... this tin type photograph offers many questions and few answers. However, here is what we do know:

Howard Raid had this tin type, which measures 2 inches wide by 3 ½ inches tall. It was given to him by an unknown previous owner.

1954 bird's eye view of Bluffton

We've enlarged sections -- maybe you can see your house

By Fred Steiner

Looking directly at Main Street, here's what Bluffton appeared like from the air in 1954.

A couple things to check: • The 1911 wing of Bluffton High School shows on the left center

• First Mennonite, First United Methodist and Bluffton Presbyterian have yet to add additions

• A closer look on the left side of Main Street reveals buildings that no longer exist.

• The Victorian grade school stands at the end of Church Street as do several homes that eventually became part of the middle school and a parking lot expansion.

Oh, there's lots more at