You are here

Historical Bluffton

In 1927, the "Invisible Empire" was visible in Bluffton

By Fred Steiner

The question, “Did the Ku Klux Klan exist in Bluffton in the 1920s?” may result in a “what!?” response from residents today.

You may decide for yourself, after reading this front page news item in the Nov. 3, 1927, Bluffton News.

Headline: Klansmen Invited

Bluffton Forever: Vacation plans in order?

Vacation plans in order?

That question asked by two earlier generations of Bluffton residents quite possibly meant a railroad trip, beginning and ending in Bluffton. 

In an earlier story posted on Bluffton Forever you will find a story about Bluffton residents taking the train to Chicago to the 1893 World’s Fair. Click HERE for that story.

In the days when Bluffton had 12 saloons

By Fred Steiner

In the late 1890s Bluffton had 12 saloons.

These saloons, for men only, offered several hard-liquor options to their customers. 

This was also a period in the life of the community when several signs posted on Main Street read “No spitting on sidewalks.” Meaning tobacco spitting.

1893 Chicago World's Fair drew from far and near

By Fred Steiner

In 1893 the village of Bluffton (population under 1,700) had no running water, no electric plant, no telephones, no rural mail delivery, and Central Mennonite College (Bluffton University) did not yet exist.

Despite this, it is reported that 109 residents of Bluffton traveled to the 1893 Columbian Exposition, known as the World’s Fair in Chicago. The actual number may have been higher.

For the record, from Beaverdam there were 16 attendees, Rockport 28, Pandora 7, and Mt. Cory 10.

1974 WBGU documentary Bluffton USA now streaming online

In 1974 WBGU-TV produced the 58-minute documentary "Bluffton, USA." Recently, the Icon watched it with great interest at the Bluffton Senior Center. When we called to inquire, WBGU put it at the head of the line for its new streaming service and you can now watch the show at

Bluffton is home of the “ashless cigar”

By Fred Steiner

Created by a 1919 BHS graduate 
It’s a little-known fact that Bluffton, Ohio, is the home of the patented “ashless cigar.”

Why there’s no sign at the edge of town stating this fact is something I’ve never quite figured out. Perhaps it’s time to do something about it. So, here’s me doing something.

This cigar information is a long-held secret in my family, who happens to hold the patent.