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Historical Bluffton

Bluffton Forever: Why flagstone walls on the Riley near Harmon Field?

By Fred Steiner

Imagine a mysterious Bluffton location partially under water.

Stand near the entrance to Steinmetz Field. Turn toward Harmon Field. Take about a dozen steps toward the creek.

There you will discover the remnants of a dam. That dam backed up the creek, but not anymore. Instead, it simply creates a mysterious Bluffton location.

When July in Bluffton was rodeo time

By Bill Herr
Icon columnist

Growing up in the 1940s and early ’50s, I was always excited when July 4th rolled around because of the Bluffton rodeo. It was considered by some to be the largest event in northwestern Ohio. The first rodeo was held in 1944 and it became an annual event.

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.