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Historical Bluffton

Don’t hitch your horse to a Bluffton fire hydrant

By Fred Steiner

Imagine being required to turn off your water line each time the fire department answered a fire alarm.

Don’t even think about hitching your horse to a fire hydrant.

Those were the rules when Bluffton’s municipal water plant opened in the late 1890s.

And, this may come as a surprise. The reason the village of Bluffton created a municipal water plant was for fire protection. It had very little to do with providing individuals with running water in their houses.

In a case you wonder, here are additional rules governing water usage in the village when the water plant first opened:

• Patrons had to immediately discontinue using water for any purpose, when the fire alarm sounded.

• It was prohibited to hitch horses to fire hydrants.

• Lawn, garden or yard sprinkling was restricted  to the hours of 5:30 to 9 a.m. and 4 to 8 p.m.


Life in Bluffton in 1880s

Oil lamps were street lights; hogs roamed at large on Main Street; in rainy weather, the road was axle deep

By Fred Steiner

Back in the days before electric lights, running water, concrete sidewalks, pavements and other modern improvements, Bluffton presented an appearance much different than it does today. 

In rainy weather, the road was axle deep on Main Street and transportation was as much of a problem as in the country.

Places of business had board walks built in front of the stories, and these for  some reason or other had an overshoot from the roof over the pavement. 

Most of the buildings were one story affairs and many of them had “false fronts” above the roofs to lend the appearance of an upper story. On these false fronts were usually the names of the proprietors of the store.

It was not until the late 1880s that the town got oil lamps on the Main Streets. A lamp lighter was hired by the town council for the purpose of lighting the lamps at dusk, and this individual carrying a ladder about on the round of his duties was much a part of the scene as in the England of “Pomander Walk” fame.


Bluffton Ohio Historical Society meets May 10

The May monthly meeting of the newly named Bluffton Ohio Historical Society will be Wednesday, May 10 at 7:00 p.m. on the third floor of Bluffton City Hall. 

The meeting will include officer and sub-committee reports and a review of the Allen County Museum in Lima. 

Aaron Rule will present a program, "Bluffton Antiques and Artifacts" where he will show parts of his personal collection.

Bluffton's brush with history

By Fred. Steiner

A Bluffton News item from Oct. 29, 1896, states that J.S. Jennings of Armorsville received a letter from his cousin, William Jennings Bryan, Democratic candidate for president.

Point of interest: Armorsville no longer exists. At one time it was located on the County Line Road between Bluffton and Ada.

The interesting connection between this Bluffton area resident and a famous politician put us on a search of other residents with similar brushes with history.

Here’s what we found, each printed in the Bluffton News:

Oct. 31, 1907 - George Lewis returned Monday from Washington where he attended the postmaster’s convention. Of course, George shook hands with Teddy Roosevelt.

July 29, 1920 - Many local Republicans journeyed to Marion Thursday to see Senator Warren G. Harding accept the nomination for the presidency.

Making the trip were M.M. Murray, John Rogers, Roy Rogers, J.A. Thompson, Fred Tripplehorn, Edgar Jackson, Lloyd Murray, Hod Murray, George Lewis, A.C. LaPort, Dr. and Mrs. R.E. Hughson, Robert Hughson and Mr. and Mrs. Edgar Hauenstein.

March 4, 1937 - Captain Rene R. Studler, son of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Studler of South Jackson Street, was recently presented to King George of England, at a reception held at St. James Palace in London.


Name selected: Bluffton Ohio Historical Society

By Paula Scott

In an online vote that drew 26 opinions, a new group planning to create a Bluffton museum selected the name Bluffton Ohio Historical Society (BOHS). The results were presented and established by vote of those present at an April 12 meeting.

The fledgling group has regular meetings at 7:00 p.m. on the second Wednesday of the month on the third floor of Bluffton Town Hall.

Buried treasure in Bluffton?

By Fred Steiner

Nah. Well, maybe.

We’ve collected several local stories of buried coins plus the discovery of coins older than your great-great grandmother. The following stories reveal some of the loose change that could be waiting discovery, plus a copy stories of rare finds right in our back yard.