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Historical Bluffton

1892: Bluffton's worst railroad accident

By Fred Steiner

Imagine an out-of-control and fast-moving freight train colliding into the rear of a mixed passenger and freight train stopped at a station.

That scene describes Bluffton’s most horrific railroad accident and it happened here 130 years ago, in 1892.

The accident killed one person, and caused damages in today’s money amounting to nearly $800,000, almost forced the railroad out of business.  

A chat with the woman who played the piano in Bluffton’s silent movie theatre

Read the complete story at

By Fred Steiner

Question: Can you name a business that has continually operated on Bluffton’s Main Street for over one century?

Answer: You may not guess this, but the answer is a movie theatre. Today’s Shannon Theatre was once called the Carma. And, the Carma’s origins started in the silent film era as the Star Theatre.

In the days of silent movies, a piano player sat in a pit near the screen providing music to accompany the drama unfolding.

That piano player was Helen Worthington.

Remembering past Bluffton High School graduations

With the Bluffton University commencement of 2022 celebrated on May 7 and the Bluffton High School ceremonies in our sights on May 28, you may be preoccupied with what the future will bring for these young people.

In a hundred year's time will Blufftonites be reading about them?

In a series of blogs for, Fred Steiner provides us with lists of and information about Bluffton High School graduates beginning in 1881.

Photo-story: Bread baking in the Swiss Settlement

Demonstration for Senior Center members

Members of the Bluffton Senior Citizens Center recently enjoyed an outdoor bread baking demonstration at the Schumacher Homestead, 8350 Bixel Rd. It was a damp and chilly week, but the group brought blankets and chairs, and made themselves comfortable.

Ivan Friesen provided the bread baking expertise, while Swiss Community Historical Society curator Keith Sommers filled in the guests on the history of bread ovens in the area known as The Settlement.

Pirate who loved Bluffton football the most?

By Bill Herr, Bluffton Icon Columnist

In all the years of Bluffton Pirate football, which person loved it the most? Was it a player? Was it a coach? Was it an administrator or teacher? 

My choice is Curtis Habegger, one of my former students. Curtis graduated from Bluffton High School in 1976. One of his classmates, Bob Herr, told me "Curtis was a great guy, had an outstanding personality." After graduation, Curtis worked for Lugibihl Spray. David Lugibihl said that Curtis was very quiet, didn't say much until you got to know him. He had a good personality. He was slow, but a good worker, very particular. Curtis told David he wanted to clean out his barn floor. He insisted on doing it by hand with a pitchfork rather than using an available tractor loader. David said it took him three days, and afterward, the barn was so clean You could have eaten a meal on it."

Was Wilford Geiger your teacher?

By Fred Steiner,

If you attended Bluffton High School in the late 1950s or 1960s and took chemistry or driver’s education, Wilford Geiger was your teacher.

And, here’s an opportunity to see Mr. Geiger as a toddler.

With every hair in place, these three Geiger children pose for a portrait in 1912.

The three, from left, are Beulah Geiger Gooding, Wilford O. Geiger and Estella Geiger Pugh.