Annual Wine & Cheese Social
The Henry County, Ohio, Historical Society
New Monthly Article - February 2014
Good morning, and welcome to this month’s edition of “Historically Speaking” sponsored by the Henry County Historical Society.
We did it! The snow didn’t stop us this time! We had a wonderful turnout for our wine and cheese event earlier this month. Guests had a chance to sample several different wines, cheeses, feast on an array of appetizers, and bid on silent auction items. It was a great night, and congratulations to all our successful auction bidders!
Thank you to all our members for renewing their membership, and may we say welcome to our newest members. Our newsletter will be coming out soon with all the details concerning our annual banquet. Be sure to mark your calendars for Thursday, April 24th, our banquet date.
Happy Birthday Napoleon! Our city will be celebrating its 180th birthday October 15th of this year. The Historical Society is planning on celebrating this milestone with a few extra additions to the calendar to commemorate this event. We are also partnering with the Northwest Signal beginning this month. Each month, beginning with our broadcast program today, we will be featuring some of the first industries, important people, and organizations that helped in the development of Napoleon. On the same day as our radio program, the Northwest Signal will publish this same information, along with pictures, when available. Now you’ll have two ways to learn about your city’s history. Helping provide the historical information is our very own Russell Patterson, and he will be helping us throughout this event. So let’s get started!
When do you think the first industry was developed in Napoleon? It happened to be in 1843, and it was a saw mill, known as Sayger’s Saw-mill. It was established by John Powell and Hazel Strong, and located between the Maumee River and the Miami and Ohio Canal. This entire industrial area coincides with the land in and around our current city building on Riverview Avenue and Front Street. The canal played a vital role in manufacturing at that time. Low water could often cause the early businesses to periodically shut down. Progress slowly continued and twenty years later, in 1863, the Napoleon Woolen Mill was established just down the road from the Saw-mill. Jacob Augenstein, a name familiar to this area even in modern times, was credited with establishing the Woolen Mill. The mill employed about 25 men and women of varying ages. One
employee, 18 year old Della Hess, was a weaver. In one week, she was credited with weaving a record 639 yards of cloth. For all her work, she netted a grand total of $8. It’s recorded that she used that money to buy a necklace!
The earliest know photograph of Napoleon is from 1865, and was taken by a traveling photographer on the canal. In the photo are businesses that were located on the first block of East Washington Street, the north side. Businesses at this location included the C.J. McGinnis Saloon and Henry Ludeman’s general store next door. There was also a bar located at the back of the general store. John and Jacob Frease then built a general merchandise store in 1864, adjoining the Ludeman Store. Sadly, these building were destroyed by fire in 1869. Also included in this area was the John Powell House, which was built beside the Henry County Court House, which had been built in 1850. In 1879, fire destroyed these two buildings as well.
So there you have it, a program featuring current events and a history lesson. Please join us next month for our next installment of “Historically Speaking”, and as always, thank you for helping us keep history alive.
The content that used to be here on the homepage can now be found HERE. We wll make it easier to find in the near future.
The Henry County Historical Society was formed in 1970 to perpetuate the history of Henry County, Ohio, to learn about and preserve the artifacts of the county, and to generate interest in the past of the county. Our primary focus at this time is the completion of the restoration work on the beautiful Dr. John Bloomfield Victorian home, built circa 1879. This house is located at the corner of West Clinton and Webster streets in downtown Napoleon, across from the Napoleon Public Library. The house has been completely restored and is decorated with authentic period furnishings. Work is in progress on the carriage house and gardens. The home is open for special events, educational programs and private tours. We welcome new and old members alike to lend a hand and help us in our many programs and activities.
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