Harry M. Stevens, former Niles resident,
who gained international fame as
the inventor of the hot dog.
M. Stevens, Niles’ most famous and prosperous businessman,
turned a hot sausage into a million-dollar fortune and gave the
world the hot dog.
Stevens was known throughout the world as a caterer but it was the
first hot dog sold at the New York Polo Grounds in 1900 that sealed
his fortune. Sausage had been sold in rolls before that time, but
the hot roll and mustard and pickle were Stevens’ own idea.
The delicacy became popular immediately and quickly developed into
an American tradition.
A little less known than the hot dog was Stevens’ business
operations with double-jointed peanuts. Stevens was known as “The
man who parlayed a bag of peanuts into a million dollars.”
The businessman leased many acres of land in Virginia where he grew
peanuts and shipped them to New York by the carload.
Born in London, July 14, 1855, Stevens came to this country in 1892
and settled in Niles where his wife had friends. After working as
an iron puddler and book salesman, he hit upon what turned out to
be his life career. The idea came as he sat watching a baseball
Stevens noticed the scorecards were amateurish and contained no
advertising. Soon he obtained the concession for selling scorecards
at a Columbus ball park and quickly lined up advertising, then expanded
into other ball parks and selling refreshments as his next step.
Stevens’ promotions of the hot dog and other ventures brought
him an international reputation. He returned to Niles many times
during his lifetime. He died May 3, 1934, and is buried in Niles'
This article appeared in the 1984 Sesquicentennial Edition of the
Niles Daily Times and was written by: Gene Antonio.
The Stevens home, 1210 Robbins Avenue and Crandon,
as it appears today. It is still occupied.
The Stevens home as it appeared in the 1980s.
When the Stevens family lived in Niles the home was a focal point
of daily life. This photo shows Harry M. Stevens, right, entertaining
friends with a touring car of that era waiting to transport anyone
needing a ride.
The Stevens Family Official Portrait is the title given to this
photo. Seated, left to right, were: Harry M. Stevens, Mary Wragg
Stevens (Mrs. Harry) and Harold Arthur Stevens. Standing,
left to right, were: William Henry Stevens, Sr., Annie Stevens
Rose, Frank Mozely Stevens and Joseph Benson Stevens, Sr.
In their younger days these members of the Stevens family posed
for the photographer. Standing, left to right, were: William
H. Stevens Sr., Joseph B. Stevens, Sr. and Frank M. Stevens.
Seated, left to right, were: Harry M. Stevens and Harold
Grandfather Stevens, Harry M. Stevens, founder of the
bearing his name, is pictured here with his grandson, Dr. Harry
The article from the New York Clipper,
which told the story of Harry Steven,s was printed as a poster as
part of the 1984 Sesquicentennial celebration.
Mr. Clare Westenfield who championed the creation
of The Niles Historical Society is on the far left.
During the 1984 Sesquicentennial Celebration, a
memorial plaque was dedicated in Stevens Park.
The land for the park was donated by the Stevens family in 1936.