Thomas Steel Plant
Located on the east bank of the Mosquito
Creek, south of the Erie RR, it was originally the William Ward
and Co., built in 1870. After the failure of the Ward Co.. John
R. Thomas bought it in 1879 and enlarged it. It was acquired and
enlarged again by the Carnegie Steel Co. in 1900 and dismantled
in 1925. PO7.95
Panic of 1873 prostrated Niles and much of the country. All the
Ward Industries failed, and despite efforts at reorganization, successive
failures occurred. The financial panic was followed by six years
of depression. By 1885, most of the Ward enterprises were owned
by outside parties. Until 1888, industrial recovery was slow and
marked by a recurrent recessions Population had increased only by
1,200 in 20 years from 3,000 in 1870 to 4,289 in 1890.
The years from 1888-1900 were a period
of industrial prosperity. New companies such as: The Bostwick Steel
Lath Company; Sykes Iron Roofing Company; The McKinley Tin Mill,
which made Niles the birthplace of the American tin industry; along
with the older industries such as: Niles Firebrick, Falcon Iron
& Nail, Thomas Furnace and Reeves Boiler Works provided a period
of industrial and city growth. Niles’ population increased
74% to 7468, only 1,100 less than Warren and the value of its industrial
products and wages exceeded Warren’s.
Part 1: Milltown,
the Early Years 1843-1873. Part 3: Milltown,
Merger and Diversification 1900-1929
Information: Pictorial History of Niles Ohio published
by The Niles Historical Society and available here.
American Sheet & Tin Plate Co.,
made first tinplate in the US. Constructed in 1891 by Falcon Iron
& Nail Co., originally the James Ward Co. but acquired by the
Arms Bros. & John Stambaugh after the 1873 Ward failures.
This mill was sold in 1899 and dismantled
about 1908. PO1.503
Thomas blast furnace. Represents enlarge-ments
made by John R. Thomas after acquiring property from Ward's in 1879.
Sold by the Thomas' to Carnegie Steel Co. in 1900 which further
enlarged the property. PO1.630
View from Central School looking south
in downtown Niles. It looked like this about 1900 when you glanced
south down Furnace St. (now State St.) The tall building beyond
Abramson Stoves and the hardware store is the Mango Block, and the
grist mill built originally by Heaton. Smoke from the mills and
frame buildings were the familiar sights of the day.
Empire Iron & Steel Company was
organized in 1902 by Wade A. Taylor, Charles S. Thomas
and John O'Dea.
It was located on the south bank of
the Mahoning River east of the Lisbon branch of the Erie RR. It
was sold to Jonathan Warner & Associates in 1905. PO1.514
In approximately 1912 it was sold
to Brier Hill Steel Company which merged with Youngstown
Sheet & Tube Company. PO1.515
Built in 1870 by William Ward and
known as the Wm. Ward & Co. blast Furnace, it failed in the
Panic of 1873. This picture shows the original Ward Blast Furnace.
It was purchased by John R. Thomas
in 1879 who increased capacity from 25 to 320 tons. In 1900 it became
part of the Carnegie Steel Company. but was operated only in times
of great demand for steel, the last period of steady use being WWI.
The Carnegie Steel Company was closed
in 1920 and dismantled in 1925. PO1.512