Front View of Thomas House

Ward-Thomas Museum

Ohio Association of Historical Societies and Museums

Five images of buildings and grounds

1882 Niles Businesses

Ward — Thomas Museum
Home of the Niles Historical Society
503 Brown Street Niles, Ohio 44446

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Panoramic View of Downtown Niles, 1882.
Panoramic View of Downtown Niles, 1882.

Niles In 1882 Had Sixteen Important Business Places.

In a history of Trumbull and Mahoning counties published in 1882, Niles is described as one of the busiest towns in northeastern Ohio at that time. The incorporated part then included a territory extending a mile and a half east and west, and a mile and three-fourths north and south, with an estimated population of 4000. It was served by three important railroads and all indications were for a prosperous future.


Soldier's Monument in park. The Old Town Hall was on the site where the McKinley Memorial would be built. The monument is still standing on rear grounds of the Memorial.

Soldier's Monument in park. The Old Town Hall was on the site where the McKinley Memorial would be built. The monument is still standing on rear grounds of the Memorial.
PO1.206

Howe’s Description
Henry Howe, who visited Niles a few years later just as the city was recovering from the depression beginning in 1872, recorded his impression of the place as follows:

“Niles is in the heart of the great mining industry of Ohio. The population, in the main, consists of the workmen in the iron establishments and their families, largely foreign – Irish, Welsh, and German – the Irish being the strongest element. The houses are mainly two story buildings of wood, dingy from the smoke that hangs over the place. It has a public square, not exceeding two acres, upon which is a soldiers’ monument of granite about sixteen feet high, upon which is inscribed, “Erected in memory of our fallen heroes in the war 1861-1865 by the McPherson Post, No. 16., Dept. of Ohio G. A. R, and the citizens of Weathersfield township.” to honor General James "Birdseye" McPherson, born Sandusky, Ohio November 14, 1828.

“Surrounding the square are Catholic, Methodist, and Disciple churches, the town hall, which is a plain wooden structure, and an engine house with an alarm tower. The city is a hive of industry of solid work and solid people”


Typical dry goods Store.

Typical dry goods Store. CA 1900.

Six on Main Street.
The county history of 1882 provides a partial description of the business district in the year. According to this record, there were then only sixteen important stores located in the village.

Six of these were located on Main Street. Of the six, two were groceries, two dry goods stores, one a tailor shop and one a grain supply store. One grocery had existed since 1871, and was operated by S. A. Russell; the other had been managed by Mrs. A. S. Crandon since 1871, while E. C. Moore and Company, dealers in flour and seed, was established in 1880.


Postcard view of Furnace Street

Postcard view of Furnace Street .CA 1900. PO1.908

Five on Furnace Street.
Furnace Street was the location of five important concerns, each of a different type. The names of these and the dates of establishment were: Church and Coffee, dry goods and groceries, 1880; C. W. Potter, drugs, 1875; John C. Kerns, Jeweler, 1873; James Bowden, boots and shoes, 1871; and C. W. Bruder, hardware, 1878.

Furnace Street (East State Street) On the left hand side was the Reeves and Leitch Building. On the right side was the Trumbull County Independent, the weekly newspaper, the post office and the building near the school was the Mango building. At the end of the street was Central School.


The early post office on East State Street about 1912.

The early post office on East State Street about 1912. Pictured are Frank Mears and Pete McDonald. PO1.383

Five on Mill Street.
Five stores stood on Mill St. One a drug store established in 1878 by Cook and Company; another, a grocery, managed by Young Brothers; and a third, a notion store, begun by C. W. Thomas in 1877.

The Taylor hardware store established in 1876, stood on the corner of Mill and Furnace streets, and near it, on the corner of Main and Mill streets, was the Dalzel dry goods store. The two hotels in the city were the Sanford House where the Heaton Hotel now is, and the Commercial House, on the site of the Dollar Bank. Both hotels owned livery stables near at hand.

It is certain, however, that the above list does not provide a complete picture of the business district in 1882. There were doubtless a number of smaller shops, and none of the saloons are mentioned.


Photo taken of Milo Caramella standing in front of his confectionery store on Main Street about 1900.

Photo taken of Milo Caramella standing in front of his confectionery store on Main Street about 1900.

Compared in 1916
The growth of the business district can be measured, in part, by reference to the enterprises listed in the subsequent city directories. Thus, by 1916, there were thirty-two stores to compare with the sixteen similar stores of 1882.

Moreover, in 1916, there were numerous types of stores unknown to the Niles of 1882, such as food and Woolworth chain stores, confectioneries, barber shops, electric and auto supply stores.

Between 1916 and 1930, the growth of the Business district reflected the abundant prosperity of that period. The directory for the latter year lists more than 60 similar business enterprises in the business district.


     

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