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Panoramic View of Downtown Niles, 1882.
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.
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. CA
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 .CA
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. Pictured are Frank Mears and Pete McDonald.
Five on Mill
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. PO1.241
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
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.