The Milltown: Panic and Recovery 1873 - 1900

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Thomas Steel Plant

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

The 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.

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.

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.

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. PO1.833


Empire Iron & Steel Company

Empire Iron & Steel Company was organized in 1902 by Wade A. Taylor, Charles S. Thomas and John O'Dea.

Empire Iron & Steel Company

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

Empire Iron & Steel Company

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.

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. PO1.635

Thomas Steel

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. PO7.94

Thomas Steel sold to

The Carnegie Steel Company was closed in 1920 and dismantled in 1925. PO1.512


 
 
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