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100 Years Ago


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Industry and Transportation are Key to Success

Sidney, Ohio, profited handsomely from road construction with local industrialist Benjamin Slusser of Slusser-McLean inventing the first steel drag road scraper. (A McLean scraper is shown below). There would eventually be four street scraper manufacturers located here, including the American Steel Scraper Company whose profits helped W.H.C. Goode finance the constructioscraper.gif (22267 bytes)n of Whitby Place [GreatStone Castle].

In many cases, the early bricks are still there on streets such as South Ohio Avenue, lying six to eight inches below a black top surface. Black top roads were put down throughout the county in the 1930s. Sidewalks were also made from a variety of materials including gravel. Property owners were responsible for the maintenance of their own sidewalks.

Ohio, being mostly flat and dotted with cities, had been a natural home to the ‘trolley’ or interurban. It was here, in 1889, that the industry was born, when the first seven-mile line linked Newark and Granville. This was the way to travel to a picnic, a dance, the fair, etc.

Clean and efficient, the trolley lines operated local cars that stopped at every town. By 1916, Ohio had 2,798 miles of line, one-sixth of the nation’s total, with lines connecting every place in the state that could count 10,000 inhabitants.

In 1907, a Cincinnati-to-Toledo ticket cost $3.25 on the New York Central Railroad but only a $1.75 on Lake Shore Electric. Lines ran everywhere, but Dayton ranked second nationally only to Indianapolis, serving as a terminus for nine lines.

The interurban tracks ran through Sidney, including around the downtown court square. A former power station facility still exists and is now home to Presser Auto Parts on 1282 Wapakoneta Avenue. A station in Anna has been converted into a private residence.

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'Downtown' segment written in October, 1998 by Sherrie Casad-Lodge 

 

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