1950s: Findlay booming again 1960s: A decade of Findlay `firsts`


1950s: Findlay booming again 1960s: A decade of Findlay `firsts`
The Courier
1950s: Findlay booming again
The decade of the 1950s may
well have been the boom years of
the 20th century in Findlay.
The discovery of gas and oil
some 60 years earlier had transformed the small county seat into
a thriving metropolis.
But progress in the 1950s did
not depend on mineral resources
and luck. This time, the community made a conscious effort to
create its own success.
Toward the end of World War
II, an organization called the
Post-War Planning Committee
was de veloped in conjunction
with the chamber of commerce
to examine the possibilities for
economic re covery. The group
assembled facts and figures and
made rec ommendations for a
course of action.
The resulting plan enabled
Findlay to make great strides.
The city’s population rose to
23,845 during the decade, and
the construction of new homes
New industry that came to
town contributed to the community’s prosperity.
Ashland Oil and Refining Co.
began operations in 1950 after
purchasing the facilities of the
NationalR efinery.
Radio Corporation of America
opened a few years afterwards. As
part of the RCA Tube Division, the
company manufactured electronic
components for televisions.
In 1955, the Findlay Kodak
Processing Laboratory was completed to provide processing facilities for movie and still film.
Findlay Industries and the
Hy way Concrete Pipe Co. were
also founded.
National Automotive Fibers,
the first industry to locate in Findlay after World War II, moved its
business out of the city in 1958.
The plant was sold to the Dobeckmun Division of Dow Chemical.
The Hancock County AFL-CIO
Council was formed, to organize
and coordinate the efforts of local
labor unions.
Meanwhile, many of Findlay’s
long-established firms continued
to thrive.
Ohio Oil Co. again enlarged its
Photos provided by Hancock Historical Museum
A MAJOR MILESTONE for Findlay in the 1950s was when a highway bypass was opened in 1958 on the
city’s west side at a cost of $10 million. It rerouted Old U.S. 25 (Lima Avenue) to help ease congestion
on Main Street.
office facilities. The old part of the
Donnell building on East Hardin
Street was torn down and an eightstory addition was constructed. A
few years later, a nine-story building was erected nearby.
Likewise, Cooper Tire &
Rubber Co. was engaged in a twoyear, $5 million expansion by the
end of the decade.
Midway through the decade,
Findlay’s school enrollment skyrocketed to more than 5,700 students. School buildings were soon
filled to capacity.
Voters responded by approving a $2 million bond issue.
Funds were used to build Jacobs
Elementary School off Crystal
Avenue, and to erect additions at
Whittier, Northview, Washington,
Lincoln and Adams schools. The
two junior high schools were also
The number of students
attend ing St. Michael School
was increasing, as well. Three
expansion projects during the
decade provided the school with
a gymnasium, a cafeteria and 21
classrooms. A junior high school
system was inaugurated in 1957.
Two years later, the parish purchased 12 acres on U.S. 224 east
of Findlay for future development.
The Hancock School for
Retarded Children was started in
1952 by a small group of parents
of developmentally disabled children. Classes were held at Howard
Methodist Church.
By the end of the decade, Findlay College announced plans for a
$2.9 million, eight-year development program that would add
eight new buildings to the campus.
Municipal improvements were
also being made.
Findlay Council approved a
zoning ordinance that placed all
areas within the city in different
categories, such as residential,
mercantile and industrial.
In 1951, voters approved a $1.2
million bond issue to expand the
city’s sewer system. The capacity
of the waterworks plant also was
doubled, and land was acquired in
Marion Township for the construction of a reservoir.
A significant milestone was
achieved when a highway bypass
was constructed on the city’s west
side at a cost of $10 million. Old
U.S. 25 — Lima Avenue — was
rerouted to the west to help ease
traffic congestion on Main Street.
Federal funds, local gifts and
a bond issue were used to build
a new hospital in the community.
The 175-bed facility opened in
1958 at the site of the old hospital south of town. Ownership
was transferred from the city to
the county. The Blanchard Valley
Hospital Association continued to
direct operations, and the name
Blanchard Valley Hospital was
The old north wing of the hospital was later remodeled. One floor
became the Civilian Defense headquarters. Another area housed the
local Red Cross chapter.
Early in the decade, the Judson
Palmer Home was built on North
Main Street to provide a place for
indigent older women. Money for
the facility was provided in the
wills of Judson and Katherine
Palmer. Palmer had been involved
in the grocery business and a flour
mill operation. He also served as
president of the Farmers’ Bank for
a time.
The Salvation Army citadel
opened on Center Street during
the period, and the Anchor Teen
Center was established. The Fort
Findlay Playhouse marked its first
season in 1954-55.
Mea nwh i le, t he Un ite d
Community Fund was formed to
unite the various causes that had
been conducting individual fundraising campaigns in Hancock
County. The fund initially benefited eight agencies.
Severa l disastrous f ires
occurred during the decade.
Hancock Brick & Tile was
forced to rebuild after a blaze
damaged the Findlay plant in
1951. The new facility was mod-
ernized and equipped with the latest machinery and clay processing
A year later, First Presbyterian Church at the corner of West
Sandusky and West streets was
destroyed by fire. The structure
dated back to 1901. A new church
was built at the extreme southern
edge of the city.
In 1955, fire gutted the Fenstermaker Block on South Main
Street. Damage was estimated at
That same year, voters
approved a special levy to modernize the Fire Department.
Personnel and equipment were
added and a two-way communication system was installed with
the help of the Hancock County
Civil Defense program. The Fire
Department also opened two new
stations, one at the corner of Tiffin
and McManness avenues, and the
other on South Main Street to
replace the old central station on
Crawford Street.
The Hancock County commissioners bought the former Page
Dairy Co. on Broadway in 1956.
The Welfare Department took
over part of the building. The commissioners considered moving the
county jail into the structure, too.
The jail that was in use, just south
of the dairy building, had become
When the Korean War broke
out in June 1950, Findlay and Hancock County again responded to
the country’s call.
A new selective service system
had been established in 1948 as
part of the national defense program. Under this program, Hancock County was directed to
create a new three-member draft
board to serve the entire county.
The Ohio National Guard,
including the Findlay company,
was called into service during the
Meanwhile, Hancock County
was one of the first counties in the
state to install automatic voting
Direct distance dialing also
was introduced to the area.
Wolf: 419-427-8419
[email protected]
Mask factory folds after 70 years
Many of Findlay’s longtime businesses prospered in the 1950s, but
not all.
The American Mask Manufacturing Co. closed its doors after selling
masks, false noses, wax ears, wigs and beards for 70 years.
The company was one of the top mask manufacturers in the United
States, said Paulette Weiser, former curator/archivist at the Hancock
HistoricalM useum.
“They were very well known. The masks were shipped all over the
country,” she said.
The company was started by two German immigrants, Oscar Kirsten and Kryst Heyn. Kirsten settled in Cincinnati after coming to the
United States at the age of 18. He found work as a coachman and made
masks in his spare time.
“Friends soon asked him to make masks for them on Halloween,”
Weiser said.
The two men decided to come to Findlay after they heard the city
was experiencing a gas boom and was offering free fuel to businesses
willing to locate here. They started in a single room in the Headquarter’s
building on South Main Street. By 1885, the company filled a three-story
building in the 500 block of West Main Cross Street. Kirsten’s brother,
Otto, also joined the firm.
In addition to linen waxed masks, American Mask had an exclusive
field in the production of papier-mache masks for several years. The
molds were all handmade, and almost any caricature could be produced.
In later years, hospital masks were added to the inventory.
Mask-making techniques began to change in the 1950s. Company
officials decided they could no longer compete with firms that produced
masks by machine, and closed the business.
1960s: A decade of Findlay ‘firsts’
The 1960s was a decade of
firsts for the Findlay area.
The city’s population topped
30,000 for the first time.
An interstate highway first
passed through Hancock County.
The first ultra-modern shopping center was opened here.
And Findlay first earned the
title of “Flag Capital.”
A new artery of transportation called Interstate 75 opened
between Michigan and Florida.
The limited access roadway followed the general route of old
U.S. 25 (Dixie Highway) through
Hancock County.
The interstate between Findlay
and Bluffton was the last rural section of the interstate to be finished
in Ohio, in 1964. Two other segments through Hancock County,
a bypass west of the city and a
stretch of highway north to Wood
County, had been completed a few
years earlier.
Work also began on a new
bridge over the Blanchard River
on Broad Avenue. The project
included widening and rebuilding
the road, and relocating a portion
of the river.
T h e i m p ro ve m e nt w a s
designed to provide better access
to the new Findlay High School
near U.S. 224 West. The campus
was completed in 1963 with facilities for 2,200 students. The school
featured a new auditorium, R.L.
Heminger Auditorium. It was
named to honor the president of
the Findlay Publishing Co. and
owner of the Republican-Courier
newspaper and radio station
WFIN for his civic leadership.
District voters authorized
con struction of the new high
school in 1960. The bond issue
also financed additions at three
elementary schools. Meanwhile,
the former high school building on
West Main Cross Street became
the city’s third junior high. It was
called Central.
Findlay College’s development
program was well under way, too.
Buildings constructed during
the decade included the Alumni
Memorial Union, Shafer Library
and Croy Physical Education
Findlay College enrollment
reached an all-time high in 1962
with 1,000 students.
The Winebrenner Graduate
School of Divinity separated
from the college that same year.
The seminary established a threebuilding complex on East Melrose
Blanchard Valley School was
becoming more visible in the community. Hancock County voters
approved a bond issue to construct
new facilities for the school. Mr.
and Mrs. Tell Thompson donated
land on East Sandusky Street for
the project. A contract for construction was awarded in 1965.
Another war touched Findlay
and Hancock County families
during the decade. The city’s first
casualty was Capt. John Bartley.
Sesquicentennial celebrated
Findlay and Hancock County observed the sesquicentennial with an
eight-day celebration in July 1962.
The event featured parades, dances and a five-night historical spectacle titled “Along the Old Mill Stream.” The pageant was held at Donnell
Stadium and featured a cast of 600.
Karol Kirkpatrick presided over festivities as “Miss Fort Findlay,”
and Jill Koehler served as “Miss Hancock County.” Jack Harrington
was president and general chairman of the celebration.
In conjunction with the sesquicentennial, a time capsule was buried
at Riverside Park. Items included an autographed picture of President
John F. Kennedy, a sesquicentennial edition of the Republican-Courier
newspaper, and a portion of then-Mayor William J. Carlin’s beard.
The time capsule was to be opened in 2012 on the community’s
200th anniversary.
THE FINDLAY YMCA was destroyed by fire in the early 1960s. However, a portion of the East
Sandusky Street building was saved and remodeled to allow the program to continue. Volunteers raised
more than $900,000 for a new building that was erected at East and East Lincoln streets.
Bartley was one of two U.S. pilots
killed in the crash of a B26 fighterbomber in South Vietnam in 1963.
By 1968, 10 markers had been
erected at the War Memorial in
Maple Grove Cemetery to honor
local soldiers killed in the war.
That same year, the Findlay
VFW post officially changed its
name to Barry D. Lord Post 5645
in honor of Lance Cpl. Barry D.
Lord, 21, who was killed in action
in April 1968. His father, Josiah
Lord, was a past commander of
the post, and his mother, Florence, was past president of the
VFW Auxiliary. Barry Lord was
also active in post affairs and had
marched with the color guard at
the funeral of William Tweed, who
had been killed in Vietnam while
Lord was home on leave.
Findlay earned the title “Flag
Capital” of the nation on Flag
Day 1968. Local resident John
B. Cooke obtained donations to
purchase 14,000 small American
flags, which were distributed
to every home in the city. The
24-hour Flag Capital designation,
by the National Society of the Sons
of the American Revolution, was
intended to provide a focal center
for a nation al Flag Day observance.
The city’s commercial area
expanded east on U.S. 224 when
the $2.5 million Fort Findlay Village shopping center opened in
1962. It was the first center of
its kind in the area and featured
concourses, covered walkways
and 2,000 parking spaces. Britts
Department Store occupied the
largest area in the mall, followed
by J.C. Penney, which had been
located in downtown Findlay for
nearly 40 years.
That same year, Ohio Oil Co.
marked its 75th anniversary by
changing its name to Marathon
Oil Co.
Central Rubber and Steel Corp.
also underwent a name change,
becoming Centrex Corp. in 1963.
The following year, the corporation made stock available to the
public, ending nearly 40 years of
private control.
A number of other companies
established facilities in Findlay
during the decade, including
Whirlpool Corp., Dow Chemical,
Hercules Tire & Rubber, Kirk
Bros. (which became O.H. Materials), and Superior Trim. Whirlpool
was to become one of the biggest
employers in the city.
Meanwhile, three longtime
businessesc losed.
Findlay’s Deisel-Wemmer-Gilbert cigar factory closed in 1962
when it was consolidated with
several others to form a new
factory in Lima. The company
began operations locally in 1910.
By 1911, nearly 100 workers were
rolling San Felice cigars by hand.
A four-story, red brick building
was later erected at 214 Broadway.
The Glessner Medicine Co.
also closed its doors in 1962.
The com pany was founded in
1890 as Dr. Drake’s Medicine
Co. A factory was built at 230
E. Sandusky St. and purchased
by Leonard Glessner. One of the
firm’s more popular products was
Dr. Drake’s German Cough and
Croup Remedy.
The closing of these businesses “may have been a sign of
the times,” said Paulette Weiser,
former curator/archivist at the
Hancock Historical Museum.
“Cigars and patented medicines fell out of favor over the
years,” she explained. “That certainly affected business.”
The International BreweriesOld Dutch Division also closed, in
1966. The brewery dated back to
1891 when the Brilliant City Brewery opened at the corner of Jefferson Street and Clinton Court. The
company was later purchased by
Peter Krantz and his sons, and
then the Altmeyer brothers. The
firm was particularly well known
for its Old Dutch Beer.
The Findlay YMCA was largely
destroyed by fire in the early
1960s. However, a portion of the
East Sandusky Street building was
saved and remodeled to allow the
program to continue. Volunteers
raised more than $900,000 for a
new building that was erected at
East and East Lincoln streets.
Fire also destroyed the Ohio
Power Co. building at 120 N.
Main St., and Ashland Oil’s lubrication oil manufacturing building on Glessner Avenue. In 1960,
blazes on the same day destroyed
Woodward Lumber Co. on Third
Street and Lumbertown on West
Sandusky Street.
In other areas of the city, a new
municipal parking garage opened
on East Crawford Street, and work
began on a $2 million waterworks
The city also had the distinction of being, for three months in
1960, the only community in the
world where touch-tone telephone
service was available.
The following year, Findlay
Airport became part of the Lake
Central Airlines Commercial
Service. The city was visited twice
a day by one northbound and one
southbound flight.
Countywide voter registration
was inaugurated during the decade, and the Mental Health and
Mental Retardation board was
formed to provide local mental
health services.
Wolf: 419-427-8419
[email protected]
MONDAY, JUNE 11, 2012
The 1970s: A blizzard to remember
The 1970s.
It was the era of Kent State and
The Iran hostage crisis.
Legionnaire’s Disease and the
nation’s bicentennial.
But the thing people probably
remember most is the snow.
The blizzard of 1977 was
described, perhaps inaccurately,
as the worst snowstorm to ever
hit the area. Findlay was laid low
by record-breaking cold and 12
inches of snow.
As it turned out, the real blizzard did not arrive until one year
January 1978 was a month
plagued by storms.
Gusting winds whipped snow
into drifts and created treacherous driving conditions Jan. 8-9. A
second storm a week later dumped
three more inches on the ground.
As the Findlay area attempted
to dig its way out, a third storm
arrived Jan. 20. Winds gusting as
high as 39 miles per hour caused
5.2 inches of new snow to drift
over area roads.
Less than a week later, the real
blizzard hit with a vengeance.
A night of freezing rain preceded nine inches of snow. High
winds, bitter temperatures and
snow paralyzed the area for
severald ays.
Roads were blocked. Power,
water and phone service were
dis rupted. Neighbors banded
together to battle the cold and
share dwindling food supplies.
President Carter declared
a federal state of emergency in
Ohio, Indiana and Michigan. Ohio
National Guard and U.S. Army
troops were called on to help with
recovery operations.
At least 12 people in Hancock and four area counties died
from weather-related causes. The
only Hancock County death was
Otis Van Sickle, 81, of McComb,
who suffered from frostbite after
spending more than 24 hours in
his unheated home.
Findlay officials estimated the
storm cost the city more than
$188,000, not counting another
$80,000 to repair streets damaged
by cold, snow and ice.
The decade’s severe weather
was not limited to snow, however.
In 1973, a tornado touched
down near the Findlay Reservoir,
ripping trees out of the ground
and the roofs off barns. Some 50
boats docked at the reservoir were
overturned. A 12-year-old boy was
cut by flying glass at his home on
Ohio 37.
A year later, a flash flood
caused the evacuation of 16 families at Greenbriar Apartments on
South Main Street.
When residents were not battling the elements, they were busy
making improvements in the city.
Ribbon-cutting ceremonies
were held in 1978 to mark the
opening of Findlay’s $1.7 million Central Parkway project.
The four-lane roadway connected
East Main Cross Street to the
Tiffin Avenue-Blanchard Street
intersection to help ease traffic
flow between downtown and the
shopping center.
The Findlay Village Mall was
enclosed during the 1970s, and
Tif fin Avenue was widened to
make the area more accessible.
Hancock County 95 was
extended, and extensive improvements were made to Interstate 75
around the western edge of the
city and on into Allen Township.
Findlay also started work on an
$850,000 Trenton Avenue overpass project.
In business news, Whirlpool C or p. constr ucted a
550,000-square-foot distribution
center just south of its North Main
Street plant.
Centrex Corp. completed the
expansion and renovation of its
corporate headquarters on Western Avenue.
Jeffco Manufacturing Co.
began operations in 1973 by producing a new type of beer can for
testing by Stroh Brewery. The
local firm later became the Ball
Metal Container Group. A $14.8
million expansion was undertaken
in 1978.
Hancock Brick & Tile Co.
changed its name to Hancor Inc.
during the decade.
In 1973, the Community
Improvement Corp. (CIC) of Findlay/Hancock County reached an
agreement to purchase 375 acres
of land in Marion Township for the
development of an industrial park.
The property was platted as the
Findlay Industrial Center.
That same year, Findlay Publishing Co. moved from Broad-
way into a new building on West
Sandusky Street. The newspaper shortened its name from the
Republican-Courier to the Courier
in 1976.
Meanwhile, Gar-Wood Industries ceased production of the
Buckeye Traction Ditcher machine
in the early 1970s. Various versions of the machine had been
made here since early in the century.
The city, which had grown to
a population of 35,800, was recognized as “Flag City of America.”
U.S. Rep. Tennyson Guyer of Findlay introduced the congressional
resolution. It was the only designation of its kind in the nation.
Residents also helped finance
an addition at the YMCA. The
wing housed a new gymnasium,
hand ball courts and a second
swim ming pool. The Y also purchased a tract of land 10 miles
west of Find lay to serve as a park
site for day camp programs.
The Hancock Historica l
Museum was founded in 1970. The
association acquired the historic
Hull House at 420 W. Sandusky
St. The structure, which was built
during the gas boom days, was
added to the National Register of
Historic Places in 1973.
The Hancock Recreation
Center opened that same year on
North Main Street.
The Findlay-Hancock County
Public Library moved forward
with plans to expand its facility,
and the Hancock County Alcoholism Council was started.
The Hancock Regional Park
District was developed in 1970 to
provide for the community’s growing need for recreational space.
City leaders also made plans to
convert a former dump into a recreational area called Swale Park.
It was a busy decade for Blanchard Valley School with the
con struction of two buildings,
including an adult activity center
and a social services building.
The United Community Fund
of Hancock County officially
became the United Way of Hancock County in 1975.
Findlay resident L. Dale
Dorney died the following year at
the age of 90. Prior to his death,
he established a $5 million trust
fund through the Cleveland Foundation. Dorney specified that part
of the yearly profits be distributed
to nonprofit organizations in Hancock County. The first grants were
awarded in 1979.
Several major fires occurred
during the 1970s.
Calvary Baptist Church and
Christ Church United Methodist were both damaged by fire in
1973. A 23-year-old Findlay man
was later arrested and charged
with malicious burning.
The north grandstand at the
Old Millstream Fairgrounds was
completely destroyed by fire in
1978. Arson was ruled as the
Meanwhile, two firemen,
Roland Smith and William VanAtta, drowned during a rescue
attempt April 22, 1978. A memorial marker was dedicated near the
site on the Blanchard River where
they died.
Wolf: 419-427-8419
[email protected]
Madison & Keegan Faulkner
50 years om now,
when the 2012 time capsule is opened,
we pray that you will be healthy & happy
and will have exerienced a lifetime
fll of love and many blessings.
We love you, Mom & Dad
• Gift Baskets • Gourmet Food
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• Serving Dishes
Located in the heart of downtown across from the courthouse...since 2002.
Niswander’s Jewelers Since 1937
75 Years
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Owners: Barry & Terry Niswander
Staff Members:
Karla, Janelle & Paula
Fine Diamonds, Jewelry,
Watches, Fine Gifts
& Clocks
331 S. Main St.
Downtown Findlay
Free Parking
in rear
“Your Hometown Jeweler”
Photos provided by Nick Moore and Lynn Riker
JANUARY OF 1978 brought a blizzard
that no one around at the time will
soon forget. A night of freezing rain
was followed by nine inches of snow,
high winds and bitter cold. The entire
area was paralyzed for several days.
Amy Diller walks down Main Street
(left), dragging a basket on a sled to
Food Town to stock up on supplies.
Kirt and Mary Riker (above), along
with their French poodle, pose for
a photo next to a big pile of snow at
their West Lima Street home.
End of the road for a longtime landmark
A Findlay landmark was lost in 1978 when the former Phoenix Hotel
at South Main and Main Cross streets was razed.
The Pheasant Room had been a popular restaurant in the building
for years.
“That was a sad day for the community,” said Paulette Weiser, former
curator/archivist at the Hancock Historical Museum. “A lot of people
remember the Phoenix.”
The location had been the site of a hotel for more than a century. As
early as the mid-1830s, John Patterson operated a hotel there.
“From the earliest years of Findlay’s existence, it was a hotel,” said
It went through numerous name changes, including the American
House, the Humphrey House, the Marvin Hotel and finally the Phoenix.
Through the years, the hotel survived a gas explosion, fire and bankruptcy, said Weiser.
“Changes were made, of course. But the building really went through
a lot and survived for a long time,” she said.
Other buildings also were demolished during the decade, including
the Woolworth store at South Main and Crawford streets; the Royal
Theater, 510 S. Main St.; and the Harris Theater, 606 S. Main St. In
1978, Green Mill Gardens, a onetime dance pavilion turned roller-skating rink at Riverside Park, was razed.
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MONDAY, JUNE 11, 2012
1980s: Findlay overcomes adversity
The 1980s were memorable
years in the Findlay area.
Local happenings on several
oc casions drew national attention. Perhaps best remembered
is 1981, when a flood hit the area
in June, and a corporate takeover
battle for Marathon Oil Co. began
inO ctober.
When rain began to fall in
early June 1981, few would have
predicted that floodwaters would
engulf Findlay over the weekend
of June 13, causing more than $13
million in damage to 2,200 homes
and 500 businesses. Ohio National
Guardsmen were activated to help
secure the flooded area.
The flooding surpassed the
level reached by the last major
flood in 1959. But it was not
worse than the 1913 flood when
the entire city was inundated.
The f loodwaters also hit
Ottawa and Carey. Hancock,
Putnam and Wyandot counties
were declared major disaster areas
by President Ronald Reagan.
Later that year, a serious economic threat made headlines.
On Oct. 30, Mobil Corp., the
nation’s second-largest oil company, started a hostile takeover
attempt of Marathon Oil Co. Mobil
said if it was successful in acquiring 40 million Marathon shares at
$85 apiece, it would try to obtain
all remaining shares through a
merger, an exchange offer, or both.
Community leaders feared that
if Mobil succeeded, the takeover
would mean the end of Marathon
Oil in Findlay.
What followed was a flurry of
board of director activity and community action. Marathon’s board
1988 drought
The drought of 1988
began in April and May
with continuing dry spells.
By June, the drought
combined with recordbreaking high temperatures
to damage crops and farmers’i ncomes.
Area churches held rain
vigils, and restrictions were
placed on watering lawns
and washing cars. The
restric tions were finally
lifted in November.
Courier file photo
FINDLAY RESIDENTS GATHER at a rally in support of Marathon Oil Co. in 1981. The rally included a
parade down Main Street. That year, Mobil Corp. attempted a hostile takeover of the company. Local
leaders feared that if Mobil was successful, it would mean the end for Marathon in Findlay. Mobil’s bid
failed when Marathon merged with U.S. Steel.
of directors rejected Mobil’s takeover bid in November and filed an
antitrust suit against Mobil. An
estimated 5,000 people turned out
for a pro-Marathon rally before a
Findlay High School football game
at Donnell Stadium.
Democratic Sen. Howard Metzenbaum, D-Ohio, made a rare
Findlay appearance, attending a
local public meeting on the takeover bid Nov. 11. On the same day,
6,000 Findlay residents attended
a massive pro-Marathon rally
which included a parade down
Main Street.
On Nov. 19, 1981, U.S. Steel
Corp. made a friendly bid for
Marathon, offering $125 a share
for 30 million Marathon shares.
Remaining Marathon shares were
to be converted into U.S. Steel
notes. Mobil raised its bid to $126
a share, but to no avail.
U.S. Steel, later USX Corp.,
became Marathon’s new parent
in early 1982 when U.S. Supreme
Court Chief Justice Warren E.
Burger refused to block U.S.
Steel’s $6.2 billion takeover of
A majority of Marathon shareholders voted in 1982 to merge
their company with U.S. Steel.
The Marathon scare motivated
government and civic leaders to
begin a concerted effort to expand
and diversify the city’s economy.
The Community Development
Research Foundation was formed,
and the old Findlay Industrial Park
was developed into the Tall Tim-
bers Industrial Center off Hancock
County 95 in the late 1980s.
And on the city’s west side,
the Westfield Industrial Park was
Findlay’s population held
steady at 35,594 during the
decade, and a number of multimillion-dollar government building projects were undertaken.
In 1984, a new Findlay Municipal Building was completed.
Two years later, the Hancock
County commissioners decided
not to participate in a regional
jail and instead announced plans
to build a 96-bed county jail downtown. The $8.2 million Hancock
County Justice Center opened for
public tours in 1989.
Later that year, Hancock County voters rejected a tax levy to pay
for renovating the old 1879 county
“At the time, I believe that it
was the oldest county jail house
still in use,” said Paulette Weiser,
former curator/archivist at the
Hancock Historical Museum.
“The Historic Preservation
Guild fought so hard to save that
building,” she said. “They brought
in a consultant. They had a plan
to restore it. There were ways to
save it.”
But despite their efforts, the
old building was demolished.
The city’s water treatment
plant received a major upgrade in
1986 when a $19.6 million project
was completed.
Initial plans for a major expan-
sion and renovation of the Findlay Village Mall were announced
in 1987. The $16 million project
involved a 200,000-square-foot
expansion and renovation, and the
addition of 55 retail stores.
The latter part of the 1980s
saw several more significant
construc tion projects. In May
1988, National Lime and Stone
Co. announced that up to $70 million would be spent over a period
of years to build an office/housing
complex in and around the company’s Western Avenue quarry in
Findlay, which would be phased
out of production.
A two-year project to rebuild
four miles of Interstate 75 through
Findlay began in the late 1980s.
The southbound lanes were rebuilt
in 1989, and the northbound lanes
were completed a year later. Construction caused massive traf fic
The Ohio Department of
Transportation decided in 1987 to
close the roadside rest area on U.S.
68, just south of Findlay, despite
opposition from some area residents. The rest area, which dated
to 1936, was Ohio’s first.
Blanchard Valley Hospital’s
new $5.9 million outpatient treatment center opened in 1989. At
the same time, ground was broken
for a $1.7 million radiation therapy
A number of significant business closings and changes also
oc curred during the decade,
including the 1982 demise of Pat-
terson’s Department Store, which
was recognized as Ohio’s oldest
independently-owned retail business. The store opened in 1849 at
South Main and West Sandusky
The Fort Findlay Motor Inn
closed its doors in 1985 after
145 years of serving downtown
Findlay as a hotel, nightclub and
restaurant. Located at the corner
of South Main and East Front
streets, the building was transformed into the Sherman House,
an independent living facility primarily for senior citizens.
That same year, the former
Egbert furniture and carpet store
at 404 E. Sandusky St. was torn
down. Lying below the 94-year-old
brick building was the second natural gas well to be drilled during
the days leading up to the Findlay gas boom of the late 1880s.
It was known as the Hull well on
property owned by Jasper G. Hull.
The building was originally
called the Opp House, a saloon
and third-rate hotel. Later it was
the Apostolic School, Assembly
of God Church, and then the furniture store. The well had been
capped in 1932.
In 1987, Producers Livestock
Association ceased operations in
Findlay after 47 years because of
declining livestock numbers in the
RCA announced in 1988 that it
would sell its solid state division,
including the 1,350-employee
semiconductor plant in Findlay,
to Florida-based Harris Corp.
Centrex Corp. agreed in 1987
to pay $200,000 to more than
500 west side Findlay residents
and perma nently shut down its
rubber reclamation equipment, to
settle a class action lawsuit. The
suit al leged that emissions from
Centrex’s Western Avenue plant
resulted in noxious odors.
U.S. Rep. Tennyson Guyer, a
Findlay native whose political
ca reer spanned more than 40
years, died in 1981 at the age of
68. The 4th District Republican
assumed the congressional seat
in 1973 and was re-elected four
times. He was succeeded by
then-state Rep. Michael G. Oxley,
R-Findlay, who won the seat by
narrowly defeat ing Democratic
state Rep. Dale Locker of Anna.
Guyer was honored a few years
later when Vice President and
Mrs. George Bush visited Findlay
to dedicate the Tennyson Guyer
One business deal never
materialized, but caused
plenty of commotion in
An edition of AutoWeek
magazine listed Findlay as
one of eight top sites for
General Motors’ proposed
Saturn automobile plant.
The report caused a flood
of local rumors and speculation that lasted for months,
until GM announced it was
picking a Tennessee site for
the plant.
Memorial, which included two
rooms in Findlay College’s Shafer
Library, a scholarship and annual
lecture series.
As part of the lecture series,
former President Gerald Ford
spoke before a gathering of about
2,000 people at the college in 1987.
Bush returned in 1988 when
he brought his presidential campaign to town. He spoke to a large
downtown crowd and also helped
launch the city’s first Flag City
USA celebration.
President Reagan campaigned
here, too. In 1984 he made a whistle-stop campaign tour through
Ohio on a railroad car once used
by Harry Truman. A crowd estimated at 12,000 greeted the
president at a stop in Ottawa, and
8,000 people packed the village of
Deshler to see Reagan there.
Gov. Richard Celeste and
more than a dozen cabinet members came to Findlay in 1987 for a
Capital for a Day program.
Several deadly and noteworthy
fires occurred during the 1980s.
On Thanksgiving Day 1981,
production facilities at Findlay’s
Hercules Tire & Rubber Co. were
destroyed by fire.
Later that same year, a rural
Arlington woman died in a fire
that destroyed Meijer’s Square,
a Findlay discount store. Linda
Pever, a store employee, died in
the blaze and two other employees
were injured. The store was a total
loss and there was heavy smoke
damage to the adjacent Great
Scot supermarket. Losses were
estimated at $1.2 million.
See 1980S, Page D4
MONDAY, JUNE 11, 2012
1990s: Businesses, community expand
As Findlay entered the 1990s
and the twilight of the 20th
century, it was business as usual.
Progress continued to be the
order of the day in all areas of the
But the decade arrived with a
wintry blast as a February 1990
storm glazed northern Ohio with
ice, bringing down tree limbs,
electric poles and lines. Thousands of homes lost electricity
during the storm. Damage-related
costs totaled more than $250,000
Later that month, hundreds
of motorists found themselves
stranded in Findlay when a fierce
winter storm hit, causing whiteout conditions and icy roads. More
than 100 accidents occurred countywide.
Floods were part of the local
weather scene, as well. The city
battled high water in 1991, 1992
and 1998. Residents also felt the
earth move when a small earthquake rattled the area in 1990. No
damage or injuries were reported
from the quake which registered
a magnitude of 2.5 on the Richter
The community was moved
in a different way when the Dalai
Lama, spiritual leader of Tibet,
brought his message of love and
compassion to Findlay in 1991.
The Dalai Lama was just one of
several dignitaries to visit the city
during the decade.
President George Bush was a
frequent visitor, bringing his presidential campaign to the area twice
in 1992. Later, in 1998, Bush visited Findlay as a former president
to raise funds for then-Ohio Gov.
George Voinovich.
Other visitors included Vice
President Dan Quayle, who
sampled hamburgers at Wilson’s
in 1990, and President Bill Clinton, who spoke in Arlington and
passed through Findlay during a
train tour of Ohio in 1996.
Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole also made a local
campaign stop that same year.
The city’s 35,703 residents saw
the business community continue
to change, with several expansions
and mergers. Some longtime businesses also closed their doors.
Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.
in December 1992 undertook a
163,000-square-foot addition to
its Findlay plant as part of a $9.5
million project. A few years later,
Cooper built a $14.4 million tire
molds manufacturing plant in the
Tall Timbers Industrial Center.
Continued from page D3
Find lay resident Dean Weaver
later pleaded guilty to four charges
in connection with the fire, but
then denied that he committed
the arson. In a plea agreement,
Weaver entered guilty pleas to
attempted involuntary manslaughter, attempted aggravated arson,
and arson. He was given a 3-15
year prison term. A new Meijer’s
store opened in Findlay in 1985.
Also in 1985, a huge fire gutted
three buildings in the 300 block of
North Main Street, resulting in at
least $200,000 in damage. Buildings housing Specialty Flooring,
the Garage Sale and the adjoining Lee’s Barber Shop were all
The Salvation Army’s thrift
store on East Main Cross Street
was destroyed by fire in 1988.
After leasing a spot in the 800
block of North Main Street, the
organization bought the former
American Home Furnishings
Store and reopened the thrift store
at 509 N. Main St. At the time,
it was billed as the largest thrift
store in northwest Ohio.
In 1989, fire destroyed the
north ern, newer section of
Findlay’s Hope Temple Church.
Damage topped $2 million, but
no one was injured. An electrical problem was suspected as the
A winter storm hit the area in
1982. Record-breaking cold temperatures and a wind chill factor
which dipped to 71 degrees below
zero on Jan. 10 caused problems
for area residents. A blizzardlike storm dumped more than 10
inches of snow on the area three
weeks later.
In education news, a committee of school personnel and
community members presented a
Harris Corp. announced it
would invest $20 million in its
Findlay plant in 1994 to increase
plant capacity and upgrade technology. In 1999, the plant was sold
to another company and the name
was changed to Intersil.
Hercules Tire & Rubber Co.
unveiled plans in 1998 to build a
$12.5 million distribution center
at the intersec tion of Hancock
County 236 and 212.
At the Lake Cascades Office
Park complex, three companies —
Findlay Publishing Co.’s broadcast
operations, Pry CPA Services and
National Lime and Stone Co. —
announced intentions to build a
new facility in 1991.
Retailers also made some noteworthy decisions during the decade. Walmart became the anchor
store for a new $11.2 million shopping center on Findlay’s east side
in 1990, while Lowe’s opened a
65,000-square-foot store in 1993.
At the end of 1999, plans were in
the works for Lowe’s to build a
new superstore.
A $25 million expansion and
renovation project at the Findlay Vil lage Mall was completed
in 1990, and Kohl’s Department
Store opened a 75,000-square-foot
department store in 1994 on Tiffin
In downtown Findlay, a new
Rite Aid Pharmacy was built at
Center and North Main streets
in 1997.
Two huge distribution centers,
one for Kohl’s and one for Best
Buy, opened in the 1990s. Kohl’s
Distribution began its operations
in 1994 on Hancock County 140.
That same year, Best Buy Co.
picked Findlay as the site for
a major distribution center on
Township 212, north of the Tall
Timbers Industrial Center.
Significant mergers also took
place during the 1990s.
Marathon Oil Co. and Ashland Inc. decided in 1996 to consolidate their refining, marketing
and transportation operations in a
joint venture called Marathon Ashland Petroleum (MAP). MAP was
headquartered in Findlay.
In 1998, OHM Corp. was
ac quired by Pittsburgh-based
International Technology in a
cash and stock transaction valued
at about $365 million.
Another merger involved Ohio
Bank, Findlay’s last locally-owned
bank, which agreed to join with
Citizens Bancshares of Salineville
and Mid Am Inc. of Bowling Green
in a stock transaction valued at
about $191 million. The deal was
completed in 1998. Ohio Bank,
while keeping its name, became
part of Sky Financial Group.
Meanwhile, Columbus-based
Banc One Ohio Corp. in 1992
bought a majority of Dana’s Diamond Savings and Loan Co., based
in Findlay. Three years later, Banc
One Mortgage Corp. decided to
consolidate its mortgage processing centers, and located one
of the new centers in Findlay at
the site of the former downtown
Elder-Beerman store.
In 1997, the Findlay-Hancock
County Community Development
Foundation (CDF) and the Findlay-Hancock Chamber of Commerce agreed to merge, with the
CDF becoming a division of the
In 1999, the Fostoria Review
Times newspaper was purchased
by the Findlay Publishing Co.,
publishers of the Courier.
The decade also marked the
end of three longtime Findlay
businesses: Fenstermaker’s Shoe
Co., Parker True Value Building
Center, and Kaminsky Jewelers.
Findlay’s Sundor Brands plant
transferred production lines to
other states, then closed the local
factory. The Quality Stores distribution center left town a few years
later. The center needed more
space and moved to Fostoria.
Findlay’s low-power television
station, WFND-TV 47, suspended
local live programming as the station’s management was cut back
and restructured in 1995. Later,
the station went off the air.
Fires caused millions of dollars
worth of damage to several local
A 1994 blaze destroyed Findlay’s City Laundry and Dry Cleaning Co. on East Main Cross Street.
Losses were estimated at $3 million to $5 million. The company
constructed a new building in
the Westfield Industrial Park and
a new retail store on East Main
In 1995, five buildings at
the northeast corner of Center
and North Main streets were
destroyed by fire. A year later,
a blaze at Roger’s Pallet Service
on Crystal Avenue resulted in
$400,000 in damage.
A fallen electrical line was
blamed for starting an Easter
Sunday fire in the storage yard at
Hantech in 1998. The blaze sent
flames shooting hundreds of feet
into the sky and generated billowing clouds of black smoke. Damage was estimated at more than
$1 million.
City and county government
leaders kept busy during the
reorganization plan to the Findlay school board in 1988. The plan
called for pairing most elementary
buildings into regional schools;
converting the three junior high
schools into middle schools; and
moving the ninth grade to Findlay
High School. Voters rejected the
idea in May 1989.
At the college level, Owens
Technical College announced
that it would begin offering technical education classes locally. A
32,000-square-foot building was
constructed on a 4.2-acre campus
adjacent to Findlay College.
Classes were first offered in the
fall of 1983.
Several area agencies also
made significant strides in the
The Hancock-Hardin-Wyandot-Putnam Community Action
Commission moved into a leased
building on Jefferson Street in the
early 1980s. The agency bought
the facility in 1988.
In 1980, the YMCA’s park site
was renamed Camp Mosshart in
memory of Ray Mosshart, who
served as the general secretary of
the Findlay YMCA from 1933-79.
In 1981, the former Findlay Racquet Center on Manor Hill Drive
was purchased and became the Y’s
new tennis center.
The former Hancock County
Children’s Home on North Main
Street was purchased by the
Hancock County Mental Health
Society in 1983 for use as office
space for the mental health clinic.
The Hancock County Alcoholism
Council changed its name to the
Lincoln Center in 1986.
Also, an exhibit area was
added at the Hancock Historical
Museum’s historic center, and the
Hancock County Chapter of the
American Red Cross moved into
new quarters after renovating a
former lumber company business
on Fair Street.
In 1981, Janice Granata of
Findlay gave birth to quintuplets,
three boys and two girls, at Toledo
Hospital. One of the babies died,
but four survived.
Findlay area residents also
became more involved in the community during the decade.
A group of residents, headed
by the Citizens Task Force for
Action on Crime and Vandalism,
organized a Block Watch program
in 1980 to combat vandalism and
other crime. By the year’s end,
city police declared the program
as uccess.
The first Findlay Arts Festival
was held in the early 1980s in
downtown Findlay, and became an
annual event. The festival site was
moved to Riverside Park in 1988.
One day in 1986, thousands of
area residents took part in Hands
Across America, an attempt to
form a human chain across 4,000
miles of the United States to raise
money to aid the nation’s hungry
and poor.
The first Red Ribbon Celebration was held in Findlay in 1989
to promote awareness about the
use and abuse of alcohol and other
Serving you a slice of
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In 1992-93, Findlay City Council approved the purchase of the
Marathon Oil Co. airport and its
facilities, while the city’s newest
fire station on County 236 was
dedicated in 1997. The station
serves the eastern portion of the
In 1999, council gave the goahead for a $34 million expansion
of the city’s sewer system.
The Hancock County commissioners decided in 1997 to close
the 130-year-old county home,
saying it was no longer economical and feasible to operate. Thirtyfive residents were moved to other
care facilities. The old county
home was renovated for offices
See 1990S, Page D5
Ross, Jack,
Noah & Grant
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next 50 years
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714 S. Main St, Findlay, OH
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Jerry August’s Georgia Connection has been serving Findlay for 36 years. Our location at
350 E. Sandusky St. was built in 1904 as a wholesale grocery warehouse called Eldridge & Higgins Co.
It later changed ownership to A.E. Dorsey and then to The Midland Grocery.
We have enjoyed serving Findlay’s flooring needs from this historical warehouse atmosphere
and look forward to providing the same quality flooring, affordable
pricing and great service for many years to come.
Thank you Findlay for your
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350 E. Sandusky St.
Findlay, Ohio
Mon. 9-7, Tues.-Fri. 9-6, Sat. 10-2
MONDAY, JUNE 11, 2012
Continued from page D4
in 1998, and the Hancock
County Ed ucational Service Center became the first
In 1990, the Hancock
County Children Services
board voted to combine
the agency with the county
Department of Human Services. A new office building
was erected on county-owned
property south of the county
home, and the department
moved into its new $1.37 million home in 1993.
Hancock County officials
dedicated their new court
building on Broadway in
1991, after the 124-year-old
building underwent $600,000
in renovations. The structure,
which previously housed the
sheriff’s department and the
Republican-Courier offices,
became home to the county’s
probate and juvenile court.
Both the Findlay and Hancock County health boards
approved regulations in 1993
that banned smoking in most
public places and workplaces
in the city and county.
In 1998, the county
commission ers approved
buying a downtown building,
the Midtowne Centre Building on West Main Cross, for
$1.25 million. It was renovated to provide offices for the
commissioners, the county
auditor, treasurer, recorder
and title office.
A local landmark was lost
in 1990 when the old post
office on Broadway, which
became a li brary in 1930,
was razed. The building,
constructed near the turn of
the century, was torn down
to make room for a $3.8 million expansion project at the
Findlay-Hancock County
Public Library.
A major project began
at the Hancock Historical
Museum, a $2 million campaign to renovate and expand
the main facility on West Sandusky Street.
In the health arena,
Blanchard Valley Hospital
and Bluffton Community Hospital merged in 1995, changing their names to Blanchard
Valley Regional Health Center. A year earlier, Blanchard
Valley Hospital had opened its
new Caughman Health Clinic
for residents unable to find a
In 1993, the Blanchard
Valley Health Association
(BVHA) bought the downtown Sherman House for
$720,000, converting the
former downtown Findlay
hotel and apartment complex
into an independent living
facility, primari ly for senior
Another BVHA purchase,
Winebrenner Village at 415
College St., was made in
1997. Earlier in the decade,
a $2.4 million care center,
designed for adults suffering
from Alzheimer’s and related
diseases, was opened at the
Winebrenner complex.
A new urgent care center,
Physicians Plus, was opened
by BVHA in 1998 at the
corner of Allen Township 99
and North Main Street.
Among notable education-relat ed projects, Findlay school board decided in
1999 to fund three build ing
additions with a bank loan,
rather than a traditional bond
issue. The $4.5 million project
added classrooms at Findlay
High, Whittier Primary and
Wilson Vance Intermediate
Owens Technical College
broke ground for a $2.1 million building on its Findlay
campus in 1990. The community college also opened a
23,000-square-foot Center for
Development and Training on
Findlay’s Commerce Parkway
in 1998.
The University of Findlay, meanwhile, announced
a campaign in 1996 to raise
$27.5 million through the
year 2000 to construct a
health sciences building and
a recreation center, renovate
Old Main, make technological
improvements and strengthen
its endowment.
In 1994, the $3 million
Virginia B. Gardner Fine Arts
Pavilion was dedicated at the
university. In 1999, the university opened the $11 million
Ralph and Gladys Koehler Fitness and Recreation Complex.
Socia l ser v ice agencies were also busy during
the 1990s. Major projects
included a 4,800-square-foot
addition at the Salvation
Army headquarters in 1993,
and a two-story addition for
the Findlay City Mission in
T he Wi n f ield Ch i ld
Development Center, operated by the HHWP Community Action Com mission,
opened in 1997 in the former
Parkview Church of Christ to
house the county’s Head Start
An ongoing project was
the Find lay Family YMCA’s
$5 million capital campaign
to renovate and expand the
structure, which was built in
The YMCA moved its day
care facilities into the former
Marathon Pipe Line Co. building at 231 E. Lincoln St. in
1998. A few years earlier, the
Y joined with Hope House to
open the Hardin House for the
Homeless, to provide a shelter
for homeless women and their
children, at 331 E. Hardin St.
The Lincoln Center moved
into new quarters at 1918 N.
Main St. in 1990. In 1997, the
center, along with Family Service of Hancock County and
the John C. Hutson Center,
consolidated into a single
agency called Century Health.
The Hancock County
Community Partnership also
was developed in 1990.
The L. Dale Dorney Fund
in 1999 became independent
of the Cleveland Foundation
and changed its name to the
Findlay-Hancock County
Community Foundation.
Other significant local
events included the opening
of a new $3 million Findlay
Country Club and the Hancock Park District’s 227-acre
Litzenberg Memorial Woods,
both in 1995. The park is west
of Findlay.
Notable Findlay area
deaths during the decade
included Jackson E. Betts,
Hancock County’s former
congressman for 22 years
and a former speaker of the
Ohio House, who died in 1993
at the age of 89; and former
Findlay Mayor W. Bentley
Burr, who died in 1994 at
78. Burr was a founder of the
lo cal Community Development Foundation and the driving force behind construction
of a new municipal building
in 1984.
In 1996, former Findlay
Mayor Keith D. Romick, who
served three terms in the city’s
top office, died at age 74. Two
years later, longtime Findlay
Judge John Patterson died at
68. He was in his second term
on the common pleas court
bench. In 1999, former Ohio
appeals court Judge Ralph D.
Cole Jr. of Findlay, who also
had served seven terms as a
state representative, died at
age 85.
FINDLAY FIREFIGHTERS rescue city residents from the flooded East-View Drive area in August 2007 as rainswollen creeks, ditches and the Blanchard River spilled over their banks. The height of the floodwater nearly tied
the 1913 flood, the worst in Findlay’s history.
2000 on: Ups and downs,
but progress continues
The decade of the 2000s — as well
as 2011 and the first half of 2012 —
have been a time of extremes in Findlay.
The new millennium began with a
sigh of relief when the feared computer
bug Y2K failed to materialize and all
of the computers didn’t go haywire as
Local electric companies reported
no Y2K problems because of extensive
and expensive preparations. The same
was true at Ameritech, at local banks,
at Blanchard Valley Hospital, and at
Cooper Tire and Marathon.
The decade had barely started,
though, when terrorists struck one
clear September morning in 2001 and
nearly 3,000 Americans died at the
World Trade Center, Pentagon and in
rural Pennsylvania.
Findlay residents mourned and
prayed. They gave blood and bought
thousands of flags to show their patriotism and support for the country. A
Red, White & Blue Candlelight Vigil
and Memorial was held downtown.
Then came natural disasters like
Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Again,
the community did its part by collecting funds and supplies to assist the
Two years later, however, local and
area residents were the ones in need
of help when the Blanchard River
flooded — nearly matching the famous
and worst flood of 1913. Businesses,
schools and homes were damaged or
destroyed at a cost of millions of dollars. One man drowned when his car
became trapped in high water.
Studies then began, and continue
today, into how the region can control
and reduce its flooding problem.
Northwestern Ohio, including Findlay and Hancock County, also caught
the national economic flu. Factories
closed, unemployment rates rose and
governments cut back.
But through those dark times, progress has continued.
Unemployment rates for March
2012 dropped in all 88 Ohio counties,
including in Hancock County, which
had the eighth-lowest rate at 6.5 percent.
More jobs came to town when Marathon Oil leaders split the corporation
into two publicly traded companies in
2011. Marathon Petroleum Corp. is the
fifth-largest oil refiner in the country
and is headquartered in Findlay, while
Houston is the base for Marathon Oil
Corp., which focuses on crude oil production and exploration. It’s the first
time in 20 years that an independent
Marathon has been headquartered
in Findlay, adding jobs to the 1,500
already here.
Marathon Petroleum is also helping Findlay reduce its electric bill. A
5,100-panel solar array will be set up in
a field near the sewage treatment plant
off Broad Avenue and is expected to
save the city about $80,000 annually.
Cooper Rubber & Tire Co. has had
its ups and downs. More than 1,000
unionized workers were locked out
from November 2011 until the end of
February 2012, when a new five-year
labor contract was ratified. Cooper
continued to produce tires during the
lockout using temporary workers.
Three years earlier, a campaign
was mounted to persuade Cooper to
keep the Findlay plant open. The city
offered free water and sewer service as
part of a $3 million incentive package.
Several other companies have
expanded and celebrated anniversaries
over the past 11½ years.
See 2000, Page D6
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Continued from page D5
Whirlpool Corp. invested $41
million in equipment and retooling equipment early in the decade.
The company also marked its 40th
anniversary in 2007 and began
producing Maytag, Magic Chef
and Crosley standard tub dishwashers.
Early in the decade, Lowe’s
and Findlay Ford Lincoln Mercury opened new, larger locations. Lowe’s built and opened a
$15 million home improvement
warehouse-superstore on the
former site of Findlay Ford on
Bright Road. The 120,000-squarefoot center is twice the size of the
company’s old location on Tiffin
Avenue. Lowe’s also constructed
a $77 million distribution center.
Findlay Ford, meanwhile,
opened an 84,000-square-foot
dealership on Hancock County
99. The lot accommodated 1,300
to 1,400 vehicles, as opposed to
750 to 800 that could be housed
previously. However, the dealership got caught in the auto industry’s downward spiral. It was
purchased for $3.4 million in 2009
and became part of Reineke Ford
Lincoln Mercury.
The Tiffin Avenue Walmart
underwent an 80,000-square-foot
expansion in 2000, qualifying it
for supercenter status. Six years
later, a second Walmart supercenter opened on U.S. 224 near
Interstate 75, as an anchor store
at the Independence Square shopping center.
The Courier celebrated 175
years in the newspaper business
in 2011. Other anniversaries were
noted by Dow Chemical, 50 years;
and GSW, 20 years, both in 2009.
In 2000, Kuss Corp. constructed a $15 million plant in
Tall Timbers Industrial Park
while Kohl’s Distribution Center
undertook a $5 million expansion.
It was the first brick and mortar
expansion of the center on Hancock County 140 since its opening
in 1994.
Home Depot opened a new
115,000-square-foot retail store on
Tiffin Avenue, but it later closed.
Another home improvement store,
Menards, became an anchor store
in the Flag City Center on property east of County 236 and north
of U.S. 224 East.
CVS built a new store at the
intersection of Tiffin Avenue and
North Blanchard Street.
Groundbreaking on Microsoft Great Plains Business Solutions’ largest facility in Ohio, on
a 10.5-acre tract of land in Allen
Township, was held in 2002. The
43,200-square-foot building cost
$5.69 million.
Findlay also got a new theater
in 2005 when the Carmike 12,
a 12-screen multiplex theater,
opened on Interstate Drive.
The business climate wasn’t as
kind to Findlay’s Intersil Corp.,
which closed in 2002, causing
the loss of 380 jobs. In 2005, the
North Central Campus of Emerging Technologies took over the
location, which also houses Brown
Mackie College.
The Findlay Kmart store
located in the Findlay Village Mall
closed in 2003, resulting in the
loss of 79 jobs. The mall also lost
the Findlay Six theater in 2010.
A movie theater had been at the
Tiffin Avenue location since the
1970s, when the shopping center
was two plazas without a mall.
Weather-wise, area farmers
faced hard times in 2002. Rain
kept them from planting their
fields until early June. Then
drought crippled the corn and
soybean yields. By August, the
National Weather Service said
the Findlay/Hancock County area
was in a “severe drought.” Some
farmers said 2002 weather conditions were the worst they had
It was quite the opposite in
December 2006 when a total of
about 2.7 inches of rain fell on
the Findlay area, according to the
National Weather Service, sending the Blanchard River and area
creeks over their banks. The river
crested at 3.7 feet above flood
stage on Dec. 2 in one of the worst
floods in the city’s history.
If only residents knew what
was to come.
Another 2.3 inches of rain fell
in January 2007, causing flooding
of many downtown and area roads
and businesses near the river, and
rousting 60-70 people from their
homes. The river crested an inch
higher than the flood during the
previous month.
The river flooded again on Jan.
15, 2007, and yet again on March
Before Valentine’s Day, a blizzard arrived with temperatures in
the teens and winds of more than
40 mph. Snow fell at the rate of
an inch an hour, accumulating to
about 10 inches within a 24-hour
period and either closing or delaying openings of area factories,
government offices, banks and
But by early summer that
year, Findlay and northwest Ohio
turned a “dry, dusty brown” as
drought conditions covered the
state, causing the federal government to declare Ohio a disaster
area. During June, only .65 inch
of rain fell, compared to seven
inches a year earlier for the month
of June. A heat wave with temperatures pushing the 100-degree
mark struck in August.
Aug. 21 brought too much
rain, produced by the remnants
of Hurricane Erin and moisture
from the Gulf of Mexico, ranging
from 5 to 9 inches. The flooding
Blanchard River crested at 18.5
feet, or 7.5 feet above flood stage,
nearly matching the estimated
record of the famous and worst
flood of 1913.
Gale Augsburger, an 84-yearold resident of Hancock County,
drowned when his car became
trapped in high water on Ohio
The flood forced the library to
close, causing extensive damage
to books and materials on the
lower level; necessitated the closing of the bridge on East Main
Cross Street over Eagle Creek
after officials discovered structural damage; damaged several
churches; forced the evacuation
of 90 prisoners from the Hancock County jail; wiped out the
150-vehicle inventory of Treadway
Chrysler Dodge on U.S. 224; and
caused more than $1 million in
damage to Findlay City Schools’
facilities, particularly Central
Middle School.
As residents cleaned up the
mess, more than 900 tons of trash
went to the landfill.
More than 1,600 Hancock
County households became eligible for the Federal Emergency
Management Agency’s Individual
and Household Program, and the
agency approved more than $6
million in grants for Findlay flood
The Small Business Administration approved $8 million in
loans to county flood victims.
In 2008, the city gave $50,000
to the Army Corps of Engineers to
start a feasibility study on ways to
control flooding of the Blanchard
River, and received a $1.4 million
federal grant to buy 16 flood-prone
A number of businesses also
formed the private, nonprofit
Northwest Ohio Flood Mitigation
Partnership, to seek an accelerated
solution to the flooding problems
in the area with the Army Corps
of Engineers. In particular, the
partnership worked to reduce the
corps’ years-long process of determining and funding solutions.
Findlay and Ottawa experienced more flooding in 2009,
and continued efforts to study
and combat major flooding in the
The corps was expected to
have a plan, and costs estimates,
for a flood-control project in 2013.
A major fire in February 2012
destroyed the Argyle Building,
a downtown Findlay apartment
building, injuring four residents
and leaving dozens of others homeless. The blaze left the four-story,
122-year-old building at 532½ S.
Main St. structurally unsound,
leading to fears that one or more
walls could collapse. Damage to
the building and its contents was
estimated at $662,000. The cause
of the fire could not be determined
because damage was too extensive, but arson was ruled out. The
building was razed.
Four years earlier, 38 people
were displaced and several were
left homeless when fire destroyed
another downtown Findlay apartment building and an adjacent
business, the Star Pawn Shop
on North Main Street. No injuries were reported. An electrical
problem was suspected as the
cause of that blaze. The pawn shop
reopened a month later in a nearby
Main Street building.
Also causing destruction was
the Emerald ash borer, a bug that
kills ash trees. It was found in
Hancock County in March 2005.
Ohio Department of Agriculture
officials discovered the beetle’s
larvae in the branches of ash trees
that were being logged out of a
woodlot north of Van Buren. The
metallic green beetle, which has
been moving its way south from
Michigan, later arrived in Findlay
and began decimating the city’s
ash trees.
In other matters, Findlay City
Council agreed to trade a downtown parking lot and part of
Dorney Plaza to Hancock County
in 2003 in exchange for the Hancock Recreation Center ice arena.
Three years later, $3 million in
renovations were started at the
center, including replacement of
most of the ice-making equipment.
The Hancock Leadership Class of
2007 built a $75,000 “All Star
Playground” next to the Cube, the
new name of the recreation center.
In 2002, the Hancock County
commissioners built a one-stop
building to encompass all aspects
of auto licensing services on Hancock County 140.
Tony Iriti, Hancock County
auditor for 16 years, was elected
mayor of Findlay in 2004. During
his term, he developed a plan to
deal with the 300,000 to 700,000
tires at the old Brandman
tire dump, located next to the
Blanchard River off North Cory
Street. The city purchased the site
from its owner for $1. The tires
were ground up and the pieces
used as a liner for the Hancock
County landfill.
A Lexington, Ky., developer
then proposed a $90 million multiuse subdivision on the Brandman
tire site and on neighboring Swale
Park property. The plan called
for a baseball stadium, performing arts center, retail stores and
However, Findlay voters
rejected the proposed development. Afterward, the developer
backed out of the project without
breaking ground.
Pete Sehnert, a Republican,
defeated Mayor Iriti in the Republican primary, and beat Democrat
Tom Knopf for mayor of Findlay
in the general election in 2007.
Sehnert served one term, then
was defeated in the 2011 primary
by Republican Lydia Mihalik. She
went on to win the general election, becoming the first woman to
be elected Findlay mayor.
Transportation matters also
got the attention of residents
during the period.
A 26.5-mile, $99 million expansion of U.S. 30 from two to four
lanes was completed in 2008. The
project includes 16.2 miles of the
highway in southern Hancock
Meanwhile, debates continued
about the intersection of Ohio 15
and Western Avenue on the southwestern edge of Findlay. Over the
years, at least five people have
died in accidents there and many
more have been seriously injured.
In 2010, residents of the Spring
Lake Subdivision who frequently
used the intersection were disappointed by the Ohio Department
of Transportation’s decision to
close the Western Avenue crossing on Ohio 15. Citing accidents
and safety concerns, and following
the threat of a lawsuit from one
Findlay resident, the state agency
decided to permanently close the
The city also saw many new
facilities erected.
Winebrenner Theological Seminary built a $5.8 million structure
in the 900 block of North Main
Street, adjacent to the University
of Findlay campus, in 2003. The
two-story, 52,100 -square-foot
building includes classrooms,
offices and a 750-seat audito-
MONDAY, JUNE 11, 2012
rium. The seminary was formerly
located on East Melrose Avenue.
At Blanchard Valley Hospital, many buildings and offices
opened, including the Thomas B.
and Kathleen M. Donnell Patient
Pavilion; Bridge Hospice Care
Center; Wound Care Solutions;
the EasternWoods Outpatient
Center; Birchaven Retirement
Village at EasternWoods; the
Blanchard Va lley Reg iona l
Cancer Center at EasternWoods;
the North Baltimore Medical and
Diagnostic Center; the William
E. Ruse Center, which houses
an emergency room, imaging
services, same-day surgery and
more; and Valley Health Center
in Kenton, through a partnership
with Hardin Memorial Hospital.
The health system also completed a $2.85 million Bluffton
Hospital expansion and renovation project.
The Hancock Park District
celebrated its 30th anniversary in
2000. Since then, the park district
has constructed a 1.3-mile bike
path from Broad Avenue to North
Main street, opened a dog park at
Riverbend Recreation Area, and
moved its headquarters out of a
building at 819 Park St. and into
a larger house on East Main Cross
Street along the Blanchard River.
The Lodge at Riverbend Recreation Area was renamed Brugeman Lodge, in honor of Tim
Brugeman, who retired in 2008
as the Hancock Park District’s
director, a job he held for 35 years.
The Hancock Historica l
See 2000, Page D8
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Continued from page D6
Museum completed a $2 million
renovation in 2002, giving the
staff about double the space for
displays and projects. The Hull
House was renovated, a second
story was added to the exhibit
center annex, and the agricultural
display barn was expanded.
Two historical homes were
moved to the museum campus on
West Sandusky Street. The 1843
Davis Home, one of the oldest
houses in Hancock County, was
moved from U.S. 224 East. The
DeWald-Funk House on East
Street was also relocated to the
museum. Originally located in
Bascom, the house was moved to
Findlay in 1990 by the Historic
Preservation Guild of Hancock
Many nonprofit agencies got a
new home in 2005. The FindlayHancock County Community
Foundation purchased a former
Kroger store on North Blanchard
Street. The building was renovated and became home to 19
That same year, the assets of
the community foundation doubled with a $25 million gift from
the estate of Ann Arbor, Mich.,
resident Madeleine T. Schneider, a
Findlay native and former schoolteacher. Her gift made the local
foundation the 12th largest charitable foundation in Ohio.
Barbara Deerhake, who served
as president of the community
foundation for 21 years, retired
in 2008.
The Findlay Family YMCA
completed a major renovation
and expansion project in 2001.
Renovations totaling about $7.8
million included new heating,
lighting and plumbing systems;
age-appropriate youth centers;
adult, youth and family locker
rooms; a hot tub; indoor track;
aerobics room and wellness center,
along with $349,000 in TechnoGym equipment which uses an
electronic card system to personalize machines for each person.
The Hancock County Agency
on Aging and AMVETS Post 21
agreed to swap properties in 2009.
The Senior Center moved to the
former post home on East Melrose
Avenue, and the AMVETS moved
to the former Senior Center on
West Trenton Avenue. The center
also got a new ability-appropriate
fitness center, thanks to the Hancock Leadership Class of 2009.
The City Mission of Findlay is
currently seeking to raise $2.7 mil-
lion for a 12,682-square-foot addition at the main building on West
Main Cross Street. The addition
would increase the number of beds
for homeless men from 23 to 45.
Beds for women would increase
from six to 20. Family units would
be increased from three to six.
The addition also would address
needs for a larger dining room and
The Black Heritage Library
and Multicultural Center is celebrating its 30th anniversary this
A new veterans memorial at
Findlay’s Maple Grove Cemetery
was completed and dedicated on
Memorial Day of 2003 at a cost
of $225,000.
St. Michael the Archangel
Catholic Church completed a new
$8.3 million, 35,519-square-foot
church building on Bright Road
in 2003. A 24-foot-tall crucifix
hangs in the apse of the church. An
$8 million addition to the parish
school followed. The single-story
primary school became a twostory building, which brought all
of the students, from preschool to
eighth grade, to the same campus.
The Hancock County Agricultural Service Center on County
140 opened in 2001. The building houses the Hancock County
Cooperative Extension Office,
the Farm Service Agency, Rural
Development, Natural Resources
Conservation Services, Ag Credit
and Hancock Soil and Water Conservation offices.
Children got a new place to
play when the Fort Findlay Playground, a 20,000-square-foot playground, was built at Emory Adams
Park in 2001. Children had a hand
in its building as an architect visited local schools beforehand to
gather their ideas. The playground
was constructed over a period of
several days by hundreds of local
The inaugural trip of Flag City
Honor Flight last June hosted 78
veterans who flew to Washington,
D.C., for a one-day trip to see the
World War II Memorial and other
The University of Findlay has
made major strides over the past
11-plus years. The $7 million Russ
& Peg Armstrong Sports Complex
was built in 2003 on land adjacent
to the former Foodtown store on
North Blanchard Street. The complex includes two practice football
fields, a softball complex, baseball
diamonds, an outdoor track, and
several tennis courts.
In 2004, a nearly 30-acre tract
of land was donated to the university by Findlay’s Hancor Inc.
Located on the city’s southern end
MONDAY, JUNE 11, 2012
Photos by RANDY ROBERTS / The Courier
strong sense of cummunity
and the last decade has been
no exception. When Hurricane
Katrina ravaged the Gulf
Coast in 2005, area residents
organized and pitched in to
collect supplies for those
displaced by the disaster
(above). In 2001, an architect
visited local schools to gather
ideas to build the Fort Findlay
Playground at Emory Adams
Park. The playground was
constructed over a period of
several days by hundreds of
local volunteers (left).
behind Hancor’s headquarters, the
parcel will be used as a natural
habitat preserve.
The university purchased the
Davis Street property that had
been Owens Community College’s
former campus, and relocated the
college of pharmacy to the building.
A groundbreaking ceremony
was held for the university’s
Mazza Museum in the Virginia
B. Gardner Fine Arts Pavilion.
Already a premier destination
for those interested in children’s
book art, the museum launched
a $2.2 million fundraising drive
in 2004 to create more room for
its bursting-at-the-seams collection and ongoing activities. A $1
million donation from Michael
and Robin Gardner in December
2005 pushed the museum’s campaign over the top by $200,000,
thereby ensuring the construction
of the 8,000-square-foot addition
along with additional fringes, such
as the creation of an outdoor children’s reading garden with sculptures. The addition was dedicated
in May 2007.
The university observed its
175th anniversary that same year.
The Dr. C. Richard Beckett
Animal Science Building, located
at the university’s Animal Sciences
Center on U.S. 68 south of Findlay,
was opened in 2009. The building
honors Dr. Beckett for conceiving
and helping to start the pre-veterinary program at the university
nearly 30 years ago.
The Rieck Center for Habitat
Studies held its 20th anniversary
this spring. The center, at 13711
Delaware Township 166, Mount
Blanchard, is the former site of the
Hancock County Humane Society,
which leased the property to the
center for $1 a year in 1992 when
it moved to Findlay. The property
was taken over by the university
in 2003.
Owens Community College’s
Findlay campus got a new home
in 2005 — a $17 million campus
at the corner of Township 212 and
Bright Road. The following year,
the college started construction of
a 26,641-square-foot, $4.2 million
Community Education and Wellness Center.
Brown Mackie College, formerly Southern Ohio College,
moved to its new home on Fostoria
Avenue, the site of the former RCA
factory, in 2007. A 26,000-squarefoot renovation, of which 18,000
square feet represented an expansion at the site, was completed in
2010. This year, four bachelor’s
degree programs were introduced
in the areas of business administration, criminal justice, health
care administration and legal
And, it’s exciting times for
Findlay City Schools. Three new
buildings are on the rise, including Glenwood and Donnell middle
schools and the new Millstream
Career and Technology Center,
thanks to a 4.3-mill bond issue
that was approved by voters in
November 2009. The bond issue
will raise $54 million and will be
matched with $19 million from
the Ohio School Facilities Commission.
Wa sh i ng ton Element a r y
School on Main Street was closed
in 2008 and students moved to a
building on Broad Avenue. The
former elementary school was
then auctioned and purchased by
the Church of the Living God for
Findlay and Hancock County
schools entered the world of the
virtual classroom by contracting
with Tri-Rivers Educational Computer Association to provide online
curriculum for the Findlay Digital
Academy. The online school is for
high school students who are at
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risk of failing or dropping out of
school. Students attend the online
school from their homes.
In April 2012, Cooper Tire
announced that it is partnering
with the Findlay schools to build a
new track and field facility behind
the high school. Cooper Tire said
it plans to “commemorate its 100year anniversary in the tire industry and its heritage in the Findlay
community with an investment in
a new, state-of-the-art sustainable
track and field complex at Findlay
High School.” Cooper is contributing $600,000 toward the $1.46
million project.
H a ncock C ount y voters
renewed a 1.9-mill operating levy
for Blanchard Valley Center in
2010. The levy generates about
$3 million annually for the center,
which operates the county’s programs for the developmentally
Special Kids Therapy, a nonprofit organization started in 2003
to help special health care needs
children and their families, moved
from its location on Lima Avenue
to Blanchard Valley Center earlier
this year. The move is part of a
partnership between the two organizations. The move is intended
to increase accessibility to the
group’s playroom.
Kan Du Art Studio opened in
2011, bringing a new community
of artists to downtown Findlay,
those who are eager to show that
a disability is no inability when
it comes to the world of art. The
studio on South Main Street is
an extension of Blanchard Valley
Industries, Hancock County’s
work habilitative program for
adults with developmental disabilities. Kan Du had operated
out of Blanchard Valley Center
since 2007.
There have been several notable deaths in the community since
Findlay native Patrick W.
Rooney, who retired as head of
Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., died
at 67 in December 2002.
Ed Heminger, chairman of the
board of Findlay Publishing Co.
and former publisher of The Courier, died in December 2011. He
was 85. Heminger represented
the third of five generations of his
family to publish or work at The
Byron Boutwell, who served
as Hancock County sheriff for
16 years starting in 1981, died in
September 2009 at the age of 82.
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Northwest Ohio
Preservation, Inc.
Sports: Peg Kirk Bell best of the best
11600 County Rd. 99 • I-75 #161
In her unique, pioneering way,
Peg Kirk Bell knocked the skirts
right out of women’s sports.
And in the process she epitomized, in Findlay at first, then on a
much grander scale, the trend that
saw the emergence of women’s
athletics overall.
“Women’s golf (results) used
to be on the society page,” Bell
said during a return to Find lay
some years back. “I guess it was
considered more of a social gathering than a sport.
“But when I won the district
tournament, Link Groves (former
Courier sports editor) put me on
the sports page. And I loved being
on the sports page with all the
baseball and football players. I
guess I was just a tomboy.”
Tomboy then.
Now Bell is a renowned sports
fig ure.
As a young girl growing up in
Findlay in the 1930s, Bell faced a
gender dilemma. She was an outstanding athlete, but as a female
she had few opportunities to excel.
Bell and the Quinlan boys and
some of the neighborhood kids
formed their own athletic teams.
They called themselves the Hurd
Avenue Red Caps and challenged
all comers in baseball, football,
“We played ball on Wickham’s
lot,” Bell said.
“But Wickham’s lot was down
by Cooper, where my dad worked.
And I don’t think he wanted people
looking out the window and seeing
his daughter out there playing ball
with the boys.
“So my dad bought me a set
of golf clubs. It did get me off the
baseball field, so he was thrilled
by that.”
Provided to The Courier
PEG KIRK BELL, who grew up in Findlay, became one of the
pioneers, and the giants, in the world of women’s professional golf,
as well as one of the most respected teaching professionals in the
But the new sport did not come
easily to Bell, a natural athlete.
“Golf drove me crazy because it
was one thing I just could not do,”
Bell said during one of her visits to
Findlay to take part in the annual
Julie Cole Charity Golf Tournament.
“I grew up playing team sports.
Golf was the only sport I could just
go out and do by myself.
“But it was such a challenge. It
was frustrating because for three
years I played all these other
sports and was one of the best
athletes in the school.
“Fortunately, Leonard Schmutte (former Findlay Country
Club pro) took an interest in me,
I think because I was strong for
a girl. And with his help, I got
After high school, Bell enrolled
at Rollins College in Florida. The
school didn’t have a women’s golf
team, but that didn’t keep Bell
from working on her game.
“I’d go to class in the morning,
then head for the club and tee off
with the guys in the afternoon,”
she said. “I played because I loved
the game, and I always played with
the guys. I liked to be around men
because they were competitive.
“Women weren’t supposed
be very competitive back then.
Women weren’t supposed to do
sports and golf was more of a
social thing; you’d play bridge,
golf, then do lunch.”
Golf proved to be the perfect
vehicle for Bell to blend her athletic ability and her competitive
nature. And with outstanding
A three-time Ohio Amateur
champion, Bell also won titles in
the North-South Amateur, International Four-Ball, Everglades
Two-Ball, Palm Beach Amateur,
Titleholders and Eastern Amateur. Bell was a member of the
1950 Curtis Cup team and a year
later took part in the Weathervane
Team competition, the first LPGA
“My goal in golf was always
to win the National Amateur and
make the United States Curtis Cup
team,” said Bell, who turned pro
Bell’s career in brief
The highlights of Peg Kirk Bell’s career in
• 1947-48-49 — Wins three consecutive
Ohio Amateur championships; also teams with
Babe Zaharias to win the Hollywood Four-Ball
• 1949 — Wins the North-South Women’s
Amateur and the Augusta Titleholders Tournament, and finishes second in a playoff to Helen
Sigel in Women’s Western Open.
• 1950 — Wins the Eastern Amateur championship, runner-up to Zaharias in Women’s
Western Open, and is selected to compete on
the United States Golf Association (USGA)
Curtis Cup Team; turns professsional later in
the year.
• 1951 — Picked to be a member of the
Weathervane Team, the first professional organization for women golfers.
• 1953 — Peg and husband Warren “Bullet”
Bell purchase Pine Needles (N.C.) Resort.
• 1961 — Named Ladies Professional Golf
Association (LPGA) Teacher of the Year.
• 1966 — Writes and publishes a book: “A
Women’s Way To Better Golf.”
• 1981 — Named LPGA Golf Professional
of the Year; receives National Golf Foundation’s
Joe Graffis Award, presented to an individual
who demonstrates outstanding service and
dedication to the educational advancement in
• 1980-89 — Named LPGA Master Professional; Golf Digest also names Bell one of the
six most influential women in golf and one of
the top five outstanding women teachers in
golf; named to the North Carolina Sports Hall
of Fame.
• 1989 — Receives LPGA Ellen Griffin
Award, signifying excellence in teaching the
fundamentals of the game of golf.
• 1990 — Receives Bobby Jones Award,
the highest honor given by the USGA for distinguished sportsmanship in the game of golf.
NOTE: Bell is also the only woman golfer
to compete in the four inaugural national
events for female golfers — the first National
Intercollegiate Golf Tournament (1940); the
first National LPGA Tournament; the first
U.S. Women’s Open; and the first LPGA
Seniors Teaching Division Tournament
(which she won by 8 strokes).
Findlay’s top sports figures
The Courier’s Sports Department undertook the task of selecting the area’s top 100 sports
figures of the 20th century in
Hundreds of nominations were
processed. Hundreds of names
were considered. Hundreds of
careers were researched.
The initial list included
renowned names like Peg Kirk
Bell, Ray Harroun, William Elsworth “Dummy” Hoy, “Tot” Pressnell.
Now, as Findlay celebrates its
bicentennial, the Courier Sports
Department pared down the original list to those who are meant to
represent sports figures of all ages
and eras, all sports and activities.
It is a cross-section of the people
who have excelled not only on the
field of play, but in the realm of
athletics overall.
This is our list, in alphabetical
Mark Ammons
1968 Findlay High graduate ...
Drafted by Philadelphia in 1973
and remained with the Phillies
through early 1975 before entering
the Pittsburgh Pirates’ farm systems ... first-team all-Mid-American Conference baseball player at
Bowling Green State University
... MAC Player of the Year in 1972
when Falcons won the conference
title and were ranked 13th nationally ... Helped lead Findlay High to
first Buckeye Conference baseball
title in 1968 ... Coached basketball
and baseball at Arcadia.
performer in 1960s ... Unofficially
tied world record in 220-yard
dash with a time of 20.0 in 1962
on cinders at Donnell Stadium ...
In 1963, unofficially tied world
record in 100-yard dash of 9.4 at
Ferris State (Mich.) University
... During collegiate career, competed in prestigious Penn Relays,
the NAIA Track & Field Championships and ran against Bob Hayes, Homer Jones and Edward
Rob erts, who finished 1-2-3 in
the Olympic sprint finals in Tokyo
(1964) ... Set NFL record with
Denver Broncos with 47 kickoff
returns during the 1964 season.
Warren ‘Bullet’ Bell
Had 3-year basketball contract
with Zollner Pistons in Fort Wayne
... Considered a ball-handling
wizard during high school career
... 3-time all-Ohio bas ketball
player (1938-40) at Findlay High
and helped lead Bachman-coached
teams to state tourney each season
... Earned a scholarship to Ohio
State and played on fresh man
team (1940-41) before entering
U.S. Army ... Later designed and
helped build Pine Needles Golf
Resort in Southern Pines, N.C.,
with his wife, Peg Kirk Bell.
Peg Kirk Bell
Received Bobby Jones Award
(1990), the highest honor given
by the USGA for Distinguished
Sportsmanship in the game of
golf ... Received LPGA Ellen
Griffin Award (1989) signifying excellence in teaching the
fun damentals of golf ... Only
woman golfer to compete in the
four inaugural national events
for female golfers — National
Intercollegiate Golf Tournament
(1940), National LPGA Tournament, U.S. Women’s Open, and
LPGA Seniors Teaching Division
Tournament (which she won by 8
strokes) ... 3-time Ohio Amateur
champion (1947-48-49) ... Runnerup to Babe Zaharias in Women’s
Western Open and selected for
USGA Curtis Cup team in 1950
... Turned pro in 1951 ... Named
LPGA Teacher of the Year (1961)
... Named LPGA Golf Professional
of the Year (1981).
Dick Beltz
Hailed as the greatest all-purpose triple-threat run ning back
in Findlay High football history
... FHS’s all-time leading scorer
in football with 491 points (19291931) ... Had 205 points as a junior
O’Dell Barry
Toledo native ... Standout
Findlay College track and football
See TOP, Page D10
Hanneman: 419-427-8408
[email protected]
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Summer Hours:
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Coming again this fall!
“Tracks to the Past”
Pumpkin Train
Train of Terror &
Haunted Engine House
North Pole Express
10 years of fun, educational
& affordable programs.
Looking toward a long future
here in FindlayHappy Bicentennial!
www.nworrp.org or 419-721-1175
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Carl Bachman
Cygnet native ... earned 13 letters at Bowling Green State University ... posted a 477-126 record
during 43-year high school basketball coaching career, including 34
years at Findlay High ... Coached
1948 Trojans to state championship with 27-0 record ... Had five
unde feated regular seasons at
Findlay ... Originated the Ohio
High School Basketball Coaches
Association and was inducted into
its Hall of Fame in 1965.
and 218 as a senior when the Trojans posted back-to-back 9-1 seasons ... Also had more than 3,000
yards, handling kickoffs, punting,
in 1950.
Joining Bell in efforts to promote women’s golf was Babe Didrikson Zaharias, a three-time U.S.
Women’s Open champion.
“When she turned pro, she
wanted to compete in tournaments. But there weren’t any
around,” Bell said. “So Babe got a
manager and she made some contacts. Then she started recruiting
some of the top amateur golfers
and that’s how the tour started.”
Bell did more than hit the links,
In 1953 she and her husband
Warren “Bullet” Bell bought the
Pine Needles Golf Course in
Southern Pines, N.C., and over the
years developed it into one of the
most respected teaching facilities
in the country.
The tomboy had definitely
grown up.
“Golf is a great game. It’s taken
me around the world,” Bell said.
“... At times I think I’m too old
for this. But golf doesn’t give you a
chance to retire. It’s amazing what
sports has done for me.”
And, conversely, what Bell has
done for sports.
and Greenhouse
Siblings Ruth Sink and Francis Sink
404 Second St.
Findlay, OH
2700 N. Main St.
Findlay, OH
Continued from page D9
PATs and as a passer ... Ohio State
running back in mid-1930s.
Micki Bish
Liberty-Benton graduate ...
Never lost an event at a Blanchard
Valley Conference track meet ...
Was 1984 Class A state cross
country champion as a freshman ... Team was also the 1984
team champion ... In her remaining three years of cross country
finished second, third and fourth
... Was 1986 state 3,200-meter
champ and won the 1988 state
1,600 and 3,200 runs.
Raven Clay
Detroit native ... Won 2012
NCAA Division II indoor 60-meter
hurdles national championship in
a University of Findlay-record 8.18
seconds ... Finished as runnerup in
100-meter hurdles at 2012 Division II outdoor championships
... 4-time indoor All-American
and 4-time GLIAC indoor champion, winning 60 hurdles, 200
and 1,600 relay in 2010-11 ... UF
indoor record-holder in 60 (7:33)
and 300 (40.01) ... 4-time outdoor
All-American (2009-11) ... named
GLIAC Athlete of Meet at indoor
and outdoor championships ...
named GLIAC indoor and outdoor
freshman of the year in 2008-09.
Julie Cole
Three-year letterman at Eastern Michigan ... Was the Eagles’
leading tackler, MVP and captain
in 1975 ... Had 15 career interceptions ... Held EMU career tackle
record for 21 years (1975-1996) ...
As wide receiver at Findlay High,
was selected second-team all-Ohio
and Buckeye Conference first
team in 1970 and was first-team
all-Ohio as a defensive back in 71.
Women’s professional golfer ...
Finished 47th on the LPGA Tour’s
final money list in 1987 ... 1996
Women’s U.S. Open qualifier ...
Honored as LPGA‘s “Teacher of
the Year” in 1995 for the Southeast
section ... Appeared on the July/
August cover of Golf for Women
magazine ... Namesake of annual
Julie Cole Charity Golf Tournament held at Findlay Country
Club ... Currently the director of
instruction at Dana Rader Golf
School in Charlotte, N.C.
Kirby Blackley
Aaron Craft
Cincinnati native ... 2008
NCAA Division II Outdoor Track
and Field Athlete of the Year ...
2008 Division II outdoor long
jump and 100-meter hurdles champion ... 2007-2008 United States
Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Female
Track Athlete of the Year ... 9-time
Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference outdoor titlist
... Three-time Division II indoor
All-American ... Midwest Region
Athlete of the Year, GLIAC Indoor
Track MVP and NCAA Top VIII
Award winner in 2008.
All- Ohio quarterback for
Liberty-Benton (2008 & 2009),
leading Eagles to Division V state
runnerup finish in 2009 ... Ohio’s
Division III Player of the Year in
basketball (2010) after averaging 26.7 points, 7.7 rebounds and
6.5 assists in leading L-B to 20-0
record and a No.1 Associated
Press Division III poll ... L-B went
79-1 in regular season with Craft
in the starting lineup ... Signed a
national letter of intent to Ohio
State ... Named to Big Ten allfreshman team and voted the Big
Ten Sixth Player of the Year as a
freshman ... Took over the starting
point guard spot as as sophomore
and averaged 8.8 points, 2.5 steals
and 4.6 assists as OSU went 31-8
and reached NCAA Final Four ...
Voted Big Ten Defensive Player of
the Year in 2011-12.
Jeff Bixler
Nelson Bolden
Toledo native ... Two-time
NAIA Division II All-American
running back for Findlay College, rushing for 1,324 yards in
1979 and 1,079 in 1980 ... 4-year
starter, helping the Oilers to NAIA
national title in 1979 after a runner-up finish in 1978 ... 3-year
all-district and all-conference
per former ... All-time UF leading rusher, piling up 4,009 yards
... A bruising runner at 6-foot-3,
225 pounds and very durable, he
carried the ball an unbelievable
school-record 958 times ... Holds
UF career marks for touchdowns
scored (63) and total points (378)
... Had free agent tryout with Pittsburgh Steelers.
Josh Bostic
C olumbus ... 20 0 8 -20 0 9
National Association of Basketball
Coaches Division II Player of the
Year as University of Findlay captured NCAA Division II national
men’s basketball championship ...
NABC D-II first-team All-American 2007-08, 2008-09 ... 20082009 GLIAC Player of the Year
... Two-time first team all-GLIAC
... 8th all time on UF scoring list
(1,705 points); 2nd all time in
rebounding (757) ... Played professionally in Japan and Europe.
Ken Brooks
1972 Ohio Class AAA Player of
the Year in basketball and fourthleading scorer (933 points) in
Find lay High history ... Catcher
on Findlay High’s 1971 Ohio state
baseball championship team ...
Member of 1972 American Legion
baseball team which advanced to
World Series ... Played collegiately
at Eastern Michigan University ...
Served as Pandora-Gilboa girls
basketball coach for 21 seasons,
posting a 267-191 record.
Jerry Carder
Delphos ... Third-team NAIA
all-American in basketball at Findlay College in 1968 ... 3-time allNAIA District 22 selection ... No.3
all-time UF scorer (1,953 points)
... Member of 1966-67 Findlay
team that played in the NAIA
national tournament ... Played on
four straight Findlay teams that
advanced to the district playoffs
... Retired from University of
Toledo as college administrator ...
Inducted into University of Findlay Hall of Fame (1982), Hancock
Sports Hall of Fame (1985) and
NAIA Basketball Hall of Fame in
Jim Carder
Delphos ... Played alongside his
brother, Jerry, for four seasons at
Findlay College ... 2-time NAIA
all-American ... 4-time all-NAIA
district 22 selection ... No. 2 alltime UF scorer (2,079 points) ...
Member of 1966-67 Findlay team
that played in the NAIA national
tournament ... Spent 25 years as
a football, basketball, baseball,
cross country and golf coach at
Lima Central Catholic ... Spent 11
years as a Lima Junior Golf Association administrator ... Inducted
into UF Hall of Fame (1982), Hancock Sports Hall of Fame (1985)
and NAIA Basketball Hall of Fame
in 2007.
Caitie Craft
2011-2012 Associated Press
Division III all-Ohio First Team
girls basketball selection for
Liberty-Benton ... Most Valuable
Player during the Eagles’ run to
the 2010 Division III state tournament championship ... 2011
co-Blanchard Valley Conference
Player of the Year ... Averaged 21.1
points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.9 assists
and 5.4 steals during her senior
season in 2011-12 at Liberty-Benton ... Continuing her career at
Ohio State in 2012-2013.
Tyler Curlis
Umpire in New York-Penn
League during the 2010, 2011
and 2012 seasons ... Umpired in
the Arizona Fall League in 2010
... Played baseball at Wittenburg
University in 2005 ... Findlay High
letterman in football, hockey and
baseball ... Earned all-Ohio honors
as a wide receiver, catching 18
passes in a game vs. Massillon
Washington (2003), a season
record 94 in 2003 and a FHS
record 164 in his career (2001-03)
... Scored winning run as Findlay
American Legion baseball team
captured 2002 state championship ... Batted .348 and led 2002
Legion team in stolen bases (17)
and walks (53) ... also pitched for
state championship Legion team,
going 9-2 with 3.02 ERA and 76
Del Drake
Signed by Detroit Tigers in
1903 and played three seasons in
major leagues ... In 1911, played
in the Detroit outfield next to
Hall of Famers Ty Cobb and Sam
Crawford, batting .279 with 9
triples and 20 steals in 91 games
... hit .301 in 11-year minor league
career ... Signed Findlay’s Forest
“Tot” Pressnell to pro contract as
a major league scout.
Dale Edie
Hancock County’s first Special
Olympic gold medalist ... Won his
gold medal at the 1995 games with
a victory in the 25-meter backstroke ... Competed in numerous
sports events for Blanchard Valley
Gene Fekete
Finished eighth in 1942 Heisman Trophy voting as first Ohio
State player ever considered for
the honor, during a sophomore
season on the national championship Buckeyes’ team under legendary coach Paul Brown ... Set
OSU record for longest run from
scrimmage, 89 yards against Pitt
... finished as Big Ten’s leading
rusher (910 yards, 182 carries)
in 1942 and set OSU mark of 92
points ... OSU career cut short
by World War II, but signed with
Cleveland Browns in 1945 ...
Inducted into OSU Hall of Fame
in 1998 ... Head basketball coach
at Northern Illinois (1948-49)
and assistant OSU football coach
(1949-59) ... All-state in football
and basketball at Findlay High ...
Ran for two touchdowns, threw
MONDAY, JUNE 11, 2012
for two, booted a field goal and
four extra points against Lima
Central Catholic ... Ran for nearly
400 yards against Bucyrus.
Jeffrey Fout
Findlay native ... Fixture atop
harness racing world from 19772005 at Scioto Downs, Lebanon
Raceway, Raceway Park ... Won
4,308 of 27,206 career starts, finished in top three 11,801 times
... Trained and drove Golly Goo,
winner of 8 of 16 starts as a 3-yearold in 1994, 8 of 15 as a 4-yearold ... Trainer and driver of Dawn
Q, winner of 11 of 27 starts over
2-year period ... 14-time winner of
Ohio Sires Stakes championship
... past winner of U.S. Harness
Writers Association Meritorious
Award for two decades of contributions to racing.
Jim Givens
Shortstop at Kent State from
1986-91 ... drafted in 30th round
by Tigers ... First-team all-MAC
as a junior, 2nd team as senior ...
First team all-NCAA Regional as
a senior ... Was third on all-time
MAC hit list above Ohio University’s Mike Schmidt ... At one
time, held 13 Kent State school
records ... played for the Toledo
Mud Hens from 1993-95 ... Givens
currently serves as the associate
athletic director at the University
of Findlay.
Harry Gonso
Ran for 1,000 yards in a season
and had 152 points as quarterback
at Findlay High ... Set Indiana
University’s total offense and
TD passing records by end of his
junior season ... Led Hoosiers to
its lone Rose Bowl appearance in
1968 ... Finished third in voting for
the Heisman Trophy ... Received
law degree from Indiana ... Served
as Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels’
senior counsel and chief of staff
during 2005 and 2006 ... Currently a partner at Ice Miller LLP
in Indianapolis.
Since 1887, we have proudly been a part of
Findlay’s growth and prosperity.
From Hancock Brick & Tile Company to Hancor, Inc.
to Advanced Drainage Systems, Inc. – the years have
gone by, our name has changed, but our commitment
to the community still remains.
We take this opportunity to thank the Findlay
community and our dedicated employees and their
families for 125 years of support and partnership.
A.J. Granger
Member of two Liberty-Benton
state title teams in 1995 ... Eagles
won the Division IV basketball
crown and the Division III track
state championship ... 1996 state
discus champion ... NCAA Division I Final Four participant as
junior in 1999 and starter during
Michigan State University’s drive
to 1999-2000 national championship ... Played professional basketball in Europe for two years ...
Currently an account director at
The Right Thing.
© 2012 ADS, Inc.
401 Olive Street, Findlay, OH 45840
Antonia Guerra
Wrestled in a national championship match in three of his four
seasons at University of Findlay,
winning the NCAA Division II
149-pound weight class at Koehler
Center when UF hosted the 2006
championships ... Won a second
title in 2007 ... Finished his career
as a 4-time All-American and tied
for the most career wins at UF
with 123.
Ray Harroun
Drove a Marmon Wasp, No.
32, to victory in the first Indianapolis 500 in 1911, winning
$14,250 ... “Little Professor” was
the only driver in the 40-car field
not accompanied by a mechanic ...
Introduced the rear-view mirror ...
Obtained 11 patents as an engineer.
Whitson Properties
Findlay - Flag City USA
on her
200th Birthday!
Fred Hirsimaki
Great high school athlete at
Conneaut’s Rowe High School
and has been a highly-successful
senior Olympian ... Won a gold
medal (70-74 age group) at the
1994 International Decathlon
Championships in Sheffield, England ... Won gold in the 1991 U.S.
National Seniors Sports Classic
... Numerous time all-American
in Master’s track and field ... set
an M80 decathlon world record by
scoring 6,802 points in July 2005
... Inducted into Dayton/Miami
Valley Senior Olympics Hall of
Fame in 2005 ... Still competes in
85-over division.
941 Interstate Drive
I-75 & US 224 Exit 159
Jim Houdeshell
Has had 62-year association
with Findlay College/University
of Findlay ... 30-year FC basketball
coach (430-312) ... had 16 teams
in District 22 playoffs ... NAIA
Coaches Hall of Fame inductee
... also coached track, cross country, baseball and football as well
as serving as athletics director ...
Member of numerous NAIA and
other national sports organization
committees ... Serves as a special
assistant to the president, and
development officer at UF.
Bo Hurley
Selected as first NAIA Rawlings Player of the Year in 1997
after leading UF to 1995 and 1997
NAIA national titles ... Ran 1997
Oilers’ offense to an NAIA-leading
45.9 points a game ... Holds 10 UF
offensive records, including 4,395
yards passing and 57 touchdowns
in career ... 3-time NAIA Scholar
Athlete and 1997 GTE Academic
See TOP, Page D11
903 Interstate Drive
I-75 & US 224 Exit 159
Both hotels owned and operated
by Whitson Properties
MONDAY, JUNE 11, 2012
Continued from page D10
All-American ... Currently resides
in Centerville.
Josh Huston
Two-time all-Ohio placekicker
... Set Findlay High record in 2002
with nine field goals ... Redshirted
at Ohio State in 2000 ... After
being a backup to Mike Nugent
(2003 & 2004), he was granted
a sixth year of eligibility on a
medical redshirt and hit 22 of 28
field goals and 44 of 45 PATs for
110 points in 2005 ... Tied OSU
record with five field goals against
Texas ... Was undrafted in 2006,
but signed with Chicago Bears
... Also spent time with the Las
Vegas Gladiators (2006-07), New
York Giants (2007 & 2008) and
Cincinnati Bengals (2007).
Amanda Hyde
2009-2010 Associated Press
Division III first team all-Ohio
and Northwest District Player
of the Year in girls basketball as
Liberty-Benton captured the 2010
Division III state championship
and completed a 27-0 season ...
3-time Blanchard Valley Conference Player of the Year ... Averaged 9.4 points per game in 25
games as a sophomore at Indiana
University-Purdue University Fort
Wayne in 2011-2012.
Nathan Hyde
Liberty-Benton graduate...
NCAA Division II first-team AllAmerican 2010-2011 at UF ...
Two-time first-team NABC Midwest Region selection ... Two-time
first-team all-Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference pick ...
12th all time in UF scoring (1,528
points) ... Ranks second in 3-pointers made for a career with 248.
Mike Iriti
Set three Findlay High receiving records and one state standard
when he caught 101 passes for
1,411 yards and 21 TDs during
1999 season ... His 21 TDs remain
the eighth highest single-season
total in Ohio prep history; his 101
receptions are 12th in the state
records books and his 1,411 yards
are 31st.
Kyle Johann
Career passing leader (5,468
yards, 43 TDs) in Findlay High
history, during three years as a
starter ... Completed 244 of 374
passes (just 5 interceptions) for
3,009 yards and 29 TDs and
rushed for almost 600 yards in
2002 when Findlay set a school
record for points in a season
(570) and advanced farther than
any FHS football team in history,
going 12-2 and reaching the Division I state semifinals.
Eddie Kawolics
Scranton, Pa. ... considered to
be Findlay’s foremost kegler ...
Inducted into American Bowling
Congress Hall of Fame in 1968 ...
Three times rolled a 1,900-plus
all-events total, boasting a string
of eight straight 1,800s through
1948 that tied an existing record ...
Averaged 196 pins for 34 straight
ABC tournaments ... Best 3-game
series was an 803 ... Coached 1967
United States ABC team, which
swept the men’s titles at the 5th
World Championships in Mexico.
Jim Kennedy
father, Dick Kortokrax, at Kalida
... Holds UF all-time men’s basketball scoring (2,575 points)
and rebounding records (1,242),
season scoring record with 880
points in 1985-86 ... Was 545 of
751 shooting from the free throw
line for career ... Kortokrax was
a first-team NAIA All-American
and the District 22 Player of the
Year in 1987 when he scored 22
points per game during his senior
season ... Averaged 30 points per
game as a junior, earning secondteam All-American and District 22
Player of the Year laurels ... Twice
scored over 50 points in a game ...
Inducted into NAIA Hall of Fame
in 2009 ... Currently the head boys
basketball coach at Bishop Hartley
High School in Columbus where
he was named Division II Coach
of the Year in 2011.
Ted Kramer
Set Findlay High hockey
records as a freshman in 1984
with 61 goals and 30 assists in 25
games ... Played two years with
Little Caesars in the AAA Michigan Hockey League ... Was named
rookie of the year in the Metro
Toronto Junior Hockey League as
a senior at St. Michael’s School ...
Still holds Iron Man record at University of Michigan for 173 games
played with 70 goals and 70 assists
... Signed with Los Angeles Kings,
skated with Wayne Gretzky and
played for Phoenix of the International Hockey League ... Member
of Findlay High’s 1984 state championship golf team ... Inducted into
Hancock Sports Hall of Fame in
2006 ... Currently an attorney with
Hammond Kennedy Whitman &
Co. in Indianapolis.
Luke Kraus
First and only player in Findlay High boys basketball history
to start all four years as Trojans
posted a 59-29 record, won three
league titles and made the Division I regional finals in 2006-07
... Never missed a start in 88
consecutive games ... FHS boys
basketball career leader in points
(1,501), free throws (368) and
field goals (497) and tied for top
spot in 3-pointers (139) ... 3-time
Greater Buckeye Conference
Player of the Year; first-team allOhio in 2009.
Jay Liles
Coached back-to-back NAIA
wrestling titles at MontanaNorthern with two NAIA Coach
of the Year awards; coached five
champions and 39 all-Americans
... Coached one state champion
and 13 conference champions at
Arcadia ... Was MAC runner-up
and national qualifier (1978-79)
and the winningest wrestler at
BGSU from (1976-79) ... Was Ohio
AAU freestyle champion three
times, a Junior World Freestyle
placer twice and U.S. Wrestling
Federation state champ twice ...
Recently retired from the head
coaching position at South Dakota
State University where he spent
the past 19 years and left as the
winningest coach (148-143-5) in
SDSU history.
Waylon Lowe
Became University of Findlay’s
first NCAA Division II national
wrestling champion when as a
sophomore he won the 149-pound
class at the 2002 national finals
... He added two more championships, and was named the
outstanding wrestler at the 2004
Division II finals ... Finished his
career as a 4-time All-American
and accumulated 112 career wins.
Four-year All-American diver
at the University of Tennessee ...
Won 1976 NCAA 1-meter diving
title ... Was a seven-time Southeastern Conference champion ...
Won four AAU national titles and
1977 Swedish Cup ... Was 5th at
1980 U.S. Olympic trials ... 1972
Ohio High School Athletic Association diving champion at Findlay
High ... Currently resides in Brentwood, Tenn.
Joe Marsh Jr.
Miron Kharchilava
Chuck Merzbacher
Native of Abkhazia ... Defected
to U.S. and Findlay area in the
spring of 1992 while traveling
with a collegiate wrestling team
... NAIA national champion and
most outstanding wrestler in
1995 as member of University of
Findlay squad ... Was an assistant
wrestling coach at Ohio State and
Indiana universities ... Currently
owns training facility and resides
in Dublin.
In his 15th season as Ohio
State’s women’s tennis coach,
is already winningest women’s
tennis coach in school history ...
His 2000 team was the Big Ten
regular-season champion and he
has led 10 teams to the NCAA
tournament ... Coached men’s
tennis at Northern Illinois (198992), winning two Mid-Continent
Conference titles and women’s
tennis at Kansas (1992-1996),
leading the team to four Big Eight
Conference titles ... 1983 state
singles champion at Findlay High
... At Minnesota was a 3-time allBig Ten honoree, played on two
Big Ten Conference championship
teams (1984 & 1986), qualified for
the NCAA tournament in singles
and doubles (1985) ... played professionally from 1987-89, qualifying for the main draw singles of
the 1989 Australian Open.
John Kidd
Punted at Northwestern University ... 15-year pro football
punting career ... Set NFL record
in 1985 as a Buffalo Bill with 33
punts inside the 20-yard line ...
Had one of his best seasons as a
Miami Dolphin in 1996 when he
led the NFL with 46.3 yard-perkick average; had 26 punts inside
the 20 and 11 touchbacks ... Alternate to the Pro Bowl and named
to the USA Today All-Pro team
in 1996 ... Currently a managing
member of Kidd Communications.
Randy Kortokrax
Started for his legendary
The World Driving harness
racing champion in 1974 ... Chosen
as the 1973 Man of the Year by
Harness Horseman International
... Became the first man to have
at least 100 harness racing wins
for 27 consecutive years in 1986
... Recorded 5,882 victories with
$36.4 million in purse earnings ...
Last start was in 2006.
coach ... Has coached four IHSA
high-point riders ... An instructor
in the UF Western equestrian program since 1977.
champions ... Also 22-year coach
of L-B boys cross country teams.
Steve Morehead
Two-time Super Bowl-winning
quarterback for the Pittsburgh
Steelers ... Ohio’s Division I coOffensive Player of the Year in
1999 at Findlay High when he
completed 309 of 467 passes
(66.2 percent) for 4,041 yards
& 56 TDs, both state records at
that time and among the top five
records nationally ... led Findlay to
a Great Lakes League championship (6-0), a 10-2 overall record
and the second round of the Division I playoffs ... Had record-setting career at Miami of Ohio ...
Finished ninth in Heisman Trophy
balloting ... Drafted 11th overall
by the Steelers in 2004 draft ...
As a rookie, became starter when
injuries sidelined Tommy Maddox
and Charlie Batch ... Won first
14 starts, doubling the existing
record for a rookie QB ... Voted
NFL Rookie of the Year in 2004
when he led the Steelers to the
AFC championship game ... Quarterbacked Pittsburgh to a 21-10
win over Seattle in Super Bowl
XL, threw a game-winning TD
pass to Santonio Holmes with 35
seconds left to beat Arizona 27-23
in Super Bowl XLIII, and played in
Super Bowl in 2011, a 31-25 loss
to Green Bay.
Longtime professional motorcycle driver who started career in
1972 ... The “Findlay Flyer” has
over 20 career wins, 135 Top 5
and 234 Top 10 finishes on the
AMA’s Grand National Circuit ...
Best season-long series finish was
fourth, which he accomplished in
1993, ’89, ’88 and ’79 ... In 1998,
he won the Las Vegas Grand
National Half-mile race and took
four additional podium finishes
in his 25th year on the circuit ...
Ranked in the top 10 in 15 seasons
... Inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2004 ... In
2000 he accepted a job as an operations manager for the AMA Grand
National Championship Series.
Tiajuana Newell
Cleveland native ... Standout
sprinter and hurdler at University
of Findlay ... 12-time NAIA allAmerican ... Won indoor 60-yard
hurdles in 1990 and was four-time
All-American in the event ... Also
3-time outdoor 100-meter hurdles
All-American ... Won 11 NAIA
District championships, including five in 1991 ... Still holds four
UF records ... Inducted into NAIA
Hall of Fame in 1998.
Ron Niekamp
St. Henry native ... NABC Division II and D-II Bulletin Coach of
the Year in 2008-2009 after guiding UF men’s basketball team to
the NCAA Division II national
title and a 36-0 season ... 5-time
Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Coach of the Year
... Retired in 2010-11 after 26-year
career at UF with a 598-185 career
record, logging 20, 20-win seasons, 197-57 GLIAC record with
10 South Division regular-season
and five GLIAC tournament titles,
compiling a 353-46 home court
record ... Inducted into Miami
(Ohio) University Hall of Fame
in 2004.
Ben Roethlisberger
Carlee Roethlisberger
Second-team all-Ohio in basketball as a sophomore, first-team
as a junior and Ohio’s Division I
Player of the Year as a senior at
Findlay High when she led Trojans
to their only state tournament
appearance ... FHS career scoring
leader (1,625 points) ... All-Ohio in
basketball and volleyball, RoethlisSee TOP, Page D12
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Weldy Olson
Marquette, Mich. native ...
Former manager of the Hancock
Recreation Center ... Member of
1960 United States gold medalwinning Olympic hockey team,
the 1956 Olympics silver medal
team, and the 1957, ’58 & ’59 U.S.
national teams ... Four-year varsity
letterman at Michigan State University ... Set career scoring marks
in 92 games with the Spartans: 71
goals, 54 assists ... Inducted into
Michigan Amateur Sports Hall
of Fame (’74), Upper Peninsula
Sports Hall of Fame (’84), U.S.
Olympic Amateur Hockey Association 50 Year Dream Team.
John Poff
First baseman and outfielder
with Philadelphia Phillies (1979)
and Milwaukee Brewers (1980) ...
hit .218 with 19 hits (1 HR) in 87
career at-bats ... Wrote for Elysian
Fields Quarterly Baseball Review
in the early 2000s ... Findlay High
standout carried an 18-game hitting streak into the 1970 state high
school tournament and starred as
an outfielder/first baseman at
Duke (.257 career batting average), becoming a co-captain and
MVP in 1973 and a two-time allAtlantic Coast Conference player
... Starred on the American Legion
baseball teams.
Forest ‘Tot’ Presnell
Pitcher with the Brooklyn
Dodgers in 1938-40 and the
Chicago Cubs from 1941-42 ...
Recorded 157 strikeouts with
134 walks ... Lockered next to
Babe Ruth during 1938 season
when Babe was a Dodgers’ coach
... Started against Johnny Vander
Meer in the Cincinnati pitcher’s
second of two straight no-hitters
... Pitched in the first night game
at Ebbets Field and was part of the
first televised game ... Inducted
into Ohio Baseball Hall of Fame
in 1984.
Jack Quisno
Has coached Liberty-Benton to
24 Blanchard Valley Conference
boys track and field championships in 26 seasons as head coach,
with 10 district championships,
nine regional championships and
three Division III state championships ... Has coached 13 state
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Cindy Morehead
Has coached University of
Findlay’s Western equestrian
team to four International Horse
Show Association national championships and one runnerup finish
in seven years as the team’s head
Dr. Darrach
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Certified Athletic Trainer
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Continued from page D11
berger elected to play basketball
for Oklahoma ... 4-year letterman
and started as senior, playing in
139 games, the third most in Big
12 Conference history.
Chuck Rogers
Played baseball and basketball
at the University of Michigan
... Was member of Wolverines’
1974 Big Ten 10 basketball title
team and 1975 league champion
baseball squad ... Played three
seasons with the Chicago Cubs
AAA farm team in Wichita and
five seasons in Mexican League
... Pitched Findlay High to 1971
state championship and the 1972
American Legion baseball team to
World Series ... Currently resides
in Findlay.
yards and 12 TDs in 1975 and
1,014 yards and 19 touchdowns in
1976 ... United Press International
all-Ohio second team pick as well
... Played on Findlay High’s first
OHSAA playoff team in 1975 ...
Also lettered in baseball at FHS
... Four-year letterwinner at Michigan State, graduating in 1981.
Received an MBA from the University of LaVerne, Calif. in 1990
and is currently a project manager
for Intel Corp. in Phoenix, Ariz.
Player of the Year in basketball at
Findlay High ... single-game high
of 44 points and single-season
high of 521 points ... started every
game at Ohio State, scoring 1,622
points, which is second among
three-year players behind Jerry
Lucas ... All-Big Ten as junior
and senior at OSU ... Played with
Cleveland Cavaliers from 1970-72
and with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Shane Shockey
As a senior golfer at Ohio State
in 1985, was first-team All-American, first-team all Big Ten, winner
of the Big Ten championship and
Michigan State Invitational ... Also
in 1985, runner-up and co-medalist at the U.S. Women’s Amateur,
Women’s Western Amateur Championship medalist, winner of the
Ohio Women’s Amateur Championship at the Findlay Country
Club, and had the low amateur
score at the LPGA Jamie Farr
Classic ... Qualified for LPGA Tour
in 1991, participating in 22 events
... In 1994, was ranked sixth on the
all-time Futures Tour money list ...
Won four Futures Tour events ...
Currently in her fourth year as the
head women’s coach at the University of Michigan.
Bluffton native ... Won 2011-12
NCAA Division II indoor national
championship in pole vault (17- 3/4)
for UF ... holds UF indoor (17-3)
and outdoor (16-10 3/4) pole
vault records ... GLIAC indoor
champion (2010-11 & 2011-12),
GLIAC outdoor champion (201011) ... 2-time pole vault state champion at Bluffton in 2004 (14-8) and
2005 (14-9) and runner-up in 2006
... three-time state wrestling qualifier at Bluffton.
Sue Ann Sandusky
Won numerous national and
international rif le shooting
championships as a member of
the U.S. International Shooting Team ... Won 6 gold medals
in world competition ... In 1978,
won 3 gold medals at the World
Shooting Championships in Seoul,
Korea ... 3-time all-American rifle
shooter at Texas Christian University in 1972, ’73 & ’74 ... Served as
a U.S. defense attache at American
embassy in Liberia, Congo, Cote
d’Ivoire and Nigeria. Her most
recent assignment was as the
director of African studies at the
U.S. Army War College, Carlisle
Barracks, Pa.
Andy Schramm
Two-time all-Ohio and allBuckeye Conference running back
for Findlay High, rushing for 1,222
A.J. Siebeneck
Considered the premier soccer
player to come out of Findlay’s
youth, travel and high school
programs ... Holds most Findlay
High offensive records, including
goals in a season (46) and career
(86) and assists in career (40) ...
All-league, all-district, all-state,
all-Midwest and OHSAA Scholar
Athlete as a senior ... Four-year
starter at Duke University, helping Blue Devils reach the NCAA
Final Four as a junior and senior.
Ranks 13th on school’s all-time
list for career points ... Graduate of Duke (1994) and Temple
University of Podiatric Medicine
(1998), currently a podiatrist in
Latham, N.Y.
Dave Sorenson
1966 Ohio Associated Press
champion wrestler at UF ... Won
the 142-pound title in 1995 and
150-pound crown in 1996 & ’97
... Ninth on Roughnecks’ all-time
win list, with a 86-16 record in
three years after transferring from
Ohio State ... Won nine tournament championships while at UF,
which is second on all-time list ...
Enshrined in the NAIA Hall of
Fame in 2010 ... Entering his 14th
season as UF assistant.
Cheryl Stacy
Dick Strahm
25 -year UF head football
coach who guided Oilers to four
NAIA national championships
(1979, ’92, ’95, ’97) ... Won four
national coach of the year awards
... 12-time NAIA District 22 coach
of the year ... Led UF to 12 NAIA
playoff appearances with 19-7-1
record ... Had career collegiate
record of 183-64-5 ... Coached 38
NAIA all-Americans and 16 NAIA
all-American scholar athletes.
Bubba Taylor
Three-time NAIA national
Al Thomas
Four-year basketball letterman
at Bowling Green State University,
helping Falcons to Mid-American
Conference title and NIT appearances in 1983 ... BGSU team
captain (1985) ... Third-team
Associated Press all-Ohio, played
in the North-South All-Star game
and first-team all-Buckeye Conference in basketball at Findlay High
in 1981 ... Helped FHS post threeyear record of 60-10, make two
regional appearances, win two
Buckeye Conference titles and put
together a 35-game home court
winning streak ... Three-year FHS
baseball letterman as Trojans won
back-to-back Buckeye Conference
titles (1980-81) and had a regional
appearance (1980) ... American
Legion batting champion and allstar pick (1980-82) ... Played in
8 world and 9 national fastpitch
softball tournaments and named
third-team all-American (1993).
MONDAY, JUNE 11, 2012
& ’12 indoors; 2010, outdoor) ...
Genoa grad ... Named 2012 Midwest Field Athlete of the Year by
U.S. Track and Field and Cross
Country Coaches Association ...
won GLIAC indoor and outdoor
shot put titles as senior.
Steve Wenner
One of the most dominating
inside players in Findlay High
basketball history ... Set school
record with 27 rebounds against
Scott May and Sandusky in 1970
... Career scoring average (21.2
ppg) believed to be a school record
... Among all-time leaders in points
in a career (9th, 849), season
(13th, 432) and game (19th, 35)
... 3-year starter at Ohio State
and was one of the top rebounders in the Big Ten ... Played professional ball in Europe ... Owns
Jack’s Heating, Air Conditioning
and Plumbing.
Steve Williman
Has coached the LibertyBenton boys basketball team for
26 seasons, leading Eagles to
1995 state Division III championship, 510 wins, 42 consecutive
Blanchard Valley Conference victories (2005-2010), 22 sectional
championships including 20 in a
row (1991-2010), 9 district championships, 2 regional championships and 15 BVC titles.
Dave Wilson
Derrick Vicars
Two-time NCAA Division II
outdoor national champion for
UF, winning discus in 2010 (173-1)
and shot put in 2012 (62-8) ... UF
indoor record-holder in shot put
(62-6) and weight throw (70 1/4)
and outdoor record-holder in shot
put (62-8) and discus (176-0) ...
3-time Div. II All-American (2010
All-Ohio quarterback after
leading Findlay High to its firstever 10-0 regular season and into
the state playoffs in 1975 ... Also
all-Buckeye Conference in basketball and baseball as shortstop
on 29-0 team ... Led Ball State to
two Mid-American Conference
football titles, was two-time allMAC pick and first sophomore to
be named team’s MVP ... Led the
NCAA Division I in passing efficiency in 1977 ... Currently serves
as Detroit Lions team chaplain.
Jeff Wobser
Won the 50-meter freestyle
state title in 1979 and the 50 and
100-free championships in 1980
at Findlay High ... Holds FHS
record for both events along with
several Findlay YMCA age-group
swimming records ... Swam on a
scholarship at the University of
Tennessee for two years, before
becoming an assistant coach ...
Currently head swimming coach
at Findlay High.
Herk Wolfe
6-foot-7, 235-pound center who
led the NAIA in scoring (30.5
ppg) in 1951-52 with 671 points
and 704, respectively, at Findlay
College ... Holds school’s singlegame marks of 61 points and 33
rebounds ... Inducted into NAIA
Helms Foundation Hall of Fame.
Joy Woolley
Female member of Findlay
High’s boys hockey team in early
1980s ... Played women’s hockey
at Northeastern University and
was member of two Northeastern national title teams ... AllAmerican soccer player at Findlay
High, establishing school record
for most goals and assists ... Also
played softball at FHS ... Currently
assists Findlay Area Hockey Association.
Bob Wortman
Became first person to officiate
a Super Bowl and an NCAA basketball championship game in the
same season in 1972 ... Officiated
two Super Bowls (1972 & ’78) and
four NCAA finals ... Findlay High
and Findlay College graduate.
Findlay had a professional baseball team in 1930s
FDR was in the White House, pot roast
was selling for 16 cents a pound, and Findlay had a professional baseball team.
The year was 1937 and Findlay was
a member of the short-lived Ohio State
League. The team was known as the
The conference, a loose-knit organization of minor league teams who often
switched allegiance from one season to
another, began play in 1936 and folded
in 1941.
But for those six years, towns like
Findlay, Fostoria, Fremont, Lima, Tiffin,
Sandusky, Mansfield, Marion and New
Philadelphia could all claim their part of
professionalb aseball.
The Ohio State League was an offshoot
of the expanded minor league system pioneered by Branch Rickey of the St. Louis
Each team was owned and operated by
local investors, but most had some kind of
working agreement with a major league
organization — New Philadelphia and
Fostoria with St. Louis; Fremont with the
Cincinnati Reds; Tiffin with the Detroit
Tigers; Mansfield with the Boston Red
Findlay entered the Ohio State League
in 1937 and made an immediate impact.
Under the guidance of Grover Hartley,
who had played in four World Series with
the New York Giants, the Browns beat
Marion in the semifinals of the league
playoff, then lost in the finals to a Mansfield powerhouse stocked with some talented players by the Red Sox.
Problems with ownership and financing nearly canceled the 1938 season. Mansfield dropped out of the league. Marion
followed suit, leaving just Findlay, Fostoria, Fremont and Tiffin.
Commissioner Harry Smith, one of the
major founders of the league, resigned.
But his replacement, Toledo attorney Paul
Shank, instilled new life into the league.
An innovative experiment — night baseball — also had a major impact.
Findlay, Fremont and Fostoria all
installed lights at their fields and the jump
in attendance was staggering. Findlay,
for example, averaged 200 fans for day
games, but 1,000 at night.
Findlay finished second in the 1938
race. The Browns took the 1939 league
title, thanks to some solid pitching by
Barney Fletcher and Bill Prussing late in
the season, but lost a grueling seven-game
championship series to the Lima Pandas.
In 1940, major league commissioner
Kennesaw Mountain Landis ruled that
a team could no longer stockpile players
in its minor league systems. Many major
league teams dropped their affiliates,
including those in Findlay, Fostoria and
Without major league backing, many
of the Ohio State League teams struggled.
Most lost money during the 1940 season,
after which Hartley tried to sell Findlay’s
franchise to a group of Marion businessmen.
Milestones remind us of what we truly value.
Happy 200th birthday, Findlay!
Cooper Tire and its employees are proud
to call this community home.

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