(Your Historical Galion is contributed by the Galion Historical Society and features the writings of Dr. Bernard M. Mansfield and other local historians. This article was originally printed in the Saturday, Jan. 6, 1996, edition of the Galion Inquirer.)
Mary and Alice Graham were special friends of mine. They lived on North Pierce street, and during my house calls to these ladies, there evolved an exchange of historical information. Their contribution one year, at my urging, was to list all the saloons in town. I don’t have a record of the year, or years, this compilation was made, my here is the list as they gave it to me:
“1. Blyly’s saloon where the picture show is located. Later owned by Jack Bittner.
“2. Jake Holmes’ saloon. Later owned by Mr. Mahler.
“3. Mr. Homes came down east of the tracks; later taken over by George Dougal, then Mr. Holmes returned to the original place next to the Inquirer building (now the law offices of Ricksecker, Wagner, Hoover and Palmer).
“4. Bar at the Central Hotel.
“5. Fritz Amann on South Market St. (later managed by Crotty and May).
“6. Across alley was Johnny Kraft (Carl Volk’s grandfather).
“7. Baumgardner’s just north of the lumber company on South Market Street.
“8. Ganshorn’s across Erie tracks on South Market St.
“9. Jake Bollerer’s on southwest corner of South Market and Parson streets, later owned by John Hosler.
“10. Max Boehm in first building north of Erie tracks on the east side, later taken over by Frank Faber’s father.
“11. Liz Howard, near the corner of Walnut and South Market streets. Incidently, there were three cigar stores between Atwood street and the square — namely, Louie Liller, who made the Old Homestead cigar; Bill Poister, who made the C & P cigar, and George Trussel.
“12. Adolph Faber (brother of Frank Faber) who had a saloon beneath the old telephone offices; it was later run by Harry Smart, called the Old Chief.
“13. Eagles building.
“14. Tobe Morkel, where Bob’s news stand is at the present time (presently the location of Sportees); later run by Rollie Wagner then by John Schaaf.
“15. Runsel ran the Fashion Saloon at the location of Decker’s Bookstore.
“16. Joe Yochem had a place where the Palladium is now located (presently the China Wok).
“17. George Dull’s saloon.
“18. Charley Reister’s at the corner of Main and South Liberty street where Boehm’s Furniture is now (the corner of Harding Way East and South Liberty Street).
“19. Dutch Matthias’ place next to the Wheel Works (presently Millie’s Diner).
“20. Tony Sittler’s saloon located next to the City Building.
“21. Miles Sweeney’s place across the alley and next to another Wheel Works building.”
Mary’s list of saloon’s may have covered several years in time. This list however, is not too long for any one given year because sometimes the saloons outnumbered the churches 3-to-1.
For a more complete story of the Galion saloons, see the Historical Galion columns in the 1986 (from which today’s reference is taken).
Of course, the saloons all sold the local “Galion Beer.” It was made at the brewery located at the site of the recently abandoned Children’s Services buildings south of Winchester Road.
Newspaper advertisements for the brewery in 1891 read: “Support Home Industry. Use Galion Beer. Strictly pure and compares favorably with the best. For family use and medical purposes use Galion Export Beer. Recommended by physicians.”
“Doc” Weaver has a saloon on South Street in the same year. He advertised “A cool refreshing glass of Cincinnati Beer, the best in the City.” He didn’t mention the local product.
Not all the saloons were individually described in the “saloon series” 10 years ago. By 1900 there were 16 saloons in Galion, all individually owned. In addition, most of the Galion restaurants (or cafés, as they were popularly called) sold beer as well. And the count went up from there.
With the beginning of Prohibition in 1919, some saloons sold bootleg whiskey or knew where it could be obtained. After the repeal of the 18 th Amendment to the Constitution in 1933, the old fashioned saloon never regained its popularity nor its place in community life as it had before then. Like the old fashioned tavern, it was a dying breed.
For information about the Galion Historical Society, go to galionhistory.com.