Back in the 1930s, my parents lived on South Market Street, neighbors to the Cox family and W.L. “Bill” Bloomer but one house away. I was often at Bill’s home, but was an adolescent with no interest in history. I wish that I had talked with him more.
Before he died in 1946, Bloomer was collecting stories and information about Galion, which, as I have mentioned before, he was planning to publish. Perhaps his wish can be granted by reproducing the history as far as he had progressed with it.
As a tribute to an old friend, here is what Bill wrote:
“When Galion was platted in 1831 by Michael and Jacob Ruhl, there was but little expansion from the original plat until the late 1840s. The village on the south extended to Walnut Street and beyond that was farmland.
“When the survey of the Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati Railway passed through the town, it gave an incentive to expand which it did in every direction. I am not so familiar with what took place in other sections, but with the extension of South Market, there is a bit of history that may be of personal interest.
“The coming of the railroad created a real estate boom that the town had not heretofore experienced. There developed a rivalry between Main and Market streets as to which would be the main thoroughfare. This was about 1849, and, between the railroad and the California Gold Rush, it kept the inhabitants in a state of high tension.
“In the neighborhood of 1850, there were several small additions made to the village and among them were the Bloomer and Duff additions situated on the west side of South Market Street, south of Walnut Street. The land was acquired from Lloyd Lowe who lived on the southeast corner of South Market and Walnut. It was his wheat field.
“How far south the addition extended, I do not know, but Dr. Duff lived on the adjoining property, south, now occupied by Dr. Mansfield. To the west, it was extended to the present alley, and I believe the old elm tree was there at the time, if girth and height are an indication of age.
“The part of the section selected by your grandfather Bloomer, became Inlot 696 to the village. He then proceeded to build a home (because of) the contemplated marriage to Miss Elizabeth Grush, which took place May 2, 1851, and the home in the addition was ready for occupancy.
“The extension of South Market Street then began in earnest and Adam Howard Sr. was its booster. Mr. Howard had his wagon shop on the site of the present building now occupied by the Square Grocery and owned adjacent property to Walnut Street. His object was to direct business from Main to Market Street and make it the town’s thoroughfare, but Main Street had the advantage of being on the original plot, as the east and west highway (an Main Street maintained its position).
“The alley south of Walnut Street began across the street from Lot 696. That Mr. Howard’s missionary work did much toward the development of the new extension, these few instances may be recorded as evidence.
“Mr. Frederick Kuhn operated his harness shop on the northwest corner of the square and North Market, and was persuaded to purchase property on the north side of the alley mentioned, where he located his shop and residence. Mr. Kuhn, the father of Jacob C., William F., and Anna, operated his shop and store until his demise.
“South, across the alley, Mr. Kreiter, father of Henry, Daniel, and Miss Minnie, built his residence and storeroom where he operated a grocery until his death in 1859 and in 1860 it became the Scheafer store.
“Next door south was the Hess Meat Market owned by Henry Hess and after his passing, continued for many years by his sons Henry and Charles.
“Upon the coming of the Atlantic and Great Western Railroad in the early 1860s, there was some business development where it crossed South Market and where the depot and freight house were located. In the ’70s and ’80s, there were occasional business places, but South Market was destined to remain a residential street.”
Your Historical Galion is contributed by the Galion History Center and features the writings of Dr. Bernard M. Mansfield and other local historians. This story was first published in the Galion Inquirer on Saturday, April 22, 1995. For information about the Galion History Center, visit www.galionhistory.com.