Capsule History of Fostoria
This city was created in 1854 from a merger of two smaller villages. One called Rome the other Risdon. Rome it is said was the business community, which was located on the corner of Tiffin Street and Main Street. Risdon, more residential, was located at North Countyline Street and Summit Street, which placed them about a mile or less apart.
ROME AND RISDON SURVEYED 1832 (40 ACRES BECAME RISDON)
In the fall of 1832 John Gorsuch plotted the village of Risdon, surveyed for him by David Risdon. It was located on the northwest corner of Section 6, Township 2 north, Range 13 east. The land deeded to Gorsuch was once referred to as "Arkansas territory.
Rome, a little village, was plotted on the east half of the southwest quarter of the same section by David Risdon for Roswell Crocker. This was done in August 1832. Simultaneous with the rise of Rome, the neighboring town of Risdon sprang up. Years later the arm of the big swamp separating the two villages was filled and the two became one. Since the people in Rome would not accept the name of Risdon and the people of Risdon wouldn't stand for Rome, they compromised by naming the town Fostoria. .
A wealthy local merchant (Charles W. Foster) donated a plot of land in 1852 on the corner of Fremont and Main Streets so a Methodist Church could be built, since the two small communities were experiencing difficulty maintaining their individual Churches. The church was built in 1854. I would believe that location satisfied both village citizens, since it is located between the two communities. After Mr. Foster's gift the two congregations and villages merged and named the town "Fostoria" in 1852 in honor of Charles W. Foster, and not his son Charles Foster who later became the Governor of Ohio, as many believe.
(Much more can be found about Fostoria and the Foster Family in the book written by Local Historian Mel Murray.)
What made "Fostoria" famous
Free Gas, Railroads and Quality Glass Products
Wells of oil and gas were discovered in the area and piped into Fostoria. It was offered free to any manufacturers that would locate and build here. There also was another factor that was an incentive for factories to locate here. At this time, and even today, Fostoria has an abundance of railroads. As a result thirteen glass companies located here from 1887- 1920. Mambourg Glass -- Louden Glass--Fostoria Glass, the most famous--Fostoria Incandescent Lamp -- Fostoria Glass Specialty--Fostoria Lamp & Shade -- Consolidated Lamp & Glass--Nickel Plate Glass--Mosaic Glass--Seneca Glass--Butler Art Glass -- Novelty Glass--Calcine Glass--Crocker Glass--Fostoria Mold Glass.
The gas wells that were thought to be inexhaustible soon played out and by the turn of the century most of the companies had closed or moved to other locations. However the quality of glass and products that was produced here in that short time were some of the best in the world. The companies that moved kept the then famous "Fostoria" name. To this day, over 100 years later, "Fostoria glass" is still a much sought after item.
Invariably, if a person is introduced as being from Fostoria, the subject of glass is mentioned. Nothing about the other fine products that are produced here. One being the Autolite Sparkplug, another quality product known and used all over the world. Autolite has been producing a variety of plugs here since 1936.
To read more of how Fostoria became the Spark Plug Capital of the world, and it’s beginning, read excerpts from Duane "Dick" Richardson’s fine book, or check out the book from the local library.
To learn more of what happened in Fostoria since 1854. Read the articles written by Paul Krupp for the Fostoria Review Times and now Leonard Skonecki articles from Fostoria Focus. Also view the early picture history of Fostoria through Ray Dell’s post card collection. For more about Fostoria Glass visit web site-www.tricoinfo.com-and scroll to Fostoria Glass. Also buy and read Mel Murrays' (Local Historian) fine book "Fostoria, Ohio Glass II" with many pictures of Glass products that were produced here from 1887 to 1920.