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Focus on Fostoria - July0706

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Published on 07/02/06 in the Fostoria Focus
Charles Foster returning to Fostoria, going into business

Historical Society downtown tour part of visit
By LEONARD SKONECKI
Focus Correspondent


News Flash! Gov. Charles Foster is coming back to Fostoria!
Well, not really. But Fostoria Area Historical Society President Leonard Skonecki (that would be yours truly) will do a first person impersonation of Charles Foster, Fostoria’s most important historical figure, as he gives horse drawn wagon historical tours of the downtown during the Glass & Heritage Festival.
The tours will take place at 3, 4 and 5 p.m. following the parade and are being sponsored by Fostoria’s First Federal Bank. The horse drawn wagon is being provided by George and Mary Ann Fry.
The tours will begin at Tiffin and Main Streets. The route will proceed west on Tiffin, north on Wood, east on North, northwest on Perry, east on Fremont and south on Main, ending at Tiffin Street. The tours will take approximately 45 minutes.
Gov. Foster promises a lively and interesting tour. Folks will learn about the founding of Fostoria, the glass and gas era, Fostoria’s car companies, railroads and interurbans, entertainment in the good old days, early businesses, not to mention Fostoria’s most famous crime.
How did the Foster family end up here? Why did Fostoria become famous for glass? Why did the glass era end so quickly?
How did Fostoria end up with three car makers? What was Fostoria’s first railroad?
Why did Andy Emerine once cry, “We wuz robbed?” Who was Fostoria’s first veteran? And how did Charles Foster get the name “Calico Charlie?”
Gov. Foster will answer these and other questions. Riders are encourage to ask the governor questions as long as they are about Fostoria history. He says he knows nothing about hip-hop music or I-pods.
The fact Gov. Foster died in 1904 has not deterred him from making several return visits to Fostoria. The first one took place in 2004 for Fostoria’s sesquicentennial when he visited the Fostoria Area Historical Museum for a presentation in the Museum’s Judy Miller Room.
The Governor has also made appearances at the Good Shepherd Home and Fostoria Rail Festival.
Good Shepherd Home Activity Director Cindy Swartz is actually responsible for Charles Foster’s reappearance in Fostoria in the 21st century. Prior to the 2004 sesquicentennial, Cindy let it be known it would be a good idea to have Foster around for that event.
Combining my own knowledge of Fostoria history and a bit of charm, I was able to contact the governor and convince him to participate. Foster says he has enjoyed his recent visits to the town that was named for his father.
Seriously, folks, I have enjoyed giving presentations on Fostoria history for several years now for service clubs, church groups and community organizations. These have included bus tours for Leadership Seneca County and the Fostoria Optimist Club. The Charles Foster wagon historic tour seemed like a natural extension.
There will be seating for approximately 20 persons on each tour. Reservations are not required, but if anyone is shut out of one tour, they will have places reserved for them on the next.
The tours are free, but donations will be accepted, with the proceeds divided between the Historical Society and the Glass & Heritage Festival committee.

 

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