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March 7, 1985


PIX #1 - A John B. Rodgers wooden nickel

PIX #2 - Fostoria water works, and the tower, were once a lankmark, but it has been removed. Old-timers recall the siren which was located there, and how it sounded the location of fires by the number of for each ward in the mentioned in today's article.

(Author's Note: Spurred by the desire to get the North Street series in print. I set aside many responses from readers about articles. So, today's column is all "Feedback" a photo of the old water works tower, men- tioned in one "Feedback." The tower was constructed in 1891, when Alexander Brown was mayor. It was removed in 1984, deemed unsafe.)


Mrs. Howard (Flo) Weimerskirk, Tiffin, better known to her Fostoria friends as Flo Botto, named in one of the East North Street articles, telephones me after receiving the story about her family's block and East North. What a pleasant surprise for me.

She remembers the buildings and people I named in the article...and how she and her sister Helen, who became Mrs. H. Bouboulle, played on the vacant lot where the Jackson Underwear Co. was later built, when they were kids. Enjoy- ed a visit with here and her husband in their Tiffin home, talking about old friends and earlier years.


...that he and Barret Brown played together as kids when they both lived on East North...George next to the early Gray Printing plant and Barret across the street.


Mrs. Jones remembered many things as the result of the West North Street series. Why not? She lived at 803 W. North as a child with her parents, moving back there in 1983, after the death of her husband.

Her letter to me revealed that her dad attended Fostoria Academy in that end of town until fire destroyed it. "One morning my dad started for school, and as he came to the home of Ernie Duffield's grandmother, sitting on her porch, she inquired where he was going. He said to school, whereupon she told him it burned down during the night," she said.

Mrs. Jones recalled the Fakalos Stand, mentioned in the West North article, but said she wondered about the old photo not showing the popcorn wagon that Fakalos had. "He sold very good peanuts in the shell," she said.

"One evening my two sisters and I were going with my aunt and cousin to their church. When we got to the peanut roasting machine, all at once we were en- veloped by steam. The machine had exploded. We couldn't see anything, and my cousin was calling me. I thought it was the end of the world.

"Next day Mr. Fakalos came to see dad. He said he heard he was going to be sued. Dad said no he wasn't. But, my sister and aunt got new coats because their's were torn so badly from glass," she said. She also mentioned that parts from the machine landed at the railroad tracks at Wood Street.

Mrs. Jones remembers the steam whistle at the water works and how it was blown for every fire...and how it was blown for a long time when World War I was over. "It was wonderful to hear that whistle...we knew our relatives and the other boys would be coming home."


When the first in the series wa published, Paul Cox, Risingsun, telephone to tell me that he was sure Jackson Underwear Co. was still in existence as late as 1923-29. I had them closing at an earlier date.

Cox said Mildred Bressler, a resident in Risingsun at that time, was working at Jackson and riding the TF&T to and from her work at Jackson.


Mrs. Richard Biller, Springville Avenue, spotted Sylvia Might, among those pictured at Jackson. She was sister of Millard, Tiffin, also of Willard of West Center Street.

Clara Van Drier, West Center Street, saw her sister, as well as others she knew.

I saw my mother and many others I knew. My wife saw her grandmother Hattie Drenner.


I saw Mary on the street...she told me my memory about her backyard at 231 was good, of when we played there as kids. She enjoyed the article. "Gary Print- ing sure has taken over that block," she said, and I agreed.


In the first article in the North Street series, I said Martha Anderson once worked for Ross Steiger at Auto Truck & Storage at 400 E. North. It should have said "Bessie." Martha wa a younger sister. She has been living in Bowling Green, according to her brother Alan, who telephoned. She will be moving to Defiance soon.


Mrs. John (Diann) Gray, 847 N. Main, a regular "Potluck" reader, brought a piece of memorabilia to me...a wooden shown by the accompanying illustration.

The wooden nickels in her possession were given to her by her mother, a resi- dent of Newcomerstown, a small town on U.S. 36, east of Coshocton.

Back in 1939, Newcomerstown observed its 125th anniversary, and John B. Rod- gers Co. staged the celebration for the event. According to the information on the reverse side of the wooden nickel, they were redeemable for 5 cents in U.S. coin if turned in at the local bank by a specified date. Incidentally, the nickel was printed on what appeared to be a thin slice of wood.

The idea of the wooden nickel wa copyrighted by the Rogers Company in 1938, and there were probably millions of them passed out for many celebrations they staged for communities all across America.

We've all heard the old expression..."don't take any wooden nickels." Rogers Company reversed that phrase by making them redeemable.

Mrs. Gray, a newer resident here, having moved here with her husband and family in 1980, asked where the John B. Rogers Co. was in Fostoria. Re- grettably, I had to say it was no longer here, but told her of its former location next to the post office. It was a Fostoria "institution," born here, through the skill and efforts of John B. Rogers, and others, like Harry Munsey, who made great contributions.

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