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May 8, 1980


PIX #1 - Race in progress at Fostoria's fairgrounds

PIX #2 - Map - the location of the fairgrounds in southeast part of town.

Few fostorians are aware Fostoria had a 40-acre fair ground back in the 1880's.

It's location is shown on the accompanying map. The Northwestern Ohio Fair Co. was privately owned by 166 stockholders and governed by officers and board of directors.

The first fair was during the week of Sept. 19, 1886, and as is often the case with fair-week, there were intermittent downpours of rain the opening day, mixed with some sunshime, according to news stories. However, Wednesday's crowd was estimated at 2,000, Thursday 4,000, Friday 8,000 to 10,000 and Saturday 5,000.


Back then, Seneca County didn't have a fair, and Fostoria's was said to be as fine as any in Ohio, with modern buildings, a fine grandstand, and a half mile track 60 feet wide. It was considered by all the harness horse drivers to be the best in Ohio.

The fair boasted an Art Hall, Carriage Hall, Main Hall, ample stalls for exhibiting horses, cattle, sheep, swine, poultry, work-oxens. Like today's fairs there were exhibits of fruit, vegetables, paintings, handiwork, etc. Practically every commercial enterprise in Fostoria had an exhibit booth.

One of the masterpieces in Art Hall was a large photograph of a little daughter of O.Z. Werner, taken by the instantaneous process, just as the little child laughingly made a remark. The picture was admired by hundreds of attendants, and took first prize. It was taken by Charles Gribble, who had a photographic studio here then. Many readers will remember Gribble.


Bands from Bloomdale, Pemberville, Republic, and the Emerald Band of New York City furnished music during the fair.

Historical records indicate there were very few drunken men on the grounds... a strong efficient police force was available day and night to preserve order.

In addition to the Official Rules and Premium List published by the fair, there was also "The Daily Picket", published for sitribution during the fair, in the interest of the Grand Army of the Republic organizations. It had a circulation of 8,000 and included both advertising and news about the fair.

The first year's fair was said to be successful and profitable. The Northwestern Ohio Fair Co. continued to own the fair and to present a program for perhaps five or six years. We don't know why it was discontinued. Perhaps by that time the Seneca County fair came into existance, and competition was too great for two fairs in one county.

It must have been a great event for Fostoria while it lasted. It seems like our town was always "out in front". There must have been an extremely enthusiastic and able group of civic leaders who led our town.


Betty Watson, Amsden, dropped off a copy of a Catechism book, which had been in the Finch (her) family for many years. It was published in 1849.

I took time to look through the chapter headings, as well as parts of various chapters. What I found would not be surprising to my fundemental Christian readers, regardless of what church denomination they attend. However, those with liberal viewpoints would question the necessity or advisability of young minds studying and memorizing the information in the book.

It is generally admitted that communist are dedicated to their cause, the reason being they are trained in Marxists beliefs from the time they are young.

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