Findlay’s Bicentennial

Celebrate Findlay’s Bicentennial with us.

1812 • 2012

Bicentennial Fun Facts

Findlay was incorporated as a city in 1887.

Findlay was originally settled by Frenchman Jean Jacques Blanchard in 1769.  He lived in Findlay until his death in 1802, a year before Ohio became a state.

There are 10 Fortune 500 companies located in Findlay.

Findlay was named by Wilson Vance and was originally spelled Findley.  The modern spelling was changed in 1870.

Findlay is the home of Tell Taylor who penned and published the song, “Down by the Old Millstream” in 1910.

Findlay is the only city in the USA to be designated officially as Flag City, USA.

The Flag City USA designation became official on May 7, 1974, however through community-wide effort, spearheaded by the Women’s Division of the Chamber of Commerce, a proclamation was made part of the Congressional Record naming Findlay the Flag Capital of the United States on Flag Day, June 12, 1968.

The city derives its name from a fort erected on its site in 1812 as a local outpost in the War of 1812, which was commenced by Col. James Findlay and named in honor of that officer.

Findlay hosted the highly competitive Ohio State Music Festival in 1884. A young cornet player, Warren G. Harding, and his Citizens’ Cornet Band of Marion placed third in the competition.  Harding would go on to be elected the 29th President of the United States.

For three months in the early 1960s, Findlay had the distinction of being the only community in the world where touch tone telephone service was available. Touch tone service was first introduced there on November 1, 1960.

The University of Findlay Men’s Basketball team became NCAA Division II National Champions for the 2008-2009 season on March 28, 2009 in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Jo Ann Davidson, Ohio’s first female Speaker of the House, is a Findlay native.

Ray Harroun, race car developer and driver, and first Indianapolis 500 winner, is a native of Findlay.

Willard Harrison Bennett, inventor of the radio frequency mass spectrometer, was born in Findlay.

Golfer Peggy Kirk Bell, winner of the 1949 Titleholders Championship, is a Findlay native.

In the years prior to the American Civil War, Findlay served as a stop on the Underground Railroad for slaves escaping to Canada.

In the mid 1880s, the community suddenly gained national attention when natural gas and oil were discovered nearby.  The most famous of the gas wells was the Great Karg Well which could be seen for several miles.

During the gas jubilee of 1887, 30000 flames burned for three days and nights.  It was less expensive to leave the fires burning than to turn them on and off.

The town opened its first public library in 1890.

The first high school in Findlay was built in 1900.

Grant “Home Run” Johnson (September 21, 1874 – September 4, 1963) was an American shortstop in baseball’s Negro Leagues. He played for many of the greatest teams of the deadball era. Born in Findlay, Ohio, he died at age 88 in Buffalo, New York.

The United States Army built a stockade on the banks of the Blanchard River in 1812 and called it Fort Findlay.

The Hancock County Courthouse was officially dedicated to the citizens of Hancock County on October 27, 1888.  Sandstone quarried from the Findlay area was used in the structure to make it as fireproof as possible.

In 1922, John Hancock standing on top of the courthouse was blown off his pedestal by a tornado and fell from the top of the courthouse.

On the second floor of Courtroom #1, the mural of Justice is one of only three that portray her without her blindfold.

John Adams-not the former  president of the United States-was the first mayor of Findlay.  He was elected in 1838 and was a cabinet and chair maker.

The first graduating class of Findlay students was in 1873.  There were 8 graduates-2 men and 6 women.

In 1912, Findlay High School won the State Basketball Championship in Delaware.  They won again in 1948 in Columbus.

Five Findlay glass factories produced tableware from 1886-1902.  Hundreds of skilled glassworkers came from the eastern states of America, as well as Europe, especially Belgium, France, and Germany. Bottle glassworkers were among the first workers to unionize and to use collective bargaining.

The deal to buy the Findlay Motor Co., 400 Santee Ave., by the Grant Motor Co. of Detroit, Mich., was closed on November 25, 1913. It was anticipated that within future years 250 men would be needed for the building of the Grant, to sell for $495.  Production began on December 1, 1913. By April of 1914, the company was turning out 25-30 cars each day and employed more than 100 workmen.  On November 16, 1916, the Grant Motor Co. closed their Findlay offices, moving their operation to the Cleveland area.

Riverside Park opened in 1906.  It featured a movie theater, concessions, swimming beach, a miniature train and a Shoot the Chutes ride.

The Hancock County Fair begin in 1852.  In 1938 the fair moved to its current location on Sandusky Street.

In 1920, Ed Dietsch opened his ice cream and candy store.  The store closed from 1934 -1937 when it reopened as Dietsch Brothers.  The brothers began producting fine chocolates and ice cream using Ed’s family recipes.

Rieck’s is a family business located here since 1888.

Findlay College opened its doors in 1886 with 95 students.  In 1989, the name was changed to the University of Findlay.  Enrollment is now over 3500 students.

Wilson’s was opened in 1936 by H. F. Wilson of Lima.




Upcoming Events
Fri 28
Fri 28

Sensory Explorers

July 28 @ 10:30 am - 11:30 am
Fri 28

Arlington Farmers’ Market

July 28 @ 4:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Fri 28

Rally in the Alley

July 28 @ 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Fri 28
Fri 28

Drop and Date

July 28 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Fri 28

Open Mic Night

July 28 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
See Full Calendar of Events

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