1800’s: Growth of Town
By R.L. HEMINGER
The town of Findlay originally occupied only the area south of the Blanchard River. All the area north of the river remained unoccupied and unsettled for quite a few years after the original town of Findlay was laid out in the early 1820s.
After the first bridge was constructed across the river in 1843, interest grew slowly in populating the north area.
Early in the 1850s, William Taylor, one of the town’s pioneer leaders, conceived the idea of establishing another town, separate from the original settlement on the south side and calling it “North Findlay.”
His idea was largely prompted by the fact that a railroad was soon to traverse what is now North Main Street, not far from the new bridge. The railroad was the present Norfolk Southern, earlier known as the Lake Erie and Western and then the Nickel Plate.
Taylor thought, with a town established north of the river, he could persuade the promoters of the new railroad to locate their local depot at the point where the line crossed the then Findlay-Perrysburg highway, now North Main Street.
He filed a formal plat with the county recorder, laying out what he termed “North Findlay,” extending from Clinton Court to Walnut Street on the east side of what is now North Main Street. The eastern boundary was to be the first alley east of Clinton Street.
The promoters of the railroad included Squire Carlin, Findlay’s first merchant, and David Cory, son of Elnathan Cory who had joined two others — Joseph Vance and William Neil — in originally buying land in 1821 from the federal government to establish the original town of Findlay.
The Rawsons — Dr. Bass Rawson, Findlay’s first physician, and his brother, Dr. Laquineo Rawson — also were interested in the railroad, which was to run between Sandusky and Fremont southwest through Fostoria, Findlay and Lima and later on into Indiana and Illinois. Dr. Laquineo Rawson was to become the railroad’s first president.
In his plat, Taylor said he was the owner and proprietor of the north side area described therein. He had bought it from the federal government.
The promoters told Taylor they were considering a location on West Main Cross Street for the depot of the new railroad. When the final decision was made that this was to be the station site, Taylor folded up his plans.
Taylor came to Findlay in the 1820s and became the first county surveyor. He later was elected a county commissioner and also served as Hancock County’s member of the state Legislature. He built a building at the northwest corner of West Main Cross and South Main streets where the Karst block now stands and the Ohio Bank and Savings Co. was located.
Mrs. J.S. Patterson, wife of the founder of the Patterson department store, was a daughter of Taylor.
The original town of Findlay moved to extend its area to the north side in 1856 when it filed a plat extending the town to Defiance Avenue.
Many dwelling places were erected in Findlay during the oil and gas boom of the late 1880s and early 1890s. One of the areas where new homes went up especially rapidly was the region around Findlay College, which had its origin in the 1880s.
An active builder of new dwellings was the late George Carrothers, a Civil War veteran who came to Findlay from Crawford County, where he was born in 1839.
Carrothers built 40 new homes within a very few years in the area between George Street and Allen Avenue, east of North Main Street. The homes attracted so much attention that the area between the two thoroughfares was dubbed “Carrothersville” in his honor.
Carrothers, who became a community leader and a director of the former American National Bank, was a great admirer of former President James A. Garfield. He named one of the streets in “Carrothersville” for the martyred president and also named one of his sons Garfield.
He died in Riverside, Calif., in 1922 at the age of 83. He made a gift to Findlay College of the corner property at Garfield and North Main where the present home of the president of the college is situated. The residence is designated “the Carrothers Home” by the college.
A brother was the late Dr. M.M. Carrothers, a Findlay physician for many years, and member of the state Legislature at Columbus from Hancock County.
The desk he used in the legislative halls at Columbus is now in the Hancock County Museum.
Dr. Carrothers became president of the Findlay City Council after serving in the state Legislature.