A native of Cardington recently paid a visit to the community and brought along a friend who had never left her state, California. They drove around Cardington for a while and then she declared, “This is like going back in time.”
I thought, “What a compliment!” So I decided to go back in time and look up the business history of the town when between 1900-and 1917 there were seven new factories added to the community.
They included the Cardington Cabinet Company, the manufacturer of ice cream freezers, hose reels, cement block and tile machinery and employed 35 men; the Ohio Stave Company, employed 35 men in the manufacturing of barrel hoops; the H C. Long Handle Company, employing 15 men in making fork handles, the Cardington Cement Tile and Block Company, employing seven men; the Russell Hay Barn, engaged in baling hay in season and the John Loeffert Cigar Company.
They joined the Cardington Canning Company factory and the Cardington Novelty Factory established in the early 1900s and of course, the J. S. Peck Furniture Factory, built in 1876.
The Novelty Plant which sat on the east side of the railroad on Park Avenue in the 1800s manufactured wood items and in 1913 became the Schheid Wood Manufacturing Co. Years later the building was sold to the Kilgore Cap Company in the 1920s and it became the U. S. Hardware Company and during preparation for the manufacture of small hardware and toys, an explosion in the mixing room killed two local men.
In addition, the town offered businesses hat employed 59 people in 1911 and these included groceries, hardware, a fruit, notion, sewing machine agency laundry and auto garages.
However, in the 1920s when automobiles became the mode of transportation residents began shopping and even working at jobs outside of Cardington leading to the closing of many local plants and businesses. Where there had been three department stores, now there was one- men’s clothing stores closed; the Mills Brothers Flour Mill closed completely. Hardware stores remained in business thanks to the introduction of electrical appliances.
The town has continued to flourish with business places and employee-based manufacturing. So that brings us to today; a town that is, to some visitors, like “a visit back in time.” What a compliment.
Some of the above information is from the history provided by the late Joyce “Jarp” Lorimer Landon, my neighbor who I grew up with, and from Joanne Fricke Mathews, my sister.
80 years ago, August, 1939: J. l. Patterson, secretary of the Cardington Rotary Club, reviewed J. D. Craig’s “Danger is my Business,” at the Marion Rotary Club luncheon.
Jim Thorpe, famous Indian athlete and current motion picture actor, spent time in Cardington visiting in the William Hoffmire and Carl Hoffmire homes. Thorpe had previously resided in the Carl Hoffmire home for a winter.
30 years ago, August 1989: John Klingel, a 1982 Cardington-Lincoln High School graduate, was in England to play a preseason pro football game against the Cleveland Browns. Klingel was a defensive lineman with the Philadelphia Eagles professional football club.
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