Morrow County is basically an agricultural based county but it’s also been the home of many businesses – at least in my lifetime. I recall Iberia Earthmoving, Snyder Milling, Hydraulic Press Mfg., North Electric and many, many others.
Cardington’s Stahl’s was an employer for many years and for the past 20 years the village has been home to Cardington Yutaka Technologies. Inc. Reading the history of Cardington, business has always been a part of the village from the grist and saw mills in the early days of its founding to as many as seven factories in the early 1900’s. These included the Cardington Cabinet Co, employing 35 men; the Ohio Stave Company employing 35 men; the H C Long Handle Co, 15 men, the Cardington Cement Tile and Block Co, seven men and the Russell Hay Barn. (Note: these factories employed only men)
The Russell Hay Barn was owned by L. S. Russell and his background in business included ownership of the Racoon Farm, located on what today is Chesterville Avenue, just west of the high school on the north side of the road. Lennie began raising raccoons in a 6 x 8 yard run in his back yard in 1913. His goal was to breed dark raccoons for their fur.
On this farm he experimented in pens, feed and breeding and found he could make any color he wished He had the first black raccoon in the world through breeding. He showed them at many state fairs and the Toronto Winter Fair and sold and shipped them to points all over the country. He sent many shipments of breeding stock to Meersburg, Bodensee, Germany. His truck with his name and cages of raccoons to be shipped were a familiar sight in the village.
Prior to the development of the black raccoon, he raised fur bearing animals and developed a strain of tame skunks!!!! His business continued until the Depression years of the 1930’s when because of the changing economic conditions, he went into the farm and implement business operating from the building he had erected on West Main Street. Later he sold Massey Harris tractors.
Lennie was once the mayor of Cardington, served on council and was a member of the Board of Public Affairs. He also started the Morrow County Gun Club attracting trap shooters to the club’s grounds in Cardington. He died in 1966 at the age of 84. Lennie was a true entrepreneur .
Another unusual business was a chicken incubator service at 313 South Marion Street, owned and operated by Mr.Singer. It was reportedly a million dollar business. He had three stenographers carrying out the correspondence with customers in every state and in Europe. He attracted business with 40 breeds of chickens and was in the business from 1895 to 1911.
I will have more on Cardington’s businesses in later columns (Did you know there were 13 saloons at one time in the village? What a rollicking time!) Thanks to Jean Campbell Winchell for sharing the information on her grandfather, Lennie Russell.
90 years ago, October, 1925: Cold and snow met visitors to the Cardington Fall Festival. People bundled in overcoats and “overshoes” attended the event which on the second night featured a double wedding — Orin Kline, 28, of Delaware County and Edith Dillinger, 22, of Westfield Township and John Kanniard, 21, also of Delaware County and Ada Claypool of Westfield Township, were united in marriage by Rev O L. Williams. They were brought from their home south of Cardngton, to the M. E. parsonage by Troy Redd and then conveyed to the platform at the public square. In accordance with a request by the pastor, the crowd made no hilarious demonstration.
30 years ago, October, 1985: Long’s Lake on County Road 132, north of Cardington, was undergoing cleaning for the first time in 25 years. It was built by Walter Long in 1948 and was being restored to its normal depth of 12 feet from the dam to the island and five feet to the east portion. Long, retired owner of Long’s Garage, said the lake would be restocked and used privately.
Evelyn Long is a correspondent with the Morrow County Sentinel and can be reached at [email protected]