Timeline: Allen County through the years

Courtesy of Allen County Historical Society and Museum

Summer 1830: First circus came to town, pitching tents at the site of the Argonne Hotel.

Aug. 30, 1831: First county tax levy of 8 mills per dollar for county purposes, followed by a log courthouse built for $175.

1832: First tavern in Lima, opened by John Porter Mitchell.

Feb. 1, 1832: The Lima Post Office was established, with Lewis Sroufe postmaster.

1832-33: Gen. John Ware was the first schoolmaster, teaching a subscription school of 39 students in the log courthouse.

1833: A jail was built for $179.

1836: The first newspaper, The Herald, arrived. It was followed by The Owl in 1842 and The Porcupine in 1843. The Argus also started that year.

1838: First bridge was constructed by the commissioners over little Hog Creek in Shawnee Township for $50.

1840: The population of the county jumped from 578 in 1830 to 9,079 in 1840.

December 1842: The second courthouse was completed for $13,325.

1842-1848: Construction of Breesewood, the brick home of Griffith Breese on Fort Amanda Road.

1845: First Presbyterian Church was built at Spring and Elizabeth streets.

June 24, 1845: The Miami-Erie Canal, begun in 1825, was finally completed.

July 4, 1845: “The Marshall” was the first canal boat through Delphos with a load of furs for Toledo.

Dec. 19, 1846: Lima’s first mayor, Henry DeVilliers Williams, died of rabies.

1846-48: Three soldiers were killed in the Mexican War: T.A. Hollaway, Charles Long and Jonathan Fisher.

1848: Reorganization of the county.

1852: Tanner Street house erected.

1853: The first saloon in Lima, owned by Wolf and Myers, opened in the northwest corner of Market Street and the Public Square.

About 1852: Free schools were established. There were three in Lima, including “Lima Academy.”

1854: The Western Gazette newspaper started, and People’s Press followed in 1855. A cholera epidemic struck the area.

November 1854: The first train reached Lima over the I. & O. Railroad.

1855-56: First Baptist Church was built on Central Avenue. This was Lima’s first brick church.

1855-1893: Allen County Democrat newspaper in publication.

1858: First brick school built in Lima on north side of High, west of Pierce — Union School. St. Rose Catholic Church built by Father Krensch.

March 25, 1858: Line completed on D & M between Lima and Dayton. The following year, the D & M railroad shops began operation.

June 8, 1859: The Allen County Infirmary/Home was built.

April to May 10, 1860: The first county fair was held in Blackburn’s Grove. This area was later known as Faurot’s farm, south of Spring and west of McDonel streets.

1861-1865: Civil War.

April 19, 1861: The first company of Lima volunteers organized, with another company coming together 10 days later. Both contributed to Company A, Regiment 20th O.V.I. The 20th Ohio Infantry Regiment was organized at Columbus in response to President Lincoln’s call for 75,000 volunteers and mustered into service on May 23, 1861, under the command of Colonel Charles Whittlesey. The regiment was ordered to western Virginia and attached to Kelly’s Command. It participated in action at Richter June 23 and the pursuit of Garnett July 15-16. The regiment then performed duty along Baltimore & Ohio Railroad until August and mustered out on Aug. 23, 1861. Up to Sept. 25, 1861, Allen County supplied between 900 and 1,000 troops.

April 6, 1862: Capt. Mart Armstrong was the first Allen County soldier killed in the Civil War.

1865: A volunteer fire brigade was organized.

April 1871: The first and only hanging in the county was Andrew Brentlinger for murder of his wife.

1872: Trinity Methodist Church building was constructed.

March 15, 1874: The Temperance Crusade turned Lima into a dry town.

1878: The fire brigade acquires horses. The Lima Street Railway was completed.

1879: The Lima Machine Works began, the company that became the Lima Locomotive Works.

Sept. 19, 1879: President R.B. Hayes stopped in Lima for lunch at the French House.

Dec. 24, 1879: President Ulysses S. Grant visited Lima.

1882: The third courthouse was built. The first Shay geared locomotive was built by Lima Machine Works.

Sept. 4, 1882: Faurot Opera House opened.

1883: The first electric light manufacturing plant was constructed by B.C. Faurot adjacent to the Opera House. The C & A railroad began service.

1884-91: Orphaned children removed from the infirmary to a separate home on the infirmary farm. A new home on Fort Amanda Road was built circa 1891.

1884-1920: Daily Democratic Times newspaper begins publication. The title varied before becoming The Lima News.

1884: Deisel cigar factory begins.

May 19, 1885: Oil was discovered at Faurot’s Paper Mill.

1886: Lima’s first waterworks was established.

July 31, 1886: B.C. Faurot purchased the street railway company and incorporated the Lima Street Motor & Power Co.

December 1886: The Solar Refinery was established.

Jan. 4, 1887: The Lima Water Works went into service.

Summer 1887: The first city mail carriers in Lima started delivery.

July 4, 1887: The Lima Street Railway began electrified operation. A 182-foot electric light tower was erected in the Square. It lasted until about 1905.

April 6, 1888: The Election Day Riot marked the beginning of racial conflict in Allen County.

1888: Lima’s professional baseball team won the Tri-State League championships.

1892: Lima Machine Works became Lima Locomotive & Machine Co.

About 1893: The YMCA was built.

1894-1912: The Lima Times Democrat semi-weekly newspaper was in publication.

1898: The first car owned in Lima was purchased by W.E. Rudy, a Locomobile. The Lima Daily News started.

Sept. 28, 1898: Lima’s only Spanish-American War casualty died of malaria at Camp Poland in Knoxville, Tennessee. A cyclone demolished Lima’s East School.

April 1, 1899: City Hospital opened.

April 1, 1900: R.G. Stockton began the first rural free delivery route out of Lima.

March 10, 1902: The Western Ohio Railway opens for service.

1904: The first auto license tags were required in Allen County. They were not required by the state until 1907/8.

March 1908: The first “picture show” in Lima.

June 1908: Allen County Memorial Hall was complete, with the subsequent Ohio G.A.R. convention.

June 1908: The Carnegie Public Library opened.

Dec. 4, 1908: The Allen County Historical Society formed.

1909: Ohio Steel was founded.

1910: The Gramm Motor Car Co. started in Lima.

Nov. 3, 1910: President Theodore Roosevelt stopped in Lima for 15 minutes on the Pennsy RR.

Feb. 12, 1911: President W.H. Taft’s train stopped in Lima and he spoke from the platform.

July 28, 1911: The first flight of an airplane in Lima happened at the old fairgrounds, the site of Lima Memorial Health System.

Nov. 8, 1911: Socialist Corbin Shook was elected mayor.

1912: The LL&MC becomes Lima Locomotive Corp.

May 16, 1912: Teddy Roosevelt was in a Lima parade and spoke at Memorial Hall.

March 1913: A major flood impacted the entire western part of the state.

1915: Lima State Hospital opened. It closed in 2004.

1916: Lima Locomotive Corp. becomes Lima Locomotive Works.

March 1, 1916: The fire department acquires a motorized truck.

Aug. 30, 1916: An angry mob attempted to lynch Sheriff Sherman E. Eley, who was protecting a Black prisoner.

Oct. 4, 1916: President Woodrow Wilson made a 6-minute whistle-stop in Lima on Pennsy.

April 6, 1917: The United States declared war on Germany.

June 1917: The Allen County Chapter of American Red Cross formed.

Oct. 10, 1917: The “Liberty Truck” prototype was completed by Gramm-Bernstein Co.

Dec. 23, 1917: Der Lima Courier, a German language newspaper, published its last issue.

1918: The Spanish Flu pandemic hit Lima, and St. Rita’s hospital opened. A blizzard impacted the area.

June 24, 1918: William Paul Gallagher was the first Allen County soldier to die in World War I.

July 16, 1918: Edward J. Veasey was the first Lima soldier to die in World War I.

Sept. 30, 1918: The sinking of USS Ticonderoga cost 223 soldiers and sailors’ lives, including 11 Allen County men.

Nov. 11, 1918: End of World War I.

Thanksgiving 1919: The first Turkey Day football game, South vs. Central.

1920-33: Prohibition.

1921-33: Lima used city manager form of government.

Aug. 26, 1920: Adoption of 19th amendment.

Oct. 19, 1920: Vice President candidate FDR made a speech at Memorial Hall.

Nov. 2, 1920: Mrs. Lila (Graham) Gamble was the first woman to vote in Lima.

1923: Superior Coach began production. It became Sheller-Globe.

Oct. 14, 1927: Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth visited Lima.

1928: Lima Kewpee opened. Bob King won the Olympic high jump.

Jan. 29, 1929: A fire at the Allen County Courthouse fire killed two firemen, John Wolfe and John Fisher.

Summer 1929: First regularly scheduled air service for the county by Mason-Dixon Airlines.

Oct. 29, 1929: The stock market crashed.

1931: Solar Refinery taken over by SOHIO.

May 25: 1933: Lima Memorial Hospital opened.

Oct. 12, 1933: Gangster John Dillinger was sprung from the Allen County Jail. Sheriff Jess Sarber was killed.

1934: The airport on Baty Road opened.

1937: The Civic Music Association formed.

Nov. 19, 1937: Interurban service ceases.

May 13, 1939: Lima Street Railway service ceases.

May 14, 1939: Lima City Lines began bus service.

1939: The Lima Pandas baseball team won the Ohio State League.

December 1941: U.S. declares war on Japan and Germany.

November 1942: The American Womens Voluntary Service was organized. Locally, a canteen was operated by volunteers making refreshments for soldiers as they moved through the area on trains.

Oct. 28, 1944: FDR stopped on a whistle-stop trip to a 5,000-person audience.

May 8, 1945: V.E. Day.

Sept. 2, 1945: V.J. Day.

1946: Lima Friends of Music formed.

1947: YWCA inherits the Russell mansion.

Oct. 11, 1948: President Harry Truman did a 12-minute whistle-stop, speaking to 4,000.

Oct. 12, 1949: Satchel Paige put on an exhibition at Halloran Park.

1950-1953: Korean War

July 19, 1950: A tornado hit Lima’s north side.

1952: Ex Cello Corp. began. It was later Airfoil Textron.

Oct. 8, 1952: Then Vice President Richard Nixon gave an Eisenhower campaign speech on whistle-stop.

January to March 1953: The Faurot Opera House was demolished. It was replaced in 1954 by Kresge’s.

May 23, 1954: The Lima Symphony Orchestra debuted.

1955: Robin Rogers School started.

1955-75: Vietnam War.

1956: BLH closed.

1957-63: Lima Citizen newspaper was published.

May 1957: Ford plant opened.

Feb. 14, 1956: The Allen County Museum opened.

September 1960: OSU Lima Branch started classes at Lima Senior High School.

Oct. 26, 1960: Vice President Richard Nixon spoke to 35,000 downtown.

1961: Satchel Paige put on an exhibition at Industry Park.

Aug. 2, 1962: The Allen County Airport opened.

April 11, 1965: Palm Sunday tornado.

July 9, 1965: Ground was broken for Galvin Hall at OSU. It was dedicated September 1966.

Oct. 22, 1968: Nixon spoke on the square to 12,000.

June 23, 1971: Allen Acres opened.

June 28, 1972: Johnny Appleseed Metropolitan Park District formed.

June 7, 1976: President Gerald Ford gave a 35-min speech at Lazarus to 4,000.

1978: The Chrysler Lima Army Tank Plant was established.

Oct. 15, 1980: Ronald Reagan gave a 24-min speech to 10.000 in the square.

1981: Lima Clark Equipment sold.

Oct. 12, 1984: President Ronald Reagan gave a 20-minute speech on a whistlestop railroad trip.

Oct. 22, 1984: Veterans Memorial Civic Center opened with a gala.

1985: American House formed.

1986: SOHIO refinery taken over by BP.

Oct. 15, 1986: Vice President George Bush spoke at the Allen County Airport and at rally at Veterans Memorial Civic Center.

1990: Alberta Lee became the first female Allen County Commissioner.

1998: Refinery purchased by Clark USA, which later became Premcor.

October 2001: Lima received anthrax-contaminated mail to decontaminate at Titan Scan.

Oct. 27, 2003: President G.W. Bush spoke for 35 minutes at General Dynamics to 3,500.

Aug. 28, 2004: President G.W. Bush stopped for a campaign rally at Lima Senior High School.

January 2005: An ice storm brings the area to a standstill.

2005: Premcor merges with Valero.

2007: The refinery was purchased by Husky Energy.

Feb. 24, 2008: Former President Bill Clinton campaigned for his wife Hillary at Lima Senior High School.

Nov. 2, 2012: President Barack Obama spoke to 3,800 at Lima Senior High School.

About 2018: Memorial Hall was shuttered.

March 20, 2019: President Donald Trump toured and spoke at General Dynamics.

March 2020: Coronavirus pandemic reaches Lima.


Courtesy of Allen County Historical Society and Museum

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