This is a continuation to the article printed recently from Dave Butler about our diminishing downtown.
I grew up on West Cherry Street near many of these former facilities, and knew much about them, but now, all gone. And along with the departures of all these location was the departure of the jobs that went with them, possible into the hundreds as automation was non existent at the time so most everything was manual labor jobs.
I am still proud to live and to have graduated from Bluffton, but sad to see so much that has left us.
I am glad to see so many of the junk homes and places getting torn down around the city, but question the possible demise of the former Penny building, a business that is still in business.
Industry along the railroad tracks, 1940s-50s era, now something else or no longer here. Some things from nearby locations
(G) Indicates facility gone as originally built. Maybe be some other use now
Tile or brick Factory, corner of Silver and Bond Streets, (G)
Stock Yards, corner of Silver and Bond Streets, is still in operation
Bluffton Foods, corner of Silver and Bond Streets, former tomato processor, (G), now a warehouse
Ready Mix Concrete, Bond Street near Silver, (G)
Sterling Casting, corner of Bond and Wiley Streets, (G), now mostly gone and what’s left has been converted into a warehouse and various other activities
Nash’s Grocery, West Wiley near Tracks, small local grocery store, (G)
Habig Trucking, 800 Block W. Wiley Street, dump truck hauling and heavy equip
Rix’s Grocery, West Wiley and Jersey Streets, Grocery and Sinclair Gas Station, (G)
Hoosier Condensery, West Wiley at tracks, large dairy, (G)
Rose Hill Dairy, behind condensery, produced bottled milk for retail sale, (G), building is still there but vacant
Case Dairy Products, behind condensery, trucking operation hauling milk products, (G), now use by the city for storage
Standard Oil Bulk Pl, West South Street near tracks, bulk plant for Everett Creek, (G)
Pickle Plant, West South Street E. of tracks, (G), grain elevator there now
Bluffton Grocery Whs., 700 Block of W. Cherry Street, predecessor to Food Mkt. in Ft. Wayne, (G), now parking lot for Life Church
Phillips’s 66 Whs., 700 Block of W. Cherry St. between tracks, (G), Kay Bayless Bulk Whs.
Ludwig Blade, 700 Block W. Cherry between tracks, made band saw blades for the bread industry, (G), now a vacant building in bad shape
Large water tower, 700 block W. Cherry, water supply for the steam engines, (G)
NKP Freight House, Beside Water Tower, 700 block W. Cherry, (G), now Meyer Auto Restoration
Ice House, 700 Block W. Cherry, made blocks of ice for home and restaurant use, later Graden Tire recapping, (G), now Minnick Lawn and Garden Serv.
Large Coal Silo, 700 block W. Cherry Street W. of east rail line, supplied coal to City Power Plant, was torn down as unsafe after Mayor Ellis convinced the railroad it was theirs, smooth move. (G)
NKP Freight House, 700 block W. Cherry Street, E. side of tracks, Freight house for REA and Smith Trucking run by Doc Smith and also had a large open air dock for unloading farm equipment and other Large equipment, (G)
Pass. Depot, 700 block W. Washington Street west of west line of tracks, (G)
Coal Yard, 700 block W. Washington St., later, Purkiser Bait and tackle, then Coal Yard Barber Shop, (G)
Farnsworth, 800 block W. Washington Street, mfg. of radios and etc. ??, later Bachman Foods, mfg. of Pretzels, burnt down in the late 60s, (G), now Loren’s Towing Service
Cline Lumber, 700 block W. Washington, one of two lumber yards in town, Now Habegger’s Ace Hdw.
Red Cross Mfg., 600 block W. Washington Street, mfg. of various metal products, (G)
Clarks Grocery, 700 Block W. Washington Street, small local grocer, Later Peanuts Coffee Shop, Now Dunwiddie’s Plumbing
NKP Flagmen, Small shanty along tracks of W. Washington Street, (G), Quite a story with this guy
Hoosier Grain, 800 block W. Market, large grain elevator, between Market and Wabash Streets, (G), what’s left of the building is now Steffen Oil Supplier
Junk Yard, 800 block W. Wabash Street, (G), where Bluffton Body and Paint is now located
Estey Piano, 800 block W. Lancaster St., mfg. of quality piano’s, (G), approx. where Bluffton Rubber is now
Also nearby industries and etc.
Reed’s Ice Cream, 600 block W. Washington St., restaurant and mfg. of ice cream products with kids pushing cart throughout the city selling them, (G)
Foundry, 600 block W. Washington Street, predecessor to Sterling Casting, (G)
Abe Young’s Machine Shop, 600 block W. Washington Street, capable of making most anything needing machine work, (G)
Smith’s Trucking, N.E. corner of Oak and Washington St., hauled freight around the area from the R/R freight house
School, S.E. corner of Oak and Washington St., had been both a grade and high school over time, (G)
Bluffton High School, 400 block S. Oak Street, (G), what is left of the building in now Life Church
Compiled by Tom Plummer