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Welcome to the Wayne County Public Library Business Portal.

Township Community Industry Street Address Directories Active Business Defunct Business Decade & Fate Clubs & Non-Profits Company Founders, Entrepreneurs & Occupations
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Established in 1851, Wooster Brush Company is one of the oldest manufacturers of paint applicators in the country. The company's founder, Adam Foss, traveled from Pennsylvania to Ohio at the age of 18 with his brother Samuel. Together they "began producing bristle paintbrushes by hand in a small, two-story building in downtown Wooster, then sold the brushes door to door through the state."

Do you have pictures or more information on the Wooster Brush Company? If so, please contact the library and we would like to include this wonderful history.

Did you know...
From Wayne County (OH) Resource Center articles:


Wayne County, Ohio is a community that collaborates with community organizations, clubs and services. United Way of Wayne & Holmes Counties is one agency that has made a difference is the lives of Wayne County. Looking for a current club or agency you can dial 2-1-1 on your phone for information.

Lodges and clubs of Wayne County, Ohio have a long history. In the 1948 Wooster City Directory, some large fraternal lodges included: Moose, Elks, Eagles, Odd Fellows, Masons and their women's auxilary organizations. Many of these still exist today. Some Wooster Service Clubs include Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions and 20-30 Club. Downtown business organizations of 1948 include Women's Club, Wooster Business Men's Association, the Wooster Board of Trade and the Wooster Automobile Club.
Did you know the College of Wooster students have designed four mobile apps discovering some of the streets in Wooster? The four available at this time include: Beall Avenue, Market and Walnut Street, Liberty Street, and Founder's Row (Bever St). For more information, visit the Wooster Digital History Project. Some neighborhoods in Wooster, Ohio have street names with themes. For example, just north of Highland Avenue and West of Christmas Run, there is a subdivision whose streets were named for models of automobiles: Catalina Ave, Skylark Ave, Montclair Ave, and Imperial St. Off of Portage Rd in Wooster, there is the Sherwood Drive Allotment. Within this allotment are five streets with names from the Robin Hood legend: Robin Hood, Little John Ln, Allendale, Friar Tuck and Sherwood Dr. Other streets have been named for prominent residents of Wooster. Such streets include Beall Ave, Larwill, Grosjean, Dix Expressway, Reed Rd and Freedlander Rd. The library owns a booklet titled, The Streets of Wooster, published in 1985 and written by Richard Peter detailing this information and much more.
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Downtown areas of cities and villages throughout Wayne County, Ohio have long been active hubs. Many present day activities are centered around food and fun. Such restaurants as Der Dutch Essenhaus in Shreve, the Dutch Kitchen Restaurant in Dalton, the Parlor Restaurant and The Matsos Family Restaurant in Wooster and the Smithville Inn in Smithville are just a few that have enjoyed longevity in their respective village or city.

The oldest hotel that we are able to ascertain is the American House, Wooster in Wooster. This hotel operated in the 1830s. The Hotel Wheaton (1951), previously known as the Hotel Carl, the Arcade Hotel (1911), and the Central Hotel was built in 1875 (There's No Place Like Home p. 74). It is located in Shreve and was quite the hotel during its prime. The building still stands today though it is in poor condition.

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Meet the founders and entrepreneurs in Wayne County, Ohio. George Fresh of Congress Twp was an outstanding businessman. He established a cabinet shop. He was an undertaker and embalmer. In 1863, he started a very successful tannery and hotel. (History of West Salem, Wayne County, Ohio p. 17). In 1835 in Mount Eaton, Ohio, Joseph Boigegrain built a long wooden building which later became known as the Roth Store. He was succeeded by his son Auguste Boigegrain until 1879. Two sons of Auguste Boigegrain became associated with the well known William Annat Store in Wooster (Mt. Eaton 1829-1979 p. 10). In the 1870s, a carriage factory was constructed in Marshallville, Ohio. It became known as Wehe & Company Carriage Works. When Jacob Weimer assumed operations following a devastating fire in 1877, the name changed to Wehe and Weimer. The business continued to grow and some years later, George Gerstenslager bought an interest in the company and later moved the company to Wooster, Ohio (Marshallville 1817-1967 p. 4). It became known as the Gerstenslager Company, presently known as Artiflex.

Do you know a founder or entrepreneur in Wayne County and would like to contribute scans of pictures and other information? Please stop by the Adult Services and ask for Jim.

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Curry Lumber & Pole Building Co. is one of the oldest construction companies of Wayne County, Ohio still in existance. It was started in 1853 by James Curry. Other well-known construction companies include: Walter Jones Construction, Incorporated, Bogner Construction Company, and Campbell Construction.

To assist with the construction trade, many local companies had lumber yards and brick and tile factories. In Creston, Ohio, C. L. Matteson started the Creston Lumber Company in 1903. It was sold out 20 years later (Creston Past Almost Forgotten p. 48) to a firm located in Wadsworth, Ohio. In Doylestown, Ohio, one of the earliest brick kilns was in operation by 1834. It was built by Abraham Franks. (175th Anniversary History of Doylestown, Ohio p. 101). In Shreve, Ohio, according to the 1912-1913 directory, W. A. Keys was a contractor and builder and H. G. Rogers was in tinning and roofing (There's No Place Like Home p. 202). In Mount Eaton, Ohio, Weed and Hones operated an iron factory in 1827 (Mt. Eaton 1829-1979 p. 7).

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Wayne County, Ohio is well known for its strong emphasis on agriculture. The Wayne County Fairgrounds is home to the Wayne County Fair which opens for a week each September. According to the 1948 Wooster City Directory, on page 16, Wayne County, Ohio ranked first among Ohio's 88 counties in many areas of agriculture. Some include Dairying Cattle and Milk production, potato acreage and production, poultry and egg production, value of all livestock produced, and much more. Ramseyer Potato Farms was well known over the entire Eastern and Central parts of the U.S. Ramseyer Farms still operates a very successful business today. It is located just northeast of Wooster on SR 585 and is a 5th generation family farm. Smith Dairy Products Company continues to grow and operate a successful business. Smith's dairy began operations as early as 1908 and is headquarters are in Orrville, Ohio.

The first bank in Wooster, Ohio was the German Bank of Wooster. It was established in 1815 by Joseph H. Larwill. It failed by 1818. Lawsuits continued to be filed for several years after its failure. In 1838, the German Bank of Wooster was revived. Once again, it failed by 1841. (Wildcat Banks and Broken Banks of the Wayne County Frontier). Other early banks included the The State Bank of Ohio and The Bank of Wooster.

The County Branch of the State Bank of Ohio opened for business in 1845. It received its National charter in 1865. It was the 8th charter granted in the nation. It was at one time the oldest operating bank in Wayne County and remained as a independent financial institution until sold to [National City Bank] in 2004. Four years later, the bank was purchased by [PNC Bank].

The Federal Government took control of all banking operations during the Civil War.

Education has always been an integral part of Wayne County, Ohio. According to page 110 of Caldwell's 1873 Atlas of Wayne County, Ohio, the first school house of Clinton Twp was built in 1817. The primitive school house was usually 18 feet square, built of logs, had split-logs flooring, and roofed with clap-boards. At one end of the structure was a fireplace. Pupils sat on benches with no backs. The early schools were subscription based. (Douglass 277).

In 1853, the state of Ohio passed legislation to implement the "Free School System". One of the first school houses built under the new law was the Peoples College erected in Plain Twp. It was built under the direction and management of Hon. Benjamin Eason, Jacob Welty and Robert C. Beard among others. (Douglass 276). Other early schools included Apple Creek Academy, Edinburg Academy, Smithville Academy, Bixlers Business College, Grove Female Institute, and the College of Wooster.

Presently, three colleges exist in Wayne County, Ohio. Wayne College, Ohio State ATI, and the College of Wooster.

Today, the Educational Services industry now has 44 public school buildings, 1 private college, 2 public university branches. Source: Ohio County Profiles for 2015 by the Office of Research.

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The first known library in Wooster dates back to 1857. There was a small subscription fee to use the facility. The first "free" public library was started in 1897 and was known as the Wooster Public Library. Funding provided by Andrew Carnegie made it possible for the local library to have its own permanent building. The old Carnegie library was dedicated in 1905. It was razed in 1965. A new facility was built on the same site and was dedicated in 1967. The 1967 building still stands today and is home of the Administration team, Technical Services, and Bookmobile. The Wooster Friends of the Library holds booksales on the lower level. Wayne County also has 3 other public libraries: Apple Creek Library, Fredericksburg Community Library, and the Orrville Public Library.

Within the Information category, individuals will find a history on early theaters located in Wooster. Some include: Wallace Theatre, Schine's Wooster Theater, Wayne Theater and 2 Lyric theaters: Lyric Theatre, Lyric Twin Cinema. Other items of local interest include publishing companies, broadcasting and telecommunications.


Wooster, Ohio once had three hospitals before the Wooster Community Hospital opened in 1959. The first hospital located in Wooster was at the home of Captain James B. Taylor on North Market St. An agreement was made in 1907 to permit the use of the home as a hospital. It remained as the old City Hospital until 1943 when the last patient was removed from the home. The old City Hospital was sold to Central Christian Church in 1942. The church permitted the house to be used as a hospital until other accommodations could be made. In 1945, Physician services were moved to the Kinney & Knestrick Hospital on S. Bever St.

The Kinney and Smith Hospital was erected in 1916 on S. Bever St. This hospital was also known as the Kinney and Knestrick Hospital. It remained in service until 1959 when the new Wooster Community Hospital on Winter St. was built.

The Beeson Clinic was built in 1936 and was located on North Market Street. It was built by Dr. John Beeson and his two physician sons, Paul and Harold Beeson. Prior to their own building, they were located in the Peoples Savings and Loan Building. The Beesons left Wooster in 1956.

The Wooster Medical Clinic was located where the Cleveland Clinic now stands. One doctor that stands out in both medical practice and active service in our community was Dr. Burney Huff. His obituary thumbnail is pictured.

The Health & Social Care industry has 12.1% or 6,503 employees according to 2015 Data USA:Wayne County, Ohio 2015 statistics. Wayne County, Ohio has two hospitals: Wooster Community Hospital and Aultman Orrville Hospital.


Wayne County, Ohio has a number of holding and management organizations.

According to Sector 55 of the North American Industry Classification System, establishments categorized in this sector "hold the securities and other equity interests in companies and enterprises for the purpose of owning a controlling interest or influencing management decisions". The sector also includes non-government establishments "that administer, oversee, and manage establishments of the company or enterprise and that normally undertake the strategic or organization planning and decision making role of the company or enterprise" (2012 ed., page 775). Some examples of such companies in Wayne County, Ohio include: Crosswind Aviation Holdings, Elite Investment Holdings LTD and Moody Holding Co LLC.

Coal has been primarily in the eastern portion of Wayne County, Ohio. Some coal has been found in Canaan Township and Milton Township. Larger portions have been found in Chippewa, Baughman, East Union and Salt Creek. All of Sugar Creek and Paint Township have coal. Small portions could be found in Green, Franklin and Clinton Townships. The most commonly known area for mining coal was in Chippewa Township in an area that came to be known as Rogues Hollow (Douglass 111-112).

Coal has not been the only mineral deposits found in Wayne County, Ohio. In 1897, land was purchased in Rittman, Ohio by the Wayne Salt Company. Soon the company started to crystallize salt. In the spring of 1898, the company changed its name to The Ohio Salt Company. In January 1948, the Ohio Salt Company merged with the Morton Salt Company. The Morton Salt Company still operates today.

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The original Smucker's Apple Butter Factory began producing apple butter.

The The J. M. Smucker Company was started in 1897 by Jerome Monroe Smucker. Tired of the creamery business, Smucker bought a modern cider mill. With the technology available at the time, Smucker had an edge over his competition. Soon, the cider business took off at a promising rate. In 1921, the company was incorporated, and in 1959, it went public, listing 165,000 common shares. The J. M. Smucker Company continues to grow and produce a variety of products. Some well-known brands that have been part of the J. M. Smucker Company include Folgers, Jif, Crisco, Pillsbury and the Eagle Brand.

According to the 2015 Data USA: for Wayne County, the manufacturing industry is the most common industry in Wayne County, Ohio listing 23.1% or 12,563 employees


This sector includes businesses and organizations that specialize in performing professional, scientific, and technical activities for others. Such areas include legal services, notaries, title services, accounting, architecture (including landscape architecture), engineering, photography, graphic design, computer programming services and much more.

The daugerretype went public in Paris, France in 1839. By the 1840 newspapers, Daugerretype Rooms were being advertised in the local newspapers. One of the earliest was J. D. Vincent. He took out an ad dated on May 23, 1840. The ad stated, "J. D. Vincents Daguerrean Rooms over Miller's Hat Store, opposite the Public Buildings. Likenesses taken as well in cloudy as clear weather." Other early Daguerrean Rooms were advertised by J. M. Jenks (1850), Ross (1850) Dr. M. C. Davis (1852), J. W. Wyke (1853). By 1859, Walter N. Jones was advertising his Ambrotype & Photograph Gallery.

Photographers were located outside of Wooster, Ohio. In the department's notebooks on photographers, there is a sample photo taken by V. H. Hamm Art Studio of Shreve, Ohio In 1870, Theodore Latimer and J. G. Johnston of Orrville, Ohio are listed as photographers. Neal P. Harrington was a photographer and Harrington's Art Gallery owner in Orrville in 1873. In the 1873 Caldwell's Atlas, John Jacob Bringger, Jr. has a "Saloon & Photographic Gallery" in Mount Eaton, Ohio.


Other Services Sector includes companies specialing in repair and maintenance, personal care services, funeral homes and services, cemeteries and crematories, laundry services, pet care, religious organizations, grantmaking and giving services, professional organizations, labor organizations, and political organizations.

The Schantz Organ Company was founded by Abraham J. Schantz in 1873 in Orrville, Ohio. Born on 7 March 1849, he was the only child born to John A. and Elizabeth (Lehman) Schantz. Abraham was mechanically gifted and chose early in his adult life to become a cabinet maker and owner of a furniture shop rather than a farmer. One of his customers brought in a Reed Organ to be repaired. After repairing the organ, Abraham mentioned to his employees that he could make one. In 1873, Abraham Schantz manufactured his first reed organ. Thus, started a long family business that still exists today.

Other sample companies and organizations in this sector include: Computermixx, Noble S. Yarman Dry Cleaning, The Danford Company, Friends of the Library, Wooster Animal Clinic and Zak-Thacker & Monbarren Funeral Home.


The Real Estate, Rental and Leases industry.... one of the long term real estate agents is Landes and Landes. Landes and Landes was started by Elmer S. Landes in 1905. The business was originally located over Frank Wells Drug Store. In 1907, Elmer's brother, Clarence Landes, joined the business. In the 1908-1909 Moore's Directory, the business is listed as Landis Reality Agency at 11 E. Liberty St. in Wooster, Ohio. Some early competitors of Landes and Landes included: James C. Fetzer, R. C. Flack, George W. Franks, E. Quimby, Jr. Estate and William C. Yost.

In 1894, the only real estate agent listed was McClellan & Sanborn. They were located on northeast side of the Public Square in Wooster, Ohio. Six years later, McClellan & Sanborn were no longer listed as a business. Those individuals in real estate included: J. F. Barrett, G. W. Spangler, J. G. Sanborn, John C. Talbot and E. Quinby Estate.

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In an article found in the Wayne County Democrat on 25 July 1888, the first Volunteer fire company in Wooster, Ohio was organized in January 1827. It continued serving as a Volunteer fire company fore nearly 60 years. In 1888, the establishment of a Paid Department ended the Volunteer Department. Probably one of the first most devasting fire the volunteers fought was the courthouse fire of 1828. Many valuable records and papers were destroyed in this fire. The 2nd courthouse was erected in 1831-1832.

Relief Fire Company No. 2 was organized in 1839. When No. 2 disbanded after 20 years of service, the former members of No. 2 organized Relief Fire Company No. 4. This occurred in July 1859. The first foreman of Relief Rescue No. 4 was P. T. Kisane. The new company charged an admission fee of $5. The money generated adequate funds to purchase a first class hand engine from Messrs. Button & Blake.

In the 1859 directory, three fire departments were listed in Wooster, Ohio: Delaware Fire Co. No. 1 (located on the east side of the Public Square, north of Liberty); Rescue Fire Co. No. 2 (located on the east side of the Public Square, south of Libery); and Wooster Fire Co. No. 3 (located north side of South St., between market and Buckeye).


Looking for information about the Freedlander's store or the old City Book Store? You can find a listing with a variety of retail establishments. Have information on a particular store please stop by the library and we can fill in the gaps.

Lehman's is a popular destination stop in southeastern Wayne County, Ohio. They have been family owned and operated since 1955. Jay Lehman purchased the building from A. B. Sommer. The original building was erected in 1915 as a garage by A. B Sommer. Sommer continued to expand the building through the years. He stocked a complete line of stoves, washers, floor coverings, paints, tinware and hardware. He was best known for his stove sales (Historical Sketches of Kidron Businesses, page 38).

In the 1870s, Creston, Ohio resident Jacob T. Miller started a tinning and repair shop. By 1881, he had expanded his company to become a hardware store. Soon thereafter, he invited his brother, William, join him. The hardware store became known as the Miller Brothers. By 1902, a third partner, A. S. Tuttle, had joined the venture. The company soon changed its name to Miller Brothers & Tuttle Hardware. On 6 October 1915, the building was destroyed by fire. (Creston Past Almost Forgotten, page 18)

Frederick's Pottery was built in 1910. It was operated by William Smith, Walter Spencer and George Spencer. Early products sold were for everyday use. Bean pots and crocks were two such items. The pottery business was sold to Wooster China Co. in 1913 or 1914 (A History of the Fredericksburg, Ohio Potteries and Reference Guide, page 5).


The arts, entertainment and recreation industry has a rich history in Wayne County, Ohio Several of these were: The Quinby Opera House, Reddick dam. Movie theaters are classified under the Information industry.

According to the book, Picturesque Wayne (p. 207), the Quinby Opera House was located on the corner of N. Buckeye St. and Larwill St. It was formally opened on Thursday night, 1 February 1877 with the showing of "As You Like It." The show was put on by John Ellsler's Euclid Avenue Opera House in Cleveland, Ohio.

Another well-visited building in the 19th century and early 20th century was the old Opera House. It was erected in 1887 and was built for a dual purpose It would provide space for municipal offices and at the same time, provide a place for entertainment. Once the Quinby Opera House was razed, the Opera House took over as the site for extravaganzas. It continued to serve as an Opera House until 1949. It was razed in November 1962.

The first water works was established in Wooster on 13 May 1811 (Bowen 418). Water was piped into Wooster from 1815 to 1829. A court order injunction ended this enterprise for many decades. On 14 May 1874 civil engineers constructed a reservoir for the safety of the town of Wooster. A natural spring located on Mr. Reddick's property just north of town was dammed. This became known as Reddick's Dam. This served until the Applecreek pumping station was placed in operation in 1907, pumping water from the Applecreek.

On 14 January 1857, the Wooster Gas Light Company was formed. Natural gas was first introduced in Wooster in 1905 (Bowen 420).

In 5 March 1886, Schuyler Electric Lighting Company of New York city was granted permission to establish electric lights in the city of Wooster (Bowen 420).
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Some examples of businesses listed in this sector include: Smithville Brewery, Omnibus, Coach and Transfer Line, Railroads in Wayne County, Ohio

The first train arrived in Wooster, Ohio in 1852. It was the Wooster branch of the Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati Railroad Company.

The first railroad was built through Creston, Ohio in 1863. At the time of its construction, it was the Atlantic & Great Western Railroad. Then, it became the New York, Pennsylvania & Ohio followed by the Erie. When it was removed in 1980, it was under the ownership of Conrail.

In the Wooster Republican newspaper dated 8 November 1899 on page 4, there was a report of "A Phantom Train". It was first seen by Dr. Wm. Faber, coroner of Wayne County, Ohio and his companion. They saw the train, saw the flames shoot up, heard the cracking of timber and breaking of iron bars. The doctor and others who also witnessed the phenomena hurried to the River Styx bridge to render assistance. Upon their arrival, everything was perfectly quiet. There were no signs of any train derailment. It is believed the phantom train was that of the ill-fated train No. 5 that jumped the track near the same spot in the spring of 1899, killing the engineer.


Smith Dairy Products Company, Wooster Farm Dairies Company, J. J. Geitgey Undertaker's Supply House, Friendly Wholesale Co, Lehman Furniture Store, Galehouse Tree Farm

In the year 1909, John and Peter Schmid borrowed $300 from a neighbor. With the money, they purchased two horses, two wagons, an assortment of milk bottles, cans, dippers, and a hand-crank ice cream freezer. With their new purchases, they set off to make a name for themselves. With their horses and wagon, the two brothers delivered about 60 gallons of milk to nearly 200 homes in Orrville, Ohio. The residents soon started to call them "the Smith Brothers". This small venture has led to one of the largest industries in Orrville today -- the Smith Dairy Products Company (Generations of Excellence: Smith Dairy Products Company, page 2).

In the 1856 Baker's Map, there is a business directory for Wooster, Ohio. Some of the wholesalers listed include: W. J. Frost & Co.; Isaac Jones; and J. W. Kobh & Co. Most were wholesalers in groceries and dry goods.

In 1877, Smithville Thomas and Koppes opened a dry goods store. In 1881, it changed its name to Thomas and Hunsberger Dry Goods. Nine years later, the name changed to the Hunsberger and Schlossnagel Dry Goods. The company carried Dry Goods, Gents Furnishings and Queensware, Glassware, Confectioneries, tobaccos and cigars, and much more. (History of Smithville & Surrounding Area, page 36).


This sector includes businesses that engage "in the collection, treatment, and disposal of waste materials" -- both hazardous and non-hazardous (NAICS, 2012 ed., page 806). Remediation services includes companies that engage in the "remediation and cleanup of contaminated buildings, mine sites, soil, or groundwater" (NAICS, 2012 ed., page 812). Examples of businesses serving Wayne County, Ohio include Enviro Clean Services, Kimble Companies and Waste Management. Other companies assigned to this sector include Clear Drain Cleaning, Dennys Kyna-Kleen Carpet, Miller's Septic Tank Cleaning, and Woodland Mulch LLC.