Nearing of completion of the new Citizens' bank building reminds the average-aged Mariettan of the days when "old Putnam street was new." Putnam street has been rebuilt - built new within the past half-century, except for only a few of the older buildings.
The forefathers who laid out the broad street had a vision, it seems, that automobile traffic would be an important feature in the trend of human and industrial events, else they would have laid out what are "horse and buggy" streets that are found in many other towns and cities that are not nearly so old as is Marietta.
Looking up and down Putnam street, one finds only three of the old buildings of the 100 year old class standing, those buildings that belong to the age of Marietta pioneers. They are the Corner Drug Store building and the Cooke building at Front street and the Hildreth building. The Corner Drug Store building that housed Marietta's early post office is the oldest of the trio, it having been built previous to the Hildreth building that dates back before 1820. The Cooke building at one time housed a Marietta bank. It is of the architectural vintage of 1830.
The first movement for the continuation of the business section advancing up Putnam street came in 1883-1884, when Strecker Bros. erected the first unit of their manufacturing plant on a part of the premises of the old Nahum Ward home.
Just working out on one's memory, the beautiful old trees that were on Putnam street until they were removed with the widening and resurfacing of Putnam street are already almost forgotten; and so are the old wooden telephone poles and telegraph poles on which were tacked constables sales, notices and posters. The poles were perforated with tacks just as the trees along the walks in Marietta College campus with their long years of service in advertising most everything - even the old black bordered funeral notices. There are those who distinctly remember when Putnam street was a dirt road before it was elevated to its grade of today.
And delving back further in one's memory, do you remember the F. A. Wheeler home that stood on the site of Otto Bros. store, with its semi-circular portico and high columns? And the George M. Woodbridge home, a square roofed old colonial house that stood on the south-west corner of the street at Third? And the Mrs. Kate Wakefield Dye home at Third and Putnam on the site of which is now the Wakefield hotel? And the old Sheppard home, at Fourth and Putnam, where stands the First Baptist Church? And the Miss Mary Nye home and the Judge Cutter home where now stand the business blocks between the Hildreth building and the Wakefield hotel? One would hardly know the Judge Cutter house in its new environment in a fine residential section on Second street where it was removed to make way for the Putnam theatre.
OLD COUNTY JAIL
And, does one remember the old sheriff's residence and county jail that stood where is now the First National Bank building and the Turner-Ebinger store? And when the late George Wieser erected the Wieser building on a part of what was the armory lot? Do you remember when the old armory was the roller skating rink? When it was used as a display hall for the relics of Marietta's centennial in 1888? All of the building blocks- the St. Clair building and the Meigs building are on the site of the old armory premises, the armory having stood back at the rear of the lot.
And, does one remember the old centenary church where General Ballington Booth talked when the Salvation Army first came to town? The old church disguised as a business block and was razed last year to make room for the Kresge building.
Just like the trees and the telephone poles of recent memory are the memory of the old Nathan Fawcett mansion, later the Cadwallader and Dr. Sam Hart homes that were razed in very recent years to make room for the Wood and Augenstein blocks, and the Montgomery Ward store.
STARTED BY MRS. MILLS
The old Marietta Female Seminary stood where the People's bank building is located now and that was one of the first, if not the first institution for higher learning for women in Ohio. The school was opened in the early 1830's. The mother of Col. John Mills and W. W. Mills was a teacher in the seminary.
The Tea Room was originally the home of Daniel P. Torpy who built the house that was later occupied by Dr. Charles S. Hart. What is now the Osteopathic Clinic was formerly the home of Prof. H. S. Saroni. The Follett home was built by the late A. D. Follett some 30 years ago.
The Unitarian church of 1857; the City Hall of 1871-1873; the old Baptist church of 1865; the old "law building" opposite The times' offices; the block of buildings between the Corner Drug Store building and Otto Bros. store' and also the Kropp building are some of the buildings left on Putnam street.
The court house corner has held its own for 107 years, when the "second" Washington county court house was erected on the present site in 1823. The old building was razed to make way for the present elegant structure in 1900-1902. The first court house was a log structure that stood where is now the First National bank building.