When a manufacturer decides to change the location of his plant, he does so because he feels the necessity of improving in one or the other of five factors of his business - transportation, labor, power, raw materials, or markets.
The competition of modern business is keen. The standardization of machinery and the availability of skilled supervision makes it possible for every manufacturer, if he will, to produce high-grade goods. Economy and efficiency in production are the aims of present-day industrial operators.
It is the part of good management to locate a plant in a place where wasteful and costly transportation of raw materials and finished products may be eliminated and power and fuel may be obtained at a moderate cost and where living conditions are conducive to peaceful relations between employer and employe. It is of the greatest importance that a manufacturing plant once started may be kept in continuous operation. Railroad congestion, fuel shortage or unfortunate labor conditions must be avoided, and the location which affords manufacturers a combination of conditions which assure him uninterrupted production is the one which is certain to inspire his confidence and secure his industrial plant.
Marietta could be the largest manufacturing center in the nation because she offers the manufacturer an economical, profitable and well-balanced combination of industrial advantages.
Marietta is situated on two of the great waterways of the nation, the Muskingum tapping the north and with the construction of but a single dam at or near Dresden, could be in touch via water with the Great Lakes. The Ohio comes to us from the mountains of Pennsylvania and West Virginia, via Pittsburgh and goes on to the Mississippi and on to the Gulf and the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific via the Panama Canal.
We are in the heart of a settled gas producing country and which experts say will give us gas for fuel for at least 25 years. Surrounded by coal on every hand that can be reached by both water and railroad. Two of the nation's greatest railroad systems have lines to our doors and both of them are in readiness to give us better facilities with the increase of trade.
No oil field in all the world is more productive that the fields in and about Marietta and the settled condition of the business assures many years of profitable drilling and operation.
Marietta had her industrial beginning with the foundation of the town, a site selected by the wise men who founded the nation and with Washington, Putnam, Cutler and others. Marietta was founded and begun to build for the reason of her excellent location.
The great manufacturing of the West had its beginning here. The first flour mills in Ohio were on Wolf Creek, about a mile from its mouth, erected in 1789, by Col. Robert Oliver, Major Haffield White, and Captain John Dodge. Mills were commenced soon after on Duck Creek by Enoch Sheperd with Col. E. Sproat and Thomas Stanley, but the Indian War and the flood interrupted. In 1798 a floating mill was built five miles up the Muskingum by Captain Jonathan Devol, which for some years did nearly all the grinding for the inhabitants on the Ohio and Muskingum for fifty miles above and below the mill.
The "Marietta Steam Mill" in Harmar was completed in 1811.
The first tannery was established by Col. Ichabod Nye in 1791. In 1813 a cotton factory was built for a company of which William Woodbridge, Joseph Holden, and S. P. Hildreth were directors. Dr. N. McIntosh was the contractor. His son, Col. E. S. McIntosh, laid the brick. The building was on Putnam Street, between Fourth and Fifth, and some twenty years after was converted into the old "Academy" building by the college and later was removed to another location.
Shipbuilding was commenced at Marietta in 1801 by B. I. Gilman and was soon after entered into by William Knox. The business was prosecuted with vigor and success. Marietta suffered greatly by the embargo act in December, 1807.
With the Knoxes at the helm, this branch of business flourished for many years and ships and steamboats were built by them till but a few years ago.
Along in the 40's some eight or ten ocean going ships were built here, one of which, the "John Farnum," built for A. B. and I. R. Waters, was sent to Ireland with a cargo of corn in charge of Asa B. Waters.
In January 1829, Dobbins and McElfresh started an iron foundry called the "Washington Foundry," situated north of the old Harmar Steam Mill. About a year later it was bought by A. t. Nye and was soon after moved to the building erected for a woolen mill and where the business is still carried on by The A. T. Nye & Son Co.
The old Franks foundry on Second Street was established by Franks & Hendrie in about the year 1840.
Efforts to establish cotton and woolen mills in Marietta were never very successful though at Beverly a number of woolen establishments carried on a prosperous business for many years.
The manufacture of chairs and furniture in Marietta began back in 1797 and was continued in a direct line to the establishment of the Marietta Chair Company and today remains one of the largest plants of its kind in the country.
For a number of years the Putnams carried on a gigantic bucket and tub manufacturing business and the products went to the four quarters of the country.
Early in the history of the town and country the hills of Washington County were found to contain a grade of sandstone that produced the very best grindstones to be found in the nation, and from a very small beginning in the early years that business has grown till today it is one of the best in this section of the country, and Washington County sandstones sell at a premium.
There is one other advantage that Marietta has and one which has received but little attention and that is the water power that is afforded on and along the Muskingum River. Tons and tons of power go to waste every year.
Marietta looks toward the future with confidence that her present industries will continue to grow and that many new large plants will be located here.