Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Marietta - The Second Century of Her Existence

The Marietta Times, January 22, 1891

The Wonderful Strides Made - Some of Her Prominent Men.

Columbus Post.

Marietta, O., January 16, 1891.  When this goodly old town entered upon the second century of its existence, now nearly two years ago, literally as well as figuratively, it renewed its youth. Persons familiar with the place for years back, but who have not been here within the past year or eighteen months, would scarcely recognize the bustling, active, wide-awake city of today, with its horse-car lines, its natural gas, its water works, its electric lights, its elegant new union passenger station, and its waste land redeemed, the quiet, easy-going, non-progressive, but delightful old town, they once knew.

It is not the purpose of this communication to attempt an explanation of the marvelous transformation that has been wrought in so comparatively brief a space of time, suffice it to state that it has been. New Marietta is too busy and too happy to care for causes, being entirely satisfied with results. For years the name of Marietta was a by-word and a reproach when mentioned in connection with thriving communities of much more recent origin all through the country; but it is so no longer, being synonymous now of enterprise, thrift and public spirit.

Whatever the causes, therefore, certain it is that Marietta took on new life with the beginning of its second hundred years. First, business in all branches began to improve, reviving the hope that may have sprung eternal, but which certainly had grown dormant in the breast of the community. With the improvement in business came the ambition to place the town where it belonged in the galaxy of the lesser cities of the country, and a wide-awake energetic Board of Trade was the outcome. 

Then followed an era of public improvement, in the midst of which the old town is now flourishing like unto the traditional Green Bay tree. Within the past eighteen months the city has purchased and put into operation an electric light plant, and now has the greatest number of street lamps in proportion to population, and the best lighted streets of any place in the State; a complete and comprehensive system of water works is under construction; a first-class and splendidly equipped line of street railway has been secured and is already in operation; natural gas has been piped into the city, and is in very general and acceptable use, and with plenty of it; acres upon acres of land right in the heart of the city, but heretofore valueless because subject to overflow with every rise in either river, has been filled and brought into the market; a really elegant union passenger station, modern in design and equipment, has been constructed; another magnificent new building is now under construction for the college as a memorial to the late President Andrews; a new college for women has been established and is in successful operation; another National bank, with big capital and whose deposits are already amounting up to a quarter of a million, has been started; plans have just been secured for a larger and modern hotel, and ground has just been broken for a new Opera House, while it is the purpose of the city to pave its principal business and residence streets during the current year.

The foregoing list, to which should be added innumerable dwellings, either finished, under construction or projected, certainly speaks volumes for the place. And last, though by no means least, the city has added some  two thousand to its population by the annexation of Harmar, just across the Muskingum river. And these are only a few of the more noteworthy signs of improvement within the period named.

With all these substantial evidences of the town's prosperity, the people feel much encouraged as, indeed, they have every reason to be. The new life that has been infused into the place gives solid assurance of a bright and prosperous future.

There is no "boom" - simply a healthy, substantial improvement. Outsiders, too, are hearing of it and the influx of strangers during the past year has been so great that it is next to impossible to secure a house, notwithstanding the large number of dwellings that have been erected recently. And the new blood in the community is pushing business until Marietta will soon take rank as one of the important distributing points of the State. With two rivers, the Ohio and Muskingum, and five railroads, with another under construction, this last statement cannot be gainsaid.

The social life of Marietta has always been a distinguished and distinguishing feature of the place. The seat of one of the oldest and best known colleges west of the Alleghenies, an institution that takes rank with the great colleges of the east, and now with the new college for women - Elizabeth College - not a "female seminary," but a veritable college for the higher education of women, the social atmosphere of the place is at once, intellectual, cultured, and moral. There is little gayety here of the extreme kind, but a vast amount of social entertaining. There are literary clubs and card clubs and reading clubs and magazine clubs galore, with stated and frequent meetings, a feature of which are the excellent suppers for Marietta people are essentially good livers.

This communication would not be complete without some reference to the existing political conditions. the city government at present is Democratic, but the county - Washington - which naturally is Democratic, is now in the Republican column, owing to schisms among the Democrats. There are some strong men here, too, and men who rank high in Democratic councils. This is the home of Hon. Henry Bohl, one of the staunchest, truest and purest Democrats in the State; it is the home of Gen. A. J. Warner, whose reputation is not circumscribed by State limits; and there are others in both parties whose names, if given here, would be recognized at once as party leaders, but that the limit fixed for communications of this character has already been stretched, the lack of space precludes the enumeration.

Marietta is bound to be heard from in future in the business world as it has for many years in the educational, and The Post will be one of the mediums, for there is abundant material still left where this came from for many other communications.

F. A. L.


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