September 28, 2022

Delphos History On The Shelves

Did you know that the Delphos Canal Museum has not only 17,000 square feet of exhibits but also a library containing dozens of books, binders and albums chronicling the rich history of Delphos?  Well, yes, we do.

The Museum Library resides at the rear of the first floor.  Included on the shelves are yearbooks from both St. John’s and Jefferson.  St. John’s yearbooks start with the school’s first yearbook, Memories, in 1916 and Jefferson first yearbook in 1921.  The yearbooks are complete to 1983 for St. John’s and 1989 for Jefferson.  The Museum would like to complete our yearbook collection to date and are looking for copies.  Contact us if you can help fill any open spots.

There are also binders full of information and photos on all Delphos schools, including Jefferson, St. John’s, Lincoln and Garfield.   The surrounding country schools are also included. On the second floor are photos of many of the Lincoln School classes.  

Now let’s get down to business.  We have several large binders full of photos, advertisements, newspaper clippings, etc… of numerous Delphos businesses from the past 150+ years.  Blacksmith shops, car dealerships, corner groceries, clothing shops and funeral homes are just some of the businesses that operated in Delphos over the past century and a half.  Also in the library are binders specifically for several major businesses that called Delphos home including the Steinle Brewery, New Delphos Manufacturing Company, Gramm Motors, Deisel-Wemmer Cigar Factory and the Delphos Bending Works.  We also have digital copies of many, if not all, Delphos Bending Works catalogues over the years.

The Museum has a small collection of Delphos City Directories.  These directories list the name, address and occupation of city residents in separate lists by street address, residents alphabetically and phone number.  The residents list includes the name of the head of household, spouse and all others living in the household over the age of 16, a boon for genealogists.  Also listed are all Delphos businesses and their address.  The books are highlighted by neat, vintage ads from local businesses.   The earliest Delphos City Directory dates to 1879 with additional directories from 1908, 1910 and 1915.  There are later directories from the 1940’s and 1960’s.    

Further down the shelves are local history binders.  Chronicled are the Delphos 100th and 150th celebrations, the Tri County Fair, the Dienstberger House, canal boats Marguerite I and II, Lincoln Highway and the Miami and Erie Canal.  Included in this section are county histories of Allen, Van Wert and Putnam Counties compiled at the turn of the 20th century.  These volumes are chock full of information on the early history of local communities in each county and biographies of prominent citizens.  There is a small collection of family histories donated to the Museum library by their authors.

An interesting volume in the library is the Ohio Historical Preservation Inventory.  This binder holds an inventory, ca. 1979, of many historic structures in Allen County.  The Delphos chapter contains an inventory of many downtown buildings and some prominent homes.   Included in each inventory is date of construction, builder, architectural style and historic significance.  It’s a gold mine of information for building owners who wish to know more about their building and its history.   

So if you’re a student doing a school project, a home or business owner seeking more information on your structure, looking up class information for a reunion or just someone interested in Delphos and local history, stop by the Museum and spend some time in the library.    

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