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Fostoria's Past: A Century of history in the making
By Gene Kinn
Staff writer (The Review Times)

1940- (More about the year)

The incorporation of the Atlas Crankshaft Inc. of Fostoria, for $50,000 was announced on Jan. 27, 1940. Theodore E. Clark, former president and general manager of the old Atlas Manufacturing Co., Edward A. Harper of Detroit and Tiffin Attorney George Schroth were listed as incorporators.

Mr. Clark stated the new concern would operate in the building on South Union Street which formerly housed the Bradley Motor Products Co. He said approximately 20 men would be employed at first and additional men would be added as production was stepped up.

The new business would make crankshafts and other products similar to those manufactured at the old Atlas Manufacturing Co.


1941- (More about the year)

The big story in 1941 had to be the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7 and the subsequent declaration of war by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The headline on the Dec. 8 edition of the Fostoria Daily Review blared "U.S.A. AT WAR."

Eugene Daugherty, 23, son of Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Daugherty, 411 E. Tiffin St. was reported missing following the bombing at Pearl Harbor. Durward Laney, 21, of Toledo, the grandson of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Burkett of Fostoria, was killed as a result of the bombing. Both men were in the U.S. Navy.


1942- (More about the year)

The news in 1942 was filled with was exploits, but the two major stories were the 2 R's - rationing and registration. Hundreds of Fostoria men were required to register for the draft and all Fostorians were affected by the rationing of many vital products including cars, car parts, gasoline, food items and clothing (such as nylons for women). The rationing not only affected the local residents, but had serious repercussions for local merchants, who had great difficulty getting items to sell.


1943- (More about the year)

A U.S. Army board of inquiry, composed of an air force operations officer, a medical corps officer and an army intelligence civilian investigator, were in Fostoria on Nov. 1, 1943, attempting to establish the cause of the crash of a B-24-D four-motored Liberator bomber on the Earl Ash farm, five miles east of Fostoria. The crash a couple of days earlier caused the death of three U.S. Army airmen.

The plane was manned by only a skeleton crew when it began a routine training flight from Palm Springs, Fla., to Detroit, Mich.

The investigators were aided by Seneca County Sheriff George Steinmetz.


1944- (More about the year)

On April 23, 1944, Clement O. Miniger, 69, one of Fostoria's most illustrious sons, who became one of the nation's leading industrialists, passed away in his suburban home near Toledo.

Mr. Miniger, who came here with his parents when he was a child, was graduated from Fostoria High School and always considered Fostoria his home town. His parents, Samuel and Clementine, lived on West Tiffin Street until their deaths. A brother Charles, still lived on Wood Street and a sister, Mrs. James (Anna) Sellers, lived on West Fremont Street.

Chairman of the board of directors of the Electrical Auto Lite Corp. at the time of his death, Miniger was instrumental in establishing two of the company plants, the foundry and the spark plug division, in Fostoria. He organized Electrical Auto Lite in 1911.

Mr. Miniger also ranked as a great figure in finance and philanthropy, aiding many Fostoria projects over the years, with his dollars.


1945 (More about the year)

Fostoria and surrounding areas were paralyzed on Jan. 1, 1945, by the worst winter storm in more than 60 years. Terrific winds that piled snow into great drifts, accompanied by sub-zero temperatures, snarled traffic and posed a threat to life and property.

Hundreds of motorists were stranded in the rural districts. Farmers throughout the area went to their rescue. When it was found impossible to drag cars from the snow banks with horses or tractors, farmers took the motorists into their homes. More than 50 persons spent the night in one farm house on the Fostoria-Fremont Road.

Every road out of Fostoria was blocked by drifts. All bus-line traffic through Fostoria was stopped and railroad trains were running from one to eight hours behind schedule. Fostoria store were running out of food and the war plants were hit by rampant absenteeism.

More snow would fall in succeeding weeks, making the winter of 1945 one to remember.



Fostoria got a radio station in 1946. WFOB-FM went on the air in December as one of the most powerful independent radio stations in Ohio.

The quest for a station license here was spearheaded by local attorney, Laurence Harry, who had worked with radio transmitters while serving in the U.S. Navy.

Programming, limited though it was at first, originated from studios located in the basement of the First National Bank building at Main and Tiffin streets.



The Fostoria Veterans of Foreign Wars Band won the first of a dozen national championships on Sept. 3, 1947 at the national encampment in Cleveland.

The band, directed by Richard Downs, who was also the Fostoria High School band director, received a $1,000 first-prize check.

Thousands of Fostorians were on hand to greet the local musicians when they returned to Fostoria by train with their national trophy.


1948- (More about the year)

On March 20, 1948, residents of Fostoria and vicinity were busy repairing the thousands upon thousands of dollars in damage caused by a tornado which ripped through the area shortly before 1 p.m. the previous day.

It was hard for those who viewed the damage to understand how there were no deaths or serious injuries here. There were five deaths and scores of injuries in other sections of northwestern Ohio.

In Wayne, scores of trees fell on houses, roofs were ripped off and windows were broken. In Risingsun, the town hall roof was ripped off, the school building was damaged and many houses were hard-hit.

The Foster duck farm, near Wayne, sustained several thousands of dollars in damage. One-third of the flock of 20,000 ducklings was killed or sustained injuries that would later cause death.

The roof was blown from the recently-erected projection building at the Star Lite Drive-in at U.S. 23 and 224. Several trees and high tension wires were blown down in Fostoria.



Dr. James K. Timanus, son of Mr. and Mrs. Howard Timanus of Fostoria, and his wife, Dorothy, were killed when the Great Lakes cruise ship Noronic exploded, burst into flames and sank at its pier in Toronto, Canada on Sept. 17, 1949.

Dr. Timanus, had received his doctor of medicine degree the previous June. He and his wife, the former Dorothy Coleman of Cleveland, met while both were students at the College of Wooster. Their two children, Jimmy, 3, and Barbara, 1, were staying with their paternal grandparents in Fostoria.

Dr. Timanus had recently moved to Lakewood where he began his duties as an intern at St. Luke's Hospital in Cleveland.

Information courtesy of William Cline



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