Happy 2016, and a Look Back!

The Cleveland Museum of Art nearing completion, courtesy of the museum via Ohio Memory.
The Cleveland Museum of Art nearing completion, courtesy of the museum via Ohio Memory.

Happy New Year to all of our Ohio Memory visitors and readers! 2016 marks a number of important events–including a leap year, the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, and the 2016 presidential election in November, just to name a few.

Looking back at the historical materials on Ohio Memory, we can find a number of events, both known and lesser-known, that will also have their centennial this coming year. Let’s take a look at a selection, starting with the photograph above, which shows the Cleveland Museum of Art shortly before it was completed and opened to the public in 1916. Although the last 100 years have included an expansion of the museum, the 1916 building seen here is still at the heart of the museum complex. The institution will celebrate its centennial with a year-long event, kicking off on New Year’s Eve!

The Hayes Memorial, ca. 1940, via Ohio Memory.
The Hayes Memorial, ca. 1940, via Ohio Memory.

That same year, the Hayes Memorial (now the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center) opened in Fremont, Ohio, thanks in large part to the efforts of Webb C. Hayes, son of the late president. Expanded in 1922 and again in 1968, the Hayes Presidential Center is now a complex comprising several buildings related to Hayes’ life and presidency, including a museum and library, the Hayes tomb, and Spiegel Grove, an estate encompassing the family home. The research library on site was the first presidential library, and one of only three for a 19th century president! While the home, library, tomb and estate will remain open, the museum will close on Monday, January 4th and remain closed until Memorial Day weekend, when the centennial celebration will take place.

National Guard troops amid damage caused by fires set during the 1916 strike in East Youngstown, via the Youngstown Historical Center of Industry and Labor on Ohio Memory.
National Guard troops amid damage caused by fires set during the 1916 strike in East Youngstown, via the Youngstown Historical Center of Industry and Labor on Ohio Memory.

Also opened in 1916 was Springfield Memorial Hall, noted in the Ohio Guide Collection as “headquarters of various patriotic organizations and county associations with an auditorium seating 2,700,” with the Clark County historical museum on its second floor, “containing a collection of pioneer relics and other articles of historical interest, judged the second finest collection in Ohio.” Although it was demolished in the fall of 2010, the building lives on in the memories of Springfield residents.

1916 marked great turmoil in Ohio, too, when 500 workers at the Republic Iron and Steel Company’s tube mill in East Youngstown (now Campbell, Ohio) walked off their jobs. Steelworkers demanded higher wages from their company, which had increased production due to World War I’s outbreak in Europe, and the strike quickly spread until 16,000 area steelworkers were on strike. Armed guards were hired to protect the mills and the employees who remained on the job, and confrontations soon erupted. On January 7, 1916, company guards at Youngstown Sheet & Tube’s East Youngstown mill opened fire on a crowd of picketers, and the crowd responded by rioting and burning much of East Youngstown’s business district. National Guard troops were called in, but only after three people had died and 125 were injured. The arrival of the National Guard as well as offers of increased wages convinced most workers to return to their jobs; within a week of the riots the mills were once again operating near full capacity. The 1916 strike not only led to increased wages but also persuaded the steel companies to take more interest in their employees’ welfare.

Looking for more anniversaries? Check out the materials below:

  • The Toledo Glass Company, incorporated in 1895, reorganized as the Libbey-Owens Sheet Glass Company. In 1930, the company merged with the Edward Ford Plate Glass Company to form Libbey-Owens-Ford.
  • The Pandora Overall Factory in Pandora, Ohio, ceased production, prior to the company’s failure in 1917.
  • The Shakespeare Garden, one of the Cleveland Cultural Gardens in Rockefeller Park, was dedicated on April 14, 1916, the 300th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. During its dedication, the city decided to create similar areas honoring each of Cleveland’s ethnic communities, which were established beginning in 1926.
  • The last of the distinctive arches in downtown Columbus along High Street were removed, replaced with light posts. They would later be reinstalled starting in 2002, reinvigorating the capital’s nickname “Arch City.”

We look forward to seeing what else 2016 will hold, and sharing more from Ohio’s history with you over the coming year!


Thanks to Lily Birkhimer, Digital Projects Coordinator at the Ohio History Connection, for this week’s post!

Leave a Reply