At times, I have joked with friends that if I was blindfolded and taken to one of the new subdivisions in Troy, along State Route 55, or State Route 41, or one of the newer developments being constructed, then I would be lost and might not even know where I was.
If I was able to wander through the past, would I be lost in my own hometown? Would someone from 1900 recognize the city if they were ‘plucked out of time’ and placed in 2019? Yes, we know that big cities have a way of changing its appearance, even in a short period of time, but what about a smaller city? Well, let’s take a look at one corner in Troy and see what has taken place over the years.
In 1846, almost 40 years after it was created, Troy was still a very small community of approximately 1,600 people. From a lithograph in Henry Howe’s history of Ohio, we know that on the southwest corner of W. Main and Cherry Streets, no building was yet standing. Since it was the county seat and growing, I suspect something was built on the corner near the center of business before too many years passed.
But, approximately 40 years later, in 1887, a whole row of buildings graced the south side of W. Main Street’s 100 block, including the old 1841 Courthouse which was in the last year of its use as the courts building.
The southwest corner of W. Main and Cherry Streets, better known as 100 W. Main St., contained a one-story frame building and was used as a general office or retail store. In 1898, it is believed that Adolph Ury had his dry goods store in the structure.
Henry J. Bothe, a merchant tailor had opened his business in 1897 and was located on S. Market St., but in 1899, he moved to 100 W. Main St. to occupy and share the larger building with Mr. Ury.
For several years, Mr. Bothe grew his business and developed a reputation for quality men’s clothing as a tailor at this location. The Bothe Clothing Store would be mainstay in Troy for years to come, but older Trojans remember it being at 2 W. Main St. In December, 1917, a fire almost completely destroyed the structure, but both Bothe and Ury lost all their inventory in the conflagration. Both men would continue in their respective trades.
A few years after the fire, the Standard Oil Company purchased the lot at the corner of W. Main and Cherry and wanted to erect a filling station, but residents of the community revolted. The people voiced their wishes that they did not want an “ugly” gas station right neat the center of town. Following some discussions with the city, it was decided that an aesthetic tile and terra cotta service center would be constructed. Although it was a filling station, it was a unique one.
Through the years the operators of the small service station changed, but the corner remained relatively unchanged. Many residents will remember when it was the “Jack Frost Service Station” in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Eventually, the business and building at the corner were changed again.
The Troy Citizen’s Bank had opened on W. Main St., just down a few doors, but in 1961-62, the new bank erected the current building on the corner and opened the structure in 1962. Within a couple years, the business became the Miami Citizen’s Bank and Trust Company. It remained in business for a number of years, until it went through a change and became Citizen’s Heritage Bank, before becoming Fifth Third Bank.
In 1989, the bank continued in the same building, but now known as Fifth Third, it maintained their downtown presence until July, 2001, when the branch was closed.
The Local History Library branch of the Troy-Miami County Public Library, which partners with the The Troy Historical Society, was out of room at the Troy-Hayner Cultural Center, and therefore, the library board pursued the purchase of the former bank building at 100 W. Main Street. The sale was completed about a year later, and following renovations, the Local History Library was opened in 2003 and continues to provide the community and surrounding area with a local and regional history library to assist schools, government, individuals with genealogy, history of communities, building histories, etc.
Someone from 1900 may no longer recognize the corner at 100 W. Main St., but we trust that the residents of Troy and Miami County will recognize the Local History Library as one of the best resources for history and genealogy in the area.
Patrick D. Kennedy is archivist at the Troy-Miami County Public Library’s Local History Library, 100 W. Main St., Troy. He may be contacted by calling (937) 335-4082 or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org