History of Archbold
The Village of Archbold is situated in western Fulton County and in the Township of German, State of Ohio. It is a Christian community and its people are of German, Swiss, and French ancestry with the majority being German. Topo-graphically, the township is flat with a very slight roll to the north and east. The Tiffin River and Brush Creek are the only state waterways which flow through the area. These provide drainage and a source of water for the village.
George Ditto was the first to settle upon the land which is now within the corporate limits of Archbold. It is so stated that Mr. Ditto arrived in 1838 and purchased the land which lies north of the New York Central Railroad. This area is known today as the Ditto and Haywood additions. This land was entirely wooded, so it was natural that the first industry was woodworking. Woodworking is still a major industry in the village today.
In the book, The History of Fulton County, the name Archbold is attributed to the chief engineer of the railroad, Mr. James Archbald. In this account it states that another story about the naming of the town was that it was named for two engineers, Arch and Bald.
In 1854 James Archbald, who was the mayor of Carbondale, PA for a number of years, moved to Adrian, Michigan, accepting the position of vice-president, chief engineer of the Michigan Southern and Northern Indiana Railroad. During his employment by this railroad he built what was then known as the famous "Air Line" railroad from Toledo, Ohio to Indianapolis. As a result, a prosperous town on the border line between the states of Ohio and Indiana was named Archbald in his honor. In a letter written about 1900 to his son, Robert, from someone in Archbold said that the first Postmaster chose the name. It was easier to work with than the "a" spelling.
Archbold became an incorporated village in 1866 with a population of approximately 300. Mr. Fredrick Stotzer, who opened a harness shop in 1858, was the village's first mayor. The first church to be built in the village, St. Martin's Lutheran Church, was founded in the fall of 1866. The church is located on South Defiance Street.
The first school was established in 1852 in a log cabin located on the Jerome Grime farm at the north end of the old corporation limits. The first graduating class from the school system was in 1891 from a white frame building which stood on the present school property.
The Archbold Volunteer Fire Department is not sure of the exact year of its origin, but is stated that in the year 1876 a used "Phoenix" hand pumper was bought from the City of Toledo. It served until the night of the big fire in August, 1913, when the east side of the 200 block of the North Defiance Street business district was destroyed.
A discarded school building was purchased from the Archbold School Board to serve as a Town Hall. This building was used until it was destroyed by fire. In 1902, the German Township Trustees and the Village joined forces to erect a Town and Township Hall. This building served until the two governing bodies erected the present building in 1911.
In 1915 the village water system consisted of three wells and a 110' high water tank with a capacity of 60,000 gallons. In 1951 the wells could not supply the demand so the village constructed a surface treatment plant and an up-ground reservoir. In 1960 the village and area industries constructed a second, larger reservoir to meet the further demands of the growing town and additional industrial requirements. The water treatment plant was enlarged and updated in 1983 to a capacity of 7.5 million gallons per day.
The first park was located on Park Street in 1802. Due to lack of interest and use, this 2-1/2 acre tract of land was sold back to Mr. Peter Nofziger, Jr., from whom it had originally been purchased. In 1922, Mayor August Ruihley outlined plans for a 13-1/2 acre park north of the three hundred block of West Holland Street. The Mayor's plan was accepted by both the citizens and the village council. Today, due to the untiring efforts of Mayor Ruihley, Archbold has a twenty-seven acre park which, we think, is one of the finest and most complete parks in northwestern Ohio. Thirty more acres were dedicated in 1976 with four ball diamonds, tennis courts and other facilities.
Archbold's first weekly newspaper was called the "The Archbold Herald" and started publication in March, 1886. Mr. W.O. Taylor was owner and publisher. Today, the Taylor family operates the well known "Archbold Buckeye" which has won many national and state awards for excellence.
The Archbold Library Association was started in 1917 and rented space which is now the Council Room and the Police Office. This served until 1940 when a new building was built. McLaughlin Memorial Library was started by a gift from Mrs. Helen McLaughlin and the citizens of Archbold contributed the required money to complete and operate the library. In 1995, Sauder Woodworking Co. donated the funds to build the current building, located across the street from the old building, and the community contributed money to pay for the furnishings. The name was changed to the Archbold Community Library.
The village wastewater treatment plant was constructed in 1959. The village and industries had grown to the point that pollution of the state streams was fast becoming a reality. This facility and the water works are under the supervision of the Mayor, the Village Administrator and Village Council. The Wastewater Treatment Plant was updated in 1971.
History of German Township
A group of families from Mahausen, Alsace Lorain Europe first settled the western end of Fulton County, known as German Township, in the year 1834. The settlers were members of the Mennonite Church. The influx of more families in the next six years increased the population and the 1840 census showed 452 residents. Most of this number lived in the vicinity of what is now known as Burlington.
History records that the first school house was built about 1/2 mile west of Burlington. The first chapel was erected by the Catholics near the center of the Township which is one mile north and one mile east of Archbold at the Catholic Cemetery location.
The first railroad in German Township was the Southern Michigan and Northern Indiana which reached Archbold in the year 1854. The Wabash Railroad reached Elmira in the year 1902. The first surveyed road in Fulton County was constructed from east to west through Burlington.
We who live in German Township feel deeply grateful to our industrious predecessors who founded this area, leaving us one of the best townships in the State of Ohio in which to live.