“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Hamilton in Steuben County, Indiana — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)

Early Hamilton

Early Hamilton Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Doda, April 24, 2022
1. Early Hamilton Marker
In 1836, New Yorker Nicanor Munson entered a tract of land that included the outlet of Hamilton Lake. Mr. Munson soon sold the tract to the Steuben City Company, a group of New York investors. A town was platted and called Enterprise. Unfortunately, the growth of Enterprise did not meet investor's expectations. In 1844, the investor's company sold its interest to Sydney P. Gambia. Mr. Gambia changed the name to Hamilton. Hamilton attained considerable prominence in the new county. It is claimed that the first post office in Steuben County was located in Hamilton.

First businesses: In an area surrounded by farms, Hamilton became the center for local trade. Early businesses provided goods and services for farmers who came weekly to by and trade. Many business owners ran more than one business. Which businesses are no longer found in Hamilton? What new businesses does Hamilton have that didn't exist in the 1880s?

Brown's Barber Shop: Barber shops were for men only. The barber shop often included a checker board and ample seating for "loafers".

Swift Drug Store: The drug store owner provided
Early Hamilton Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Doda, April 24, 2022
2. Early Hamilton Marker
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patent medicines as well as prescriptions. A druggist frequently sold his own formulas. Two Hamilton druggists also sold liquor and ran saloons.

Mill on Hamilton Lake: Hamilton boasted a our mill (wheat), grist mill (com), and sawmill (lumber).

General Store: The general store sold dry goods, usually in bulk. Barrels of sugar, salt, crackers, pickles, dried fruit, and spices could be purchased. Cheese could be purchased by the wedge from huge wheels. Vinegar was pumped out of a wooden barrel. All purchases were over the counter.

Beecher's Tin Shop: Tinware was very popular in the mid-1800s. Even small towns boasted 22 least one tin shop.

Swift Funeral Home: The funeral director in Hamilton also ran a local furniture store.

Fostz Blacksmith Shop on Bellefontaine Read: Not only did the blacksmith shoe horses, he also repaired farm equipment, sharpened plow blades, and made wheels.

Around 1939
Ice Delivery: Before refrigeration, ice from Hamilton Lake was cut into blocks. It was stored in large barns and covered with sawdust to prevent it from melting, In warm months it was delivered to customers for their ice boxes.

Trains, Wagons, and Boats: At the turn of the 19th century, visitors traveled on the Wabash Railroad to the Hamilton Depot. From there they transferred
Early Hamilton Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Doda, April 24, 2022
3. Early Hamilton Marker
to horse carriage for a ride to the docks. At the docks, visitors rode the boats Mildred or Valle May so lake resorts.

Historical Hamilton
1836 First land purchase where current tow of Hamilton is located
1839 Port Office established
1844 Name changed from Enterprise to Hamilton
1850 Hamilton Hotel built
1852 First church built
1893 Wabash Railroad stops in Hamilton
1901 Hamilton News started
1935 Hamilton Bank organized
1907 Fish Lake Hotel built
1914 Hamilton is incorporated
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Settlements & Settlers. A significant historical year for this entry is 1836.
Location. 41° 31.995′ N, 84° 55.205′ W. Marker is in Hamilton, Indiana, in Steuben County. Marker can be reached from East Bellefountain Road west of Peninsula Street, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 3779 E Church St, Hamilton IN 46742, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Waterway History (here, next to this marker); Fish Creek Restoration (a few steps from this marker); Native Americans (a few steps from this marker); Early Settlers (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named Fish Creek Restoration (a few steps
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from this marker); Arthur Russell Perry (a few steps from this marker); Welcome to the Fish Creek Trail (within shouting distance of this marker); Site Of First Settler In DeKalb County (approx. 2.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Hamilton.
Credits. This page was last revised on May 5, 2022. It was originally submitted on April 25, 2022, by Craig Doda of Napoleon, Ohio. This page has been viewed 126 times since then and 27 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on April 25, 2022, by Craig Doda of Napoleon, Ohio. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.

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Mar. 27, 2023