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Evansport Historic Photos

The following is a collection of historic photos of the Evansport area. As the Evansport community prepares to celebrate its 175th anniversary, we thought it would be fun to have a look back at some of the history of the town. Of course, we could always use more photos. Anyone who would like to contribute a photo is welcome to do so at

Dr George E Winn in Evansport
     Dr. George Elisha Winn was born in a log house in Defiance County, on August 4, 1877. He quit high school two years before graduation, took a job training horses and also worked in a Hicksville handle factory. During this time, Winn began reading medical books borrowed from a local physician, and this interest led to his formal medical education.
     In October 1901, Dr. Winn began his practice in the tiny oilfield village of Graysville in southeastern Ohio’s Monroe County, a mountain town with six saloons and four gambling houses.
     He did not remain in Graysville long, relocating to Evansport in March 1902, where he married and practiced until September 1908, when he moved to Defiance. During his 55-plus-year medical career, Dr. Winn delivered more than 4,000 babies. He died at his Defiance home in January 1957 at the age of 79.
     This vintage image of Dr. George Winn (left), taken in Evansport, was copied from an original owned by Sue Buehrer of rural Stryker.


Homer Christy with Gramm truck b
     This photograph, probably taken about 1910 looking southeast from Evansport's main intersection (Main and First streets) shows drayman Homer Christy and his Gramm Motor Truck crowded with passengers.
     Longtime area resident Louis Seigneur says Christy used the unusual vehicle to transport goods locally, including bags of flour from the Evansport mill.
     The wooden frame buildings in the background, which housed John O. Ware's hardware, Homer Hall's seed mill and store, and Caulkins' restaurant, were destroyed by a fire of suspicious origin on July 4, 1925. The structures were replaced by the buildings occupied for many years by Andy and Dave Imthurn's service station and the Evansport bar.
     This vintage image was copied from a postcard owned by Louis Seigneur.

Evansport Telephone Office 1954
For many years, Evansport was served by a local telephone exchange. Patrons rang a local operator who connected parties through a switchboard. Laura and Alvin Fitzgerald were Evansport's last local operators, serving from 1934 to 1954. The telephone office and switchboard were located in their home at the corner of First and West streets. On September 16, 1954, the General Telephone Company of Ohio established dial telephone service at Evansport, eliminating the need for the local telephone office. The new dial telephone equipment was housed on the second floor of the Cameron General Store at the southwest corner of Main and First streets. Mr. and Mrs. Fitzgerald are shown handling the last telephone call over the old magneto switchboard. This photograph is from the Williams County Public Library's Photographic Archives


Evansport Town Band #1991 20 7 neg 91-0200
Evansport's town band was organized as early as 1875. Band members in this circa 1900 photograph are, from left to right, (first row) unidentified snare drummer and bass drummer John Christy; (second row) Charles Snyder, ? Wagner (leader), Ed Williams, Jim Christy, Jack Snyder, Claude Woodward, and Charles Schroeder; (third row) ? Mann, William Snyder, Sam Masters, Elmer Christy, Ed King; (fourth row) Porter Cameron, Homer Hall, Emery Snyder. (Williams County Public Library's Photographic Archives)


Harry Brace Garage Evansport 1925
This March 1925 photograph shows Harry F. Brace and the garage he operated on the east side of Main Street in Evansport's business section for 50 years. The garage was an authorized Ford service station and sold gasoline, Kelly tires and Sinclair Opaline motor oil. The building still stands, although its second story was removed after being badly damaged by two disastrous fires shortly after this photograph was taken. On April 3, 1925, fire destroyed M.F. Cubberly's poolroom and an unoccupied building south of Brace's garage. Evansport had only a bucket brigade at that time, and Bryan, Stryker and Defiance firefighters were called to battle the blaze. About midnight on the Fourth of July 1925, fire destroyed John O. Ware's hardware store, Homer Hall's seed store and the Caulkins restaurant north of Harry's building, leaving his garage the only remaining building on the east side of the business district. Several people reported seeing candles burning in the hardware's basement before the fire broke out, and Mr. Ware was charged with arson.


Wade Rethmel Barn Raising
Large wooden barns have been a northwest Ohio farm staple since the 1800s, sheltering livestock, providing enclosed work areas and offering storage for hay, straw, grain and farm equipment. A "barn raising" was often a community event in which neighbors, friends and family members of all ages gathered to construct a barn. While men worked on the barn, youngsters carried water for thirsty workers and fetched needed items, and women prepared bountiful meals for the participants. This May 1911 photograph shows a group of 41 men, women and children at a barn raising on the Wade Rethmel farm on Rethmel Road south of Evansport. The barn, which still stands, is now owned by Don and Anita Rethmel. As time passed, wooden barns fell into disfavor due to changes in farming and livestock management practices, larger farm equipment and less maintenance intensive building alternatives. The numerous historic barns that once dotted the local landscape continue to disappear as the years pass, severing an historical tie with the area's early agricultural methods.


In 1831, the Coy family moved from Greene County, Ohio, to the Evansport area. In 1835, Jacob Coy helped found Evansport, and along with his brother John and brother-in-law John Snider, built a gristmill and sawmill in the 1830s. For many years, the Evansport mills provided early settlers with flour for their meals and lumber that turned forests into farmhouses and small communities.


Defiance Co Sunday School Ass005_edited
This undated photograph shows attendees of a Defiance County Sunday School Association meeting in Evansport. The group assembled in their "Sunday best" in front of the Evansport school, located at the southwest corner of Main and Church (formerly Third) streets in Evansport to record the event for posterity. The school's second floor was removed circa 1920. The building was used for classes until around 1930, and served as the Evansport Veterans of Foreign Wars hall for many years before it was razed in November 2004. The site is currently occupied by the Tiffin Township Fire Department's new facility, dedicated on November 18, 2007.

The SAHC is seeking additional information on the Defiance County Sunday School Association, the identities of meeting attendees, and the date the photograph was taken. Please contact the SAHC at 419.373.0310 or via email at with any details.


According to the 1883 Warner, Beers & Company “History of Defiance County,” Tiffin Township’s first sermon “was delivered at the cabin of Enos Purtee by Reverend Prior,” but the history fails to provide the date Prior’s sermon was delivered or what denomination he represented.

Enos Purtee was one of Tiffin Township’s earliest settlers, “following soon after” Ephraim Doty, who arrived about 1825. Purtee’s 110-acre farm was located in the northeast quarter of Section 20, about where Evansport Road crosses the Tiffin River 2 miles south of Evansport.

Evansport was surveyed on December 14, 1835, and the Evansport United Methodist Church was organized as early as February 12, 1841. On that date, church trustees signed an agreement with Dr. John Evans (who founded the villages of Williams Center and Lockport in Williams County) to purchase the current church site on the west side of West Street for $50. Unfortunately, Dr. Evans died unexpectedly before conveying the land. It was not until June 1851—10 years later— that Evans’ accounts were settled and the church officially acquired the property.

The existing brick Evansport United Methodist Church was completed in 1874. Prior to this, Evansport Methodists constructed or acquired a frame house of worship near the Tiffin River, about two blocks east of the existing church. A deed search failed to disclose the congregation purchasing a lot or lots near the Tiffin River, but a deed may have been missed in the indexing process or the building site may have been leased from others.


Evansport UB Church edited twice
The date that the Evansport United Brethren in Christ congregation was established is unknown. On May 6, 1874, church trustees purchased one-quarter acre on the south side of the Williams-Defiance County Line Road (Williams County Road A), west of West Street and constructed a frame church at a cost of about $1,600. In 1889, the United Brethren in Christ denomination split nationally over the issue of membership in "secret societies" such as Masons. This division impacted the Evansport United Brethren congregation. On May 19, 1898, the so-called "Radical" faction of the Evansport United Brethren congregation purchased the west half of Lots 97 and 98 at the southeast corner of West and Fifth streets. The frame church above was constructed on the site, and it is believed to have been dedicated on November 20, 1898. Evansport's "Liberal" United Brethren congregation appears to have folded soon after 1900, while the Radical congregation prospered well into the 20th century before disbanding. On March 9, 1938, church trustees sold the property, the building was dismantled, and the material was used to construct an addition to the Pilgrim Holiness Church in Defiance. This vintage image is from the Williams County Public Library's Photographic Archives.

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