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 Ohio Revisited: Belmont County, Part 16 -- Bellaire in 1887.

by Henry Howe.

Bellaire is 120 miles east of Columbus and 5 miles below Wheeling, on the Ohio River. It is served by the B.&O., B.Z.&C., and C.&P. Railroads. It is an important manufacturing town; its manufactories are supplied with natural gas, and it has ten coal mines, water works, paved streets, and a street railway.

Newspapers: Herald, Democratic, E. M. Lockwood, editor; Independent, Republican, J. F. Anderson, editor; Tribune, Republican, C. L. Poorman & Co., editors. Churches: 2 Methodist Episcopal, 1 Colored Methodist Episcopal, 2 Presbyterian, 1 United Presbyterian, 1 Disciples, 1 Episcopal, 1 German Reformed, 1 Church of God and 1 Catholic. Bank: First National, J.T. Mercer, president, A.P. Tallman, cashier.

Manufactures and Employees. -- Lantern Globe Co., 95 workers; Crystal Window Glass Co., 61; Bellaire Steel and Nail Works, 650; Union Window Glass Works, 63; DuBois & McCoy, doors, sash, etc., 27; Bellaire Bottle Co., 130; Belmont Glass Works, 240; Bellaire Barrel Works, 16; James Fitton, gas fitting, 13; Ohio Lantern Co., 83; Bellaire Stumping Co., metal specialties, 210; Bellaire Goblet Co., 285; Enterprise Window Glass Co., 59; Bellaire Window Glass Works, 106; Ohio Valley Foundry Co., stoves, etc., 45; Rodefer Bros., lamp globes, 125; Aetna Foundry & Machine Shop, repair shop, etc., 13; Aetna Glass Manufacturing Co., 245. -- State Report, 1887.

Population in 1880, 8,205.

School census in 1886, 3,381; Benj. T. Jones, superintendent.

The river plateau at Bellaire is about a third of a mile wide; upon it are the industries and most of the residences. The streets are broad and airy. The ascent of the river hills is easy, with the homes of the working people pleasantly perched thereon. The Baltimore and Ohio railroad follows the valley of McMahon's Creek, a stream about six rods wide and entering the Ohio River in the southern part of the town. The railroad crosses the Ohio by an iron bridge and across the town by a stone arcade consisting of forty-three arches, rising and passing over several of the main streets at a height of thirty-five feet; it is a very picturesque feature of the city. The two, bridge and arcade combined, it is said, are about a mile long and cost over a million and a half dollars to build.

For seven miles along both sides of the Ohio River, is a great manufacturing region, which owes its prosperity primarily to the extensive beds of coal in the valley hills, along with limestone, building stone, and fire-clay. On the West Virginia side is the city of Wheeling, with its 35,000 people, and suburb of Benwood directly opposite Bellaire.

On the Ohio side is a line of towns for seven miles, beginning with Bellaire and continuing with Bridgeport and Martin's Ferry, bringing up the total population to 60,000 persons. So near are they that one may in a certain sense call it a single city with the Ohio River dividing it.

In the hills at Bellaire ten large coal mines are worked. On the Ohio side the dip of the coal is towards the mouth of the mines, thus giving the advantage of a natural drainage. At Bellaire the vein -- "The Pittsburgh" -- is 125 feet above the river at low stage and is worked from the surface. The inclination of the vein is twenty-two feet to the mile. The coal is discharged over screens into railroad cars drawn by mules. The dumping places are termed "tipples." The mines have two tipples each, one at the mouth of the mine and the other at the river bank. These are called "tipples" because the coal cars are tipped and emptied there.

Lombardy Poplars

Lombardy poplars are a feature in the river towns of the upper Ohio, for which the soil and climate appear to be well adapted. Mingled with the rounding forms of the other trees and projected against the soft curves of distant hills, or standing on their slopes and summits, they dignify and greatly enhance the charms of a landscape. Their towering forms affect one with the same somber emotion as the spires and pinnacles of Gothic architecture.

The tree grows very rapidity; and its entire life is only about forty years. The worms at certain seasons badly damage them, and they can look as scraggly as chickens without feathers. The selfish reason given for not planting trees -- that one may not live to see them grow -- does not apply to this tree. Such is the demand hereabouts for poplars that at Moundsville, on the opposite side of the river, the nursery of Mr. Harris makes a specialty of them.

This entry is adapted from Henry Howe's HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS OF OHIO (2 vols., 1907). The book has been reedited, updated, and restructured for inclusion in the Pierian Press Fulltext eBooks database, and is included on the Stratton House Inn Web site by special permission. This entry is licensed for use ONLY on this Web site. This entry may not be copied or downloaded, but may be used for educational purposes and personal pleasure under fair-use provisions via this Web site. Please note that the Stratton House Inn iteration of this entry does NOT include the subject headings assigned the entry for use in the Fulltext eBooks database.

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