Bluffton historian Fred Steiner will be giving a presentation titled “Unusual Bluffton visitors, saloons and other stories” at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 24th, at the Bluffton Public Library.
“From the 1880s to the 1930s Bluffton was part of a circuit visited by interesting groups of itinerants,” said Steiner.
“Most of these visitors were harmless and homeless persons traveling the countryside. They included drifters, peddlers, misfits and people from the Romani culture.”
They told fortunes, traded and sold horses and merchandise, and provided entertainment while often looking for work or a handout.
Some arrived in Bluffton by freight trains, while other carried their possessions in wagons. One group even came with a trained bear. Often these people were escorted out of town by the village marshal.
In addition, during the 1890s, 13 saloons, mostly on Main Street, created several cultural issues residents faced as the village grew. Many of these issues are part of the presentation.
Those interested in attending should contact the library at 419-358-5016.
(Pictured above is a photograph provided by Steiner of one of 13 Bluffton saloons in the 1890s)