Niles, Ohio

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Niles is a city in Trumbull County, Ohio, United States. The city's population was 20,932 at the 2000 census.[3] It is part of the Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, OH-PA Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Located in the nation's former industrial belt, the city's economy focused initially on iron manufacturing but later diversified to include steel and glass production.[3] Niles was adversely affected by the decline of the manufacturing sector throughout the northern United States in the 1970s.

Contents

History

Niles was founded in 1806 by James Heaton, who owned one of the first iron-ore processing plants in the state. The town originally went by the name of "Heaton's Furnace", but was later renamed as Nilestown, after Hezekiah Niles (editor of the Niles Register, a Baltimore newspaper). In 1843, the name was shortened to 'Niles'.[3] In the early 19th century, Heaton built a forge and, later, a charcoal blast furnace in the area just east of what is now the city's central park, on the west side of Mosquito Creek. Heaton is credited with producing the first bar iron in Ohio.[3] Niles' iron industry thrived until the late 19th century, when the economic depression of 1873 brought about the closure of the community's largest industrial firm, James Ward and Company.[3] Plans to restore the local iron industry foundered because of the exorbitant cost of modernizing outdated mills. By the early 1900s, however, Niles was the site of companies including Ohio Galvanizing, Sykes Metal, the Niles Glass Works of the General Electric Company, and the Niles Iron and Steel Roofing Company.[3] Between 1900 and 1920, the city's population swelled from 7,468 to slightly over 13,000.[3] The community's efforts to rebuild its industry suffered a temporary setback in the 1910s. Niles was one of many cities affected by statewide floods that struck in the spring of 1913. On March 23, 1913, Easter Sunday, heavy rain throughout Ohio, combined with ice and snow that was still on the ground, precipitated massive flooding.[3] Flooding of the Mahoning River left extensive damage and numerous casualties in Niles. Damage exceeded $3 million, and 428 people were confirmed dead.[3]

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