Portage, August 7, 1970 - This village was once a thriving hamlet during the years of and before the oil boom, according to Eldon M. Drain, a lifetime resident of Portage for 77 years.
He remembers when:
Portage had three grocery stores, two meat markets, a drug store, two hardware stores, a five-and-ten-cent store, two shoe repair shops, a bank, two blacksmith shops, two livery stables, three saloons, two restaurants, two sawmills, two coal yards, a sucker rod shop, an icehouse, an elevator, a lime kiln, two stone quarries, a foundry shop, a pump station and two churches.
The fire department operated with a hand pump, and later had the bucket brigade with hook and ladders.
The only light in town was on the main corner, and was a gasoline light.
The old hotel stood on the corner of Findlay and Main Streets, and the Post Office was in the hardware store.
The CH&D and T&OC railroads operated on either side of the town, and the mail came by train.
The Dixie Highway was a mud road – and many times a buggy got stuck in the mud.
The only two automobiles were owned by Oliver Laremore and Curt Munn.
The Portage boys learned to swim in the lime kiln, and not one Portage boy ever drowned there.
The Mayor of the town was paid $100 a year and the people thought that was too high.