Conneaut Harbor, 1890s
In the 1890s, the Conneaut Harbor bustled with activity. Docks and dock workers handled increased ore and lumber traffic from the Upper Lakes as well as coal and local products. Ship unloading was done mainly by hand and the large immigrant population arriving mostly from Europe provided the labor. These immigrant workers faced hard work, long hours, miserable pay, and the probability of daily fatal accidents.
Businesses lined the street leading from the docks, including supply stores for sailors, bars, brothels, rooming houses, hotels, clothing stores, small neighborhood groceries, and a seaman’s bethel. As well as its businesses, the harbor had its own fire house and police station. The area had a reputation as a rough place that kept policemen busy.
A few articles from the local paper illustrates just one of the events that kept the police busy. One of the headlines read:
Changed His Pants, Lost His Money
Henry McGregor Held Up and Robbed Near the Harbor
Relieved of Twenty-Nine Dollars
Another bold hold up is reported from the lower end of Harbor Street where two men have previously been relieved of their personal belongings. Last night about nine o’clock, as Henry McGregor was returning home from attending church services in Christ Love Chapel at the harbor, he was held up and robbed of$29.00.
When McGregor was just below the halfway house, two men emerged from the brush beside the walk and demanded his money. He refused to comply, and a desperate struggle followed. The highwaymen went through his pockets and took his money, $29.00. He lay on the ground unconscious for some time. When he came to, he came up town and reported the matter to the police. Patrolmen Summer and Buss investigated the matter.