Early History of Strasburg
Franklin Township was the last township created in Tuscarawas County, and it was organized on December 6, 1854.
The plains were avoided by the earliest settlers who were accustomed to judging the fertility of soil by the density of its timber. They chose to locate among the distant hills rather than try to farm the scrubby plains. Time proved they were mistaken.
Strasburg was settled in the plain a mile north of Sugarcreek, much later than outlying parts of the township. It is impossible to state with certainty who was the first settler. He was an old bachelor and a squatter. He cleared a little patch of ground on what was later the Zeltman farm, a half mile north of Strasburg. He lived there for some time, then moved farther upstream. Other early pioneers in the community were Leonard Bair, Sr., his son, Leonard, Jr., Christian Kanagy, Michael Kohr, Abraham Wallick and George Wallick.
Strasburg was laid out by Jonathan Folck in February, 1828. It embraced 47 lots. Christian Metzger, a weaver by trade, built the first house. Frederick Harbaugh was probably the second citizen. He was a carpenter, Justice of the Peace, the first postmaster, and later on owned a small store. However, Timothy Bacon was the first store owner.
Upon returning from the Civil War and a short career as a drug salesman, Philip A. Garver established a small mercantile business in Strasburg in 1866. He opened his store in a small one-and-a-half story log building, a former sheep fold, and carried a general line of merchandise including drugs.
In 1872, the Lakeshore and Tuscarawas Valley Railroad was constructed through Strasburg and this brought a business boom to the hamlet. Brick plants were established in the vicinity and provided employment for many Strasburg men.
In 1874, Rudolph Kapitzky laid out an addition of eight lots east of the original plot. In 1875, a larger store was built by Mr. Carver and by the year 1884, the Strasburg population was about 200. The town was described as a quiet country trading place “though in former days, it obtained notoriety for the boisterous, rollicking element wont to go there” – possibly encouraged by the seven saloons in the village.
The church life of the community was shared by the German and English Lutheran and United Brethren congregations. A Union church was built in 1833, which was used by all three congregations until 1853 when the United Brethren built a church on Main Street. About that same time, German and English Lutheran congregations built a church scarcely a half-mile north of Strasburg.
In 1881, a two-story school building was built and was described as a model of architectural beauty costing $5,000. In 1902, fire destroyed the Garver store, but under the direction of G. Albert and Rudy K. Garver, sons of P.A. Garver, a new three-story structure was erected. This same year of 1902, a bank was organized by Emil Kapitzky, Charles Kapitzky and Frederic Weber. It was named The Citizen’s Bank of Strasburg. Another boon to the prosperity of the town was the construction of the Ohio Northern Tractions and Light Company Street Car Line which occurred in 1908. A fine new elementary and high school building was erected on Bodmer Avenue in 1914.
Business in the town grew and now a new banking institution was formed under the guidance of J.P. Miller. It was the Strasburg Savings and Loan, established in 1924. By the time the centennial year rolled around, the population was approximately 1,500 and the citizens were happy to celebrate by presenting an inspiring outdoor pageant of the events in the lives of the people and of the community in the century of 1828-1928.
Thriving businesses in the town, in addition to those mentioned, included Garber Lumber Company, Weber Lumber Company, several filling stations, Weber Garage, Haas Chevrolet, a drug store, Spidell Printing Company and Huber’s Restaurant.