The Pointe

MidPointe Library's Official Blog

Local History #tbt - Day to Day Business in the Early 20th Century

If you think it’s tough to find a parking space these days, imagine what it was like for a horse carriage driver in early 20th century Monroe, Ohio.

snow street.jpg


That scene is one of more than 800 depicted in the Marion G. Warner Photo Collection on the MidPointe Library website (Photograph of Pike Street, Monroe, Ohio, 1909 December 28)

The black-and-white image illustrates just how challenging it was to park one’s horse-and-buggy in a crowded business district populated by similar means of transport.  Has anything really changed?

The buggy photo was taken by Monroe businessman and artist, Marion G. Warner (1861-1922). Mr. Warner’s exceptionally sharp images -- each derived from a glass plate negative -- depict families, individuals of all ages, animals, homes, businesses, buildings, churches and many outdoor scenes from Monroe in the 1900s, 1910s and 1920s.

One way to appreciate the look of Monroe commerce in the early 20th century is to type the name, Pike Street (present day Main Street), in the search box of the Warner Collection website. In addition to the aforementioned photo you’ll discover photos of Mr. Warner’s general store (look for the horse-and-buggy to the right) and other businesses. Photograph of M. G. Warner General Store, Pike Street and High Street, Monroe, Ohio, 1909 December 28

By typing the phrase, Gas Main Installation, you’ll find photos of the installation of a gas main and sidewalks along what was Main Street (present day Old Street) in 1909. Photograph of gas main installation, Monroe, Ohio, 1909 August, photograph 2

Perhaps the most important take-away of Mr. Warner’s photos is the realization that as years pass the needs of daily life, business and public utilities remain basically unchanged. The following photographs also illustrate that reality:

Photograph of J. H. Sigg Grocer, Pike Street, Monroe, Ohio, 1913, photograph 1

Photograph of food delivery to C. M. Robinson Groceries and Hardware, Pike Street, Monroe, Ohio, 1913 March 5, photograph 2

The Marion G. Warner Photograph Collection was originally curated by and made available to MidPointe Library by the Monroe Historical Society. It can be accessed at

Online visitors can click on the category of photo they wish to see : buildings, churches, homes and houses, people and families, business, street views, bridges or browse the entire collection.

In addition to a digital presentation, the Warner collection appears as a photographic exhibit on a 70-inch interactive touchscreen in the MidPointe Middletown Local History and Genealogy Gallery. Enlarged prints of the photos are also displayed. The library is located at 125 S. Broad Street.

For access to actual photographs, contact the Monroe Historical Society :

Can you help?  If you can identify people or places in the Marion G. Warner Photograph Collection or would like to correct items that have been misidentified please contact the library at