On March 25, 1803, the state of Ohio authorized the creation of Columbiana County. County residents combined Columbus and Anne, after Christopher Columbus and Queen Anne, to create the county’s name. The county was originally parts of Jefferson and Washington Counties. During the American Civil War, Confederate John Hunt Morgan and his troops were captured in the county, bringing Morgan’s Raid to an end. A leading opponent of the Civil War, Clement Vallandigham, was born in Columbiana County.
Marcus Hanna and Harvey Firestone, late nineteenth-century industrialists, were both born in Columbiana County.
Harvey Firestone The Firestone Connection:
(excerpts taken from “A History of Columbiana & Fairfield Twp. 1805-2005”)
One of the most admirable historical figures of the Columbiana area is tire magnate Harvey Samuel Firestone.
Harvey Firestone was born on the Firestone Homestead near Columbiana on December 20, 1868, and would later graduate from Columbiana High School in 1887. Upon graduation, he became the manager of the Columbus Buggy Co. in Detroit, Michigan, where he got the idea of manufacturing rubber tires. His first tires were sold to Henry Ford, of the Ford Motor Company, in 1896. Ford, along with Thomas Edison and William Burroughs, would later become one of Firestone’s closest friends during his life, vacationing and touring all over the country and world. They often visited the Firestone Homestead in Columbiana.
In 1900, Firestone moved to Akron, Ohio, where he established the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company. In its first year of operation, the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company grossed more than $100,000 dollars in profit. In 1903, the company began to manufacture rubber, and in 1904, the firm proceeded to develop pneumatic tires for automobiles. In 1905, Henry Ford placed his first order for tires from Firestone. Firestone immediately hired additional workers, raising the number of employees from one dozen to 130. The following year, the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company produced more than twenty-eight thousand tires and sold more than one million dollars worth of tires. By 1910, the company manufactured more than one million tires. It was on his Columbiana farm that he first tested his pneumatic tire for tractors, which helped farmers work faster and more efficient while saving fuel at the same time.
Harvey Firestone remained as president of the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company until 1932, when he retired from the firm’s active management, becoming the chairman of the board of directors instead. Firestone died in 1938, having helped make Akron the rubber capital of the world.
Harvey Firestone is buried in Columbiana Cemetery, along with other members of his immediate family. The Firestone Memorial is a beautiful monument dedicated to the family, and easily seen by all who enter the cemetery. The Columbiana Cemetery is located across from Firestone Park on Park Ave.
The story doesn’t stop there……..
Harvey Firestone was a huge supporter of Columbiana, and was very generous towards his hometown. In 1933, Firestone donated 52 acres with partial funding to establish a park for the town. Firestone was very involved in the overall planning and development of the park, even visiting and overseeing construction plans with the Park board. Even though he no longer lived in his hometown, Harvey Firestone visited the area regularly. Sadly, Firestone died before he could see his great vision, but he was not forgotten. The park was named for Columbiana’s most popular son, and is known as The Harvey S. Firestone Recreational Park. The ever popular “Harvey S. Firestone Park Festival of the Arts” and “Springtime and Christmas in the Village” are the two major events held every year in the park.
Today, another part of the Firestone homestead has been developed into one of Columbiana County’s greatest golf courses, The Links at Firestone Farms.