Located in the nation's former industrial belt, the city's economy focused initially on iron manufacturing but later diversified to include steel and glass production. Niles was adversely affected by the decline of the manufacturing sector throughout the northern United States in the 1970s.
"An Ohio City with a Proud Past and a Vision for the Future"
Location of Niles, Ohio
Location of Niles in Trumbull County
|• Mayor||Thomas A. Scarnechia|
|• Total||8.63 sq mi (22.35 km2)|
|• Land||8.61 sq mi (22.30 km2)|
|• Water||0.02 sq mi (0.05 km2)|
|Elevation||879 ft (268 m)|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||2,237.6/sq mi (863.9/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern (EST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (EDT)|
|GNIS feature ID||1065154|
Niles was founded in 1806 by James Heaton, who owned one of the first iron-ore processing plants in Ohio. The town originally went by the name of Heaton's Furnace but was later renamed Nilestown, after Hezekiah Niles (editor of the Niles Register, a Baltimore newspaper). In 1843, the name was shortened to Niles. In the early 19th century, Heaton built a forge and, later, a charcoal blast furnace in the area just east of what is now the city's central park, on the west side of Mosquito Creek. Heaton is credited with producing the first bar iron in Ohio.
Niles' iron industry thrived until the late 19th century, when the economic depression of 1873 brought about the closure of the community's largest industrial firm, James Ward and Company. Plans to restore the local iron industry floundered because of the exorbitant cost of modernizing outdated mills. By the early 1900s, however, Niles was the site of companies including Ohio Galvanizing, Sykes Metal, the Niles Glass Works of the General Electric Company, and the Niles Iron and Steel Roofing Company. Between 1900 and 1920, the city's population swelled from 7,468 to slightly over 13,000. The community's efforts to rebuild its industry suffered a temporary setback in the 1910s. Niles was one of many cities affected by statewide floods that struck in the spring of 1913. On Easter Sunday, March 23, 1913, heavy rain throughout Ohio, combined with ice and snow that was still on the ground, precipitated massive flooding. Flooding of the Mahoning River left extensive damage and numerous casualties in Niles. Damage exceeded $3 million, and 428 people were confirmed dead.
Throughout much of the 20th century, Niles was known to most Ohioans as the birthplace of William McKinley, the 25th President of the United States. McKinley was born in Niles on January 29, 1843. He attended Niles High School (and the city's high school would eventually be renamed Niles McKinley High School, though McKinley eventually graduated from high school in Poland, Ohio). President McKinley's assassination in 1901 shocked the nation and particularly saddened residents of northeastern Ohio. In 1915, Youngstown industrialist Joseph G. Butler, Jr., a childhood friend of President McKinley, campaigned for the construction of the National McKinley Birthplace Memorial in downtown Niles. The facility currently houses the community's library as well as a small museum.
Niles' location in the Mahoning Valley, a center of steel production, ensured that the community would become a destination for immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe in the early 20th century. Dramatic demographic change fueled ethnic and religious tension throughout the northern United States following World War I, and Niles proved to be no exception to this trend. In the 1920s, regional chapters of the Ku Klux Klan targeted Niles because of its large Catholic population. The nativist organization marched through the center of Niles in May 1924, and attempted another march in June of the same year. When violence forced the Klan to cancel the second march, the event was rescheduled for November 1, 1924. The local mayor's ultimate decision to issue the Klan a permit for the march outraged many of the community's Italian- and Irish-American residents.
In response to the scheduled Klan march, an anti-Klan organization, the Knights of the Flaming Circle, pledged to hold their own parade of 10,000 participants on the same day. On October 29, the mayor's house was bombed, due to his refusal to revoke the permit. Tensions escalated from this point on, and the city gained national attention due to the impending marches. Despite the city's pleas for assistance from the militia, they were denied. The result was 18 hours of full-blown rioting. Control was brought to the town, requiring 10 days of martial law. Between the Klan and anti-Klan participants, 104 people were indicted. The conflict was a turning point in long-running hostilities between nativists and immigrants in the Mahoning Valley, and in its wake, the Klan's influence gradually subsided.
Niles' economy was undermined in the 1970s, when the Mahoning Valley's steel industry–already in decline–collapsed. Amid the economic challenges that followed, the community faced another natural catastrophe. On May 31, 1985, the city of Niles was struck by an F5 tornado that had its origins just west of Newton Falls, where it destroyed much of that town. The tornado then moved through Lordstown and Warren, before wreaking havoc on Niles, where it flattened a skating rink and shopping mall. The tornado also leveled dozens of houses, ripped through the city's historic Union Cemetery, injured many people, and took several lives. As it progressed toward Pennsylvania, the tornado never left the ground. In the Niles area alone, nine people were killed, and 250 were injured. Nearly 70 homes were leveled and another 65 to 70 were severely damaged. In the Mahoning and Shenango valleys a total of 25 people died and 500 people were injured, and there was $140 million in property damage. A large figure of a gorilla (an advertising tool for a now-defunct ceramic store) is all that remained standing in one district affected by the tornado. The tornado of 1985 took a path through Niles that was almost identical to that of a tornado that struck in 1947.
Niles is known for its ethnic diversity, and the community hosts a large Italian-American community. The local center of Italian-American culture and tradition is Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church. The church's annual celebration of the feast day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel during July is considered one of Ohio's noteworthy Italian-American festivals.
As of the census of 2010, there were 19,266 people, 8,499 households, and 4,971 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,237.6 inhabitants per square mile (863.9/km2). There were 9,417 housing units at an average density of 1,093.7 per square mile (422.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 93.1% White, 3.5% African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.7% Asian, 0.3% from other races, and 2.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.3% of the population.
There were 8,499 households of which 26.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.0% were married couples living together, 14.8% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.7% had a male householder with no wife present, and 41.5% were non-families. 35.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.24 and the average family size was 2.88.
The median age in the city was 42 years. 20.7% of residents were under the age of 18; 8.5% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 24.4% were from 25 to 44; 28.4% were from 45 to 64; and 17.8% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.6% male and 52.4% female.
As of the census of 2000, there were 20,932 people, 8,859 households, and 5,519 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,447.5 people per square mile (945.3/km²). There were 12,512 housing units at an average density of 1,112.7 per square mile (429.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 95.98% White, 2.27% African American, 0.19% Native American, 0.33% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.22% from other races, and 1.00% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.83% of the population.
There were 5,012 households out of which 26.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.1% were married couples living together, 13.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.7% were non-families. 32.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.31 and the average family size was 2.95.
In the city, the age distribution of the population shows 22.3% under the age of 18, 8.1% from 18 to 24, 28.0% from 25 to 44, 23.8% from 45 to 64, and 17.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 89.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.3 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $65,615, and the median income for a family was $76,704. Males had a median income of $35,936 versus $23,888 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,410. About 6.5% of families and 9.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.2% of those under age 18 and 5.0% of those age 65 or over.
|Mahoning Valley Scrappers||NYPL, Baseball||Eastwood Field||1999||1|
The Mahoning Valley Scrappers, a short-season Class A minor league baseball team, moved from Erie, Pennsylvania, to Niles in 1999. The team plays at Eastwood Field, located behind the Eastwood Mall on U.S. Highway 422.
Youngstown-based boxer Kelly Pavlik fought a nationally broadcast fight in Niles on July 1, 2003 against Rico Cason. The fight was broadcast over ESPN's "Tuesday Night Fights", and Pavlik won the fight by knockout in the second round.
Albert Frank Moritz (born April 15, 1947) is a poet, teacher, and scholar.
Born in Niles, Ohio, Moritz was educated at Marquette University. Since 1975, he has made his home in Toronto, Ontario where he has worked variously as an advertising copywriter and executive, editor, publisher, and university professor. His poetry has been honored with a 1990 Guggenheim Fellowship, inclusion in the Princeton Series of Contemporary Poets, and numerous other awards. He currently teaches at Victoria College in the University of Toronto.
He is married to Theresa Moritz, with whom he has collaborated on a number of books.Bo Rein
Robert Edward "Bo" Rein (July 20, 1945 – January 10, 1980) was an American football and baseball player and football coach. He was a two-sport athlete at Ohio State University and served as the head football coach at North Carolina State University from 1976 to 1979, compiling a record of 27–18–1. Following the 1979 season, Rein had assumed the role as head coach at Louisiana State University, but was killed in an aircraft accident in January 1980 before he ever coached a game for the Tigers. Rein is the namesake of football player awards at Ohio State and NC State.Dominic Sena
Dominic Sena (born April 26, 1949) is an American film director and music video director. As a film director, he is best known for directing the films Kalifornia (1993), Gone in 60 Seconds (2000), and Swordfish (2001). As a music video director, he directed music videos for Richard Marx, Bryan Adams, Peter Cetera, Janet Jackson, and Sting.Eastwood Field
Eastwood Field is a minor league baseball stadium located in Niles, Ohio, United States. It is currently the home of the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, a Cleveland Indians affiliate in the New York–Penn League.Eastwood Mall
The Eastwood Mall is an indoor shopping center in Niles, Ohio, United States, serving the Youngstown-Warren area. It contains over 200 stores and restaurants. Its anchor stores are JCPenney, Macy's, Sears, Target and Dillard's.George Burns (first baseman)
George Henry Burns (January 31, 1893 – January 7, 1978), nicknamed "Tioga George", was an American first baseman in Major League Baseball (MLB) who played for five American League (AL) teams from 1914 to 1929.One of the league's top right-handed batters of the 1920s, he was named the AL Most Valuable Player in 1926 with the Cleveland Indians after batting .358 and setting a major league record with 64 doubles. A career .307 hitter, he retired with 2,018 hits, then the third-highest total by an AL right-handed hitter. His 1,671 games at first base were the most by an AL right-handed player until 1940; he still ranks third in league history.J. C. Nugent
John Charles "J.C." Nugent (6 April 1868 – 21 April 1947), was an American actor, director, and screenwriter. A veteran stage performer, he appeared in 20 films between 1929 and 1943.
Nugent was born in Niles, Ohio, and attended Reeves University.Joseph P. Vigorito
Joseph Phillip "Joe" Vigorito (November 10, 1918 – February 5, 2003) was a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives for Pennsylvania.
Joe Vigorito was born in Niles, Ohio to Italian immigrants. He served in the United States Army from 1942 to 1945 and was awarded the Purple Heart. After serving in the military, he graduated in 1947 from the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and received an MBA from the University of Denver in 1949. He was a member of the faculty at Penn State in State College, Pennsylvania, from 1949 to 1964.
In 1964, Vigorito was elected to Congress from a district based in Erie as part of the gigantic Democratic landslide of that year. He was reelected five more times before being defeated in 1976 by Mercer County Solicitor Marc L. Marks. During his time in office, Nina Totenberg named Vigorito one of the ten dumbest members of Congress.After his time in Congress, he served on the faculty of Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., from 1977 through 1978. He tried to regain his seat in 1978, but was defeated by Marks. He died in Washington, D.C.
Vigorito was only the third Democrat to represent the Erie area in the 20th century. Since his loss, one Democrat, Kathy Dahlkemper, represented Erie County for one term from 2009 to 2011.Karl Singer
Karl Kenneth Singer (born October 12, 1943) is a former American football tackle who played three seasons with the Boston Patriots of the American Football League. He was drafted by the Boston Patriots in the first round of the 1966 American Football League Draft. He was also drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the 19th round of the 1966 NFL Draft. He played college football at Purdue University and attended Niles McKinley High School in Niles, Ohio.Mahoning Valley Scrappers
The Mahoning Valley Scrappers are a minor league baseball team based in Niles, Ohio, a city in the valley of the Mahoning River. The Scrappers play in the Pinckney Division of the Short-Season A classification New York–Penn League and are affiliated with the Cleveland Indians. In 2004, the Scrappers won the New York–Penn League championship.
The Scrappers' home field is Eastwood Field, opened in 1999 as Cafaro Field, located behind the Eastwood Mall on U.S. Highway 422. In their first six seasons, the Scrappers averaged over 4,000 fans per game.National McKinley Birthplace Memorial
The National McKinley Birthplace Memorial Library and Museum is the national memorial to President William McKinley located in Niles, Ohio. Also known as the McKinley Memorial Library, Museum & Birthplace Home, the Memorial is a 232 foot by 136 foot by 38 foot marble monument with two wings. One houses the McKinley Memorial Library, which is a public library. The second wing features the McKinley Museum, with exhibits about President McKinley, and an auditorium.
The McKinley Birthplace Home and Research Center is located near the Memorial at 40 South Main Street in Niles. The historic house museum has been furnished for the period when President McKinley was in office.Nick Ceroli
Nicholas Mathew Ceroli (December 22, 1939 – August 11, 1985) was an American jazz drummer.Niles Crowites
The Niles Crowites were a short-lived minor league baseball club based in Niles, Ohio for one season, 1905. The team played in the Ohio–Pennsylvania League and posted a 52-37 record, for fourth place in the league's standings. The team folded after the season. There would not be another professional baseball club located in Niles, until the Mahoning Valley Scrappers began play in 1999.Niles McKinley High School
Niles McKinley High School is a four-year public high school in Niles, Ohio, United States.
As of the 2010–11 school year, the school had an enrollment of 719 students and 45.0 classroom teachers (on a FTE basis, for a student-teacher ratio of 16.2.)Notable alumni include Bo Rein and James D. Johnston, one of the inventors of the MP3 music format.Samuel McMillan
Samuel McMillan (August 6, 1850 – May 6, 1924) was a Representative from New York.Tim Ryan (politician)
Timothy John Ryan (born July 16, 1973) is an American politician serving as the U.S. Representative for Ohio's 13th congressional district since 2003. The district, numbered as the 17th district from 2003 to 2013, takes in a large swath of northeast Ohio, from Youngstown to Akron. Ryan is a member of the Democratic Party.
Born in Niles, Ohio, Ryan worked as an aide to Congressman Jim Traficant after graduating from Bowling Green State University. He served in the Ohio Senate from 2001 to 2002 before winning election to succeed Traficant. In November 2016, Ryan launched an unsuccessful challenge to unseat Nancy Pelosi as party leader of the House Democrats.W. Aubrey Thomas
William Aubrey Thomas (June 7, 1866 – September 8, 1951) was a U.S. Representative from Ohio.
Born in Y Bynea, near Llanelly, Wales, Thomas immigrated to the United States in 1868 with his parents, who settled in Niles, Ohio. He attended the public schools of Niles, Mount Union College, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he majored in metallurgical chemistry.He was an analytical chemist in Niles from 1886 to 1888, and was engaged in the iron and steel business. He served as president of The Mahoning Valley Steel Company. and as Secretary and director of the Niles Firebrick Co.
Thomas was elected as a Republican to the Fifty-eighth Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Charles W. F. Dick on this election to the Senate. He was reelected to the Fifty-ninth, Sixtieth, and Sixty-first Congresses and served from November 8, 1904, to March 3, 1911. He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1910 to the Sixty-second Congress.
He moved to Alabama in 1918, and continued his interest in the manufacture of iron, steel, and firebrick. He served as president of the Jenifer Iron Co. He died in Talladega, Alabama on September 8, 1951, aged 85. He was interred in Oak Hill Cemetery in Youngstown.
Thomas became a Mason in 1887, and was the youngest Master in Ohio when he led his lodge for two terms. He became a member of the Elks in 1892, and was a Presbyterian.WBBG
WBBG is a commercial FM radio station in Youngstown, Ohio market broadcasting at 106.1 MHz with a country music format. The station is licensed to Niles, Ohio. WBBG is also a local affiliate for the Ohio State IMG Sports Network football games.
The station first signed on the air as WNCD, licensed on October 29, 1987 (it signed back on May 15, 1988). It changed its call sign to WBBG on October 30, 2000, after the two stations swapped signals on August 30, 2000.
The WBBG call letters were used on a Cleveland AM station (at 1260-AM) from 1978 until 1987; the current WBBG picked them up on June 27, 1988, also as a reflection of its former AM sister station, WBBW 1240 kHz.
In January 2016, WBBG shifted their format to classic hits, branded as "Big 106".
On April 25, 2016 WBBG dropped classic hits and flipped to country as "106.1 The Bull".WYTN
WYTN (91.7 FM) is a non-commercial radio station broadcasting a Christian radio format. Licensed to Youngstown, Ohio, United States, it serves the areas of Youngstown; Warren, Ohio; Niles, Ohio; and New Castle, Pennsylvania. The station is an affiliate of the Family Radio network, and is currently owned by Family Stations, Inc.