Here you'll find articles about Ravenna and the Riddle family. We have tried to order them so that one could read from first to last and end up with a sense of how Ravenna has changed along with the fortunes of the hearse and coach company. Most of the pictures found in the articles were added by the web master.

Most of these articles come from the scrapbooks of Mary Fitz-Gerald Riddle. From New Jersey, she came to Ravenna in 1904 when she married a son of Henry Riddle I, Henry Riddle II, who called himself Warner. She died in 1968.

mr mary mary and warner
Mary in her 20s . . . . . . in her 30s after 50 years of marriage, in 1964.

Riddle Coach & Hearse Co. history as it appeared online at Written in 2004 by Mark Theobald, this excellent article gives a clear history of the company.

The Riddle of Ravenna Published in The Automobilist in July 1960, this is the story of the Riddle Manufacturing Company between 1916 and 1926.

1856 advertisement for the company that would become Merts and Riddle and then Riddle Hearse and Coach and finally Riddle Manufacturing Company. This is the oldest document in the archive.

1871 magazine articles about the Merts and Riddle Company -.

History of Riddle Manufacturing Company. From the book Golden Wheels, The Story of the Automobiles Made in Cleveland and Northeastern Ohio, 1892-1932 by Richard Wager. Published June 1986 by Western Reserve Historical Society.

1891 Merts and Riddle becomes Riddle Coach and Hearse. This article appeared in the local paper on Nov 4, 1891. Below the article is a hand-written letter detailing part of the dissolution of the Merts-Riddle partnership.

Day-to-day life at the factory in March 1908. Letters written from the head office of Riddle Coach and Hearse to salesmen and clients. Anyone who runs a business will appreciate these letters. The letters, being masterpieces of salesmanship and flowerly language, also have some literary merit.

Riddle Coach and Hearse becomes Riddle Manufacturing Company in 1919. Article appeared in the local paper.

Hugh Riddle, in 1991, at age 75, recalls his boyhood memories in the Riddle Company, the first motorized hearse, and the Palace Coach.

Ravenna Beautiful, 1909. 128 pages, PDF, The booklet was reprinted in 2011 by Jack Schafer, a local historian, who wrote this in the preface,

"October 2011
One hundred years after its original publication by Hinman & Stidsen, and K.T. Siddall for Old Home Week in 1909, this is a faithful scan and reproduction of Ravenna Beautiful. This little booklet, now quite rare, remains one of the most important sources of information about the history of Ravenna, Ohio.
The year 1909 in many ways represented the apogee of Ravenna’s regional economic power and influence. New manufacturing businesses in the forefront of manufacturing technology were opening or about to open in the city. These companies were involved with electric lighting equipment, heavy machinery, steel, and rubber, in other words, the backbone of early twentieth century American manufacturing. A local man, William Day, had been recently appointed Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Three main line railroads served the city with daily passenger service to all parts of the country. Two interurban streetcar lines linked the city with its larger neighbors. A modern fresh water and sanitary sewer system was in place. The city had an enviable public school system with several new school buildings. Large new homes in the latest architectural styles were being erected in town along with very substantial modern business blocks downtown. Though Ravenna would continue to grow during the rest of the twentieth century, it would never again achieve the same level of competitive financial, cultural, and economic prominence among its peers."

A hard-copy of the book is available on

1921 History of Riddle Coach and Hearse. The unknown writer of this article apparently worked in the factory. The writer mentions the velocipede that Merts and Riddle manufactured. We also found a mention of the velocipede in an early Merts and Riddle letterhead and in a 1938 article in the local paper.

In the article National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination Form is a concise history of downtown Ravenna architecture.

Benjamin Tappan, beset by Hard Luck Fought Way Through Uncharted Wilderness to Become First Ravennan, undated but early 20th century.

Fire in 1887 Removed One of Ravenna's Old Landmarks, 1931.

The New Riddle Block, A Solid Structure!, 1888. Article about the dedication of Riddle Block 1.

Ravenna's First Graduate, June 2, 1938. Article about the graduation of Emily Robinson in 1861.

Riddle Plant Swept by Fire, July 2, 1903

The History of Merts and Riddle, undated, but probably early 1900s, by H. W. Riddle,

Many Have The Changes Been, 1906. Reminiscences of an early settler in the Ravenna area.

Oak Street is Riddle Avenue, 1908.

H. W. Riddle Presented with Loving Cup, 1910 This article is from the pages of the Portage Country Democrat .

Ravenna Banker Passes Away, Jan 27, 1910, the death of Charles Merts

Death Comes To H. W. Riddle, 1920

“Uncle Henry” Riddle Was Forced to Surmount Many Obstacles in Climbing Ladder to “Success”, 1925.

Industrial History of Ravenna Showing how Civic Organization Has Been Responsible for Growth of the Community, by Maxwell Riddle, 1935

Army Plans Arsenal, by Maxwell Riddle, about 1941.

Allen Aircraft, Ward-Riddle Plan Open House, about 1960. Hugh Riddle, the grandson of Henry Riddle I, started another manufacturing company in Ravenna.

Riddle Hearses Carried The Famous Powerful, 1967

Trip to Barn Loft Takes Him Back 30 Years, 1967. Maxwell Riddle remembers Ohio winters in the 1910s and 20s. .

Frank Buying Riddle properties The Riddle properties were sold in June 1984.

Tom, Dick, Harry gave Portage hospital gift, about 1980. The story of the beginnings of Robinson Memorial Hospital.

Riddle Riddle blocks a vestige of city's past, 1989.