Annual Hoover Potato Dig Demonstrates Area’s History

Posted on July 30, 2013

Born in 1845 to John and Elizabeth Hoover, Isaac W. Hoover grew up on a 115-acre farm in northern Ohio.

In 1875, Isaac established a home with his wife and three children in Milan Township, where he specialized as a potato farmer.

After tediously harvesting potatoes by hand for many years, Isaac invented a horse-drawn mechanical potato digger that could harvest up to 500 bushels of potatoes per day.

He received a patent on May 15, 1885, which led to the founding of the Hoover Manufacturing Company, located in Avery, Ohio.

Within a few years, the Hoover potato digger attracted the attention of farmers across the country.

By 1916, the company had expanded worldwide, manufacturing 5,000 machines per year.

In 1926, following a successful business career, Isaac sold the Hoover Manufacturing Company to the John Deere Plow Company. Isaac and his wife, Hannah, were among the early visitors and investors in Lakeside.

Following in his parents’ footsteps, Arthur L. Hoover became a Lakeside Chautauqua community leader. He purchased a lakefront vacant lot in 1915, on which he built a year-round

home in 1920. During that time, Arthur was serving on the Lakeside Board of Trustees.

Arthur was then appointed Lakeside General Manager in 1926 and served in that capacity until 1946.

One of the original Hoover potato diggers is displayed at the southwest end of Hoover Auditorium block (corner of Walnut Avenue and Fourth Street).

The Hoover potato digger, originally gifted by the Lakeside Association to the Lakeside Heritage Society (LHS) in 2008, was prepared for exhibit by LHS members. Clayton Werden, Jr. and family provided the funds to build the pavilion, which protects the Hoover potato digger.

The historical marker at the Hoover Auditorium potato digger site notes that the Hoover family generously and selflessly gave their own money to preserve the longevity and livelihood of Lakeside Chautauqua.

Nearby Milan, Ohio will celebrate the history of the Hoover potato digger at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 3 at Tender Shoot Farm for the 4th Annual Hoover Potato Dig.

Tender Shoot Farm for the 4th Annual Hoover Potato Dig. Tender Shoot Farm is located at the corner of Bryan Road and Kelly Road in Milan.

The event will feature a demonstration of the potato digger.

The free event will allow attendees to see the historic Hoover potato digger in action. All in attendance at the Hoover Potato Dig will receive a free potato.

For more information about this event, contact (419) 499-2968.

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