Henry Warner Riddle

Henry Warner Riddle (1838 - 1920)

Inducted - 1999

Bicentennial Category

  "The name and genius of Mr. Riddle are abiding monuments of success founded on industry, courage, enterprise and foresight. He dared to risk a big venture, and won, starting with little else than skilled hands, ambition and resolute will. He rejoiced in the battle, and ‘can’t’ had no place in his vocabulary." Although he started out as a woodworker, he and his brother-in-saw soon purchased the company that employed him. Merts and Riddle, later called Riddle Coach and Hearse and Riddle Carriage Co. made coaches, hearses, and sleighs for a wide audience. Four presidents were taken to their final resting-place in Riddle hearses. Riddle was responsible for eleven downtown business blocks, shops and factory buildings, many houses of varying types he had erected to meet the demand of tenants. "He gave tone and dignity to the architecture of the town he loved so well". Always a forward thinker, he was one of the founding members of the Ravenna Gas Light and Coke Co. which provided the first gas lights in Ravenna. As gas power replaced horsepower, Riddle mechanized his vehicles. For a short time the company even manufactured its own cars and trucks. He was considered a great salesman, taking long lines of buggies out on country roads to sell them. He was tireless and interested in anything new. He even developed a two-wheeled velocipede that he was never able to ride himself but proved to be a great attention getter. He was president of the Ravenna National Bank and active in various groups in the community.