Harry Stevens — The Hot Dog King from Niles, Ohio

Click on any photograph to view a larger image.

To purchase a high-resolution print of any photograph on this page without the visible watermark, E-Mail Us
Use the image ID Example: PO1.1023


E-Mail Us Phone: 330.544.2143

Mail: PO Box 368 Niles, Ohio 44446


Home Page

Buildings Tour

Historical Photographs

Historical Stories

White House Gowns

Books for Sale

News

Calendar of Events

Newsletter Archives

Tours

Arrange a Tour

Maps and Directions

Contact the Curator

E-Mail Us

Individual Membership: $20.00
Family Membership: $30.00
Patron Membership: $50.00
Business Membership: $100.00
Lifetime Membership: $500.00
Corporate Membership:
Call 330.544.2143


Do you love the history of Niles, Ohio and want to preserve that history and memories of events for future generations?

Click here to donate:

As a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, your donation is tax deductible. When you click on the Donate Button, you will be taken to a secure Website where your donation will entered and a receipt generated.


 

Harry M. Stevens, former Niles resident, who gained international fame as the inventor of the hot dog.

Photo with permission Warren Tribune Chronicle.
Harry M. Stevens, former Niles resident, who gained international fame as the inventor of the hot dog.

Harry Stevens — The Hot Dog King.

Harry M. Stevens, Niles’ most famous and prosperous businessman, turned a hot sausage into a million-dollar fortune and gave the world the hot dog.

Stevens was known throughout the world as a caterer but it was the first hot dog sold at the New York Polo Grounds in 1900 that sealed his fortune. Sausage had been sold in rolls before that time, but the hot roll and mustard and pickle were Stevens’ own idea. The delicacy became popular immediately and quickly developed into an American tradition.

A little less known than the hot dog was Stevens’ business operations with double-jointed peanuts. Stevens was known as “The man who parlayed a bag of peanuts into a million dollars.” The businessman leased many acres of land in Virginia where he grew peanuts and shipped them to New York by the carload.

Born in London, July 14, 1855, Stevens came to this country in 1892 and settled in Niles where his wife had friends. After working as an iron puddler and book salesman, he hit upon what turned out to be his life career. The idea came as he sat watching a baseball game. Stevens noticed the scorecards were amateurish and contained no advertising. Soon he obtained the concession for selling scorecards at a Columbus ball park and quickly lined up advertising, then expanded into other ball parks and selling refreshments as his next step.

Stevens’ promotions of the hot dog and other ventures brought him an international reputation. He returned to Niles many times during his lifetime. He died May 3, 1934, and is buried in Niles' Union Cemetery.


This article appeared in the 1984 Sesquicentennial Edition of the Niles Daily Times and was written by: Gene Antonio.

Read how Harry Stevens used his political connections to convince the Erie Railroad to build a new station in Niles.


The Harry M. Stevens home, 1210 Robbins Avenue and Crandon, as it appears today.

PO1.1210

The Harry M. Stevens home, 1210 Robbins Avenue and Crandon, as it appears today.

It is still occupied.

The Stevens home, 1210 Robbins Avenue and Crandon, as it appeared in the 1980s.

PO1.1636

The Stevens home, 1210 Robbins Avenue
and Crandon, as it appeared in the 1980s.

When the Stevens family lived in Niles, the home was a focal point of daily life. This photo shows Harry M. Stevens, right, entertaining friends with a touring car of that era waiting to transport anyone needing a ride.

Photo with permission: Warren Tribune Chronicle.
When the Stevens family lived in Niles, the home was a focal point of daily life. This photo shows Harry M. Stevens, right, entertaining friends with a touring car of that era waiting to transport anyone needing a ride.


The Stevens Family Official Portrait is the title given to this photo.

Photo with permission: Warren Tribune Chronicle
The Stevens Family Official Portrait is the title given to this photo. Seated, left to right, were: Harry M. Stevens, Mary Wragg Stevens (Mrs. Harry) and Harold Arthur Stevens. Standing, left to right, were: William Henry Stevens, Sr., Annie Stevens Rose, Frank Mozely Stevens and Joseph Benson Stevens, Sr.

In their younger days these members of the Stevens family posed for the photographer. Standing, left to right, were: William H. Stevens Sr., Joseph B. Stevens, Sr. and Frank M. Stevens. Seated, left to right, were: Harry M. Stevens and Harold A. Stevens.

Photo with permission: Warren Tribune Chronicle
In their younger days these members of the Stevens family posed for the photographer. Standing, left to right, were: William H. Stevens Sr., Joseph B. Stevens, Sr. and Frank M. Stevens. Seated, left to right, were: Harry M. Stevens and Harold A. Stevens.

Grandfather Stevens, Harry M. Stevens, founder of the company bearing his name, is pictured here with his grandson, Dr. Harry M. Rose.

Photo with permission: Warren Tribune Chronicle
Grandfather Stevens, Harry M. Stevens, founder of the company bearing his name, is pictured here with his grandson, Dr. Harry M. Rose.


The Stevens family members had their photograph taken in the flower garden of the family home in Niles, Ohio. Standing, left, is Annie Stevens Rose, Standing, right, is Harry M. Stevens. Seated, left to right, are: Mary Stevens (Harry’s wife), Joseph B. Stevens Jr. and William H. Stevens Sr.

Photo with permission Warren Tribune Chronicle.

The Stevens family members had their photograph taken in the flower garden of the family home in Niles, Ohio. Standing, left, is Annie Stevens Rose, Standing, right, is Harry M. Stevens. Seated, left to right, are: Mary Stevens (Harry’s wife), Joseph B. Stevens Jr. and William H. Stevens Sr.

During the 1984 Sesquicentennial Celebration, a memorial plaque was dedicated in Stevens Park.

PO9.207

During the 1984 Sesquicentennial Celebration, a memorial plaque was dedicated in Stevens Park.

The Stevens Youth Cabin was built in 1948 to honor the Steven's Family contributions to the City of Niles, especially the land that was donated for Stevens Park in 1936.

PO1.1079

The Stevens Youth Cabin was built in 1948 to commemorate their contributions to the City of Niles, especially the land that was donated for Stevens Park in 1936 by the Steven's Family.

Plaque at the entrance to Stevens Park honoring Harry Mozley Stevens.

PO9.379

Plaque at the entrance to Stevens Park honoring Harry Mozley Stevens.


The article from the New York Clipper, which told the story of Harry Stevens, was printed as a poster as part of the 1984 Ohio Sesquicentennial celebration.

PO9.305

The article from the New York Clipper, which told the story of Harry Stevens, was printed as a poster as part of the 1984 Ohio Sesquicentennial celebration.

Mr. Clare Westenfield, who championed the creation of The Niles Historical Society, is on the far left.

 

Harry Mozely Stevens

Photo with permission Warren Tribune Chronicle.

Harry Mozely Stevens

1855 — 1934


NILES, Ohio (WKBN) – The people of Niles have been led to believe that the city’s late businessman Harry Stevens invented the hot dog. But it turns out, that may not be true.

On the webpage of the Niles Historical Society, it states that Stevens “gave the world the hotdog.” That Stevens had the first hotdog sold at New York’s Polo Grounds in 1900. Turns out, there’s a college professor in Missouri who says the Harry Stevens story is not true. “So there is no way, no way on God’s green earth that Harry Stevens invented the term ‘hotdog,’” said 81-year-old Dr. Gerald Cohen.
“Harry Stevens never claimed that he invented the term ‘hot dog,’ just that he was selling hot sausages in a bun,” Dr. Cohen said.

Dr. Cohen also says the first time Stevens admitted to selling hotdogs was in 1906 during a bike race at Madison Square Garden. But it was the idea of his son Frank, not Harry’s. The next day, newspaper cartoonist T.A. Dorgan published a cartoon with hot dogs. All this coming six years after the original story supposedly took place. Printed with permission from WKBN

The television report by Stan Boney that coordinated with National Hotdog Day, the third Wednesday of July, has caused many Nilesites to question whether Harry M. Stevens really was ‘The Hot Dog-King’

Warren native Nick Spano said, “If he didn’t do it, I don’t think it would take away, it wouldn’t detract from the story of Harry Stevens.” Spano is a foremost expert on Harry Stevens. So Harry Stevens may not have invented the hotdog but he did make it a part of the baseball experience and Niles Hot Dog Festival hopefully will return each year on the 4th of July Weekend.


Grilled franks in a split roll were first served around the turn of the century by concessionaire Harry Stevens, according to the Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins. Sports cartoonist T.A. Dorgan gets the credit for naming them “hot dogs,” presumably because many people at the time thought they were made from dog meat.

On cold days, Stevens would shout, “Get your red hots!” So Dorgan, who signed his drawings TAD, put two and two together. He even drew the hot dog as a dachshund on a roll, leading the indignant Coney Island, N.Y., Chamber of Commerce to ban the use of the term by concessionaires. They could be called only “Coney Islands,” “red hots” or “frankfurters.” But it wasn’t long before “hot dog” was the one and only name that would do.
https://www.tampabay.com/archive/1995/07/16/cartoonist-named-the-hot-dog/ Published Jul. 16, 1995 |Updated Oct. 4, 2005


1984 Sesquicentennial Edition of the Niles Daily Times written by: Gene Antonio.
Niles’ most famous and prosperous businessman, turned a hot sausage into a million-dollar fortune and gave the world the hot dog.

Stevens was known throughout the world as a caterer but it was the first hot dog sold at the New York Polo Grounds in 1900 that sealed his fortune. Sausage had been sold in rolls before that time, but the hot roll and mustard and pickle were Stevens’ own idea. The delicacy became popular immediately and quickly developed into an American tradition.

A little less known than the hotdog was Stevens’ business operations with double-jointed peanuts. Stevens was known as “The man who parlayed a bag of peanuts into a million dollars.” The businessman leased many acres of land in Virginia where he grew peanuts and shipped them to New York by the carload.

Born in London, July 14, 1855, Stevens came to this country in 1892 and settled in Niles where his wife had friends. After working as an iron puddler and book salesman, he hit upon what turned out to be his life career. The idea came as he sat watching a baseball game. Stevens noticed the scorecards were amateurish and contained no advertising. Soon he obtained the concession for selling scorecards at a Columbus ball park and quickly lined up advertising, then expanded into other ball parks and selling refreshments as his next step.
Stevens’ promotions of the hotdog and other ventures brought him an international reputation. He returned to Niles many times during his lifetime. He died May 3, 1934, and is buried in Niles’ Union Cemetery.

 
Back to top
       
       
       
       
       
  Copyright©2008-2022, Niles Historical Society, All rights reserved