Cornelius Gilmore built the first house in Angola in 1836. The first hotel is credited to Darius Orton, erected at corner of Maumee and Elizabeth streets. Thomas Gale had the first store in Angola and it was located on the east side of the public square. Between 1836 and 1870 the development was a bit slow. In 1870 the "Fort Wayne, Jackson and Saginaw Railroad" was completed through Steuben county. The railroad had a most stimulating effect on business in Angola, Fremont, and Pleasant Lake. In the short space of fifteen years, business firms increased in number rapidly and brick business blocks began to replace the old log and wooden structures. Some of these larger brick buildings were constructed at costs ranging from $8,000 to $14, 000 each.
In 1885 Angola had more than forty types of mercantile endeavor. There were six firms retailing dry good, six other firms dealing in groceries, three firms each were selling hardware, drugs, or making and selling harness, wagons, and carriages; there were two each of hotels, restaurants, meat markets, jewelry stores, brick and tile industries, agricultural implement store, furniture stores, shoe stores, coopers, milliners, and dressmakers; at least one creamery, print shop, photographer, retailer of pumps, sewing machines, grist mill, barber shop, carpenter, men's clothing, plumbing, planing mill, tailor, tin shop, woolen factory, and five saloons.
Some of the proprietors of the above were: G. N. Bodley, grocery and bakery; F. E. Burt, Jewelry and books; O. Carver, drugs; Byron Work, drugs; W. Reeves, jewelry; Eberly and Longbaugh, dry goods; Ewers Brothers, brick; Ferrier, Rakestraw and Co., printers; L.A. Hendry, dry goods; Israel Kemery, hotel; J.C. McCrory, furniture; J. McKillen, barber; Menzenberger, grocery and restaurant; G. W. miller, grist mill; John Moss, agricultural implements; S. A. Moss and Sons, dry goods; J Stiefel and Son, dry goods; W. Parrish, foundry; Alfred Potter, livery; John Richardson, blacksmith; Uhl and Hathaway, clothing; Weicht and Son, planing mill; L.G. Weiss, tailor; William Wells, harness; I. Williamson, hardware; W. M. Wolford, tin shop; and James Zipfel, boots and shoes.
1955 History of Steuben County
J. B. Munn: Steuben County Mercantile Development