Maria Stein is situated in Southern Mercer County, in Marion Township. State Route 119 runs through the community. Maria Stein is the home of Marion Local Schools.
It was on October 13, 1833, that three German immigrants and their families arrived in Marion Township, Mercer County, from Baltimore. They met in Baltimore, became friends and decided to settle in the same community. The names of the three settlers were John Leistenschneider, John Stelzer and John Thomas, the latter being Protestant. The 1882 History of Van Wert and Mercer Counties, Ohio, states that John and Margaret Leistenschneider had seven children when they arrived. The three men all being named John made the selection of a name for their settlement easy. It is possible that the name of St. John had been decided upon already when they left Baltimore. It was also that day that a man named John was ordained Bishop of Cincinnati; Right Reverend John Purcell.
Families kept coming continuously, and as early as 1835 St. John had some 25 families. The settlers moving into the community (Marion and Granville Townships) came from the "Low Countries" of northern Germany and spoke "Plattdeutsch." They came mostly from a rather small area in Southern Oldenburg and an adjoining area of Hanover.
In 1845, Father Brunner arrived and built a convent just north of St. John, which he called Maria Stein. Then in 1881, the Cincinnati-Hamilton and Dayton Railroad arrived and the western half of the town was called Maria Stein. In 1923, when the railroad left, the whole town was known as Maria Stein.
As a result of the railroad, early businesses began to flourish. Among them were a log school house, wooden shoe factory, blacksmith shop, general store, post office, undertaking business, dry goods store, doctor's office, machine shop, butter tub factory and grain elevator.
In 1899, Joseph Oppenheim founded the New Idea Spreader Company, which built manure spreaders. The entire operation was moved to Coldwater in 1910 and was called New Idea Spreader Works. John M. Kramer, along with others, started the Marion Telephone Co. in 1899.
MARIA STEIN COMMUNITY LINKS
Spiritual Center of Maria Stein
Maria Stein Shrine of the Holy Relics