SELTZER, CHARLES ALDEN (15 Aug. 1875 - 9 Feb. 1942) was a prolific early twentieth century American Western novelist and, from 1930-1935, mayor of the city of NORTH OLMSTED.  He was born in Janesville, Wisconsin to Oceania (Hart) and Lucien B. Seltzer. His father, a carpenter, had been born and raised in Ohio, and, when Charles was just a few years old, the family moved back to Ohio, to the city of Columbus, where Charles spent his early years and attended elementary school.  He dropped out of school before starting high school and entered the workforce at a young age. Leaving home, he traveled the country as a teenager, taking jobs in the East, in the South, and in the Southwest, where he worked on the ranch of an uncle who lived in northern New Mexico. Seltzer made repeated trips back to New Mexico, observing the land and the people who lived and worked there.  He was so moved by these experiences that, by the time he was 20 years old, he had decided to become an author and write stories about the American West.

In 1895, Seltzer moved to Cleveland, the city to which his parents had relocated from Columbus several years earlier.  Like his father, he worked in Cleveland as a carpenter, but in the evenings he began writing stories about the American West.  None of his early stories were picked up by any publisher. In 1896, he married Ella Albert, who encouraged him to continue writing. From 1897 to 1908, their five children were born, including LOUIS B. SELTZER, who later became the legendary editor of the CLEVELAND PRESS. Another son, Robert, also worked for that newspaper.  In 1903, Seltzer was hired as a building inspector for the City of Cleveland. He worked there for five years, and during these years his political views were shaped by the policies of Cleveland's Progressive mayor, TOM L. JOHNSON. In 1908, after 13 years of failure during which he wrote and submitted over 200 stories, he finally succeeded in having one of his short stories published.  Three years later, in 1911, he published his first novel, Range Rider. Over the course of the next three decades, he published 40 novels about the American West, and hundreds of short stories. He eventually sold over one million copies of his novels. A number of these novels were adapted into Hollywood films.  

In 1917, Charles Seltzer moved from Cleveland to LAKEWOOD.  Six years later, in 1923, he moved to the southwest suburb of North Olmsted, then a small village with a population of well under 2,500.  In 1927, Seltzer ran for and was elected to a seat on North Olmsted's village council. During his single term on Council he successfully sponsored legislation regulating electricity rates.  In 1929, he ran for and was elected mayor of North Olmsted, defeating six-term incumbent mayor LEON MELVILLE COE. In 1931, as Interurban rail service connecting North Olmsted to Cleveland was coming to an end, he organized the NORTH OLMSTED MUNICIPAL BUS LINE, the first publicly-owned bus line in Ohio, which supplanted that means of public transportation between the village and Cleveland.  Charles Alden Seltzer served three terms as North Olmsted mayor. In 1935, he was defeated in his bid for a fourth term. Following retirement from public life, Seltzer continued to write Western novels from his grand home, sitting on over four acres of land on the west end of North Olmsted. Seltzer, who suffered from diabetes, died from complications of that disease in 1942. His last novel, So Long, Sucker, was published that same year.  Charles Alden Seltzer is buried at Sunset Memorial Park in North Olmsted.

James Dubelko


Seltzer Family In Notable Families of North Olmsted

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