Vermilion Ohio, A Good Place to Live
SHOPTALK: This week I present pix of what is undeniably the most famous corner in Vermilion, Ohio – HART’S. The northwest corner of Liberty and Main streets in what once was the business section of town.
THEN: The pic on my home desk is probably the older of the two. But both were taken near the same year. This pic was like taken in the late 30s. At the time a fella named Leon “Sporty” Mehnert owned and operated the news / cigar store next (west) of the drugstore. Leon died rather young (57) in 1953.
The original property where Hart eventually had his store was sold by Eli S. Barnum [editors note: Judge Eli Barnum was also instrumental in the creation of the first church in Vermilion which eventually became the First Congregational], George G. Baker & Nathan G. Sherman as trustees for proprietors of Vermilion Township on April 1, 1840.
A Masonic Lodge building was built in 1868. It was destroyed by fire in 1870.
Gaylord & Merrill built the existing building in 1870. Over the years it has housed many businesses including the post office, the Goodsell Company, the Wagner Shoe Shop and the Miller / Wagner Saloon.
In June of 1920 Albert H. Hart brought the property from John E. Stang of Sandusky, Ohio. It was known as the Warner property and identified as lots 72-73& 74. The warranty deed is dated November 3, 1920.
Albert H. Hart had gone into business on August 2, 1912 after he purchased a store located in the Krapp and Goodsell Building (where Lee's Landing is today). He then purchased the building on the northwest corner of Liberty & Main Streets, put in a central heating system, took out a wall that once divided the room, and rebuilt the store-front. When the building was ready he moved his drug store to this site.
Over the years the second floor has been occupied by various organizations and businesses. The Masonic Lodge, the Vermilion Boat Club, and from November of 1950 to October of 1981 Dr. Norman T. Andersen DDS occupied the front rooms for his dental practice. A lady by the name of Mitzi Braun had a beauty shop at the north end of the building, and the R.E. Warner Engineering Co. had its start in rooms that were later occupied by Louis Stoffel, CPA.
The place has been, recently, re-leased – and eventually sold. Currently it is the home of Big Ed’s Soda Grill. They sell sandwiches and interestingly enough maintain the old soda fountain. But the day of the 10-cent phosphate and 25-cent ice cream sundae have been replaced by dollar signs.
Nevertheless, for many long-time and former residents it’s always a “Welcome Home” place to visit.
& THEN AGAIN: The pix on the shoptop appear to be a bit later than the previous; likely from the 1940s. Of interest (at least to myself) in this pic are the window displays. There appear to be some small sailboats in them.
My memory of some of these displays are those that contained a large poster type photograph of a current Vermilion High School graduating class. Also I remember Kodak and suntan lotion displays.
And just inside the front door was the pièce de résistance (i.e. the comic books.)
Hart’s corner was always a local favorite.
SIS TALKED: I did an on-line interview with one of my sisters last Monday at the Ritter Public Library. The interview is part of a series that I’m doing in cooperation with the library, the Vermilion Area Archival Society and (of course) the Vermilion History Museum.
It’s actually the 2nd time we’ve done recorded an oral history with her – Nancy Alice Tarrant-Emery. And though I knew some of what she told me there were a few things I didn’t know. And that’s the great thing about doing oral histories: You always learn something new.
My sister, like all my siblings, is talented. She’s a gifted musician, record-keeper and writer – among other things.
This photo of her is unusual. That’s because her mouth is closed. You will note that that was her observation of the pic – not mine. So what that means is rather ambiguous.
But if you want to listen to the interview with Nance, or any of those we’ve done thus far with other Vermilionites, just go to the Ritter Library website and tune in. They’re fun pieces.
F.Y.I. – Very soon I’m going to fly a subdomain page that will feature some of the other oral histories I’ve done in the past as well as some I will be doing in the future. The library interviews are very nice, but I’m only doing one a month and there are several that I’ve done in the past and some I want, and probably need to accomplish before the year ends.
DON’T’CHA JUST LOVE IT?: The wide-angle Vermilion Ohio streetscape photograph accompanying this composition is [what’s new?] another favorite of mine. It will undoubtedly appear as a foldout photo in my next book of Vermilion photographs. I don’t have access to a whole bunch of wide-angle pictures from Vermilion’s yesteryear, but those I do are, like this one, extremely captivating.
The shadows therein portrayed show off the southeast corner of Ohio and Exchange streets, as it appeared sometime in the 1920s. To better orient contemporary observers who may be unfamiliar with the scene, it may help to understand that directly to the left of the photographer (unseen) is St. Mary’s church. And directly to the right (also unseen) is Victory Park. The photo is obviously not perfect as far as it pertains to quality, but the details within it more than make up for its shortcomings. Most, but not all, of the homes in the photo are still standing. Also, there may be one or two houses near the corner of Ohio and Division / Main streets that had not yet been built.
The Vermilion Village Fire Department building appears to be the primary focus of the portrait. This “stately” looking building was built around 1890 replacing an old engine house that had stood for years very near the site. It may interest some to know that the “old engine house” was not razed to make way for the new, but was removed to another location in the village. It may also be of interest to know that the building of this firehouse was not without some complaint.
In an article that appeared in the Erie County Reporter early in 1890 it was reported that a petition signed by “but six persons” was presented to the council “forbidding it being erected” on the site. The contention was that the ground on which it was to be built had been dedicated as part of Exchange Place.
To avoid some confusion it may help to understand that in 1890 the Victory Park we know today was not yet known as “Victory Park” but may have been confused with “Exchange Place”. It was a portion of property that was originally intended to be the village square. The name “Victory Park” or some facsimile thereof was apparently adopted during or shortly after WW1. The park we currently know as Exchange Park did apparently exist in the 1890s. However, due to the location of both parks – their proximity to Exchange Street - there is to this day no small amount of confusion about which park is which.
[NOTE: Again, I find this somewhat confusing. It never occurred to me that those in charge of such things would even consider building the fire station in Exchange (Place) Park. But that certainly is the way the article reads. My thought is that the article I used as a reference may just have been poorly written because it’s not real clear as to how the property where the station was eventually built was “found to be just outside the park” if, in fact, that park was really Exchange Place.]
In any case, it was the contention of those protesting the building of the 1890 firehouse that it was going to trespass on park property. Although an investigation was made and the property was found to be just outside the park, to avoid the threatened litigation [not to mention an inane argument] the lot was purchased and the engine house built. And life in Vermilion moved along – controversy done. At least it was for a time.
If one looks closely at the photo you will see a small door beside [to the left of] the large sliding door on the front of the building. Inside that little door was a rope. The rope was attached to the bell in the belfry atop the engine house. When the bell was rung it signaled a fire and called local volunteer firefighters to action. It was certainly a reasonable way to alert them. However, in the minds of some youngsters there was also an allure to it that was simply too inviting to ignore.
The attraction of the little door and the rope within finally got the best of some of the neighborhood boys and, of course, there commenced a series of false alarms that were only appreciated by a few delinquents hiding in the bushes. The culprits were, of course, never found. But they were sternly informed. And the door was secured. It is probably fortunate for them that the malefactors were never apprehended.
As one can see there is a good deal of detail in this photograph; the unpaved streets, wooden crosswalk, the streetlamp suspended over the intersection and much more. All are deserving of further commentary. But I’ll leave those things up to you. It’s a great streetscape. Don’t’cha just love it?
Ref: Published in the Vermilion Photojournal 06/07/2018.
YESTERYEAR'S NEWS: The following clips are dictated transcriptions from past issues of The Vermilion News. I think you will find them both interesting and fun...
Vol. XIV, No.6. - VERMILION, OHIO THURSDAY, July 14, 1910
The Public School Building Will Be Amply Provided
The Board of Education of Vermilion Village met in regular session Monday evening. After reading and approval of minutes of the previous meeting, the committees were called upon for reports.
The plans and specifications prepared by Bartlett Bros. Co. of Cleveland were explained by a representative of the company and adopted.
The bids for the work were then opened and were as follows:
W. E. Bailey – $155.
G. B. Blattner, plumbing was Crows Fountain, $175.00 With other make a fountain, $163.00.
W. E. Bailey being the lowest will have the contract.
A. F. Becker was the only bidder for the concrete work, his bid being $331.86. Which includes concrete floor for basement also cesspool.
The Bartlette Brothers company bid of $581 for the sanitary equipment made a total of $1067.86 exclusive of carpenter work which will cost $50-$75.
When this work is completed we will have as finely equipped school building as can be found in any town the size of Vermilion in the state.
The subject of securing teachers to fill vacancies caused by the resignations of Mr. Croninger in the Misses Buswell and Ayers was left to the committee on teachers and the superintendent.
As the law requires that the money for any improvement must be on hand before the contracts signed, provisions were made to place the required amount in the proper fund.
After payment of bills meeting was adjourned.
Baby Nuhn Dead
Word was received here yesterday by relatives of the death of five months old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Nuhn at their home in Pasadena Cal. The little one had been ailing for several weeks when taken with whooping cough. She died last Friday and the Funeral took place Sunday. Mr. and Mrs. Nuhn's many Vermilion friends will sympathize with them in their lost.
At The Hospital
Mrs. Charles F. Decker was been ill for the past several months, was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital, Lorain, Monday was operated on Tuesday morning. At the last report's she was resting well and her many friends hope for a complete recovery.
John Appeman was a Vermilion visitor Monday.
The young people of St. Peter's Church will give an ice cream social Saturday evening.
Anton Dute has purchased the homestead on Main Street and will make a number of improvements in the near future.
A baseball tournament will be held at stop 38 on July 17th.
Rudolph Sabier had his foot badly hurt at the quarries Thursday.
Miss Alice Rumsey of Vermilion was the guest of her sister Mrs. V. Wholever a few days last week.
Elmer Shattuck of Los Angeles who was called home on account of his father's death is visiting relatives and friends here.
A party of young people from Amherst enjoyed a hayride to the home of John Wohlever at Oberlin Saturday evening and together with a party of Oberlin young people had a delightful time.
John Crum and his family took Sunday dinner at G. L. Jump’s.
John Knott attended the ballgame at Huron recently.
Johnnie Hill is a proud possessor of a new buggy.
The children in this vicinity are all busy at present picking raspberries.
Will Snyder spent about an hour with his mother Sunday.
Mr. and Mrs. Lee Bottomley of Cleveland are visiting at Mr. and Mrs. W. B. Houseman's.
Mr. and Mrs. Coon Schisler spent Sunday with their brother Mr. Andrew Schisler of Florence.
Milan will have a homecoming Wednesday and Thursday, August 17 and 18th and the event promises to be one of great interest to all. Wednesday will be "Normal Day," when a reunion of those who attended the Normal School there will take place.
Thursday will witness the gathering the former residents.
Many, well known and prominent in invention and business, once claimed Milan as their home. Edison heads the list. Steven's builder of refrigerators, King, inventor of the bridge which bears his name and a number of others once trod her streets as citizens.
Why not have a homecoming for Vermilion next year, especially if we are successful in landing the meeting of the Buckeye Band Association. It's now time to commence work on the project.
FOR SALE CHEAP – Barn on corner of Sandusky and Ohio streets. Enquire of B. E. Hamel, Vermilion, O.
FOR SALE – House and lot, on Ohio Street. Enquire of E. T. Bottomley.
FOR SALE – Two half lots adjoining on Columbus Street. Enquire of E. T. Bottomley at news office.
Charles Corbin is home from the lakes for vacation.
Mrs. F. H. Rae is expected home today accompanied by her son Capt. Frank Rae who was quite ill.
Berdette Parson spent Sunday at his home here. He returned to his boat at Cleveland Monday accompanied by Mrs. Parsons who spent the day there.
A number of young people enjoyed a launch ride to Huron last evening.
A large Y. M. C. A. Picnic crowd from Cleveland enjoyed a day's outing at Crystal Beach Wednesday.
An artist of the Art Magazine Co. of Chicago Ill. is here this week. He is painting a number of views and portraits.
Friday the player department was called to the Troxel home on State Street but the fire had been extinguished before arrived, with the aid of a garden hose. The blaze was in the roof and did little damage.
Little Bertie, son of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Abell is reported quite ill.
Judge Charles S. Reed of the Common Pleas court is at the Good Samaritan Hospital where he will undergo an operation for abdominal trouble.
Mr. Arnold has boarders.
Lloyd Bacon attended the picnic at Crystal Beach Sunday.
The farmers around here have begun cutting wheat.
We are having a fine rain at this writing. The farmers are all willing to go in and let every drop go on the ground for we need it very much.
Mr. Bert Bacon is a hustler. He can gather up the biggest load of calves and chickens of any man that goes out for the same length of time. Anyone that has anything in that line to sell will do well to patronize him.
We had a nice little shower Sunday evening. It did everything good.
C. A. Baldwin is making all kinds of plans for new cider mill. You will do justice to give neighbor Baldwin a call.
Miss Ruby Dean spent Saturday and Sunday with her parents Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Dean.
Mr. and Mrs. Orlando Riley and little son of Berlin Heights visited at Frank Champney’s Sunday.
We are sorry to state that little Gertrude Sperry is still seriously ill.
Mrs. Tuttle of Berlin Heights visited Mrs. Brooks last Saturday.
Our farmers are busy cutting their wheat, which is good in this section.
A large number of people from Cleveland were at the Park last Sunday.
There is a good deal of inquiry about summer borders along the shore this summer.
Several capitalist of Cleveland have been looking for Lakeshore property for summer homes lately.
The Lake Shore Electric has a small strike on hand at Sugarcreek Bridge. Struck for $2.00 per day.
Mrs. Henry Ackerman is improving after having been threatened with blood poisoning caused by stepping on a rusty nail.
HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY
THE SIXTY-FOURTH INFANTRY.
…or less closely engaged for three days and lost about seventy-five men in killed and wounded. For some days preceding Chickamauga it was skirmishing frequently, and in the main battle was closely engaged during the whole day on the 19th of September. It there lost over one hundred in killed, wounded and missing. On November 25th it was engaged at Mission Ridge with but slight loss. In January 1864, about three-fourths of the regiment veteranized, after which the men returned home on a thirty-days' furlough.
The regiment joined Sherman's army and participated in the charge at Rocky Face Ridge. Loss, twenty-one killed and sixty-five wounded. Next came Resaca, on June 14th, and thereafter daily skirmishing until the 20th of July, at which time it took part in the fight at Peach Tree Creek. Until the latter part of August the regiment was almost daily under fire. It next engaged at Jonesboro, September 3d,and then at Lovejoy Station, on the 6th.
After the fall of Atlanta the Sixty-fourth encamped in the city, but two weeks later, with the Fourth Corps, joined in pursuit of Hood's forces as far as Chattanooga. Here four hundred recruits were added to the regiment and the veterans were paid off. After following Hood about fifty miles south of Chattanooga the regiment returned to that point, after which it was sent to Athens, Ala., and thence marched to Pulaski and Spring Hill, at which latter place it had another sharp fight. From Spring Hill the regiment marched to Franklin, Tenn., and engaged in the battle there with heavy loss. After that it returned to Nashville and was engaged in sorties and battles before that city. It then pursued Hood again and finally went into camp at Huntsville, but soon left and moved to Decatur and Athens, remaining about two months and then returned to Huntsville; thence into East Tennessee and soon after returned to Nashville. From the latter place it was sent to New Orleans where many died from sickness. About the middle of September 1865, the Sixty-fourth went to Victoria, Texas, where on the 3d of December following the men were paid off, discharged and sent home.
THE SIXTY-FIFTH INFANTRY.
The Sixty-fifth was one of the regiments raised at Mansfield, and known as the " Sherman brigade," having been recruited mainly through the efforts of Hon. John Sherman. It was organized at Camp. Buckingham, and was mustered into service on the first of December, 1861.
Erie county was represented in this regiment by about thirty-five men, nearly all of whom were members of Company G, while a few, and only a few, were scattered through other companies.
The army life and experiences of this regiment, according to Whitelaw Reid, in his " Ohio in the War,” were as follows: "The regiment left Mansfield for active duty, on the 18th of December, and moved, by way of Cincinnati, to Louisville, Ky., where it remained for a week, and then marched to…
HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY OHIO – With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of Its Prominent Men and Pioneers. – Edited by Lewis Cass Aldrich – Syracuse, N.Y. - D. Mason & Co., Publishes – 1889.
VERMILION ARTIFACT #262
PHANTOM BOAT RIDE: This tickets (as is obvious) came from Vermilionite Jane Smith. She handed them to me when I was at the library last Monday evening. I asked here if they were still good.
I’ve no idea what year the rides were made available. I would guess they were in the 1970s.
In any case, they’re very interesting relics of Vermilion’s past when Eddy Solomon was the town’s restaurant king.
THE WRONG LINE
In the admitting office of our hospital, some patients were filling out forms, others were being interviewed and still others were being escorted to their rooms.
An elderly woman hesitantly entered my cubicle. She had completed her admitting forms and, upon my request, handed me her insurance cards. I typed the necessary information and then asked her the reason for her coming to the hospital.
"Just to visit a friend," she said, "but this had taken so long, I'm not sure she is still alive now."
LOCAL ANNOUNCEMENTS: After giving it much thought this link has been "put-down". During the last year most of the folks who used to use this page as a bulletin board have acquired their own and, consequently, no longer need this forum from "Views". I have, however, kept links (in the links section) to Larry Hohler's "Hope Homes" in Kenya - and to Bette Lou Higgins' Eden Valley Enterprises sites. They are historically and socially relevant projects. I suggest that you visit these sites on a regular basis to see "what's shakin'".
Pay particular note to the "Hope Homes" page during the next few months / years. They are constantly improving the lives of their youngsters and those around them. This is an exciting project accomplished by exciting people.
Although this Vermilion High School Class of 1959 reunion is over classmates may want to stay connected with each other through organizerROGER BOUGHTON. Ye can connect by mailing him @ 2205 SW 10th Ave. Austin, MN. 55912 or you can just emailRoger.
Persons interested in the history of the Lake Shore Electric Railway (which was the subject of a recent past podcast series) - "the greatest electaric railway system on the planet" may want to go to Amazon.com and purchase a book called "Images of Rail - Lake Shore Electric Railway". It was put together by Thomas J. Patton with the help of my friends DENNIS LAMONT and ALBERT DOANE. It'd make a nice gift.
Another great book with Vermilion Roots is, "Grandma's Favorites: A Compilation of Recipes from MARGARET SANDERS BUELL by Amy O'Neal, ELIZABETH THOMPSON and MEG WALTER (May 2, 2012). This book very literally will provide one with the flavor of old Vermilion. And ye can also find it at Amazon.com. Take a look.
MARY WAKEFIELD BUXTON'S LATEST BOOK "The Private War of William Styron" is available in paper back for $15.00 with tax and can be purchased locally at Buxton and Buxton Law Office in Urbanna, ordered from any book store, Amazon.com or Brandylane Publishing Company. A signed, hard back edition may be purchased from Mrs. Buxton directly for $30.00 by writing her at Box 488, Urbanna, VA 23175 and including $6.00 for tax, postage and packaging.
THE BEAT GOES ON: This page is generated by a dreaded Macintosh Computer and is written and designed by (me) Rich Tarrant. It will change weekly ~ usually on Saturday. Bookmark the URL (Universal Resource Locater) and come back at your own leisure. Send the page to your friends (and enemies if you wish). If you have something to share with those who visit this page, pass it on. And if you see something that
is in need of correction do the same. My sister, Nancy, is a great help in that respect. It only takes me a week to get things right. And follow the links. You might find something you like. If you experience a problem with them let me know. Also, if you want to see past editions of this eZine check the new archives links below.
If you're looking for my old links section (pictured) I've replaced it with a pull-down menu (visible in the small box next to the word "Go"). If you're looking for links to more Vermilion history check that menu.
How the old links menu looked
For Persons who would like to donate to the cause (to keep these "Views" on-line you can send whatever you would like to me at the following address. And THANKS to everybody who has already donated to the cause. I doth certainly appreciate it):
P.O. Box 437
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" All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."- George Orwell
Vol. 16. Issue 19 - July 14, 2018
Archive Issue #800
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