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ONE HERITAGE HOUSE DOWNTOWN
January 29, 1981

Pix #1 - Heritage house at 337 S. Main St.

Pix #2 - Cathedral-type windows in upstairs apartment were once a popular styling.

Pix #3 - Emobssed metal ceiling in one apartment is original from early days of the house.

Quite some time ago, I made an effort to gather data about the Heritage House at 337 S. Main St. (northwest corner at Crocker) without much success. The house is owned by Bill Murphy, realtor, having been purchased at an auction a few years ago when the Grover Myers estate was settled. The original abstract could not be located.

One criteria for a Heritage House is that it must be at least 100 years old. That fact was established by The Antique Study Club for the Murphy house. How much older the house is may never be known. Even the records at Tiffin will not pinpoint when the house was built, only the various owners, dates of realty transfers, and the dollar amounts.

This writer remembers the house amost 70 years ago ever since it was on my way to Whittier. Likewise, Edna Hatfield, a teacher at that school, who resides directly across the street at 336, remembers the Murphy house was already there, and had been for many years when she and her husband Dr. Chalmer Hatfield took up residence at her present home in 1906.

Mrs. Hatfield recalls how the house of today's story had a fence around it. She said Dorothy Shallenberger, former Fostorian now living in Columbus told her the Fruth side of her family had owned the property during its early years.

THOSE LIVING THERE

A City Directory published in 1899 listed P.M. Hendershott, a local dentist, as living there.

As near as Mrs. Hatfield can recall the date, 1906, there was a Joe Camp family living in the house. Mrs. Hatfield has a fantastic memory at age 101. She said Mrs. Camp was a milliner, and they had two daughters, Elva and Josie.

Again a 1915-16 City Directory showed the Mark Levy family lived there. Levy had a junk yard; and I believe it was south of Crocker and west of Main, along the Nickle Plate tracks. At that time Corland LeJune, son of Mrs. Levy lived there; he is about my age.

The 1919-20 City Directory shoed Vance Ash living there, but I do not know if he owned it. Ash was proprietor of a livery stable on East Tiffin Street.

J. BRENAMAN RECALLS

Joan Brenaman, a great-niece of the Grover Myers who tried to locate the original abstract, said the Myers were married in about 1922, and according to an old City Directory for that year, Grover Myers was residing there then.

Mrs. Brenaman said many years ago, as a child, she always enjoyed visiting in the house. she said it had beautiful natural woodwork. The front upstairs bedroom, which her aunt and uncle used, had its own private bath, an unusual feature back then. She also remembers the door leading from that bedroom onto the upstairs porch provided a nice view, especially for a child.

Unlike most of the Heritage Houses, which have been purchased and restored for family living, the Murphy house being in a downtown location was less suitable for that useage.

GOTHIC STYLE

The quaint old brick house with its Gothic architecture with elaborate trim at the roofline, plus a front and side porch also with fancy trim, is still a well-built house from an earlier era.

Bill Murphy took the necessary steps to make his investment pay off, by dividing the original six room house into three apartments for singles or married couples without children.

The downstairs, rear apartment provides living quarters for Bernadine Clay, as well as space for her business, where she does commercial sewing and clothing alteration.

TIFFANY LIGHT GONE

A metal ceiling with an embossed pattern, a relic from the past, still exists in Mrs. Clay's work room. At one time that room had a beautiful Tiffany chandelier suspended from the ceiling...another thing Mrs. Brenaman remembers. When the house was sold to settle the Myers estate, the Tiffany chandelier was sold separately before Murphy bought it. Both he and Mrs. Brenaman expressed regrets the lighting fixture didn't remain as part of the old house; it belonged there.

The upstairs apartment, consisting of three rooms, is a suitable arrangement for married couples, either young or old without children, or for singles. It is occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Larry Sunday.

The downstairs front apartment is occupied by Mrs. Olive Kieffer and daughter Patty.

PRESERVE...DON'T DESTROY

It has been said before, and I repeat it now...sturdy, safe old buildings should be preserved, and remodeled if necessary, to meet today's needs. That concept conserves building materials, reduces costs and preserves the appearance and history of yesteryear.

That's what Murphy did with his Heritage House.

Incidentally, the plaque which The Antique Study Club provided for all Heritage Houses in Fostoria, was stolen from Murphy's house.

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