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February 10, 1983


PIX #1 - Main Street photo - 100 years old The photo with today's article is a rare one, maybe the ony one in existence. In the six years I have been presenting Potluck, it has never come to my attention.

It is a 100-year old scene from Fostoria's Main Street. It was brought to Fostoria recently by William Rinker, Tiffin.

Rinker brought the photo to me at the suggestion of Paul Kintz, 612 S. Union St., an old friend of his. They thought the location of the store in the photo might be Bill's Men's & Boy's Wear, 116-118 S. Main St. That conclusion was deduced by them, which I will not go into here, and for which they had no bonefide proof.

The upshot of my meeting with Rinker was that he would entrust me with the photo if I wanted to dig the old records and try to establish the location of the building; more about the merchants whose names appeared on the building and information about the P.W. Kemp City Dairy in the foreground of the photo.

It was a real challenge, like solving a mystery. But, it didn't take long by referring to old city directories.


The arched sign over the main entrance could be deciphered with almost certainty as "F.D. Kingseed". Another sign, pluse articles displated, indicated it was a hardware store.

I knew that there was a Kingseed Hardware Store on West Tiffin Street, but never knew there was one at 116 S. Main.

The 1877 directory listed M. (Martin) King seed Hardare, culterly, agricultural implements, etc., second door south of Hays House Hotel, 116 S. Main.

The 1889 directory continued the previous listing for M. Kingseed, but also mentioned F.D. Kingseed at 231 W. Tiffin St., which is the location of Dr. L.P. Leham's chiropractic office today.

By 1896, the 116 S. Main St. store was known as Kingseed Brothers Hardware Store. However, the Kingseeds also heldforth at other locations with their hardware business at other periods in the early part of this century. The P.W. Kemp City Dairy was located at 459 W. Findlay St. That dairy served a large area of Fostoria since the delivery wagon No. 2 indicated more than one.

Most readers would never guess that back then milk was hauled in large, open containers and transfered to customers' containers upon demand by quart or other measures. There were probably no health codes, inspection or restrictions of any kind to safeguard consumer's health.

My magnifying glass indicated a bell (the type janitors used at schools when it was time for school to start) on the floor of the milk wagon. Every driver had one which he rang to alert customers ad he moved about town.


In lter years 116 S. Main St. was the location for the Interurban Station, the waiting room and place to buy tickets for the three electic streetcar companies which served Fostoria.

The arched entrance which is shown in today's photo carried over to the building when it became the Interurban Station.

The entrance way to the second floor of the building, shown at right of photo has been revamped to become a merchandising display area for Bill's store today.

Back then Singer & Co. merhcant tailors was located in the upper part of the building as was a barber shop featured by the standard barber pole, always evidence of where to get a haircut, shave and a bath.

The principal in Singer & Co. was J.W.J. Singer, residing at 221 E. North St.


I recall that one of the later generations of the Kingseed family was Wilbur. I also recall that when he was in his late teens, his family moved to Tiffin. That is the only answer I can offer for the photo being in Tiffin.


Esther Shaffer contues her reminiscing about the south side of Crocker Street starting at Poplar.

No. 237 - Esther recalls this was the last house to be built on that street. Built by Miles Moore and Mr. and Mrs. Enoch Smith, it was their home for a short while, then sold to the Schuberts, retired farmers from the Alvada area. Mrs. Schubert, mother of May Herbert and granmother Ina Fruth, lived to be 96.

Harry and Emma Reed also lived there, moving to Tiffin after he was elected county treasurer. After his death, Mrs. Reed ran for the office and was elected.

Oscar and Nancy Rafferty owned the residence for many years. The Raffertys sold the house to Roy Cramer and it later became the property of his daughter and son-in-law Robert McCandles. McCandles was yard master for Nickel Plate Railroad.

Others to live there were Mr. and Mrs. Ed Wolfet and daughter Edna, and Mr. and Mrs. Walter Barbeau.

No. 239 - The house was built by Carson Phillips, but many other families lived there also. The PHillips daughter, Mabel, was a teacher at Crocker Street School and married the principal there, Raymond Pingle, who later became superintendent of schools at Grand Rapids.

Phillips sold the house to the J.C. Rhodes family who came from England. Rhodes, in the shipping department at Carbon Co., had a hobby of collecting butterflies. Their daughter Gertrude married the Rev. King of the local Reformed Church and they left $1 million to Heidelberg College for a music center.

The Wolf family - Mrs. Andrew Wolf, sons Otto and Harry, and daughters Idella and Mildred also lived there in the late 1920's. The Jacob Kuntz family resided there for many years. He was an employee of the highway department. Family members were Lena Catherine, Mildred, and Harold. The Joseph Hammers then bought the property and lived there 30 years.


No. 241 - Esther dubbs this the most famous house in Seneca County because of disput over ownership. She said that before the paint was dry on it, ownership disputes arose.

The doors of the house were locked for six years before it was settled and Patrick J. Conway, Salt Lake City, Utah, was decalred the rightful owner by the courts. Conway sold the property to Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Whiteman, father of Oneita and Marie, both teachers in the Fostoria schools. Whiteman then sold the property to Collie O. Miller, Tiffin, who sold it to Joseph and Estella H. Shaffer, Esther's parents. Descendents of the Shaffers still own the property.

All of the Shaffer children, George, Robert, Paul and Esther, were born and reared there. George bacme a teacher and professor at Kenyon College and Toledo schools. Robert became a musician under Jack Wainwright and followed that profession. Esther was employed as a bookkeeper at Gray Printing Co. and East North Street Lumber co. Paul majored in geology and became a teacher, professor and consultant. He also had many honors bestowed upon him.

No. 249 - Esther recalls the John Cover family who lived there because when they moved to Venice California, the daughter, Cortland, sent back ostrich plumes to neighbors since her father worked at the San Diego Zoo.

Albert and Lovina Raney, retired farmers, bought and lived in that house for 40 years. After their deaths, a daughter, Bertha Fruth Whitney, resided there. Others to own and/or live there were Rollie Guthrie, Janice Roberts, the Jack Ray family, the Thomas Knox family and the Frank Engelhardt family.

No. 251 - One time owned by Joseph Shaffer who sold it to Daniel and Ina Herbert. Others who lived there were the Chalmer Wades, Foltz family, Mr. and Mrs. Dewey Hatfield, the Kelly family connected with Allen Moto Car Co., the Fred Welch family, the Paul Moore family and the Carl Muirs family.


No. 255 - Mr. and Mrs. Sam Wilcox and her son Cecil Hall lived there. Wilcox was a carpenter and his wife, Hazel worked at Hays Hotel. Cecil popped corn and sold it downtown and met all the passenger trains when school wasn't in session. The Wilcoses died and no one knew what happened to Cecil. When Harry Aldrich entered Elks Home in Virginia, he wrote back "a man here says he used to live in Fostoria on Crocker Street, his name is Cecil Hall".

No. 259 - Mr. and Mrs. William Cramer, retired farmers, owned this property. The Robert Brant family also lived there. Robert and his brother Frank were in the coal business. The rest of the family was Ralph, Frances, Rose, Irwin and Regina. This house has been made into apartments.

No. 261 - A family named Dermer lived there. He worked at Carbon Co. There was a son, Robert, twins Ida and Iva and other siblings. Mr. and Mrs. A. Luman also lived there with children Stella, Alfreda, Gertrude and Richard. Later the house was sold to the Jacob Kuntz family who had lived at 239. Kuntz was employed at Bill's Men's & Boy's Wear.

No. 263 - Mrs. Ella McCullough and daughter Thelma lived there. Thelma later married "Spike" McDonald.


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