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1977197819791980198119821983198419851986198719881989

MY DAYS OF YOUTH ALONG RAILROAD YARDS
March 16, 1978


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PIX #1 - Building where Paul Krupp raised mushrooms

PIX #2 - Eureka Planing Mill and Lumber Co., at North and Cadwallader Street.

PIX #3 - T and OC Depot between North and McDougal streets, with water storage tank (for the "iron horses") in the background. The depot is now a warehouse for Gray Printing

Today, I want to tell you about some of the history I recall about the T and OC (Toledo and Ohio Central) and H.V. (Hocking Valley) railroad yards and the events that transpired there...plus other recollections for a period of nearly 20 years, starting in 1912.

The family moved to one of the Cadwallader houses on McDougal, our was at the corner of Cadwallader and McDougal. My playground was literally that whole eastern sector of town...even as far away as Columbus Ave.

I remember the Cadwallader brick and sand pile that extended for nearly a block on the north side of Columbus Avenue. They used the brick and sand for the construction of houses.

I also remember the Cadwallader family very well and could write one complete article about them...which I may do some day. They were good landlords, and a credit to the city. The only one left of that family is Ira (Ike) and the only child of Lester and Helen Cadwallader, still a resident of Fostoria.

The T and OC and the H.V. were competitors...both ran from Toledo through central Ohio. Both carried large quantities of passenger trains.

Farmers who kept milk cows, both north and south of Fostoria, shipped their milk on the T and OC destined for George Freese and Sons Creamery in this city. The Freese building still stands, in dilapdated condition on the east side of South Union Street where the C an dOB and O tracks cross.

There is one thing I'll never forget about the Freese employee who picked up their milk shipment at the T and OC depot. I was playing on a pile of wooden utility poles in the rail yards. I infuriated a bumble bee with my play and he stung me on the nose, next to my right eye. My screams not only alerted my mother, but also the Freese employee, who immediately came running to see what was the matter. In a very short while the sting had altered the looks and proportions of my nose and eye. The old gentleman, with unshaven face, and not too clean appearing, and with a large wad of tobacco in mouth, put my nose in his mouth and sucked the poison from the sting. In a short time everything was O.K.

Back in those days The Fostoria Ice and Coal Co. was located in the building where Schreiner Construction Corp. is now. It was owned and operated by Harry Clore and Ralph Clink. The manufactured ice and ran a fleet of horse drawn wagons throughout the city. Ice was the only means for food preservation then...electric refrigerators came much later. Eventually trucks replaced the horse-drawn vehicles. The kids watched for the vehicles in summer to salvage small pieces of ice to cool off.

I believe Kenneth Souder was one of the last employees of the old ice company before it wuit business. It was a thriving business for many years, serving homes, grocers, saloons, hotels, creameries, business places who had ice- cooled water dispensers.

Just east of the ice plant, where Danielak Electric Inc. is now, the Fostoria Union Dairy Co., operated it's business. Jack Reeves, father of Maurice Reeves, and O.E. Duckworth were the principals. J.A. Peirce, brother of Laura Burke was the buttermaker.

My strongest rememberance of the dairy was the trips I made there as a boy, with a gallon bucket, to get it filled with buttermile, fresh from the butter churn...the price was 10 cents.

Small particles of butter were prevalent in each glassful. It was used for baking, and drank with gusto...if you developed a taste for it. I did and often hanker for a glass of old-fashioned buttermilk, instead of the cultured variety available now.

Coal that fell from railroad cars, or that came from unloading operations in the rail yards in that end of town, helped to reduce our winter fuel bills materially. In the summer, with my little red wagon, I soured the railroad yards, retrieving the bits and chunks available. By winter, quite a pile had accumulated.

The men in the neighborhood gathered in the evening to play horseshoes beside the T and OC switch track. The spot became popular for viewers, as well as players...some of whom were: Vic Schuth, Terry Segner, Bill Wilson, Roy Hartsook, Mr. McClellen, father of Claudia Hillier.

On the southeast corner of North and Cadwallader streets stood the Eureka Planing Mill and Lumber Co., where the neighborhood kids retrieved all shapes and sizes of sticks and wood pieces from the scrap pile...to build all kinds of things...whatever the imagination dreamed up.

The site of the old mill and its buildings is now part of The Gray Printing Co. property, as is the Gray parking lot on the northeast corner of the street where once stood a hotel...of questionable character, frequented by some travelling salesmen. In later years, the hotel housed a moving and storage business, and still later it was made into apartments, before finally being demolished.

In those days there were lots of saloons in Fostoria. The residents living in that area were always fearful that those who frequented them might be killed by trains if they drank too much and had to cross the railroad tracks. None were, but Mrs. Hall, a very elderly lady who lived at the corner of North and Cadwallader was hit by a train and her body terribly dismembered. Her mind was deranged and she escaped her house and wandered on the tracks.

Our boys baseball team, The McDougal Street Sizzies, played the Hocking Valley Lillies on the National Carbon ball field, or wherever we could find a vacant lot. I pitched so much ball one summer I had a "pitcher's arm", and had to carry it in a sling to get it back to normal.

As I look back I think of many friends I had in that part of town; Wilbur Sheely, Vernon Pauline and Vera Earl, Warren Reynolds, Catherine and Margaret Shook, Joy Huss, Carl Knestrick, Carl Otten, Ralph Brandeberry, Jake Seever, Wilbur Shultz, Claudia McClellen, Mary Ward, Forrest Burke, Marion Lockhard, Ned Bernice and Tracy Allen, Paul Morris, Fred and Louise Koss, and others whose names I have forgotten.

Just east of the old H.V. tracks (now C & O) on McDougal street there stands a brick structure which once housed The Brooks Dray and Storage Co. Later, the business was known as Fostoria Track and Storage Co. The property was later acquired by Fostoria Ice and Coal. They rented the building to me in 1932 for the establishment of my Fostoria Mushroom Gardens. The business, an extra activity while I was still employed at The Fostoria Review, lasted only several years. The owner wanted the building back, so I had to quit. However, I did raise some nice mushrooms, and sold all I could produce.

Oh...there are so many more things I could relate, but this story is already too long. Maybe more later.

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