February 4, 1982
Pix #1 - L.G. Huth, shown outside C&O's Fostoria terminal, where the 65-year veteran works as an accountant.
Pix # 2- Mr. and Mrs. Don Kathrens
Another interesting story about Center Street concerns S.L. Huth, a resident at 305 for many years.
He was just mentioned in the story, given credit for providing the underpass photos, but there was more.
"Huthie", as he is known to many, is a veteran C&O railroader, having been with them 65 years. He was hired in August 1917, as a messenger on the old Hocking Valley railroad when he was 16 years old. The Hocking Valley was acquired by the C&O in the 1930's.
Soon after that early start he was promoted to rate clerk.
"That was my favorite job", he recalls. He has held a number of other jobs, including various clerical positions: chief clerk, rate clerk, and accountant. He also could have joined the Operating Department, but turned it down.
"I never did want to be an engineer; it just wasn't my bailiwick. The rail- road is the best place in the world to work", he says.
"We worked with less than carload business back in the early days. We didn't have truck competition then. In fact, the people delivering the freight worked with horses, and the engines were all steam operated.
The only days "Huthie" has missed work were two in 1918, when he had the flu, plus one day when he fell off a roof.
When the accompanying photo of him was taken in 1977, he said, "If I ever have to retire I'll deteriorate". So, today at age 81, he's still on the job at the Chessie terminal on South Main Street, which many years ago was the Baltimore and Ohio passenger depot.
Good Luck "Huthie" keep on railroadin.
WHITEHOUSE HAMBURGERS SHOP
Mention of the Whitehouse Hamburger Shop in the East Center Street story developed another Potluck in miniature.
Merle McKeever, Ohio 587, better known as "Red", telephoned after the first installment was published. Looking at the composite photo used with that story, he wasn't sure just where the hamburger shop was. He did recall the shop was accessible from Main Street via the east-west alley in the rear, as well as from Center Street.
McKeever said he thought Mr. Kathrens, who introduced the Whitehouse Hamburger business in Fostoria, and built the building on East Center, might still be living here. So, I checked the telephone book, found one Katherns at 148 E. Clark, tried it and hit the jackpot.
In the telephone conversation with Mrs. Kathrens I learned some things which should have been in the story. Don Kathrens came to Ohio from the state of Kansas. He worked at a Whitehouse shop in Lima and Findlay before starting the one in Fostoria. It cost him $1,700 to erect the building for his first shop and to stock it in 1936.
Hamburgers sold for a nickel and all the coffee you could drink was a nickel. A quarter of a pie sold for a dime, he said.
Kathrens kept that eating place for three years, then sold it, and it became known as Allan's Delicatessen. McKeever said he worked for Allan's and later for B & J.
The Kathrens invited me to stop at their house and I was glad I did. I discovered Mr. Kathrens must have been an inovator back in the days when he first got in the hamburger business. He would find a good location for a hamburger shop, put up the building, get the business running good, then repeat the procedure in another town. He had profitable shops all around this area. Eventually, he sold all of them and moved to Michigan, but later came back to Fostoria to make his home.
Mrs. Kathrens is an inovator too. Eighteen years ago, when The Decorama Co., Dallas, Texas was just two years old, she became a representative in this area, and has continued with them.
Decorama sells direct to homemakers a variety of items to decorate homes. Mrs. Kathrens says she enjoys her work because she likes to help people with decorating problems, and feels she is being helpful in her work. She is the oldest representative working for Decorama.
Mrs. Ora Wade informed me the first Fostoria Municipal Court was on the second floor of the Alcott Building beside the Moose Lodge. The Alcott building was where the Park N Shop lot is now. Mrs. Wade said Attorney Charles Strauch was the first judge.
Ora Wade intended to run for judge to succeed Strauch, but he passed away before the election. Mrs. Wade became the second clerk of the court.
Dorothy Vanderhoff spotted the paragraph about Paul Morris, with whom your author played with as a boy. She told me that as recently as a couple years ago, Paul and his wife Jewel (Wray) were living in Mt. Clemens, Michigan. Lewel worked at The Basket Market many years ago.
Mrs. Harry (Ruth) Jacobs telephones to inquire if I knew anyone who had one of the soldering irons which her husband made in his shop on East Center. I thought readers of this column might know. If they do, telephone her at 435-5920. Mrs. Jacobs said she knows her daughter would like to have an iron as memorabilia.
A telephone call from Chet Keiffer, 495 Park, revealed that he had built the building on East Center where Hiser Realty is now. Originally the building was built for Allan's Hamburger, later taken over by B&J.
Chet recalled the building was the first one he had constructed and there were considerable difficulties. The excavation filled with about two feet of water, due to rainfall, and they hadn't been able to locate the sewer. However, the water helped with the solution; Chet saw the water swirling as it does when it finds an outlet, and at that spot was the sewer.
R.B. McMeen, 217 N. Vine St., telephoned to give some history on the building that once stood on East Center, on the west side of the north-south alley (No. 125-127) where The Review Times parking lot is now.
He said his grandfather McMeen had that building constructed in the 1890's, using the downstairs as a saloon and restaurant, while residing with his family upstairs. Bob's earlier ancestors, farmers, go back to the early history of Seneca County, and are buried in McMeen Cemetery, located near Watson Station in the northeast part of Seneca County, near the Sandusky line.
Leon McNeil of Cleveland writes that his parents and two sisters lived in one of the apartments above where Pegg's Wallpaper was for many years.
The story about South Main Street brought back many memories. I am having copies made to send to my sister Grace, Columbus, and Margaret, Norwalk.
I remember that Diesel Wemmer cigar manufacturing at No. 313, and later John B. Rogers there. How well I remember our landlord Chris German. The Peltons were interesting people. I worked with Maude when she was a correspondent for the Toledo News Bee, and I handled their circulation in about 1922. Our office was on the second floor of a Main Street building on the southwest corner, across from Commercial Bank (the first Foster Building). Mrs. Pelton told me her father had been governor of Ohio (?). My first job (one day) was shoveling potatoes into a basement of Lonsway Bros. grocery. I earned 75 cetns.
I recall the death of the Chinese laundry man. I thought he had been found in the laundry, not the reservior. Foul play was suspected. A tong-war victim?
Many a time I visited the Ritter Harness Shop to see the white horse. Mrs. Ritter called on my mother at the time of my father's death in 1931.
Carmen Ash Lyons telephones from Florida, telling her daughter Jean Trumpler how much she enjoyed that story; likewise Mrs. Trumpler enjoyed it too, as did Ethel (Reese) Ash, wife of Earl.
Willis Wyant who provided information for the Foster article, discovered by error in the list of names with the Foster family photo...Charles Ash, husband of Isabelle (Foster) Ash was listed as Charles Foster, your author's error. Willis too, liked the story.
Norman F. Koons, 127 W. Clark Street, telephone to tell me more about what happened to the car owned by Grant Foster after his death. Readers will recall the article said Foster never drove the car after buying it, and at his death it was sold to some kids.
Here's the information from Koons:
He said in 1946 or 47 he could have bought the car (a 1919 model T. Ford) from Harry Souder for $175. Souder had bought the car for his kids when the Foster estate was settled.
Those who remember the Souder property on Elm Street with the open garage stalls on the alley, next to where Superior Paint Store is now, may recall the old car sitting there for anumber of years. I do. Finally, Souder sold the car to a Clevelander who collected old cars.
Koons said whn he looked at the car, he was told that it had been driven only once after Grant Foster brought it home; that was when he drove it to his brother's house in Iler. On the way home he ran into the ditch, and after reaching home, it was put in the barn and never driven again.
A letter from Jesse Myers, Sylvania, grandson of Charles Foster, whose family was early settlers of Fostoria, remarked about Historical society articles and the open house this past fall.
Years ago, we gave to the Fostoria Public Library many times such as watches of my grandparents. Now that you have a place to display them at the museum, perhaps the library will let you have them.
Edna Brink, 433 College Ave., telephones about that story. She said she went to that school and was in the sixth grade in 1909 when the school board decided to name all schools after poets.
Prior to 1909, all grade schools were either known as ward schools, or mostly referred to by the street where located. Each school chose the poet for which their school was named.
Mrs. Brink also provided information about Potter's Field at Fountain Cemetery. She said there had been some discussion about where it was located. According to her it is back (north) of the stone storage building in the old part of the cemetery. She said King Ben Purnell's daughter, who died in the firecracker factory fire was buried in Potter's Field because her father disowned her, saying she had sinned, which was the reason for her death. Purnell was head of the House of David, which in latter years was located in Michigan.
The members of that religious group had strict rules for eating, refraining from partaking of meat. The men had long hair and beards. For many years they had a baseball team. They owned considerable land and property in Michigan, much of the land being used for raising fruits and vegetables.
The house which your author owned and lived in at 727 N. Countyline Street at one time was the residence of Ben Purnell many years earlier. It was demolished to make way for the K & K Restaurant.
The Longfellow School article brought a letter from Ray O'Dell in Punta Gorda, Florida:
Dear Paul: We receive the Fostoria paper and saw the picture of the old Longfellow School. It brought back some memories. There were a lot of good teachers and your sister, Ruth, was one of them. Mrs. Mildred Atha (Link), Fern Augustine, Fano Harris. I still have a picture of the old school football team of 1922...Bob King, Charles Sendelbaugh, Slater, Bill Welker, Harold Hemrick, Bill Zimmerman, Pearly Vance, Byron Carter, Gerald Lytle.
I remember the old victrola we used to march by when school was dismissed.