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BOTTO BLOCK BUILT IN EARLY 1900'S
Thursday January 31, 1985


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Pix #1 - This is the second segment of the photo showing the workforce at Jackson Underwear Co. The last segment of it will be with next week's article. Names of the people in the complete photo are in today's article.

Photo #2 - This photo, when compared with No. 1 will show how the Jackson Underwear factory building looked then and now.

Pix #3 - This a current photo of the Botto Block, where more recently Robert Specialty store was located but quit business here.

Author's Note: This is the second in the series on East North Street. It is in order to explain again, that the large photo in last week's article, as well as the one today, os of the workforce at the A.H. Jackson factory, located at North and Potter streets, taken in 1913. The last segment of the photo will appear next week. When all three of the photos are layed end-to- emd, readers will have a complete, historic picture from the past.

With the above explanation, today's article will provide details about the A.H. Jackson Co. It was a branch of the parent company in Fremont. For a few years the local factory was located in the old armory building (still standing) at McDougal and Poplar streets. The need for larger factory space necessitated relocation.

The Sept. 28, 1912, issue of The Fostoria Daily Review revealed that Ron A.H. Jackson, Fremont was in Fostoria to close the deal for the site and construction of the new building. J.D. McDonel was responsible for the sale of the land and J.H. Jones and N. Altweis for erection of the new factory. The land was purchased from The Commercial Bank & Savings Co. for $3,000.00

JACKSON BUILDING COST $10,000

According to Mr. Jackson, the new building would "provide modern facilities, not available in the old location, and provide space for 50 more sewing machines". Cost of the new two-story structure was pegged to cost $10,000.

Two other prospects were considering the purchase of the site, according to the article. One was the Elks Club, to build a permanent home for the lodge. McDonel said the site was also considered as a movie and opera house, prior to sale to Jackson.

A.H. Jackson manufactured a line of ladies undergarments. In addition to the factory area on the second floor of the new building, the first floor has a retail store.

CLEAN FACTORY FOR WOMEN

Unlike most manufacturing establishments, A.H. Jackson Co. provided a clean place for women to work. The workforce was approximately 80, exclusive of management personnel. The only unfortunate working condition existed in the ever present possiblity of an employee running a needle in their fingers.

The photograph of the women, taken in front of the building, was obtained (on loan) from the Fostoria Historical Society Museum. With the photo was a list of workers names. but they were not listed entirely by rows. Therefore the following list makes no attempt to identify individuals. I discovered a number of faces I recognized, as will other older readers. It is probably expecting too much, but if any reader can identify all faces, please let me know.

JACKSON WORKFORCE IN 1913

Hattie Drenner, Amanda Krupp, Minnie Vandrier, Mrs. Dixon, Martha Dixon, Dora Vilbrant, Oral Wright, Lena Weber, Iva Drake, Rose Kehn, Cora Martin, Adaline Ulman, Louise Atweis, Nora Walsh, Pauline Bick, Vera Caldwell, Irene Caldwell, Hilda Beck, Mary Snyder, Ethel French, Lulu Bemesderfer, Mary Duffield, Ethel French, Hattie Papenfus.

Etta Wollensnydr, Gladys Duffy, Mr. Hamburg (manager), Maud Prebble, Ella Hallman, Glena Newhouse, Alvina Sussang, Lela Newhouse, Mary Doty, Elsie Buch, Eva Ulman, Emma Alweis, Florence hamburg, Corduela Atlweis, Ella Kehn, Ada Kieffer, Emma Vandrier, Dot Holderman, Anna Myers, Mary Hanna, Eulalia Atlweis, Minnie Lorah.

Lela Young, Grace Young, Goldie Pierce, Marion Cupps, Elizabeth Goshe, Mary Goshe, May Emmons, Emma Leesburg, ? Sheppard, Zeltha Stillwell, ? Adams, Martha Vilbrant, ? Fausnaugh, Mary Hubbard.

I have no knowledge of what prompted the A.H. Jackson Co. to terminate manufacturing at their Fostoria factory. My recollection is that operations ceased in about 1924 or 1925.

Although various commercial operations used the building for a number of years, it was in about 1941 that Gold Bond Furniture Co., owned by a Tiffin family, started a store at that site and continued until a couple of years ago.

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STREET

Photos #2 and #3 show the buildings on the south side of East North Street... just the same as they have been for many years...in fact since they were constructed.

Photo #2 is the original Botto Block, built in 1905 or 1906, by Louis Botto and a Mr. Lavagi. They purchased the site in 1905. Botto had operated a fruit stand on that location prior to the purchase. Mr. Lavagi was a Tiffin resident. There was never a name identifying owners of the block placed on the building, a custom back then.

The only living member of either of those two families is Florence (Botto) Weimerskirk, wife of Howard E., Tiffin. Many readers will remember "Flo" as she was known by her Fostoria friends. On the dance floor, Flo and Park Burtscher made a superb couple. According to a 1913 city directory, Mrs. Botto was widowed at that time.

Mrs. Botto and daughters Florence and Helen resided in an apartment on the second floor (east wing) of the block. I'm sure that Florence will recall many events of that area of Fostoria when she reads this series of articles.

HOW MANY WILL RECALL THESE?

Those businesses occupying No. 111 on the first floor in the east wing of the Botto Block were: Logan Natural Gas & Fuel Co., Art's Norge Appliance; Frigidaire Sales, Alonzo Emerine Jr.; H.D. Hunter, optometrist; Sam Brown, optometrist; and currently Holden Coin Lounge.

F.W. WOOLWORTH IN THE BOTTO BLOCK

Prior to 1915, city directories did not list occupants of houses and commercial buildings by streets. Therefore, it is impossible to provide names of professionals or businesses in the Botto prior to that date.

The F.W. Woolworth Store started in part of the first floor of the Botto Block in 1916. At that time Zemer & Orwig Drug was in the rest of that area.

Dean Elger, a local man, worked in the local Woolworth store and later moved up to corporate headquarters in New York. Potluck published two articles about Mr. Woolworth, the local store and Dean Eger in June 28 and July 5, 1979, issues of The Review Times.

At about that same time (1916) the second floor offices in the Botto Block were occupied by J.H. Agnew, dentist; Reed Wade & Mauer, attorneys; and Harry Ulman, business unknown. Others to occupy offices there were: Gribble Insurance; Fostoria fiance Co.; Dr. Michener, dentist; and Dr. Palmer.

The third floor of the Botto Block was used for dances, wrestling matches and meetings.

Back in the earlier years, basement quarters in the Botto Block were used by Etchen & Myers, barbers; and also Daymude & Few, barbers.

Currently, office space that was once abailable on the second floor of the Botto Block has been converted to resident apartments.

When Tom Ash purchased the Botto Block in 1977, he leased the entire third floor to the Swinging Saddle Lites, a square-dance group. They still occupy it. Since then that building was sold and is now again up for sale. Top of page

 

 

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