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1977197819791980198119821983198419851986198719881989

GUERNSEY, WELLER HISTORY RECALLED
August 7, 1980


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Pix #1 - Bogel Brother's Tailor Shop, where City Loan is now.

Congratulations to Vincent Williams for the 'new look' you have given your business blocks on Main Street, helping preserve the heritage of Fostoria's fine and busy business district of 100 years ago.

The reference is to the buildings between Center and Tiffin on the west side of Main, once known as the Guernsey and Weller buildings.

It's time to present another series of articles about the uptown areas, and it seemed appropriate to kick off with this most recent revitalization of Williams property.

The accompanying photos of that area will undoubtedly stir many memories of older readers and, as usual, acquaint others with how Fostoria's uptown district looked many years ago.

Readers can be sure I revelled in memories too, while putting this story together, since as a boy I spent much time in the summer selling the metropolitan newspapers from Cleveland, Toledo, Columbus and Cincinnati to the business and traveling men who arrived by interurbans.

Let's start at Center Street and move south on the west side of the block. Photos 1 and 2 shows how that area looks today, with the current businesses listed in order: City Loan and Savings at 101, having been there for 31 years; Chapman's Jewelers at 103, located there since 1940, when they moved from the other side of the street; City Loan (loan office) at 105, there since 1958; Capitol Savings and Loan Co., at 111, there since 1975, previously next to Fruth Hardware at 222 S. Main St.; Mode O' Day, ladies clothes shop...a newcomer to Fostoria in 1979.

Retracting our steps through that same area in past years reveals a busy uptown district, which may startle some readers, but bless older readers with fond memories.

Where City Loan is now, Vogel Brothers had a tailor shop, around the turn of the century, as one of the photos will show. The brothers, A.J. and J.C. started in business on east North Street in 1893, but moved to Main Street when their growth required more space. In addition to custom tailoring, they also carried a line of men's furnishings. Back then this town boasted about half dozen men's tailor shops.

In later years when J.A. Vogel was the sole proprietor, the business was located at 107-109 W. Center. He was the father of Carl, a well-known Fostoria businessman of later years, now deceased.

In later years other merchants occupied the corner location, one of them being the Cut Price Shoe Store in 1919 and for some time thereafter.

On the second floor of the corner location E.M. Hollinger had a millinery shop, with access to it by the enclosed outside stairway which can be seen in the photo of Vogel's shop. In later years Mrs. Will (Amanda) Sayre joined her aunt in the business and it was known as Hollinger & Sayre.

Our family was friends of the Sayres' and I can recall my mother taking me to the millinery shop as a lad...and watching the milliners construct the ladies' bonnets according to order, and the selectiion of others by customers from the completed stocks on display. What a (good???) time I had.

The City Loan did not always look like it is in one photo. When it was remodeled for their use in about 1930, the second floor had offices occupied by various law firms, and there were windows opening on Main Street, not the smooth exterior of today.

George Snyder, once connected with The Mechanics and Union National Bank was the first manager of City Loan, which incidentally, was then known as City Loan & Guaranty. Other managers following Snyder were Ervin Houser, Vinton Swihart and currently L.H. Hostler.

To establish itself in Fostoria, City Loan bought the Tri-County Savings & Loan at 111 E. Center, a locally owned company formd in 1924 or 1925, with R.C. Guernsey as president, Alonza Emerine, 1st vice president; E.J. Eeutz, 2nd vice president; F.K. Twinning, secretary; M.C. Lloyd, treasurer; W.B. Huth, assistant secretary.

In the left of the same photo of the old corner, the storefront of George Hayden's Bakery - Restaurant can be seen, where Chapman's is now. Hayden was my uncle having come here from Clyde, where he learned the baking and restaurant trade. He was located at various uptown spots in Fostoria, the latest one next to Peter Bros. Clothing Store, where Preis store is now.

I have not discovered who had a restaurant at 103 after Haydens, but at some period the Busy Bee Restaurant, owned by Morris S. and Harry Mumma operated there as shown by another photo. One old directory listed them at 105-107 and another at 107-109 so I am not sure if they had both locations, or if they were erroneously listed.

I am told the Mogle Restaurant was also located in that area at one time.

For many years the property from the corner of Main and Center to that now owned by Vincent Williams was owned by twin brothers Frank and Charles Burtscher. It is still in that family, but none of them lives in Fostoria now.

At about the turn of the century, the Burtschers had a grocery at 105 S. Main. It was probably Fostoria's first supermarket. The late Park Burtscher son of Frank, often told of many pranks he committed as a boy in his dad's grocery, and Helen (Burtscher) Wright still living here remembers them too.

Back in those days, many grocery store products were kept in open containers and weighed up for each customer. Coffee and dried beans were two of those products, and one of the Burtscher kids pranks was to mix some of the beans with the coffe and vice versa.

Another business was The Star Grocery Co., at 107-109. It was owned by Alvin Schultz, and E.O. Sheller. In conjunction with the store was a meat department, operated by Fred and Ed Flechtner.

Vincent Williams purchased his buildings from the Guernsey estate in 1975. The land on which the buildings were erected was first owned by Roswell Crocker, one of Rome's pioneer families in 1832. The next three owners were Michael Stahl, 1832; Jacob Anton, 1848; Benjamin Wells, 1848. Old records indicate the Weller Building was erected in 1898, when Henry J. Weller, Tiffin was the owner. The other building may have been beuilt earlier. The Guernsey family came in possession of the property in 1929.

Readers with an interest in commercial building architecture should take time to look at Williams revitalized buildings. The one with the sandblasted brick front would, I believe, be classified as Victorian Italinate. The molded window caps, painted brown, and the other architectural features of the building are very attractive since redone.

The old Weller Building, next to it, was repainted instead of the sandblasted, but is also attractive with new color combination. Four Corinthian columns which are part of the original structure still are an outstanding part of the building design.

Where Mode O' Day is now, there once was the Longfellow Drug Store, and next to it was McDonel Bros. Clothing Co. The two brothers J.D. and J.W. opened their store in 1902, and it remained there for many years.

Wes Gibson, who became Fostoria's mayor in 1926, was a clerk in that store until that time. J.D. McDonel organized the Toledo Fostoria & Findlay interurban line.

The Longfellow Drug Store was owned by L.L. and W.O. Longfellow, the latter being a veterinarian surgeon.

Fred Hays, of the family that built the Hays Hotel, and demolished by fire in 1962, had a drug store in the location of The Longfellow Drug Store at an earlier date.

A popluar store, where Peters' Flower and Gift Shop is now, was Noah's Ark China Store. An 1893 directory listed it at 206 S. Main, with the owners being Cottreli and Thomas. When it moved to 113 S. Main is not known, but one of the photos, shows it at the latter spot.

The Fair, owned and operated by J.T. Shutt and his wife, took up the location of Noah's Ark. In their store you could find all kinds of notions, gifts, etc. Prior to establishing that business in that location, Shutt had an ice cream and confectionary store on W. Tiffin St.

Here are some of the other businesses in the hlaf block from Center to the alley, and there may be more that readers will recall which I have missed or forgotten.

Morris 5 cents to $1 Store at 109-111; Nobil's Shoe Store at 103; Cunningham's Drug Store at 113; A&P Tea Store 105-107; Stump's New and Pool Room at 103; Eddie Speildenner's Carpet & Drapery at 105.

Various attorneys, doctors and dentists occupied offices on second floors, including: John Bender, Francis Marley, the Guernseys, William Emmert, C.C. McKay, James Ford...all attorneys; doctors were A.J. Reycraft, A.O. Cole, W.A. Dewey.

Second floor locations also provided ullustrations and those are for next week's article from the Ray Dell collection.

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