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UNDERGROUND RESERVOIR ON WEST CENTER STREET
September 30, 1982


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PIX #1 - Phot above shows a "now" view of two buildings on West Center Street. To the right of Duffield's is the vacant lot where the furniture stores were years ago, the building having been demolished after a fire.

PIX #2 - Interior view of Car and Fischer Furniture Store.

PIX #3 - M.M. CARR

PIX #4 - WILLIAM FISCHER

Author's Note: Today's article is the second installment of a series about West Center Street, which began last week. Three or more articles will be required to complete the series. Keep all articles to provide continuity.

Because of the many photos required to provide a "then" and "now" view for last week's article, only a small segment of West Center Street was reviewed, beginning and ending with the Andes Block. As a matter of fact, other in- formation about John Andes and the Andes Opera House was not included.

John Andes, who had the building constructed, was born in Bavaria, Germany, in 1836. Reared in his native land until he was 16 years old, he emigrated to the United States, settling in Tiffin where he learned the blacksmith trade. He came to Fostoria in 1860.

The Andes Opera House opened in 1878, the year the building was completed, and continued until 1910 when it was forced to close because state fire regu- lations could not be met.

John W. (Pap), a well-known barber in Fostoria for many years, was the best known of John Andes' children, John W.'s daughter, Gladys, built the elegant home at 340 W. Fremont St., just west of the house where she was reared.

The house is now occupied by the Frank Burns family.

BUILDING DEMOLISHED AFTER FIRE

Today's first photo reference shows a building that at one time occupied the space between what is now the Spinning Wheel Knit Shop (shown last week), and Duffield's Music Center (shown today).

The old photo, probably taken at the turn of the century or earlier, shows the building at a period in history when it was a furniture store. It remained a furniture store for many years until a major fire gutted it, and it was then demolished.

I do not know when the building was constructed or who may have occupied it first, but Carr & Fischer Furniture Store was established there Jan. 1, 1896. Carr had been in the furniture business six years earlier, but where I do not know. The proprietors were Mahlon M. Carr and William Fischer. Carr was the grandfather of Dave Carr, born and raised here, now residing in Bowling Green and part of the WFOB radio staff.

In later years (about 1919), the store became known as Carr & Hicks Furniture, the latter being W. Dewitt Hicks. In 1930' it became Carr's Furniture Store with M.M. Carr and his son, Lyman W., the latter being the father of Dave.

From 1957 until 1972, Walter A. Roth operated Roth Furniture in that building until the fire forced him to find another location. At that time, Roth purchased the Security Building at South Main and South streets, where his store is now.

After the building was demolished, the lot stood vacant until Richard Edison took it over as a parking lot to serve his drug store customers. The parking lot is now unused.

Readers are referred to the accompanying photos showing Duffield's Music Cen- ter and the headquarters for Ohio District of Kiwanis International.

Number 118 is the number for the building that houses Duffield's Music Center. Ernie Duffield purchased the building in 1967, conducting his music business there until 1980 when he sold the business to Duane and Carol Alt, but retain- ed ownership of the building. The second floor has been remodeled into two residential apartments. Duffield restored the front of the building when the Streetscape program was in progress.

A photo os the building dating back 50 or more years is not available. Others to occupy that building were: The Eureka Bowling Alley, American Railway Express, Fred's Recreation and Billiards along with Tom Montgomery Barbershop and perhaps others of which I am not aware.

UNDERGROUND RESERVOIR

More than a year ago, Ernie Duffield told me that at one time he had heard a rumor that there was an underground reservoir in front of his building. When I started researching material for this series of articles about West Center Street, it seemed the time to confirm or squelch that rumor.

Starting with the engineering department at the Fostoria Municipal Building, I was referred to the city's sewer department. Various individuals there had heard the rumor too, but recommended that I talk with Willard Stewart, 668 Summit St., a retired city employee of 30 years, going back to the time when Herbert Lord was in charge of water and sewer activities.

From Stewart I learned that there was an underground reservoir in front of the Duffield building, as well as several others in the uptown area. One is in the vicinity of Main and Fremont streets and the other locations he could not recall.

The purpose of the underground reservoir was to provide an auxiliary source of water to fight fires. Each reservoir was approximately 30 feet long, eight feet wide and eight feet deep. All of the reservoirs were located in the center of the street. Manholes with removable covers at street level, placed at each end of the reservoirs, provided access.

Water for the reservoirs was supplied from drainage from adjacent building roofs and other surface water. In case of fire, firefighters removed the access covers and inserted pumping equipment that fed the fire hose.

Stewart said he has no knowledge of the condition of any of the reservoirs today since they have not been used or inspected for many years. The access covers have been covered over with asphalt. Since they were constructed the same residential cisterns for house water supply years ago. It may be they are still in fair condition. Rumor confirmed!

NO. 120-124

This location now occupied by Kiwanis International, Ohio District office' has had an interesting history and a variety of businesses, as older readers will recall as they reminisce the following data.

There was a laundry in part of the building, owned by various individuals or companies as far back as the early part of the century or perhaps before.

Fostoria Troy Laundry used the entire building, according to the 1915 city directory, but likely it was there earlier. It was managed by Curtis Hale, a well-known local citizen who died a few years ago in Salem, Ore., but is buried in Fountain Cemetery.

Following Troy, the E.L. Barlitt family had a laundry in that location, using only No. 120 (part of the building). Tom Brightwell followed Barlitt in that location with Service Laundry.

About that same time, Barlitt established a grocery at No. 124, which later became Fred Stall Grocery and Meat Market in 1930, followed by Bill Yenser's Grocery & Meats in 1936.

In 1945, Frank Kirian, 601 Westhaven Dr., and Charles Souder purchased half interest in Brightwell's Service Laundry. At Souder's death in 1955, Kirian purchased the entire business and continued until 1965, when the laundry was discontinued.

At that time, Kirian started an upholstery business in part of the building and continued with it for several years. He then rented the space to Live- Transco, laundromat equipment distributors, for which Kirian became service manager.

Today, the entire front part of the building is occupied by Kiwanis Interna- tional, Ohio District office.

The rear of the building has been revamped to create rental storage space, called Fostoria Storage, owned and operated by Mr. and Mrs. Kirian.

Kirian owns the entire building, having purchased it from the former Fostoria family, the Shepherds, now of Bay City, a Cleveland suburb. The Shepherd home was at Countyline and College Avenue, where Hardee's is now.

According to Kirian, a disastrous fire in 1941 resulted in the building of a new structure on that site.

The Town House Sandwich Shop located at No. 124 after the new structure was completed and continued there for about 10 years. (Continued next week.)

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