I have a beautiful book called Lost Boston, which is filled with haunting images of buildings that no longer exist. I have been thinking of it frequently as I discover written descriptions and photographs of Wellington landmarks that no longer grace the town. I offer here a small sampling of the homes and houses of worship that once lined East Herrick Avenue, called Mechanics Street in the nineteenth century. This is not an exhaustive list, just the losses that pain me the most.
The sprawling home of Edward Tripp survived until at least the late 1970s. I discussed Tripp and his business rivalry with Timothy Doland in an earlier post. Tripp’s carriage and wagon factory was just steps away on the same street. Robert Walden notes that Tripp bought the house in 1846 and that it had been constructed to serve as a parsonage for the Congregational Church but never used for that purpose; it was an apartment building at the time of his writing in the 1950s (Robert Walden Notebook, #A70). Today, Fifth Third Bank has a one-story branch on this lot.
Across the street from the Tripp home, the First Baptist Church of Wellington stood from 1894 until the mid-1960s. After a larger church facility was constructed on Grand Avenue, this building was sold to local business Wellington Implement, which demolished it to create a display lot for their International Harvester tractors. The business operated from this location for more than a half-century. Today, 140 East Herrick Avenue is a defunct framing business.
The building depicted in the image at the top of this post began its life as a private residence. When businessman William Rininger (1823-1901) relocated to Wellington from Attica, Ohio, he purchased the house from C. S. Foote for the impressive sum of $6,500 (The Lorain County News, 1-10-1866, pg. 3). Rininger was responsible for constructing a commercial building in 1882 that still stands at 113 East Herrick, as well as the lovely Second Empire style home at 304 East Herrick, shown in my last post.
Robert Walden clearly did not have a high opinion of Rininger, and recorded several versions of a story in which a business dispute with his neighbor caused Rininger to build the house at 304 East Herrick and move across the street solely motivated by spite (Notebook, #A17 and #A210). The story never really addresses the fact that Rininger would be looking directly at the same neighbor’s house from his new front windows.
Whatever the truth, the Rininger home at 187 East Herrick was sold to flour miller Isaac Comstock, and later became a Nazarene Church. It was demolished in the 1950s and the lot, on the northwest corner of East Herrick Avenue and Barker Street, is now a Marathon Gas Station. The detested neighbor’s house is also gone, as the lot on the opposite (northeast) corner of Barker Street is now the home of Geyer’s Foods Supermarket and its large parking area.
Nothing lasts forever, nor should it. I don’t believe that every building should be preserved in perpetuity, never giving ground to the new or different. That having been said, it is difficult to walk through this section of East Herrick Avenue today–a rather depressing stretch of concrete and empty, ugly modern buildings–without a sense of nostalgia for the trees and grass and gracious architecture that came before.
UPDATE: I removed an image and passage from this post about the Bennett house, after it was pointed out to me that the photograph was incorrected identified in Wellington Family Album. Happily, the beautiful old house shown in that image is still standing, at 203 Forest Street in Wellington. My apologies for the mistake.