In my recent post on lost buildings of Wellington, I featured two images of the William Rininger house, formerly located at 187 East Herrick Avenue. I related a story, told several times by Robert Walden, about a dispute Rininger had with a neighbor. After I published the post, I went back and reviewed those stories again, and was surprised to see that the neighbor to whom Rininger took such a dislike was Rollin A. Horr, whom I mentioned in my last post on the Oberlin-Wellington Slave Rescue.
Rollin Horr was a Republican, and readers will recall that he defeated Democrat David Wadsworth for the office of state senator in 1879. Rininger was also a die-hard Democrat and his dispute with Horr had its roots in a political disagreement. Horr was the real estate assessor for the First National Bank in Wellington. He assessed the building on the northern corner of Main Street and Mechanics Street–the so-called Rininger Block–at a higher tax valuation than Rininger thought was just. The businessman believed that the assessor was treating him unfairly because of their political differences. As Walden tells the story, Rininger vehemently protested that the building was not worth as much as Horr claimed; whereupon, Horr offered to buy the building at the higher value and Rininger felt honor-bound to take the deal, even though he didn’t want to sell. From that point on, Rollin Horr had made an implacable enemy.
Rininger was possibly the wealthiest man in the county during his later years, and the story finishes that he loathed Rollin Horr so much from that point forward, that he built the Second-Empire-style house across the street so that he would not have to live on the same side of East Herrick as Horr. Walden never addresses the fact that Rininger’s second home was directly opposite, and facing, Rollin Horr’s Italianate. His view of the detested neighbor actually improved by relocating (Robert Walden Notebook, #A17 and #A210).
Rininger was supposedly so angered by what he perceived as discriminatory treatment that he proposed to create a “Democratic” bank for Wellington. He built himself another dry goods store, still standing today at 113 West Herrick Avenue, and erected a two-story brick building with a large safe next door to serve as the bank offices. He convinced Democrat David Wadsworth, no fan of Rollin Horr himself, to back the enterprise. The formation of the bank never came to fruition, however, and the structure was later leased to become a post office.
Rollin Horr’s grand brick Italianate survived until the 1960s, when it was demolished to make way for construction of a commercial plaza. That lot is now the site of Geyer’s Foods Supermarket and its large parking area.