Probably like many parents, there is nothing I love more than taking my son for a walk on a beautiful autumn day. Probably not like many parents, I always load the stroller up with a digital camera, a notepad, and a copy of the Wellington Area Chamber of Commerce walking tour brochure. Today was a flawless day, so we went out wandering. My goal was to take a closer look at the buildings that are allegedly survivors of the E. S. Tripp Carriage Works (more on that later) but instead another entry in the walking tour booklet caught my eye.
The building at 114 West Herrick Avenue is called, according to this publication, the Crabtree Building. “This building was constructed in 1880 as the home of a meat and fish market.” I had to laugh, because just this weekend I was going through microfilm of The Wellington Enterprise and came across a description of a meat market that I found interesting, so I printed it out. It was part of a wonderful recurring series in the Enterprise called, “Business Interests of Wellington. Our Dealers and What They are Doing.” On February 6, 1879, it was John M. Crabtree’s turn in the spotlight.
“For the past eight years the meat market of J. M. Crabtree has been well and favorably known to the citizens of Wellington and vicinity. The proprietor has the reputation of being an honorable business man and is a thoroughly competent Butcher, having been engaged in that capacity the greater part of his life. About two years ago he removed his market to Shelby, but after one year returned to Wellington, again locating on North Main St. His market is always well supplied with Fresh Meats, and a juicy Steak or tender Roast, or Boiling Piece can always be had here. Home cured Hams, Shoulders, dried Bacon, Sausages of his own manufacture and Salt Meats of all kinds are always kept, and good weights are always guaranteed. The Market is neat and clean and his customers are confident of being fairly dealt with when trading with Mr. C. Pure White Lard can always be found here and everything usually kept in a first-class Market. For integrity and fair dealing we commend Mr. Crabtree to the citizens of Wellington and adjoining townships” (3).
Apparently, John Crabtree was keeping shop on North Main Street in 1879, but if the walking tour brochure is correct–and presuming that the two “Crabtrees” are the same man–he built or relocated to a new building around the corner the following year.
Directly adjacent to 114 West Herrick is a large, imposing structure at 110 West Herrick. The walking tour brochure indicates that it was built as the First National Bank Building in 1881, but I believe that date is incorrect. In 1868, the Lorain County News commented repeatedly on the erection of the new bank facility, and even joked that the inscription on the cornice of I. O. O. F. was “so often construed to mean ‘one hundred fools'” (12-2-1868, pg. 3).
I have mentioned before that the formation of the bank in the 1860s was a key factor in the “Cheese Boom.” Not surprisingly, its early backers included Charles Horr and Sidney Warner. In fact, when the structure was completed in April 1869, in addition to the bank, it housed one of the first offices of Horr & Warner.
The 1896 Atlas and Directory of Lorain County, Ohio describes the bank thus: “The FIRST NATIONAL BANK of Wellington, O., with an authorized capital of $100,000.00, was organized in June, 1864, and commenced business the following September. Its first president was S. S. Warner, and cashier, R. A. Horr. The present directors consist of S. S. Warner, Edward West, O. P. Chapman, J. T. Haskell, Chas. P. Horr, S. K. Warner, and William Cushion, Jr. A general banking business is conducted including a savings department, and the present officers are: S. S. Warner, president; Wm. Cushion, Jr., cashier, and R. A. Wilbur, assistant cashier” (132).
I recently made a rough list of remaining topics I would like to cover. I have perhaps twenty more subjects about which I feel I have the research to say something meaningful. But I have really enjoyed these blog entries that I stumble upon, that suddenly throw light on some aspect of town history that I knew nothing of previously. I hope they are enjoyable to read, and don’t make the overall thread of the blog seem disjointed. I welcome any comments or suggestions!