Tripp’s Carriage Depot

Undated image of Edward S. Tripp's Carriage Depot, formerly located on East Herrick Avenue (then called Mechanics Street), Wellington, Ohio. Note the dirt road and wooden board sidewalks. Photo courtesy of the Southern Lorain County Historical Society, "The Spirit of '76" Museum.

Undated image of Edward S. Tripp’s Carriage Depot, formerly located on East Herrick Avenue (then called Mechanics Street), Wellington, Ohio. Note the dirt road and wooden board sidewalks. Photo courtesy of the Southern Lorain County Historical Society, “The Spirit of ’76” Museum.

I have written before about Edward S. Tripp (1820-1912) and his carriage works, in a post on Timothy Doland’s competitor factory on North Main Street. Tripp was an enterprising man, emigrating to Ohio from New York when he was a teenager in the late 1830s and eventually becoming one of the most prominent citizens of Wellington. He was elected the second mayor of the town in 1856, then reelected in 1865 as the Civil War drew to a close. He was president of the school board when the Union School was constructed, which is the oldest portion of what is now called McCormick Middle School. And he lived in an enormous residence just steps away from his depot, a ramshackle structure that survived until the late 1970s.

The evocative image above shows two substantial brick buildings connected by a second-story, open-air passageway, over which vehicles could roll from one structure to the other. Newspaper publisher and local history enthusiast Ernst (Ernie) Henes wrote this about the business: “In the mid 1840’s Wellington’s first large scale manufacturing shop was built on East Herrick Avenue by Edward S. Tripp and his brother-in-law, Leander Church. This was the famed carriage works which gave Archibald Willard his first job at the age of 17…” (Historic Wellington Then and Now, pg. 10). He added in a later passage about Willard, “His talent earned him a job with E. S. Tripp painting carriages and wagons. He did the fancy striping meticulously, and something more–he painted landscapes and animal scenes on the wagon boxes. Tripp’s wagons became popular and won blue ribbons at the Ohio State Fair” (pg. 25).

I also found a description in The Wellington Enterprise of Tripp’s presence at the local county fair in 1878. “E. S. Tripp was on hand with a list of carriages, light and heavy wagons and buggies, that looked as if their surfaces might be used for mirrors, so highly polished were they” (10-3-1878, pg. 3). I love this little mention, because it immediately puts me in mind of Tripp’s modern counterparts and their automobile displays at today’s county fair.

According to the Wellington Chamber of Commerce walking tour brochure, two buildings survive today from the Tripp carriage works. The publication lists the addresses as “121-129 E. Herrick” which would include a double-structure that is now home to Wellington Auto Parts at both 121 and 123 East Herrick. East (right) across an alley is a smaller structure holding a laundromat at 129 East Herrick.

121 and 123 East Herrick Avenue, Wellington, Ohio. Photo by author.

121 and 123 East Herrick Avenue, Wellington, Ohio. Photo by author.

129 East Herrick Avenue, Wellington, Ohio. Photo by author.

129 East Herrick Avenue, Wellington, Ohio. Photo by author.

On the basis of the exterior architectural evidence, the laundromat was clearly once part of the original factory, though it was resurfaced in–and dated rather confusingly on its facade–1923. If the other, westernmost structure survives in some form, it is effectively hidden by the newer envelope now encasing it. The roofline and window placement are different today. There is no sign of filled windows or passageway doors on the eastern wall of the building, though the northern (parking lot-facing) facade appears to be older and does show evidence of changes over time. Robert Walden wrote this 1950s description of the Tripp factory: “The buildings, situated on the north side of Herrick-av East, were of brick and included the C. L. Hill hatchery and land occupied by the Dr. Fortney and LoNet buildings and extended across the alley to the west, to include the three-story reconstructed brick building, now the office and exchange of The Wellington Telephone Co.” (Robert Walden Notebook, #A70). His wording makes me wonder if the original, three-story industrial building was somehow refashioned into a newer-style, two-story commercial building.

UPDATE: I recently found a notice in the Enterprise that reads, “The old Tripp building was torn down last week and it is now numbered with the things that were. Contractor Black has commenced laying the foundation of C.H. Horton’s building” (10-30-1889, pg. 5). I examined the tax records and found that in 1890, Charles H. Horton owned plots 3,1 / 3,5 / 3,6 and had just added a new building valued at $1,200. It is a bit confusing as the lot numbers are not straightforward in that section of the village, but lot 3,5 and a sliver of 3,6 appear to correspond to 119 Herrick Avenue. I think it is very possible that the original Tripp building shown in the photograph above was demolished in 1889 and replaced with the building standing there today.

UPDATE #2: I have confirmed that the Tripp carriage depot was demolished in 1889 and replaced by early 1890 with the current structure, but not by Charles Horton. Details can be found here.

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