Serendipity and Ice Harvesting, Revisited

Men cutting ice at West Lake Park, date unknown.  Photo 970553 of "Wellington Family Album" Collection, Herrick Memorial Library. Permission to display generously granted by the library.

Men cutting ice at West Lake Park, date unknown. Photo 970553 of “Wellington Family Album” Collection, Herrick Memorial Library. Permission to display generously granted by the library.

“Huckins and Horr having taken a contract to furnish the W. and L. E. railroad with water at this station for five years, are making a pond just across the street from J. S. Case’s residence, west of town. The excavation and dam are nearly completed. The upper end of the pond extends quite or nearly to the railroad. They will cut the ice from it in the winter to supply their warehouse” (The Wellington Enterprise, 10-26-1881, pg. 2).

Readers of this blog will recall how excited I was several months ago to locate evidence of a large ice harvesting pond north of the Wellington Fairgrounds. I wrote about piecing the evidence together here, and then documented the location as it exists today here. So you can imagine how delighted I was to find the above notice in the newspaper recently, which confirmed something I had long suspected, namely that Noah Huckins, builder of my house, also built the pond.

To be certain, I looked up John Seward Case’s tax records for 1881. They confirm the transfer that year of a parcel of land on the western side of town to N. Huckins & Co.

Detail of 1881 Wellington Corporation tax record for John S. Case. Note the recorded transfer of land to N. Huckins & Co.

Detail of 1881 Wellington Corporation tax record for John S. Case. Note the recorded transfer of land to N. Huckins & Co.

I also checked an 1874 map of Wellington. It clearly shows the location of Case’s residence and tannery as being directly across Liberty Street, now West Herrick Avenue, from the future site of the pond.

Detail of Wellington Village map showing residence of J. S. Case just north of Liberty Street, now West Herrick Avenue. The empty acreage between his house and the fairgrounds (shown in green) would be the future site of N. Huckins & Co.'s ice harvesting pond. From "Atlas of Lorain County, Ohio. 1874." Pg. 61. Photo by author.

Detail of Wellington Village map showing residence of J. S. Case just north of Liberty Street, now West Herrick Avenue. The empty acreage between his house and the fairgrounds (shown in green) would be the future site of N. Huckins & Co.’s ice harvesting pond. From “Atlas of Lorain County, Ohio. 1874.” Pg. 61. Photo by author.

The pond made its way into the newspaper again in the summer of 1882. Young Levi Pitts, grandson of one of Noah Huckins’ neighbors and living in her house on North Main Street, drowned in a pond northwest of town that belonged to dry-goods store Baldwin, Laundon & Co. A vivid account of Pitts’ tragic death was published on June 28th and the same edition carried an editorial on the dangers of venturing into water, particularly if one does not know how to swim. It concluded, “We are informed that C. W. Horr’s pond south of town and N. Huckins & Co’s west of town are each 10 or 12 feet in depth in places and are equally unsafe as the one where the accident occurred, and we have been requested to warn parents against allowing their children to bathe in them” (pg. 2).

Noah Huckins transferred all of his real estate holdings in the village to Charles Horr–except the house on North Main Street, which he sold to farmer Sereno D. Bacon–when he moved his family to Oberlin in 1889. Horr died just five years later. This is why the 1896 map details I included in my previous post label the pond as belonging to E. A. Horr, i.e. Charles Horr’s widow Esther.

The deeper I dig into the nineteenth-century history of Wellington, the more connections I find to Noah Huckins. It seems incredible to me that he has been so utterly forgotten by this town.

UPDATE: When it rains, it pours. Since publishing this post, I have found yet another notice about the pond. “The water has been pumped out of N. Huckins & Co’s new pond and the work of excavation is being pushed as rapidly as possible. It will be when finished quite a respectable little lake lying along side the Fair ground and we hear is to have small row boats on it the coming season for the accomodation [sic] of visitors” (The Wellington Enterprise, 10-24-1883, pg. 3). Row boats on the lake! I love this! It reminds me of the paddle boats available to the public today on the lake at Wellington Reservation Metro Park. What a genteel little village this was in the late nineteenth century.

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3 thoughts on “Serendipity and Ice Harvesting, Revisited

  1. Pingback: horr-or | a portrait of em's world

  2. Stephanie

    I think this May be it….,the fair grounds I have been searching for forever. I thought it was an amusment park, but I might be wrong. The tickets were paper, the name herricks was on them. Please email me. This is important !

    Reply

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