A Room with a View

Rental advertisement, "Wellington Enterprise," 8-28-1895, pg. 8.

Rental advertisement, “Wellington Enterprise,” 8-28-1895, pg. 8.

I haven’t posted in a few days, but I found this advertisement for a seasonal cottage rental in The Wellington Enterprise and wanted to share. This is the first instance I can recall of a photographic image reproduced in the newspaper as part of a local ad. The house itself was not in Wellington, but in Vermilion, a town about twenty-five miles north on Lake Erie. The text of the ad is wonderfully evocative of certain American summer traditions. I picture lace curtains blowing in a gentle breeze while I am reading it.

Rental advertisement, "Wellington Enterprise," 8-28-1895, pg. 8.

Rental advertisement, “Wellington Enterprise,” 8-28-1895, pg. 8.

The explosion in U.S. domestic tourism in the decades following the Civil War–made possible in part by the rapid expansion of the (mainly northern) economy and transportation infrastructure–has been written about extensively. I love the fact that individual rooms in this house could be rented for $0.50 per day, and that “meat, milk and provision wagons” were circling the neighborhood looking for customers, like modern-day ice cream trucks. Note also that female renters were “expected to care for their own rooms,” presumably even those traveling with their families, but men traveling alone were assured that their rooms would be cleaned, apparently at no additional charge.

Linwood Park, founded as a religious community in 1884, still exists today. I wonder if this particular house is standing. If so, it just celebrated its 119th birthday. Should any readers happen to be from Vermilion, I would appreciate it if you would post if you recognize the property. I would love to see it in person.

I am presently researching five future entries. I have also been doing quite a bit of work on the Council records project I mentioned in an earlier post. The Wellington Genealogy Group is considering various platforms for sharing the records digitally, and has just embarked on a website redesign to expand its online offerings. The group recently joined Facebook, as well. If you have enjoyed reading this blog and would like to learn more about the stories of your own family members, please consider attending a meeting.

UPDATE: I was able to track down a book called Through These Gates: Linwood Park. It was published in 1984 to celebrate the centennial of the community. The text is more than two hundred pages long and has no index, but I found an appendix listing all the individual cottages with their builders and years of construction (pgs. 177-181). I found three separate street listings with “George Matcham” noted as the builder, on Linden, Walnut, and Ash Streets. Curiously, all three had two years of construction listed, and in every case the later year was 1910.

Working backward, I learned that all three properties were destroyed in the same catastrophic fire, which tore through the eastern side of Linwood on April 1, 1910. At least two references to Matcham are in the text. Page 78 notes: “George and Emma Matcham were particularly active in this period, having built four cottages on the east side between 1894 and 1903.” Then on page 80, a description of the fire states: “Three of the four Matcham cottages were among those burned. Goetz, Matcham and Cora Sherod rebuilt their cottages that year.” Based on its suggested construction date of 1894 (the listing cautions that dates “may be off by 1 or 2 years”), I believe that the house shown above likely stood at 406 Ash Street, but was destroyed by fire fifteen years later.

I also found a cemetery listing for George Matcham in Pittsfield’s East Cemetery, which includes his photograph. I have not seen Matcham’s obituary personally, but this page states, “According to his obituary, he invested in lots at Linwood park on Lake Erie and helped to develop the resort. He built several cottages there and had spent his summers there for several years.” Though the commemorative book credits Matcham’s second wife, Emma, as being his “particularly active” partner in building, he did not marry her until 1907. It would have been his first wife, Marion, who was with him during the initial construction phase and who signed the 1895 advertisement above, “Mrs. M. W. Matcham.”

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19 thoughts on “A Room with a View

  1. Donna Adam

    I just did a Google search about my Great Grandfather, Charles Horr, and found your website. I was fascinated by the article you wrote. My mother and father, originally born in 1929 in Detroit, Michigan came to California in 1950 where I was born and have lived ever since – with the exception of a relocation to Indianapolis, IN from 2006 – 2010.

    Thank you for doing such great work! Iearned more about my roots than I had ever known before!
    Donna Adam

    Reply
    1. Armchair Historian Post author

      Oh, wow! You just made my week! The very reason I started writing this blog–can it really be almost a year ago?–was in the hopes of reaching the relatives of the folks I was learning so much about. Have you been to Wellington before? There is a gorgeous house here that your great-grandfather built that still bears his name in town conversation. One of my outstanding research questions remains, what happened to Charles Horr’s personal papers, or the papers of Horr, Warner & Co.? I don’t suppose you have some dusty old boxes somewhere? 🙂

      Reply
      1. Donna Adam

        Sooo glad to connect with you!. My grandmother and grandfather lived at 301 S. Main St. and my grandfather was an attorney who had an office on Herrick St. One of his brothers was instrumental in the founding of The Cleveland Foundation at The Cleveland Trust Company. There is some speculation that this entity was created because of the wishes of John D. Rockefeller to benefit the community, however, I don’t have anything to document this. My great uncle wrote 3 books and I will share more about this later. The Cleveland Foundation has spawned more than 700 community foundations in the U.S. and internationally!
        I don’t know anything about the papers of Horr, Warner & Co., and the only person who may have had knowledge about this, my Aunt Maribelle Leflang, passed away a few years ago. She lived here in California and is buried at the family plot in Greenwood Cemetery. She was the family historian. I can make an inquiry and see if her son knows anything about her genealogy papers. It is so good to know about you and your work!

  2. Armchair Historian Post author

    Just wonderful to connect with you, as well. Please, if you find any photos or items that you think would be of interest to those curious about the village, please do consider sharing. I would be delighted to post them here for others to see, of course with whatever attribution you would like attached. Please let me know if you have any specific questions or things you are looking for that I might help with!

    Reply
  3. Armchair Historian Post author

    Have you seen (or would you like to see) 301 South Main Street? It is a very grand old home right next to the middle school. I have reason to believe that J.W. Wilbur, another person I have also been researching, lived in that house at one point. It is about a block from my house and I would be happy to take a photo and send it to you. Also, just to clarify, was your great-grandfather Charles Horr the cheese magnate who died in 1894, or his son Charles Horr?

    Reply
  4. Donna Adam

    I can’t believe you live one block from my grandparent’s home! I would LOVE to have a picture of 301 S. Main St. I was only there once in the 8th grade. My grandfather was Charles W. Horr III. My uncle was Charles W. Horr IV. My grandmother’s family was Schaff. My grandfather attended Cornell and my grandmother attended Ohio State. She was a member of Delta Zeta sorority as was I when I attended college here in California.

    Reply
    1. Donna Adam

      Sorry – her maiden name is spelled Schaaf. and she was from Lakewood. She became engaged to my grandfather in 1921.

      Reply
  5. Armchair Historian Post author

    Wonderful! I’ll try to walk over after dinner, or at latest tomorrow. I don’t think I can post a shot to the comments field, but I’ll email it to the address attached to your (hidden) comment record.

    Reply
  6. Armchair Historian Post author

    I just checked the local “historic homes” walking tour brochure. I can’t speak to the accuracy of this, but the blurb for that house reads, “B.G. Carpenter House, 301 S. Main. This Italianate house with a Queen Anne porch was built in 1870 by a prominent local builder who also built the Depot Street Cheese Warehouse which was destroyed by fire in 2007.” That warehouse–which you can see a picture of in the Charles Horr post–was a Horr, Warner & Company building and I believe, though I cannot put my hands on the source right now, that I read that B.G. Carpenter was related to Horr, perhaps a brother-in-law? I’ll do some digging.

    Reply
    1. Donna Adam

      Very Interesting! I have not run across the name Carpenter – but then, I’ve not done much researching. If my Aunt were living, you’d have a great time corresponding with her. She did send me a family chart once. I’ll see if I can find is somewhere and look into the names. Believe it or not, I still use the dishes my grandmother gave me, and I was thinking about that yesterday!

      Reply
      1. Armchair Historian Post author

        I checked my master spreadsheet of names and the only item I have related to a B.G. Carpenter is that David Wadsworth (subject of an earlier post) bought out the interest in the “planing mill and sash and blind factory” of a *deceased* B.G. Carpenter in March 1869. So it could be that the brochure is mistaken, or perhaps a relative of the dead man–his son, maybe–was the builder of the ice warehouse (which I believe went up around 1880, but I’d have to check the exact date) and house on South Main. When would your grandparents have lived there?

      2. Donna Adam

        I know they were living there when I was young – possibly anytime from 1955 to 1979. My grandfather died in 1972. My grandfather died in 1979 and she was living at 301 S. Main St. when she passed away.

  7. Linda Grogan

    Dear Armchair Historian,
    You just made my day…by happen chance I came across the Matcham advertisement. George and Emma are my great-grandparents. This ad is one of many things that I had not seen before. Thank you Thank you
    Linda Grogan

    Reply
    1. Armchair Historian Post author

      Linda, how wonderful! Thank you so much for taking the time to write a comment. Reaching relatives is one of the primary reasons I began to write this blog! Did you already know about the Matcham houses in Linwood Park?

      Reply
  8. Linda Grogan

    Yes I did. I have quite a bit of information on Linwood. Thank you again, I had always wondered if they advertised or not and the rates.
    Linda

    Reply
    1. Armchair Historian Post author

      I would encourage you to search through the issues of “The Wellington Enterprise” that are available via Chronicling America . Most of the 19th-century issues are digitized and though my memory is fuzzy, I believe this ad (or some variation) appeared more than once. You might learn more…?

      Reply

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