An Unexpected Gift

American House postcard

Unmailed postcard with image depicting the American House hotel in Wellington, Ohio. Author’s collection.

I received the loveliest piece of mail this week. A person whom I have never met, who does not even live in Wellington, sent me a beautiful handwritten letter and enclosed a gift: an unmailed postcard depicting the American House hotel. The sender explained that he had very much enjoyed reading the recent bicentennial insert published by the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram, particularly the article on the Oberlin-Wellington Slave Rescue of 1858, one hundred and sixty years ago this September. He enclosed the postcard as a thank you for my work on preserving local history.

The hotel was first built around 1833, owned and operated by the Wadsworth family. It had numerous proprietors and was known by multiple names over the years, most famously as the American House in the late nineteenth century. It closed its doors for good and was quickly demolished in April 1902. Purchased by soon-to-be governor of Ohio, Myron T. Herrick, the hotel was removed to make way for a new town library, which was dedicated and opened to the public on the same site in January 1904. Initial plans for the construction of the library called for the reuse of some 150,000 bricks from the hotel; perhaps there is yet some part of the American House still standing in Wellington’s Public Square to this day.


3 thoughts on “An Unexpected Gift

  1. LynneW

    What a lovely token of appreciation for all your hard work! Can you read the sign to the north of the hotel, {something}ANG MACHINES? It almost seems like it is hanging in mid-air, supported only by the connection to the hotel’s porch pillar.

    1. Armchair Historian Post author

      It says [illeg] SEWING MACHINES. That sign formed a kind of archway that people passed under to reach the shops on the north side of the hotel, which–because of the way Mechanics Street (now East Herrick Ave) sloped down–were below ground level. Those businesses changed frequently. There was a barber shop in there at one point, and in a side view shot in the 1870s, the sign reads “MARBLE WORKS.” You can see that image at the top of this post:


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