Archive for June 1, 2012

Lorain’s History- moved about- literally

Logo Design- Christopher Ritchey 2007

During the History Mystery of the Wurmser House we came across a few inconsistencies.

There are a couple of explanations as to how an older house arrived in a neighborhood after a tornado leveled the one that was standing there.

1. The Ohio Historic Inventory people got it completely wrong and the current house was built after the tornado.

2. The possibility of building inventory being scarce after the tornado , pieces parts from an older home being used in a “new build” – as happened in my old house- thus throwing off the Ohio Historic Inventory people. Thus leading to the fact that Mr. Wurmser may have indeed designed this current home utilizing what was available ?

3. An older house was moved to the site and renovated.

Let us look at house moving in Lorain. I have already documented the moving of the “old Parsonage” on 2nd street. But that wasn’t a one-off.

1834 Plat Map for the village of “Mouth of Black River”.
The first known registered survey for what was, 40 years later, to become the City of Lorain, Ohio. After the death of pioneer John S. Reid, the remainder of his land near the little village, was plotted into additional village lots by his son Conrad Reid and his sons-in-laws Daniel T. Baldwin, Quartus Gillmore, and Barna Meeker. They renamed the village “Charleston” in 1836, although shortly later it was known as simply “Black River village” until it was finally named Lorain in 1874. [Note the names of the streets, some of which were added in at a much later date. “Lake Street” should not be confused with Lake Road, which is “Main Street”/”West Erie” on this map.]
About the time of this 1834 survey, the following businesses were recorded in operation within the village: merchants Wm. Jones, and Gates and Green, and W.E. Fitch; blacksmith A.T. Jones; shoemaker E. Miller; tailor Thomas Brown; and the “Reid House” hotel/tavern run by Barna Meeker (it may have been in the same structure built by John S. Reid which served as a blockhouse during the War of 1812).

From the “History of the First Methodist Church” 1856-1956

In 1842, a house belonging to Daniel Baldwin and his wife was moved over to lot 108 on the original village plat and made over into a church building. The house was said to have been originally the house and shoe-shop of Jacob Vedder, but more interesting than who owned or used that building would be the name of the person who actually built it , for that first move was the beginning of a long odyssey that only an exceedingly well-built structure could have survived.
Moving of a house by team of oxen- please see this website for information on “moving” the homesteads-

The first move was accomplished by the help of Ed Porter’s ox team and the brain and muscle of Cochran, Baldwin, William H Root and A.R. Fitzgerald…

This house to be church was moved from the Hollow to lot 108- and the Hollow was the place where in 1956 the Lorain City Hall parking lot was then located. ( the low spot with now City Hall location being the “Hill” .

City Hall becoming Then and Now

Demolition The Journal Photo March 27th 1974- Dan Brady

ED Note Dan Brady did a 7 part series on Lorain City Hall (s) check it out

As for the little church, apparently many repairs had to be made , parts of the floor and underpinning , belfry , windows lengthened – made to look more churchly and general straightening needed attention.
After a few years the Methodists decided they needed a new substantial Brick church

so the little travelling (presumably wooden) church was moved again

“put on the skids and moved to lot 205 ( corner of Duane (4th St) and Washington Ave which was designated on the original town plat as reserved for a “Meeting House”

The moving was described by Mr. Quartus Gilmore Jr. one of the township trustees. Among other things he said when they got the building as far as Edmund Gilmore’s house , along the west side of the town square (Washington Park) [ now Veterans Park] that they bogged down in the mud and left the building where it was until the road became passable- I wonder what the families along that row- top residential – were saying!

The next move for this little building was that of a school and it was moved to Lot 206. The apparently according to the History of the Methodist and “eccentric Englishman: ( Oh! dear another one) 🙂

Mr. Joseph Moysey who knew how to live on a little and save much ( something the City of Lorain could emulate) moved it south on Washington avenue and set it up on a lot between 1st and 2nd Avenue ( 8th and 9th street) with the long side facing the street. He divided it into a two family house-

ED NOTE: the birth of the duplex???? in Lorain perhaps and history repeating itself— and to think it was a Englishman SIGH!!!!

The writer can remember that house looking as though it had served its time . But five moves had done something to a rather unimportant building. It looked cold around the edges, but there must have been some warm feelings generated inside

This is not the only Moving that has gone on in this community – to be continued

ED NOTE: For information on the PORTERS- Maureen Smith wrote a three part series for this blog:
Introducing the Porters
THE PORTERS ( cont.) by Maureen Smith
More on the Porters


June 1, 2012 at 10:22 am 5 comments



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June 2012