A former Ashlander returning to this city a few weeks ago after an absence of a great number of years declared that so far as she could discover, the only building which looks just as it did when she left here is the old court house. There are other old buildings and landmarks in Ashland but in most cases they or their surroundings have been changed to such an extent that they are not readily recognizable among the newer buildings.
Will Placard Historic Structures.
Arrangements have been made for the placarding of the building of local historic interest that the visitors will be desirous of seeing when they come to the centennial next July and it will be interesting also to the people of Ashland in general to become better acquainted with the history of some of the old buildings they pass every day.
Main Street as E. T. Drayton Recalls It.
It is three quarters of a century-lacking two years---since E.T. Drayton came to Ashland as a youth of 17. Though he is still spry for a man of nearly 90 and young in spirit, he can't walk quite so much as he did 80 years or more ago, so the walk we took up and down Main street was in imagination only while he pointed out the various homes and places of business on Main street as they were about the time he came here in 1842.
South Side of Main.
Beginning at the upper end of Main street at the Mansfield road -now Claremont avenue-Miller's cabinet shop stood where the Crowell block now is. Then there were some vacant lots until you came to Francis Graham's store where Neely's grocery now stands. East of the alley was a story and half building by Millington's drug store, where Billy Otter's eating house is now. The next building was John and Henry Vantilburg's house, back about 30 feet from the street about where Roberts' store is now. To the east of this on the site of the McNulty house building now occupied by George Gilbert's furniture story was a story and half frame building with a log addition the home of Hulbert Luther and the birthplace of J. H. Luther.
Soldier of the Revolution.
East of the alley was Peter Shafer's log building, back from the street. Peter made pumps and his father, Philip Shafer, a soldier of the Revolution and a shoemaker lived in a 2-story log house east of his son Peter's house was the woodyard where Peter made his pumps. Peter was passionately fond of fishing during the season and frequently on Sunday might have been seen with fishing pole, can of bait lunch and umbrella starting off for a day's trip along the creek east of the village. The fishing was fine in those days. Ask Cloyd Mansfield.
The next building to the east on the south side of Main street was a one story building, John Jacobs' tailor shop and east of that Mr. Jacob's residence, a two story frame building about were Sam Miller's block now stands. East of that was a little one story frame building-where William Reeves had a little general store, dry goods and groceries. It stood close to the alley about where the Greenwald building is now. East of that alley was Hannah's tavern with a storeroom on the west of the lot. Here Bushnell & Musgrave afterward had a store. Hannah was a Presbyterian----but he kept a bar. It is narrated that when he was accused of selling on the Sabbath the church officials took him to task nd a little later he moved away from the village.
Elias Slocum's Tavern.
Elias Slocum's Tavern stood where the opera house is now. About the time Mr. Drayton came to Ashland, A. W. Melsheimer was the landlord. The tavern was a two-story frame building. East of the Hayesville road---Center street---was Granger & Cummings small dry goods store. Granger, who lived at the south end of this building, had about the first piano ever brought to the village and John Risser, who was clerking there, played it quite frequently. John was a good player. Mr. Drayton recollects and it was no unusual thing of an evening for him to attract a crowd of 50 or more of the villagers to listen to his concerts. It was on the second floor of this building that Maffett and Hunter printed The Democrat for awhile after the formation of the county.
Log Cabin Where Lorin Andrews Was Born.
The Henry Relfsnyder property stood on the site of Dr. Kinnaman's block. Mr. Relfsnyder clerked for Luther and Crall. Later he went west and Dr. J. P. Kinnaman, father of Dr. R. C. Kinnamann, purchased it. To the east were some vacant lots and then an old, tumble-down log house where Dr. Lorin Andrews, afterward president of Kenyon college, was born. The cabin stood back from the street and near the alley about where F. R. Marks' store is now.
East of the alley, on the lot where Dr. J. H. Willard's block now stands was Laban Burgan's home. His tailor-shop was a one story building to the east of the home. The next 2-story building was occupied by a man named Whittington or Withrington, a clock repairer. It was moved to another site when John W. Myers erected his new block several years ago.
The building to the east of this was owned by John Miller, who afterward sold it to W. W. Ilger who remodeled it.
Pasquale Whiting lived in the house now owned by John Reeb and William Ramsey, a shoemaker, lived in the little one-story house that is still standing to the east of the Reeb property.
Sage Kellogg's Distillery.
Sage Kellogg's distillery occupied the site of the old gas house. It was a frame building and south of it near the creek Granger & Cummings had their ashery where they made potash. Where the gas receiver now is, Sage Kellogg kept usually from 30 to 40 hogs. East of the distillery, Main street ended. Where the little park now is and the ground south of Cleveland avenue to the alley leading across to the Wooster road, was William Anderson's saw mill. Mr. Anderson afterward sold his saw mill to Mr. Arthur, father of the Arthur brothers. East of what is now Truman Johnson's home Dr. Slocum had his office.
Drumbs' Carding Machine.
Next to the alley leading across to the Wooster road Levi and Andrew Drumb had their carding machine which was run by horse power. The Drumb home as on the same lot. East of this was the Aaron Markley farm.
Coming Up on North Side.
Coming up what is now Cleveland avenue, on the north side of the street there was Saner's yellow home. Mr. Saner was a painter and chair-maker whose shop was in the building at the corner of Orange and Third streets.
East of where the Hugh Davis tannery used to be was James Sloan's house. West of the tannery Hugh Davis lived. This old brick residence, owned and occupied by the venerable Justin Davis, son of Hugh Davis, is still standing. To the west were some vacant lots and then the place where Pasquale Whiting manufactured crooks and jugs. His kiln was in the back yard. This was near where Dr. Mehl's property now is. There were more vacant lots and then Shakel's tavern east of where Union street now is.
Jacob Grubb's property was near the site of J. H. Heltman's store. He had a cabinet shop and when death occurred the casket was fashioned after taking measurement of the deceased.
After the county seat was formed in 1846 there was a hotel in the building where Dr. Powell's office now is. West of the alley was Joseph Musgrave's cottage and then Dr. Oesterlin's office and home.
John P. Swineford's house was back from the street and his shop in front at the west side of the lot.
West of this, Jacob Grubb's aged parents had a store where they sold cakes and small-beer, now known as root-beer.
West of the next alley L. Jeff Sprengle's mother lived. It was story and a half house and painted red. Next was Harvey Howard's stove shop and the building where later Fred Bockley, Sr., had a shoe shop and afterward Jacob Weisenstine purchased the property.
On the site of the Union Hardware store was a store by a Mrs. Yuncker and next to it the shop of Mr. Smith, a wheelwright, who made spinning wheels and other articles of that sort.
Old McNulty House.
On the east side of the alley on the site of the back part of the Black block was James Caldwell's tin shop and across the alley was the old McNulty house, James McNulty proprietor. This was a two-frame building, presumably a log structure building boarded over. On the back part of this building was the old bell now on Arch Finley's summer kitchen east of the city. The old bell was rung at meal time, or when it was desired to summon the hostler from the barn or when the stage was about to pull in.
Next to the tavern was Miller's grocery store, where also beer was sold. The building in which Luther M. Pratt had his dry goods store was a two story frame building with a portico. James Ralston afterward had his jewelry store there.
At what is now Orange street but which then was little more than an alley was a log house where afterward Hugh Davis had his harness shop. This is on the site of the Idle Hour. On the other corner was a one story building in which Joseph Abbe afterward had his cigar shop. The Luther estate bought the building.
In the two-story building to the west, Luther & Crall had their dry goods store and next to that was their warehouse. The widow of Dr. Joel Luther lived in a two-story residence with double porch.
To the west of this was Joseph Wasson's harness shop and adjoining it was his home, a two story building. It was with Mr. Wasson, who was his uncle, that Mr. Drayton learned his trade. Those two buildings many years later were moved to the south side of West Washington street west of the alley beyond the Reeb property.
In these buildings previous to their removal from Main street, Jonas and Randolph Freer had their store. The site of these is the building where Rhoads & Company's drug store now is.
Where Future Multi-Millionaire Lived.
On the other side of the alley where afterward the Miller House was erected and where now the Ashland Hardware company's store was Jonas Stough's residence, standing back from the street and to the west at the street was Mr. Stough's tin store. Jonas Stough, was the father of Oliver Stough, California multi-millionaire, now living in San Diego in excellent health at the age of 97. He will be here for the centennial and spent a few weeks in the haunts of his boyhood for he lived here from 1828 to 1842.
Next were some vacant lots, upon which buildings were afterward erected. In one of these Merrill's hat store was afterward located and Deem had a tailor shop and Whittington his store, moving here from East Main street.
Christian Risser had a tailor shop in a one story frame building.
Old Stone Corner
At Main and Church streets was the Old Stone Corner, a landmark for a great many years. In this building W. P. Rezner and Charles R. Deming kept store. Deming was Ashland's first mayor after the village got its charter in 1844.
In a little frame building on the other corner Squire Wells Kellogg had his office. To the west on Main street on the site of the Guth property Kellogg & Rayl had a dry goods store.
Adjoining this was Sage Kellogg's home with porch front. Bolivar Kellogg prominent lawyer of the village and prosecuting attorney of Ashland county, was his son.
Dr. Kellogg's Old Stone Mansion
The old stone mansion erected in 1848 by Dr. Burr Kellogg is still standing, being now a part of the Hotel Otter. The interior finish as of black walnut and was one of the fine residences of that day. Afterward for many years Judge McCombs owned it. The only building to the west on the street was a millinery store which stood at the Main street and what is now the jail property.
Creek In Middle of Street.
Near what is now Market and Main streets George Foltz has a wagon shop. The creek flowed down the middle of what is now West Main street. It meandered along and near where Wcret's [sp] building now stands was a great rock of the glacial period and right there was the "old swimming hole" and a splendid one it was. J. H. Luther can tell you about it.
The years brought many changes in Main street, new firms, new locations, etc., but the above is fair representation of the Main street of the village along in the forties.
No Walks' No Street Lights
To fill in the picture you must imagine how the street would look without even the plank road afterward laid or the cobblestones still later. At the time of which Mr. Drayton speaks it was a plain old mud road in winter and one of deep dust in summer. Along both sides of the street were the hitching racks where farm teams stood while the folks did their trading at the village stores. It was from these same hitching places that Grandmother Sheets on one occasion untied the horses of some wild roysterers who were visiting the distilleries preparartory to painting the village red. When the horse stampeded, the night's celebrants departing in various directions in search of the animals.
The mud was often nearly hub-deep in the winter time. There were no sidewalks at that time, merely a path on each side of the street. Also there were no street lights whatever. When a citizen started forth in the night season, he took with him his trusty lantern unless perchance it was a moonlight night.
Three Mails Per Week.
The postoffice about this time was in Millington's store, where Billy Otter's eating house is now. Mr. Millington was the postmaster. There were three mails a week between Pittsburg and Columbus. The cost of sending a letter ranged from a shilling to two shillings.
Four Brick Buildings.
There were about four brick buildings in the village at this period. There was Captain Andrews brick house, now Claremont avenue. It is still standing. Then there was the Fuller house at about the northeast corner of Third and Union streets, only there wasn't any Union street in those days. Then there was the Ashland Academy a two-story brick building, on the grounds of the present central building. In 1846 Francis Graham erected his brick mansion, still standing, to the west of Cottage street. A little later other brick buildings were erected, but at the time mentioned, Mr. Drayton doesn't recall any other brick structures in Ashland.
Rail Fences Along Center Street
On the Hayesville road, now Center street, Major Fulkerson had a blacksmith shop, near the creek, to the east and south of where the Freer block stands. In later years John Harley, father of Mrs. F. J. Freer, Mrs. Amos Homan and Mrs. W. M. McClellan, had his pump shop there. About this time were was a rail fence on both sides of what is now Center street and at what is now Washington street a lane led up to the Joseph Sheets house, which is still standing.
It is a long, long way from 1842 to 1915 in the history of Ashland and to adequately describe the vast changes that have transpired would take a great deal of time and many pages.