Della introduces businesses on Xenia Avenue, the railroad, Grinnell Mill and the powder mill at Goes Station
A previous post gives more detail on the Ridgway Pharmacy.
All entries in the series are indexed on the “Blog Multi-Part Series” page (click on tab above and scroll to second group).
More about business in Yellow Springs
At the corner of Xenia Ave. and Corry St. stood the well known drugstore of “Doc” Ridgway. This drugstore along with the Ridgway residence was wiped out when fire laid a heavy hand of destruction upon business places in that section of town.
Fires, too, destroyed landmarks along Xenia Ave. & the south but memory supplies pictures and recollections of some of the well known sites.
There was Holly Dickman’s Tin Shop, the Adsit Bakery and John Young’s Butcher Shop where one could buy all the best in meats.
John Cordingly announced himself (over the door) as the “Fashionable Boot and Shoe Maker”.
He also made our shoe repairs which were plenty in those days of gravel sidewalks.
The Winters’ House was the town’s closest to a restaurant for it served meals to transients as well as other boarders.
A daughter, Lily, was home and used a crutch. She sat on the front porch most of the time and kept track of things that were going on.
Charles Winters was the town’s drayman.
He met all the trains for baggage and did general hauling and delivery. It was a long time before stores made general deliveries of merchandise.
In one of the front rooms of his frame residence Chas. Hamilton kept a small jewelry store. He also handled watches & clocks and made repairs on such articles.
Adjoining his shop he maintained an ice cream parlor. His place was famous for his product which was made of pure cream.
The Hyde building once housed the Post Office with T. B. Jobe as Postmaster. It moved to Corry St. under C. H. Ellis.
It finally became settled in a new Federal building on the same street.
There are many interesting incidents associated with the Yellow Springs Railroad or the Depot as we called it. Tradition places the first R. R. station in a building on Dayton St., a building which later on housed a grain elevator.
In the early days of the College there was much demand for railroad transportation facilities but in my own recollection about two trains per day were sufficient. There were always freight trains tho and on one occasion Elsie & I along with Aunt Chattie were passengers in the caboose car next to the engine.
We were getting an early start to connect in Springfield with a train for London Ohio where we would visit at the home of Aunt Kate Judy.
Elsie and I were all dolled up for the visit in our brand new winter coats which Mother had made for us from a light tan material, heavy & somewhat wooly.
At the end of that ten mile ride on the freight train we came out a different shade.
These pictures call to mind another incident.
In her latter years Grandmother Miller spent winter months at Aunt Kate’s home.
On a vacation period Father planned a surprise visit to her from himself and little Deanie.
Baggage was packed and all was made ready for the trip.
All went well until the train roared in.
Then Deanie set up a terrific howl and absolutely refused to leave her mother’s side and “Papa” with all her best clothing had to take the train without her.
Business in Yellow Springs
Yellow Springs, like many towns where private college have been located, never attracted any great number of industries.
Early history refers to an excellent quality of lime which was made at “The Quarry” and a Sawmill which turned out lumber for buildings.
The historic mills that at one time had flourished along the Little Miami river had finally dwindled to three, one at Clifton, the Grinnell mill, and one at Old Town.
The Grinnell mill was best know to us as we often went there for its products which were far famed for their excellent quality.
The millstones for this structure were reputed to have been brought from France by Mr. Grinnell’s grandfather.
[transcription of 9-20-45 articles]
VOL. LXVI, No. 39 Sept-20-’45
Historic Mill Performs New Function; To Provide Regrigeration[sic]
Historic Grinnell’s Mill, two miles southeast of Yellow Springs, will soon open a new chapter in its long career of usefulness. Frozen Food lockers are to be installed in the mill, to be refrigerated by water power. This will take place within a few weeks, as soon as necessary renovation of the mill has been completed. After more than a century of service some timbers have decayed and must be replaced.
The organization which is undertaking this project is almost as interesting as the mill itself. A group of some twenty families from Yellow Springs and surrounding communities, sharing a love for the out-of-doors, have called themselves “The Old Mill Club.” Since 1929 they have centered their activities about the picturesque mill, where they have leased certain recreational facilities, have propagated fish imported from Canada, and have sowed wild rice to encourage migrating ducks. Prior to the war the Club released some 50,000 minnows annually into the Little Miami, where fishing was improved for members and non-members alike. During the war this number has been greatly reduced.
The Old Mill Club is highly informal, claiming no officers, and making no pretensions to “style.” Comparatively few residents of Yellow Springs have been aware of it. The frozen food locker enterprise is the first commercial venture to be undertaken by the Club. Mr. I. L. Gross, who is directing the work during his spare time, explains that the great economy of the plan arises from the cheap plentiful power generated by the old mill.
New Restaurant to Open October 10
Mrs. and Mrs. Patrick Patton, of Dayton, have leased the Old Trail Tavern from Mrs. Sidney King, granddaughter of the builder. Mr. Patton, a well known restaurant man of Dayton, will open here for business October 10.
Meals, including breakfast, will be served, and parties and community groups will also be accommodated for service. Yellow Springs will welcome this addition to local restaurant facilities.
The cabin, leased to the Pattons, is of historical value to the village, being built in 1943 as the first house on the south and west side of the railroad. Yellow Springs was then known as Forest Village and Francis Haffner bought all the lots from the DeNormandy Building to the corner of Corry Street for taxes. That area was then known as Dean’s Plat. The buildings from the homestead to the corner were erected by Mr. Haffner, who cut the logs for the construction of the Tavern from virgin forest trees growing where the cabin now stands. The street in front of the building was the old stage coach route from Columbus to Cincinnati.
Added to Trophy List
To last week’s listing of trophied owners in the display at opening of the Service Men’s Center on September 16, should be added the following loaned by Cpl. George Wadstrom, who took part in the Battle of the Bulge last winter:
German dagger; pair of German wooden shoes; snapshots from Germany.
[transcription of Grinnell obituary]
Vol. LXVI, No. 22
Morton Grinnell Dies; Operated Historic Mill for Many Years
Morton R. Grinnell, 78, died Tuesday, May 29, at 8:30 p.m., at his home on Grinnell Road, southeast of Yellow Springs, following an illness of several years. He was born February 28, 1867, in the family home where he died. His wife preceded him in death two years ago.
Mr. Grinnell was a farmer and operated the historic Grinnell Mill southeast of Yellow Springs on the Little Miami River. The millstones for this old structure were brought from France by Mr. Grinnell’s grandfather.
Surviving are one daughter, Mrs. Marjorie Caupp of Yellow Springs; four sons, Malcolm, of Osborn; Ralph, of Springfield; Harold and Cornelius, both of Yellow Springs; two brothers, William, living in California, and Ernest, living in Wyoming; one sister, Cornelia, of Yellow Springs; and four grandchildren.
The remains were taken to the Littleton-Yoder Funeral Home, Xenia Avenue, and were returned Thursday to the residence, where services will be held Friday at 2:30 p.m., conducted by Rev. Gale W. Engle of the Yellow Springs Presbyterian Church. Burial will be in the Grinnell family plot at the residence.
The Powder Mill at Goes Station
About three miles south of town were the mills of the Miami Powder Co.
This industry had little effect upon Yellow Springs except to furnish employment for men who lived in the town.
Now & then there would be an explosion in one of the many mills scattered along the stream and almost immediately there would be a rush of vehicles past our home and down the pike to the scene of the catastrophe. Sometimes it would be a serious one and some family would be deprive of a son or father.
We always listened for the sound of the whistle blown by the engineer who was our neighbor, Bill Hamilton. This told his family he was safe.
Early business as I remember it in Yellow Springs was confined to small shops and concerns that catered to the immediate wants of a small population.
Interspersed between business places on Xenia Ave. were some very good residences.
I remember in particular the Haffner home, the Conover home and that of Dr. Thorne. Also the large brick at the corner of Glen St. and Xenia Ave., where the Ruth family lived.
Dr. Thorne was the son of Dr. Elihu Thorne who built the large brick residence on Dayton St. which is now the home of our sister Dean Miller Birch (Mrs. J. H.) and her son Jack. (1955)
Tradition relates that Frances Haffner once bought for taxes all the lots on the left side of Xenia Ave from the De Normandy Building to Cory St.
In the frame building adjoining the cabin Mr. Haffner operated a bakery. At this period commercial bakeries had much to learn. The thrifty housewife preferred to bake her own bread. We patronized this one only in emergencies.
[transcription of article]
Old Wood Engraving Stirs Memories
Cleaning out the attic of our new home in the old Hirst residence on Glen Street we recently came across an old wood-engraving of the Hirst Brothers Drug Store, made back in the 70’s showing the building now occupied by P. W. Weiss’ Grocery, and Frances Shaw’s Store.
We were greatly interested by this old cut, both because wood engraving is a lost art, and because of the long and lively history of the family involved, and of the building itself.
Who erected the building, or when it was built we have been unable to learn. Apparently it dates back prior to the arrival of the Hirst Brothers, Thomas and John. The earliest recollections of local residents whom we have asked about it indicate that the Hirst Brothers opened their drug store in the 70’s, at which time the adjacent room, now occupied by Frances Shaw’s store, housed a grocery, run by Charly Shaw, an uncle of Milton Shaw. Milton Shaw worked there a a small boy.. It is claimed by some that Charly Shaw’s store was on Dayton Street, but P. W. Weiss has a photograph of it, from an old stereoptical set, and right there it is, next to Hirst Brothers Drug Store, with buggies and wagons at the hitching rail in front. (The wood engraving discreetly omits both the hitching rail, and the big sign “Cash Store C. Shaw,’ which appear in the old photo.
Some time in the 80’s Dr. Humphrey took over the Drug Store, where he remained for some years, until he erected a building across the street, and moved there. This building now houses Finley’s Drug Store. Dr. Humphrey’s wife, Ella, still lives in Yellow Springs.
As far as we can learn, the building was then operated for a time as a clothing store, by John Hughes, brother of Raper Hughes.
Next the building housed a bowling alley operated by Ed Linkhart, presumably a relative of the Brice Linkhart family. This gave way in time to a pool hall whose owner we have been unable to identify.
It was not until 1918 however, that the building was first occupied as a grocery. It was in that year that Weiss and Wead expanded into it from the adjacent building.
While these businesses succeeded each other in the Hirst Brothers building, the adjacent building also was experiencing a series of successions. Charley Shaw moved away, some folks say out west, and J. G. Hawkins took over, and stayed until 1885, when the Carr Brothers, cousins of Ed Carr, ran a general store for a few years.
The Carrs ultimately sold out to J. M. Birch, brother of Hugh Taylor Birch, and Father of John Birch and Lucy Wolford. In 1915 the Birch family sold to the firm of Weiss and Wead. R. O. Wead was a son-in-law of Thomas Hirst, and was best known in Yellow Springs as Principal of the Yellow Springs School. The active management of the store was carried on by P. W. Weiss. In the early twenties Wead became county auditor, and in 1929 he became State Deputy Auditor and moved to Columbus. In that year P. W. Weiss bought out his interest, but the name of Weiss and Wead persisted. Even today, Mr. Weiss says, he gets checks from old customers made out to Weiss and Wead.
The Hirst Drug Store
My own recollections of this drug store are very dim indeed but the mention of the J. D. Hawkins clothing store brings a reminder. He also carried a stock of shoes and we sometimes went there to be outfitted. I can’t say “fitted” for if a shoe were not formed to fit the foot, the foot had to be moulded to fit the shoe. Misery often followed.
A Doctor Dillman was the druggist who followed the Hirst Brothers.
Then came the Humphreys, Father and Son.
The father wore a long white beard and is clearly remembered.
The son became a physician and for many years practiced his profession in Yellow Springs, ultimately succeeding Dr. Thorne in practice and in his residence.
Young Dr. Humphrey was a talented musician. He organized a small orchestra which under his name brought much credit to Y. S. in musical circles.
His three sons Guy, Artie & Leslie were among our good friends.