Kenmore at The Turn of The Century
(Excerpts from the memoirs of Leon Goodman
as told to Lee McCutchan – Written in 1983)
Leon Goodman is the eldest of four children born to Samuel and Mattie Stuver Goodman. The Goodmans lived more than “half-way” up the Hill on Witner Lane” prior to, and for a time after, the turn of the century. The “Hill” is now known as Clearview Hill. Witner Lane, named for John Witner the largest landowner on the Hill, “curled” up from Manchester Rd. to serve the houses, farms and orchards above.
Leon, 93 years young, is currently a perky resident of a Doylestown nursing home. A sister, Mrs. Lida Schmidt, lives in Marshallville. A brother, Robert, (recently deceased) was a long-time member of Akron’s Police Dept.
Samuel Goodman served as Mayor of Kenmore for two non- consecutive terms and served as a Director on the Coventry Twp. School Board for a number of years.
In 1889, when Leon was born, our area was known as Wingerter’s Crossing. The Crossing being where Manchester Rd. crossed the three sets of railroad tracks that ran parallel through the area: The Cleveland, Akron & Columbus, The Erie and the Baltimore & Ohio.
Leon was about ten or eleven when a post-office was established and the area became officially named HALO. Just prior to this time, Henry Shook had built a brick building and opened up a store at the crossing on the edge of the big cow-pasture that bordered the tracks. (The cow-pasture is now the office area of Diamond Crystal Salt.)
Mr. Shook was named first postmaster of Halo, Ohio and the post- office opened in his store. There was no free delivery; every family had a post-office box and came to the post-office for their mail.
It was the job of a Mr. Beichler to get the mail to and from the post-office to the railroad and to hoist the mail sacks on and off the “mail-arms”. The outgoing mail was placed in a leather pouch, tied and hoisted up to an arm extending from a tall pole out along the railroad tracks. The trains slowed down for the crossing and the fireman snared the pouch; at the same time tossing the incoming mail destined for Halo onto a similar arm.
Several years later, Halo became the City of Kenmore. The first City offices and the Mayor’s Office was located upstairs over Smith’s Grocery on Manchester Rd. They were still there when Sam Goodman served as Mayor.
LIFE AT HOME
The Goodman family and home were typical of the time and of this area.
Most all of their food was grown in the family garden. Fruit orchards abounded in the area. Food was stored, canned, pickled and preserved to last through the winter. The A & P in Akron, down on Howard St. was the supplier of tea and coffee and all sorts of spices. “Mother preferred Arbuckle Brand coffee, which sold for nine cents a pound, and always saved the signatures off the labels to send away for special presents.” (Even then there were coupons and coupon savers.)
“Mother did all of the baking and we bought “Patent A” flour in 49 lb. sacks. Neighbors always exchanged “yeast starts” for bread dough.
“About that time Jake Zimmerly and his brother built a packing house on the edge of the big swamp on Manchester Rd. Here they butchered and salt-cured meat. I remember well, Mother giving me a dime once or twice a week and sending me to Jake’s for a soup-bone, impressing on me to be sure to tell him to ‘leave some meat on it’.”
Leon’s mother cooked and baked on a big coal-fired range. Just south of Wingerter’s Crossing, H. C. Ohl had opened a coal company, bringing in coal from mines in the Doylestown area. “In the fall everyone laid in a winter’s supply of coal. You had to. You couldn’t depend on the roads being passable any time.”
“Mother made most all of our clothes, buying yard goods in Akron at either O’Neils or Yeagers Dry Goods. There was a Kresge’s Dime Store downtown, too, that we got a lot of things from.”
Between South St. and Witner Lane on Manchester Rd. the Steiner family ran a big dairy farm. This was the souce of milk and butter. “Mother, and most everyone else, kept chickens for meat and eggs.”
When the devasting diptheria epidemic hit the area in the early 1900’s, the Goodman children all fell victims. Sam called in the family doctor, Dr. Norris from Akron. Dr. Norris told about a brand new toxin-anti-toxin that was available and asked Sam if he wanted to pay the price.
Dr. Norris telephoned the prescription to a drug store in Cleveland, personally met the trolley that brought the medicine from Cleveland, brought it to the house and administered the new “miracle cure”. All of the Goodman children survived. A great many were not so lucky.
When Sam Goodman ran for Mayor of Kenmore for the third time, Leon had left the area and was living in Dayton. However, on this particular election day, Leon was visiting back home.
When the polls closed and the votes counted, Sam had been defeated. He had lost by seven votes. Sam took it very hard.
A family by the name of Baughman controlled seven votes. For some reason Sam blamed this family for his defeat, paid a visit that very night and vented his feelings.
Sam felt repudiated. Returning home he immediately began making plans to leave the area. Shortly thereafter he moved his family to Marshallville. However, he did not cut all ties to Kenmore. He retained his home and property on Witner Lane and it was there he died.
Leon got his elementary education attending School No. 12, Mud Lake District, Coventry Twp. School No. 12 was a brick school, larger than most, located near Summit Lake, close to the railroad switch house.
Leon returned to No. 12 as the teacher at age 18.
THINGS A YOUNG BOY DID
A favorite pastime was to take the trolley to Akron to the Robinson-Merrill Pottery Co., just south of the Goodrich plant on Main St. Big plate glass windows lined the sidewalk and Leon could stand for hours watching the potters throw the soft mass of clay onto their wheels, set them spinning and turn out all shapes and sizes of jars, jugs and vases.
Published at that time in Akron, in a one-story building across from Yeager’s, was the TIMES-DEMOCRAT. Sam Goodman worked on this newspaper. He was in charge of distribution.
When the trolley-line was extended South on Manchester Rd. to Kenmore, Leon became the first newspaper carrier in the area. He delivered house to house and had about 18 customers. The papers sold for one-cent; except for the “big” edition that was printed on the occasion of Pres. McKindley’s assassination. It was not a “Special Edition”, just a lot of extra pages devoted to the tragedy. These papers sold like “hot-cakes” for 25 cents each.
Bringing in drillers and derrickmen from the oil-fields of Penna., the Akron Salt Co. began drilling two wells in the big field on the east side of Manchester Rd. This was a fascinating operation, too, and Leon spent many an hour at the drill sites, observing all that was going on. (The Akron Salt Co. later became The Colonial Salt Co.)
Down Manchester Rd., just before you got to Elder’s place, (before Elder built the bookstore), was Grady’s Park and Summer Casino. Here traveling shows, itinerant entertainers and vaudeville acts performed in the summer time. The performance Leon best remembers was a trapeze act, “The Flying Laurentz’s”. The Laurentzs consisted of two boys and two girls who had trained and “practiced their flip-flops” in a haymow on a farm out on Copley Rd.
(Perhaps the reason this sticks so vividly in Leon’s mind is the fact that this was “the first time he had ever seen anybody in tights.”)
Leon also remembers spending time watching the boats on the Canal and the horses that plod the towpaths at a mandated speed of “not more than five miles per hour”. Movement along the Canal was usually uneventful, except when two boats met, going in opposite directions. This created quite a problem, for in most cases the Canal was not wide enough to allow them to pass.
Some of the boats were pulled by a team of horses, others used only one.
To shorten the distance around a large swampy area on the south end of Summit Lake, a floating bridge had been built to serve as the towpath. All the horses were leery of walking this bridge no matter how many times they had been across it, and it took a very good and alert driver to keep them moving and from bolting.
THE BIG PARTY
One evening when Leon was about thirteen, his father came home from work as excited as Leon had ever seen him. There was going to be a big party held in downtown Akron that night. He talked constantly all through supper about all the “fun” there was going to be and finally persuaded his wife to let Leon go back down with him to join in. Downtown they went.
It was only later that Mattie learned the “party” was to be a “lynching party”.
Leon said he had never before, or after, seen his mother so upset. “She flew into a rage – mad as a wet hen – and didn’t speak to Sam for almost a week after that”.
But, the lynching didn’t take place.
The Akron police had in their custody a young negro lad, accused of assaulting a young white girl, Twila Mass. Some of the townspeople decided to assure “justice would be done”, and planned a charge on the police station. The Akron Police stood their ground, the prisoner was spirited out of the area and the mission failed.
The “avengers” determined to get some satisfaction, set fire to the City Hall and dumped Akron’s Police Wagon into the Canal at the lock site behind Quaker Oats.
The “wagon” was the pride of the Akron Police Dept. It was an electric- powered vehicle, the first in the Country made especially for police work.
JOINING THE WORK FORCE
Soon after Leon graduated from high school, the School Board was notified that Mud Lake District School No. 12 would be in need for a new teacher in the Fall. Leon had no interest in becoming a teacher, but he had a cousin who did.
Sam Goodman invited his nephew to accompany him to the next Board meeting and Sam placed his name in nomination. Leon went along for the want of something better to do.
Sam assured his nephew that with his influence behind him, he would be sure to get the job.
Sam had not reckoned with Mr. Terwilliger.
Mr. Terwilliger stood up, his voice booming, nominated “LEON GOODMAN”.
Before Leon could gather his senses and object, the Board had voted and Leon was the new teacher.
Leon convinced his father, he really did not want the job. Sam advised to wait a while, then go to the Superintendent and resign.
Leon waited two days and then made the trip to North Hill, where the Supt. lived. From the litter of papers and handbills on the porch, it was evident the Supt. was not home and hadn’t been for a while. A neighbor informed Leon the man he wanted to see was in Mexico on vacation.
The day before school was to start, Leon again made the trip to North Hill. He met with the Supt., but was told it was too late to resign and that he would be expected to start classes at the school the next morning.
When Leon arrived to start his first day, the Supt. was there ahead of him, his horse tied out in back. The Supt. unlocked the door, gave him the keys and then stayed the morning to help him get started.
So “a green, inexperienced, eighteen year old” became the reluctant teacher of grades one through eight in a one-room school house, charged with the education of forty pupils.
He stayed three years. Then,
O. C. Barber originally founded his Diamond Match Company in Akron, locating in a building at the corner of Falor Avenue and the Canal.
Shortly thereafter Mr. Barber and Akron’s tax department had a difference of opinion; an altercation followed and Mr. Barber moved his match factory to Barberton.
When Mr. Barber vacated the building on the Canal, a new company moved into the premises, The Diamond Rubber Company, and Leon was offered a job.
Leon, “young, strong and ambitious and still not in love with teaching,” resigned his school and went with the new challenge.
“Besides, it paid more!”
In conjunction with his new job, among other things, Leon learned to splice inner-tubes.
“Pneumatic tires, at that time, were not all that reliable.
After Leon had been with Diamond Rubber for a couple of years, the plant Supt. M. A. Flinn asked if he would be interested in moving with him to Boston. A job was open in a plant that made “carriage rubber” and it paid $5.00 more a week.
Leon was willing to go most anywhere for that almost unheard of salary.
And so, Leon Goodman left the Kenmore area. Various jobs with various rubber plants carried him to numerous cities, covering most of the eastern half of the United States.
Before Leon left, Kenmore Blvd. had been laid out and opened up and Huffman’s store had been built on the N. E. corner of the Blvd. and Manchester Rd…….there were still no paved streets in Kenmnore……Kenmore High School had been built in the heart of a big wooded area, his brother Robert, graduating from there several years later……Bill Sour’s girls were all grown-up and married. (In Leon’s words, Bill Sours was the “vulgarly rich” land-owner in the area. Bill owned all the land along Manchester Rd. from Witner Lane down to and all along in back of the railroad tracks, half-way to Portage Trail. (Portage Trail being the original Indian Path that led into Barberton, as marked by “The Indian” at Wooster Rd. & Norton Ave.)……as the Sours girls married, their father gave each of them a piece of land along Manchester Rd., building a house for them on it. These were the homes of the Wagners, the Bissells, the Bachtels, the Falors and the Waters. (All names still prevalent in Kenmore.)
Writer’s Note: All names, dates and locations may not be entirely correct. The above is as was related to me direct from the memories of Mr. Leon Goodman and have not been researched for exact accuracy. I apologize for any errors this article may contain.
Lee McCutchan’s 1984 Interview with Flossie Triplett Wilson
The dates and places noted are as they were remembered and may not be strictly factual. They were not researched for accuracy.
Flossie Triplett Wilson, born February 1893 in her grandparent Triplett’s farm home just outside of Halo, Ohio. The house built of logs to which, over the years, three frame rooms had been added.
It was not long after that, her parents built and moved into a little house close to the Lumber Company’s office. (This is the little green shingled home, now standing practically under the 27th St. viaduct.)
When Flossie was sixteen they moved again, up onto 8th Street.
Her father “dabbled” some into real estate, but he left his mark in Kenmore in that he and Jake Enders laid all the original cement sidewalks along new Kenmore Blvd. They left their names inscribed in each block.
When Flossie was five she was enrolled in the Tamarack District School, located at Manchester and Waterloo Roads. It was a long way for a five year old to trek, especially when it was all across open fields and over fences.
Within a couple of years another school was built, the school zones redistricted and Flossie became eligible to attend the new Summit Lake School. This was a little red brick building built on the east side of Manchester Rd., facing Summit Lake, just across the road from where later stood the Porter Nursing Home.
Though the distance to these two schools was approximately the same from Flossie’s home, though in opposite directions, her father thought it best she transfer to Summit Lake. There was a straight and sandy road she could walk along all the way and no longer have to make a cross-country trip.
It was about this time that Mr. M. C. Heminger came to Kenmore from Clinton, Ohio, moving into a house on 8th St., close neighbors of the Tripletts.
Mr. Heminger had been a highly respected member of the Clinton School Board and it was not long before he was elected to serve on Kenmore’s School Board.
Shortly after his election, it was felt that Kenmore could use another school. The site was picked. The majority of the Board felt a two-room structure would be sufficient. Mr. Heminger felt nothing should be built with less than four rooms. “Mr. Heminger was a very well educated man, a brilliant man, and a very determined man!” Despite all arguments and even a move to impeach him for proposing a wanton waste of the taxpayers monies, he stuck by his demand and won.
Though they did proceed with building a four-room structure, Mr. Heminger didn’t entirely get his way. They only finished two of the rooms, saying” never, never would they need those others.”
The school was named “Central” – later renamed for M. C. Hemginer, honoring this same man they had fought so hard against.
Flossie was one of the first students to enter Central School. (On the occasion of the dedication of the gymnasium built on some years later, an effort was made to locate all of the original students for a reunion. At that time only five could be found. Today (1984) only Mrs. Wilson and Mrs. Zilla Lonsbury remain – and both are still in Kenmore)
The town grew and the population flourished until it was no time before they had to finish the third room at Central. Then, within another year, they had to finish the fourth….proving to the embarrassment of many, that M. C. Heminger knew of which he spoke.
Within a short span of time later, Pfeiffer, Smith and Lawndale schools were all built.
About the time they decided to layout and put Kenmore Blvd. through, many in the Village of Halo thought it was also time to change the name. This brought about another big controversy. Austin Triplett was much against the change. What had been good enough for him and a lot of others all those years, should be good enough for anybody. But despite objections, the Village of Halo became the Village of Kenmore.
There were two doctors who served early Kenmore: Dr. Carr with offices on Wingerter St., and Dr. Alsbaugh with offices on the Blvd.
A special Saturday treat for Flossie and a few of her friends was to get to ride a big horse-drawn wagon from Kenmore down to neighboring Manchester to the coal yard. There the men would load the big wagon high with big chunks of black coal and Flossie and her friends got to ride back to Kenmore, in style, high atop the coal. This was the greatest!
When Flossie was small, there was no church in Kenmore. This bothered quite a few residents. To get one started, Flossie’s grandfather, Austin J. Triplett, offered to donate the land for a site, if monies could be gotten together to build the church.
By chance, it was soon learned that a church in Manchester was up for sale.
Five farm families; the Austin Tripletts, the Allen Kipplingers, the Watters, the Witners and the Sours got together, pooled their monies and bought the church.
With almost total volunteer labor, the church was dismantled, brought to Kenmore in sections and reassembled on a site on Manchester Rd.
This church was an Evangelical Church, later merging with the Methodist.
This building served the congregation well for several years; until it was outgrown.
A new stately brick structure was built on Kenmore Blvd. at 7th St., the church became known as the Boulevard United Methodist, now pastored by Rev. John Beatty.
The original church moved from Manchester, was again moved. This time to a site nearby, just down 7th St. It was remodeled, turned into apartments and some of the current church members are living there.
While the pieces moved from Manchester were being reassembled, church services were held in the downstairs of the Watters store. Services were held Sunday mornings, Sunday evenings and Prayer Meeting on Wednesday nights.
Virtually all of the fittings of the sections back together and the renovation of the interior was done by church members donating their labor and equipment, so the process was slow. To accommodate those working on the project, one of the first things done, was the building of a shelter along the backside in which to house the workers horses and buggies to keep them out of the weather.
A vestibule was built onto the front of the church as a place to “park” the congregation’s lanterns. People coming to church in the evenings carried their own lanterns to light the way. A place was needed to“park” these lanterns during services to keep them handy for pick-up to light their way back home.
Flossie remembers her grandmother always giving her a little piece of an old sheet or a towel when she left to walk to Sunday School, “to wipe the dust off your patent leathers when you get there.” One didn’t want to be caught in church with dirty shoes.
The following was also written about Flossie Wilson in 1984, who would have been 91 years old.
Mrs. Wilson is a very energetic, busy lady; active in her church and a number of other organizations and clubs. She only last year gave up her driver’s license and sold her car.Though she had never had an accident, or even a near-miss, she felt it “inappropriate” for anyone her age to still be driving. She only recently retired from the election board, having served in Kenmore’s election booth for over fifty years, never missing an election. She has gone through all the Chairs and served the Daughters of America on local, state and national committees. She is still the local chapter’s Record Keeper. An amazing lady!
Lee McCutchan’s 1984 Interview with Walter Burton
The dates and places noted are as they were remembered and may not be strictly factual. They were not researched for accuracy.
Walter Burton came to Kenmore in 1910 when his father, David W. Burton, moved the family here from Ravenswood, W. VA. At that time the post office was still down in Shook’s general store on Manchester Road. If you wanted your mail, you went after it – there was no free delivery. The population of the town was 1,550.
One of the first impressions that stuck uppermost in his mind was the many water sources – all the wells, cisterns, and creeks that dotted the area, and the huge chestnut tree that stood in the middle of the field where Sparkle Market now stands. There were a number of small hills and embankments all along Kenmore Blvd., which kept being graded down as the business section grew. The last to go was the rise at 17th & the Blvd. where the Walker house was recently razed to make way for the new Gray Drugstore.
The intersection of Kenmore Blvd. & Wilbeth Road was a low spot that would become flooded and impassable with every big rain.
In 1913 they had a big area-wide flood and Summit Lake became a “Great Lake.” The car barns (now the Metro bus terminal site) were completely flooded, but the street car bridge remained above the water level. (The street-car bridge ran parallel to the road bridge on Kenmore blvd. crossing the canal, east of Manchester Rd.) Sightseers lining the bridge became a problem for travelers. Walter remembers watching a big rooster setting atop a roll of picket fencing riding out the crest of the flood on his personal raft.
Walter doesn’t remember so much about it, but his sister Louisa aften talked about the big snows we used to have here. One in particular caught a Kenmore trolley car in a big drift right at Shadyside Park. Between the snow and an ensuing power failure the trolley car was stuck there for almost three days. Coincidently, the conductor and motorman lived only a few houses down the road and could go home for meals. Otherwise, they stayed with the car. The cars were heated with coal stoves. Usually the big brooms used to sweep snow off the tracks were enough to keep the cars moving through, but not in this case.
It used to be great sport to wait until the street car topped the hill on Kenmore Blvd., and then pull the trolley mast off the power line. The car would coast all the way down, the mast clank-clanking at every cross-arm.
Walter started school here in 1910 in what was then known as the Central School (now Heminger). When the Lawndale Elementary School was built he transferred there (much closer to home). The original Lawndale school was a small, wooden one-room structure built on the South side of Wilbeth Rd. near now 27th St. The population of Kenmore was booming, and in a short time the number of students outgrew the school and a new brick school was built on 25th St. Walter moved with his class over there. When Kenmore High School was built in 1916 he was in the first class to enter there.
The original one-room Lawndale School still stands on Wilbeth Rd., looking almost new and occupied by the Yugoslavian Seventh Day Adventist Church.
Mr. Burton doesn’t remember too much about the Village’s police department – mainly, because there weren’t too many things that occurred requiring the Marshall’s intervention. He remembers that once the Marshall was called down on Florida Ave. to shoot a rabid dog.
Of the Fire Department, he remembers that housed at the west end of Shadyside Park was a little two-wheeled, hand-pushed tank cart, which may have held a hundred gallons of water. The Fire Department was all strictly volunteers who, when the fire alarm sounded, ran down to get the cart and try to get it pushed to the fire in time. He reasons there must have been a similar unit at the other end of town.
Standing at the entrance to 20th St. (originally Washington St., later changed to Kansas) off Kenmore Blvd., used to be two large cobblestone piers, each about 15 ft. high. They stood guard there for many years, until people started running into them with their automobiles.
The one on the N. E. corner became so badly damaged it became an eyesore and they tore them both down.
Another thing that used to be of beauty along the Blvd. were the many stately maples that lined the street. These were all taken out, leaving the sidewalks barren. Walter stated he was very happy to see the feeling come full circle and trees being planted on the Blvd. again.
For all of the early homes, buildings and businesses, the lots were graded off and the foundations or basements scooped out using a team of horses. One of the main contractors for this work was Mr. Gindlesberger who kept his team in a big barn just across the road from the Burton residence on 20th St.
Around 1924 a Mr. Makison and Frank Goetke started the Kenmore Herald Newspaper. They later purchased and published, all at the same time, along with the Kenmore Herald, the Barberton Herald, the South Akron Post, the East Akron Review (Mr. Burton worked on these papers for several years).
Mr. Burton is by profession a writer, now semi-retired. He has written numerous technical books and publications for Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. and several others. His father was an avid amateur photographer. Most of his pictures made on glass negatives are of historical value. A great many of his pictures were destroyed by water, but his son, also struck with the hobby, has saved many and with reprints has enriched various Library and Historical Society collections.
Lee McCutchan’s 1984 Interview with Mrs. Ida Gerstenslager Christy
The dates and places noted are as they were remembered and may not be strictly factual. They were not researched for accuracy.
Mrs. Ida Gerstenslager Christy, 91 years young, came to Kenmore from Marshallville, Ohio, as a new bride in 1909. Soon after the Shadyside Allotment was opened, in 1916, they purchased a lot from the Akron Realty Company for $1.00. Theirs was one of the first homes built on Alabama Ave. (now 24th St.) between Florida and Maine (now Harpster). Ida still lives in this home.
The allotment was parceled out of a big wheatfield, owned by the Switzer family. The original farmhouse stood just about where the Acme Store stands now on East Ave. and Chandler.
The deed specifies that no dwelling shall be built in this allotment for a sum of less than $1,200.00; none shall be built to house any merchantile, manufacturing or retail establishments or for the making, sale, or distribution of any alcoholic beverages.
There were five lots set aside on 23rd St. between Florida and Carey for non-residential building. This is where the Park United Methodist Church first built. The church later moved to 24th St., and Flynn’s Grocery opened in the vacated building.
There were also deed restrictions governing fences and the keeping of horses or cows, but everyone had chickens and most kept geese. The Barnetts, who built behind Christy’s had a big Leghorn Rooster that felt he was the “cock-of-the-walk”, who “ruled his roost” and patrolled the neighbors yards as well, chasing all those he didn’t feel should be trespassing.
The allotment wasn’t entirely flatland. Florida Avenue was low in some areas and the homes built along it stood on a rather high embankment. One house between 24th & 25th had 10 steps leading up to its front porch. Before Florida was paved, a lot of fill was brought in, bringing the road up closer to the houselines.
Houses began to be put up in the allotment rather rapidly by the real estate company and by individuals, but there were no stores. An enterprising grocer from North Hill began coming down once a week taking grocery orders and delivering them back the same afternoon. The residents were very much dependent on this arangement, and the North Hill grocer had virtually a monopoly for a long time.
Finally Lewis Smith saw the opportunity and opened a grocery at Stop 96. He used to come every morning, pick up your order and have it back to you in a matter of hours. He did this for several years.
Shadyside Park, laid out in a grove of trees, contained a bandstand, where local musicians gave a concert every Sunday afternoon. It also contained a small building that could be used as a concession stand. On occasions such as family reunions (and it hosted a lot of those) one could use the facility to make coffee and hot cocoa.
Someone had dug a deep well in the park and people used to come from miles to get this “good” water. It was the best tasting around. The area, they say, sits on top of an underground river. There were a lot of wells and springs; everybody had easy access to all the water they could want or use.
On the Blvd. at 8th Street there was posted a big warning sign “This Village is Police Patrolled.” The police force consisted of a patrolman who walked the Blvd. checking the stores (and keeping an eye on strangers). If any one (off the Blvd.) needed a policeman, there was one cruiser they could send out. There weren’t many calls for a policeman; other than now and then to take a drunk home.
One of the early churches in Kenmore was the Goss Memorial Reformed Church. Their original church, moved here by the congregation, was the Presbyterian Church from Marshallville, Ohio. Not too many years later, the membership had outgrown these facilities and the big, new stone church was built at Florida and 11th.
Their first church, still standing at the corner of Florida and 9th, is still being used as a church, housing the Akron United Wesleyan Church.
Ida’s husband, Vern Christy, served as a member of the Kenmore Village Council for several years. He was, in fact, instrumental in collecting signatures of the 15,000 residents of Kenmore required to have Kenmore declared a City. It was just about this time that Akron came forth with their decision to annex the village. Kenmore’s Mayor Hollinger and several on the Village Council were much opposed to the “take-over” and determined not to concede. The evening of the Village Council meeting at which the annexation papers were to be signed, Akron came prepared with subpeonas.
When the first subpeona was served on Mayor Hollinger, Council members Christy, Goetke and Jones and a fourth member ran from the meeting to forestall the signing of the annexation papers. The four were cited in contempt of court and the Sheriff was sent to “track them down.” Verne Christy did not go home that night, but at 3:00 A.M. the Sheriff was there banging on his front door, demanding he come out. Christy’s son-in-law, Walter Edwards, answered the door and asked what Mr. Christy had done, “murdered somebody?” The answer was “No”, but “they were out to get him, and would, dead or alive.” The four were located, and still refusing to sign, taken to the County Jail. Elmer Prentice went down to bail them out, willing to go to almost any figure to post bond for them. The judge refused to set a bond, sentencing them each to a week in jail. The four did sign the annexation papers, but they still served their full time.
Mrs. Christy’s father was a farmer at Marshallville, but her uncle and brother ran the Gerstenslager Buggy Works in Wooster, renown for their “rubber-tired” buggies for the elite. If one owned a Gerstenslager, one was “somebody.” They later turned to manufacturing bodies for the postal trucks and every one built prominently carried their name plate.
Early Kenmore Days as Recalled by Wayne E. Hurd
Near the southwest corner of Kenmore close to the Barberton-Akron line is an aqueduct.
Mud Run flows south under the Ohio Canal in the Tuscarawas River. In 1832, the Ohio Canal was built and 100 years later about 1932 the canal water broke through into Mud Run, thus emptying the canal of water, except pools of water here and there at the lower places. In the pools of water you could pick fish out with a small bucket or even your hands.
The repair work was done at the aqueduct site that summer and the canal water soon came back to its original level.
In the 1930’s many people fished in the canal and also swimming was common. There was an old farmhouse there, probably the last farm in Kenmore, and there was also a large barn where 28th Street would run back to the canal.
In the wintertime when the canal was frozen solid across, people skated on it, mostly between the old farmhouse and the belt-line trussel. There used to be a canal boat stop there and there was an inlet where boats could come in away from the traffic of freight and passenger boats. You could still see the outline of an old abandoned canal boat a few inches above the water line, probably left there at the time of the 1913 flood. That flood damaged many locks and this caused the end of business on the canal in favor of the railroads henceforth.
When I was about 10 years of age a couple of boys and I made a crude raft and took it back to the canal on my wagon. We put a large innertube under it so it would hold all three of us. About the time we got started out on the water a nail from underneath punctured the innertube and we all went into the water. Fortunately, it wasn’t very deep at the place and no harm befell us.
In the January of 1933 two fellows with me went skating on the canal. I spotted something imbedded on the ice. I got it out and it was a Christian cross with many colorful stones up and down and across it. So, I’ve had it 70 years.
Near the swimming place at the farmhouse was a large orchard of fruit trees and every spring in May we gathered mushrooms from that place.Waterloo Rd. was U.S. Route 224 all the way to Pennsylvania. It ran through Highland Park
Let me tell you of the businesses that were located near Waterloo Rd. and 27th Street. The Mariman Grocery Store and the Stan Grocery across the Waterloo Road. There was Foultz’s Dry Goods Store, Charlie the Barber’s shop, Stein’s Drug Store and, of course, the Lawndale Post Office. Now a block east on Waterloo Rd. was Means garage and gas station with an ice house there, and Reel’s Grocery Store. Across the street from there was the fourteen classroom Highland Park School where I attended from 1927 to 1935. Next to our school was St. Augustine Cemetery. A block further east was old Hope Evangelical Church where so many attended, and there also was Lakewood Cemetery there. A block south of there was AC & Y Beltline R.R.; the Palmer Match Company was there and employed many local people. Across the street was the Akron Porcelain Company and many people worked there. My Mother took a job there as an inspector and could walk to work from our home in ten minutes at the short cut. She got off work about the same time as my sister and I got out of school.
Down at Waterloo Rd. and 30th Street were the Royal Rubber Company, a gas station and a Confectionary. In the 1920’s just a block further west from there was a baseball field with bleachers and all. Local teams around Kenmore and Barberton played there.
The Kenmore Nazarene Church got its start there on 27th Street near McIntosh Ave. in 1925. If a person missed the Waterloo bus, which ran every half hour you would walk over to Kenmore Boulevard and take a street car and they ran every 12 minutes. So I lived in a very nice neighborhood of Kenmore early days, 20’s and 30’s.
Written by Wayne Hurd
2744 Manchester Rd.
Established in 1850 by German immigrant John Young. Patrons who arrived by canal boats, horses, and carriages to John and Elizabeth Young’s log cabin tavern on Nesmith Lake were served all-you-can-eat bluegill sandwiches free of charge. Later, the Youngs served fish and chicken dinners for 25 cents.
Eventually their son Lewis bought the business, tore down the log cabin, and built a new restaurant that was enlarged in 1905 to include a hotel with 100 rooms. Two years later it burned down, but was rebuilt that same year on its 1905 foundation and reopened in 1908. Young’s closed January 7, 2004 after five generations of family ownership.
The city of Akron purchased Young’s in 2007 for $760,000 with hopes of developing it. They signed a development agreement with the nonprofit Ohio and Erie Canalway Coalition to collaborate and come up with ideas for the site. In August 2009 Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition and the city held two open houses for potential developers. Due to the extensive deterioration and cost of renovation of the building, Young’s was demolished on December 6, 2010.
Plans are being finalized and the property is expected to be purchased from the city by Akron’s Bennett Construction Management, Inc.
Young’s Restaurant 2008
Young’s Restaurant 11-30-2010
Young’s Restaurant 12-3-2010
Young’s Restaurant 12-6-2010
Young’s Restaurant 12-6-2010
Young’s Restaurant 12-6-2010
Young’s Restaurant 12-6-2010
Young’s Restaurant 12-6-2010
Early History of Kenmore
Early History of Kenmore
By Vesta Heminger Ritzman ’07
A history of Kenmore is a pageant in retrospect of the passing years of half a century.
So much has transpired that it is hard to believe that in the space of a life time, a city of unprecedented growth has sprung up from the land of six adjoining farms.
Transportation was an important factor in the development of a new allotment between Akron and Barberton. The oldest travelled road in Ohio was the Portage Path, now called Manchester Road. The Ohio Canal was the main artery of travel for many years for the distribution of produce, coal, and mercantile products between Pittsburgh and Cleveland. Much later the railroad supplanted the canal. In 1890 the first street cars were run from Akron to Barberton.
The famous and historic Portage Path was used by the Indians. It is so old that no man can guess its age. The roving buffaloes centuries ago made a road of it by their pounding hoofs. At the southern end of the Path, where Louis Young’s Hotel now stands, Chief Hopocan, called Captain Pipe of the Delaware Tribe, reigned over a sizable Indian Village for twenty years. Mr. P. P. Cherry often related stories of the ruthless killings and midnight tortures of this tribe in and about the Kenmore district. One cannot believe that wars were fought on land adjacent to the Kenmore High School, but many flint-points used in arrows were picked up in the woods at 14th Street by my brothers when playing there.
Coventry Township, dotted with many lakes and covered by virgin forests where game was plentiful, was called “The Red Man’s Garden of Eden.” Summit County was known to the men of Connecticut as the garden spot of the Western Reserve.
Much of the land was covered with large trees which the first settlers cut down to make clearings and build log cabins for their homes along the Path or canal. The many stumps gave the settlement its first name of “Stumptown.”
In the prehistoric days a great area of the Kenmore District was covered by Dead sea. A vein of salt, 50 feet down, running to a depth of 2,000 feet, was found as far south as Rittman, Ohio. The discovery of salt deposits, found by men drilling near the canal for oil in 1892, brought men that were interested in the salt industry from Cleveland. They organized a company and developed this vein of salt to the present day plant of the Colonial Salt Company. Today trainloads of refined or rock salt are shipped to the four corners of the world.
Summit County is a watershed in Ohio. Ten thousand and more years ago a huge glacier moved slowly across northeastern Ohio. As it melted it released from its grasp millions of tons of rock and clay and northern drift, filled a deep ravine, divided a great river that no man has ever seen, and left a remnant we know as Summit Lake. The water flows from this lake in two directions, the southern outlet by way of the Tuscarawas River to the Gulf of Mexico, the northern outlet by way of the Cuyahoga and St Lawrence Rivers, to the Atlantic Ocean — a distance of 2,000 miles apart.
When enough families liived in the township along Manchester Road and the new allotment, the demand for a post office was created by the people. This was granted and placed in the corner of the general store; its name was “Halo.” In the business district there were several stores, three saloons, a blacksmith shop, a wagon and harness repair shop, the Evangelical Church, the Zimmerly Packing Plant, and the Colonial Salt Works when the Akron Realty Company purchased, what was known as the six farms.
Several local bankers with real estate men from New York, organized a company and bought the six farms between the Manchester Road and Stop 97. It was necessary for street car services to go through the allotment so the Realty Company offered enough land and the right of way the entire length of the 50 foot boulevard to the Northern Ohio Traction and Light Company if they would re-route their tracks to Barberton.
A thirty minute car service was started about September 1901. The cars were small and open for summer. The baggage car was painted black and was called “The Black Hannah,” It made two trips each day, bringing everything from mail to plows and buggy whips to the local shops. There were four stops along the 1-1/2 mile boulevard — at Pennsylvania Ave., Ohio Avenue, the Pigeon House, and Shadyside Park.
The Akron Realty Company put out a beautifully designed “Plat Book,” with colored pictures of the allotment, with many young trees planted along the boulevard, and the sidewalks on either side of the landscaped double car tracks. The lots sold from $100.00 to $350.00 each. The name “Kenmore” was chosen by a member of the company. Traveling through the state of Virginia, he passed by the “Kenmore Estate” which belonged to the George Washington family. The name of “Hazelhurst” was the other name considered. The company decided to use the name “Kenmore” on their Plat Book.
To advertise the new allotment to the buying public, the company built 5 houses on the boulevard to be given away free at a Homing Pigeon Fly. Many lots were sold because of this promising offer.
In June, 1900, my father, Mr. M. C. Heminger, was employed as Secretary-Manager of the Akron Realty Company. We moved from Clinton, Ohio, 12 miles south of Barberton to the new allotment. No moving van would attempt to move our furniture up the newly made road on the unpaved boulevard because of recent rains, causing a deep yellow mud making the road impassable. A bargain was made with a canal boater to bring our household goods, accompanied by my brother Richard, from Clinton to a landing near the Colonial Salt Works.
A wagon and four farm horses were waiting from the canal boat and it took two hours to bring the furniture up as far as Ohio Avenue, now 12th St. We arrived, the first family to move in and live on the Kenmore Boulevard. It was a disappointment to find no graded lawns, sidewalks, or trees as the colored book had made us believe. We were disillusioned and we begged our parents to return to our former home in Clinton. My father, being a past Superintendent of Schools, was keenly interested in the school situation. The nearest building was one and one half miles away, at Summit Lake. It was called District School No. 11 of the Coventry Township, a one room brick building having six grades, a history class, and one teacher. Three of us walked this distance every day using the car tracks for our sidewalk.
At the November election, 1902, my father ran for and was elected township school board member. Twelve new homes were being built with promise of several more in the spring. When a plan was presented to the board to erect a building on the allotment, much opposition was given by the Manchester Road people. The Akron Realty Company gave six lots on Virginia Avenue, now 11th Street, to the Township board if it would consent to build a four room brick building.
The next board meeting lasted far into the night and after a heated discussion, a motion was made to accept the offer of the lots, and to build four rooms, two rooms to be finished immediately, the others, later if needed. The middle of a corn field on Virginia Ave. was the site for this new school.
When the building was nearly completed, the dissenting board Member stood and mumbled in his long beard, “Never in my life time, or yours either young lady, will four rooms be needed in this Kenmore Allotment; It’s a great waste of taxpayer’s money.” This I remember as if he said it but yesterday.
Later that summer, the Realty Company had the first Pigeon Fly. Many lots had been sold on the strength of this free offer. On Saturday afternoon at 18th Street, a Barberton Band played loudly while three hundred people arriving by horse an buggy, street car, or on foot from miles away gathered in a holiday mood. Speeches were made by the officers of the company. Peanuts, pink lemonade, and souvenirs were handed out to every one. The pigeons were place in a large crate and taken to Warwick, Ohio, twenty-five miles away, to be released. The pigeon loft was placed where Mr. Hedger’s store now stands. Two hours later several pigeons returned and perched on the roof to preen and coo while the crowd waited breathlessly. Finally one entered and was bagged by the caretaker to be brought and the announcement was made that Mr. Ulysses Houriet of Canal Fulton, Ohio, was the winner. Miss Mary, his sister, still lives in this home near 9th Street on the boulevard.
Several years later, at the second pigeon fly, Mr. George Foust of Foust Road won the second house given away by the company. This was the end of the Pigeon Fly’s, because the birds became a great nuisance on the allotment.
The school opened late in October, 1903 and 84 pupils answered the first roll call. The ages were 6 to 20 years. It was the Coventry Township School with the name “Kenmore School” over the arched doorway.
Mr. E. F. Crites of Crystal Springs, Ohio, was principal and teacher of the upper four grades. Miss Rothrock taught the primary grades. It was months before a bell was purchased for the belfry, so Mr. Crites would ring a brass handbell at the front door or open window, calling us in at recess.
We were very proud of our building but felt the need of many things, such as an Estey Organ, a library, and an American Flag for the flag pole in the yard.
A Literary Society was organized and challenged the Township school teachers in debate. The high school pupils won the first debate. We had a Lecture Course — tickets were sold for $1.00 for 5 lectures. We had a box social and a spelldown. We were the social center of the community and used one of the unfinished rooms of the building where refreshments were served. On one occasion we fed the entire town with 5 gallons of ice cream and 7 dozen ginger cookies.
To raise money for an organ, we sold an all-purpose salve that was supposed to cure everything from sore throat to bunions. We made enough profit through these efforts to buy the organ and a flag which was dedicated with proper ceremony. The Hon. H. C. Spicer, as the speaker, inspired us with a stirring speech, urging us to go forward with courage and commending our efforts.
On December 31, 1904, during our Christmas holidays, our school experienced a great tragedy when four pupils drowned while skating on the canal at the Straw-Board factory in Barberton. Edgar and Ada Williams, brother and sister, and Katherine and Elizabeth Morrison, sisters, went down at the same time through thin ice and were lost. These double funerals saddened our entire school.
We never missed celebrating a holiday. In April permission was given to several of the older boys to go into the near by Tamarack Swamp to dig up a small tree to plant in the new yard for Arbor day celebration. Ten husky boys carried it in and planted it. Each pupil placed a handful of soil around the tree while someone read a suitable poem. The tree still grows and beautifies the Heminger School grounds.
With deep regret we received Mr. Crites’ announcement that he would resign at the end of the year 1906 to become the President of the Peoples Savings and Trust Company in Barberton.
The board employed M. M. Brown of Athens, Ohio. The enrollment now reached 176, and another teacher was added. The school was registered as a third grade school.
In May 1907, the first class of 4 students was graduated from the Township High School. Diplomas were presented by W. J. Watters, President of the Board, to Elsie Wagoner, Floyd Wagoner, Margaret Henry, and Vesta Heminger. Rev. D. W. Sprinkle of Civil war fame, gave the class address. The class motto was “WE WILL FIND A WAY OR MAKE ONE.” The class colors were Old Rose and Nile Green.
A program of one and one-half hours of orations and music was given by the members of the class, in the new Goss Memorial Reformed Church.
Mr. Brown resigned to enter the ministry and Mr. C. E. Benedict came as superintendent in 1907.
At the last census the announcement was made that plans were on foot for Kenmore to incorporate and become a village. This would mean a separate school board. This brought a protest from the township trustees. They would lose a large sum of tax money as the Goodrich Mill was listed on the tax duplicate at $40,000. The case was taken to the Ohio Supreme Court and decided in favor of the Kenmore District.
The new board, wishing to add more rooms to the 11th Street building, placed a bond issue before the people which was voted down by the westend voters. Lawndale wanted a building in its district; therefore, a two-room frame building was erected on Foust Road, now Wilbeth. Later, a bond issue was passed and four rooms with gym-auditorium were added to the 11th Street school.
The idea of a gymnasium was popular with the pupils. One member of the school board voted “yes” with the others for baskets for basketball games, but “no” on purchasing a basketball. The game was too rough, he declared, and not necessary for educational purposes. The boys and men teachers bought the first basketball and suits.
The first unit of Colonial School was build in 1912, and a unit of the brick building for Lawndale was started. Now with Colonial to the east and Lawndale in the westend of Kenmore, the first building changed its name to Kenmore Central.
A graduating class of two boys, Richard B. Heminger and Ernest E. Ritzman, were given diplomas in 1908.
Mr. Benedict resigned the following summer to accept a teaching position in Tallmadge. After four years he returned to set up a printing establishment and printed the village newspaper called the “Kenmore Herald.”
Mr. Henry Dice of Canal Fulton, Ohio, followed as superintendent. The teaching staff now numbered 15 teachers. Kenmore High School became a second grade high school in 1910.
Mr. Dice was superintendent until 1915 when he resigned to enter the banking business in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.
The growth of Kenmore was making headlines in out of town papers. It was the fastest growing town in Ohio. The schools in twelve years had grown from 84 pupils with 2 teachers to 960 pupils with 32 teachers, when Mr. Russell Fouse came as superintendent.
CLICK HERE to view the Bachtel Bakery presentation shared by Dolores Reeves in 2016