Edgerton Historical Society (Ohio)

Edgerton History Tour in 2015 - See Photos of Some of These Sites from the Link on the Left

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The Edgerton Town Hall and Park Opera House was built in 1884 by Von Behren and Shaffer of Stryker.  It served the town with a place for stage entertainment, lectures, ceremonies, meetings and voting. Signatures of actors and speakers from 1895 through 1906 were still visible on the walls behind the ticket booth. The town hall was destroyed by a storm on June 23, 2010 and was torn down shortly thereafter.




The second house west of the corner of Indiana and Oak was the site of M.C. McGuire Telegraphic Institute which operated from 1871 to 1923.  In the first twelve years, the institute graduated over one hundred telegraph operators. Mr. McGuire's students worked in nearly every state in the Union as telegraph operators. He was also operator and agent for the L.S. & M.S. Railroad.  The building originally had a second floor which was removed in later years.




On the east corner of Indiana and Oak stood the Hotel Mortland, built in 1854 by Anson Crosby, later known as the Crosby House. With its prime location across the street from the depot, it served as a temporary home for many travelers. In 1881 it was the Hotel Arlington, still later named the Hotel Edgerton. It was dismantled in 1939.




The depot was built to serve the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railroad, the land being donated by William Trevitt and A.P. Edgerton. The line was completed to Edgerton in 1855. On June 8, 1857, the first timetable was issued. This stretch of track from Toledo to Kendallville being without turn or curve enabled the trains to travel at a high rate of speed, thus the name "Air Line" was used. The next companies changed the name to New York, Penn Central, Conrail and now Norfolk and Southern.  The depot was torn down in the 1970's.




Oars and ironing boards were made by this company. The factory burned after a few years. This location was then used by Edgerton Provisions and then Air Line Mfg. in 1928. In later years it was known as the Edgerton Canning Factory.




The Kaiser Grocery Store building was originally built in 1945 as the Charve Theater.  It operated for 13 years showing movies every day from 1945 through 1958.  The name "Charve" came from the first letter of the names of each of the founders (Carl Brady, Herm Kruse, Alda Kruse, R.T. and Vella Priest, and Edna Brady.  Movies were shown in other buildings in town, but this was the only building built and exclusively used as a theater.




This is the site of the second school built in Edgerton, the first being on North Michigan Avenue northeast of the site of the present town hall. The third school house was located west of the Methodist Church and later used as a Masonic Hall.  Later, this small building served as restaurant, pool room and barber shop. This is the only original store front remaining in the business section.




This business site was established by Daniel Farnham when in 1855 he built a storeroom. In 1872, he erected a three story brick building which housed his business and also a Large ballroom on the third floor. The building along with several buildings on the east side of  Michigan Avenue burned in 1897.  It was replaced by a two story building which was also destroyed by fire in 1920.  The present building was dedicated  in 1921 as the Edgerton State Bank.  Some of the original foundation stones are still visible in the basement.




This group of businesses in the prime location close to the railroad and across the street from the original Edgerton Town Hall, was given the name Smokey Row because of a series of fires which damaged or destroyed various buildings in the early years. 




Owen R. Skelton, born in 1886 to James and Sophia Skelton, was raised in the family home.  James operated a harness shop on North Michigan Avenue.  Owen graduated from Edgerton High School in1903 and later from Ohio State University with a degree in mechanical engineering which prepared him for  his career in the automotive industry.  The Automotive Hall of Fame credits Skelton with developing four-wheel hydraulic brakes, all steel body construction and an engine mounting system.  He served on the Chrysler board of directors in 1937 through 1954 and was inducted into the Automobile Hall of Fame in 2000.  The home was owned by Roy and Margaret Sanders until her passing in 2015.




West on Indiana St. where there is now a vacant lot stood the Edgerton Telephone Exchange (1905). The first telephones were installed earlier (1899). This company started by Emmett Geaque, was sold to Ohio Standard Telephone in 1932; and thereafter many changes in ownership.




On the south side of Indiana St. the electric power plant was located where Casebere/Perry garage is now. This was later moved to Bement St. at the Oak Mfg. Co. site. The power plant was built by Emmett Geaque who first turned the power on in 1903 so the Methodist Church could be illuminated for their dedication ceremony.




In the late 1800's Edgerton was served by two hotels.  The Central Hotel with its downtown location offered rooms for rent on the second floor, and the lower floor served various purposes including a restaurant/sandwich shop, a produce market and a card room.  The building was torn down in 2001.




The Civil War Monument ("Clem")was originally placed in the middle of the intersection of  Michigan Avenue and Indiana Street.  Funds were raised for the monument to honor Edgerton's Civil War Soldiers and it was dedicated on Memorial Day 1912.   The location worked well when the gravel streets were occupied with horses and wagons, but with the coming of automobiles and larger trucks, the monument became an obstacle.  It was moved to its present location in 1972.




A man-made earthen ramp enabled area farmers to unload their grain from horse-drawn wagons into storage bins and railroad cars with a minimum of effort. The grain was then shipped via railroad. In this location was also the first freight office in the township in 1857.




Edgerton enjoyed the convenience of two mills in early years.  One was at the present location of the Edon Farmer's Coop and the other at this location on Depot Street.  The mill on Depot Street was apparently steam- powered as can be seen by the tall smoke stack on older photos, but was later converted to electricity.  In 1923 the mill was reopened by Otis Miller after having been closed for a period of time due to the death of the previous owner Henry Dietsch.


17. OAK MFG, CO. - 1890


Also known as the Basket Factory, the company was started here after being destroyed by fire in its Ash Street location. Many types of baskets were made here, some of them woven by hand. Logs were purchased locally

from farmers and were hauled to this site where they were cut into proper lengths. They were steamed in vats to soften the wood making it easier to remove the bark. From the vats they went to the veneering machines where the veneer was peeled from the logs. This was then cut into splits of appropriate widths for the various types of baskets. They were formed then stapled by machine into baskets. The baskets were then stacked in drying sheds. When ready they were hauled to local retailers or shipped to various buyers around the country. 




In 1855 the Catholic community in the Edgerton area built the first church on the Adam Hilbert farm, 4 1/2 miles southeast of Edgerton.  With the coming of the railroad and new settlers in 1864, it was decided to build a new Catholic Church in Edgerton.  A lot was purchased on the corner of Bement and Locust Streets and construction began in 1865.  The church was completed in 1866 and finally dedicated in 1881.  The present church building was dedicated in 1944 and in 1955 the old church building was given to the Knights of Columbus and moved to its present location on South Elm Street.




The fourth school built in Edgerton was built on this West Bement site. This was a two story brick building consisting of four rooms and served from 1857 until 1905, when the North Michigan Avenue building was erected in 1905.  The fifth school was the building which was demolished just south of the present Town Hall complex.




Maple Grove Cemetery was established in 1858. It is a joint property of the township and the town. It is said the first person buried here is a William Preston whose grave site is located in the middle of the north side. Most of the graves from the town of Denmark were moved to this cemetery, among them the prominent Judge Parker and family.




The woolen mill was located at the corner of South Michigan Avenue and  Sargent Street.  It was built before 1881 as it is pictured in the 1881 Birds-eye-view drawing of the village of Edgerton.  One history book said people came from many miles to have their wool made into yarn and blankets.  A fire destroyed the mill in 1926 and it was never rebuilt.  The Edgerton Historical Museum was given a blanket by the Casebere family which was produced at the mill.




This cemetery served the Clarksville area for many years. There are many Civil War dead buried here in unmarked graves. Dr. Ladd, a Clarksville physician, is buried here. Ladd's Lake, located on the former Ubald Dietsch farm was named for the doctor who owned the property at that time.




In 1835 Thomas Green, one of the first settlers in the area, laid out a trail to the Bellefontaine Road at Williams Center. With settlers arriving in the area Miller Arrowsmith surveyed and Elisha Clark and Jacob Wilder platted Clarksville in October 1836. In 1837 the first house was built and a mill constructed. The first school in the area was held in 1837 on the Blair property. The first store was opened by Guy Noble in 1839 and the next year he built the ashery. In l844 Jeradet Ball built the first bridge over the river. In its prime Clarksville had a church, two taverns, two stores, two doctors and about eighteen houses. The mill and bridge were destroyed by an ice flow on the river in 1886 and only the bridge was rebuilt in 1888.  Nothing remains of Clarksville today due to the coming of the railroad through Edgerton. According to old-timers, several of the Clarksville homes were moved to Edgerton and are located on north side of Gas Street west of the present village hall.




In 1908 Williams County was voted dry, banning the sale of alcohol.  Defiance County still allowed alcohol sales.  In 1909, Jacob Lahrman and William Cape launched a floating tavern called "The Ark".  They floated it from Edgerton to the county line and anchored under the Clarksville Bridge.  After a short while, when spring rains threatened to crush the Ark under the bridge, it was moved farther down stream.  Court injunctions by nearby residents and the eventual banning of alcohol in Defiance County soon ended the Ark's hopes for success.




Sally Farnham, mother of Daniel, picked this site for the Farnham burying ground. Sally died in 1844 and was one of the first to be buried here. It also served the Edgerton community for many years. Daniel bought an iron fence and reserved one third of the ground for his descendants. The iron fence was replaced in recent years.




In 1837 Daniel Farnham brought his mother and two sisters from New York to Ohio, having built a house the previous fall on government land he had purchased.  In 1860 and 1862 he purchased this farm. Myron C. Farnham acquired part of it in 1887 and the balance in 1897. Meade Farnham purchased the farm in 1919 and Ron M. Farnham acquired it in 1970. The farm is currently owned by descendant Andrew Farnham.




Samuel Holton settled here in 1827 and built the first mill in the township. It is recorded that this mill built about 1830 stood on the banks of Fish Creek about twenty rods upstream from the bridge. The first child of a pioneer settler born in this township was that of the Holtons. Nothing is left of the Holton home or the dam, but down along the bank of Fish Creek traces of the mill were visible in recent years.  The mill stone is kept in the Williams County Historical Museum.




This village was founded and laid out by Judge Payne C. Parker in 1834 on the north side of the Bellefontaine Road. He built a frame house and moved his family here in 1836. Denmark had a public square, store-room, ashery and schoolhouse. The town also had the first post office and tavern in the township. Denmark was also the first village in the county.




This is the only Indian trail in the area officially surveyed and made a road. This survey was in 1831. The original road exists to the west between here and Hamilton, Indiana. Looking southeast, the front driveway of the Marvin Dietsch farm is a section of the road, which originally extended diagonally through the farm. The house faces this old road thus explaining its acute angle to the county road in front of the house.




In 1888 this 283 acre farm was known as the Volney Crocker Farm.  He is the man who cleared the land in Bryan for the Williams County Court House to be built.  In 1864, Mr. Crocker owned 3/4 of the farm and W.C. Preston owned the northwest 1/4.  At that time the farm lane which goes west past the barns was a public road which went straight west to the St. Joseph River, crossed the river and connected with S.R. 49 north of Edgerton.





From here the trail angles south and eastward to the Scioto River. The trail was surveyed only between Bellefontaine, Ohio and White Pigeon, Michigan. Originally the trail angled northwest from this point to the Denmark Bridge.


32. MINA


In 1908 a water tank and coal chute were installed here to serve the trains of the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railroad. Mina was considered the halfway point between Cleveland and Chicago. For many years Mina was a busy place with trains taking on coal and water.  There was a restaurant in a former dining car where train crews and local residents would enjoy a good meal.




In the early 1900's, the Busy Corner Grocery and General Store served area residents.  An early letterhead states that Wallace Stuart was the proprietor and he was a dealer in eggs, poultry and produce.  The cabins next to the store served travelers on US Highway 6, halfway between Cleveland and Chicago.  An advertisement stated that restrooms and showers were located in the rear, a water pump was located in front of the store, there was an additional 5 cents charged for each towel furnished and pails were to be used for refuse from the basins.  The store operated for many years under many owners until it closed in the late 1960's.



Copyright 2010 - The Edgerton Historical Society