Thursday, April 7, 2011

William H. Root House Part 2

This article appeared in the June 21, 1955, Lorain Journal and provides a nice capsule history of the William H. Root house, as well as the Root family, particularly Miss Harriet Root. She had quite an accomplished career.

Root Home Landmark in Region

Pen and ink sketch of William H. Root house
Historic Lake Road landmark dating back to 1850 and located a few hundred yards from a row of expensive and ultra-modern ranch type homes is the old Root homestead, residence of three generations of one of the pioneer families of Sheffield and Sheffield Lake.

The pen and ink sketch (at left) was made by a Detroit artist for a family postcard. The house is familiar to all older Lorain residents and is on the lake side of the road, just east of Root Road.

It is believed to be the oldest home in Sheffield Lake that is on the present Lake Road. The original Lake Road, long since washed into the lake, was farther north.

Fourth Home
This was actually the fourth Root home in Sheffield, according to Miss Harriet Root, granddaughter of the builder, William H. Root. The Roots arrived in the area in 1816 and built two log homes and a frame house before erecting the present building.

Miss Root recalls that her grandfather was a farmer and also a commission merchant in the days when there were rows of warehouses on North Broadway.

Included in the family collection are account books showing transactions indicating amazingly low prices for pork, potatoes, etc.

Headed Car Line
Miss Root's father, Orville Root, was a Lorain businessman, one of the early leaders in the Lorain Banking Co., and was at one time president of the Lorain Street Railway Co., which operated a horse car line in the late 1880's and early 1890's.

Miss Harriet Root
Among her interesting souvenirs of the past is an 1898 receipt given her father for $240 paid toward securing a suitable 19-acre site for the proposed Cleveland Shipbuilding Co. plant in Lorain – preparing for one of the "big moves" in Lorain history and Lorain industry.

Miss Root is a story and a celebrity in herself, a leader in many local civic and welfare activities who was for many years a public official in Washington. She went to Washington in 1932 to work three months with the Red Cross, and stayed for years. In 1934 she became director of the government information service, in charge of offices in Washington and New York. She service answered about 100,000 inquiries a year.

Special Mission
So proficient the service became that the New York branch was asked to set up the important information service at the New York World's Fair.

During World War II, she was sent to Sydney, Australia on a special government mission. Since returning to Lorain she has been active in the Salvation Army, Civil Defense, Business & Professional Women's club, Red Cross, American Association of University Women, United Appeal, church and other activities.

Photograph of Miss Harriet Root courtesy of

1 comment:

Wireless.Phil said...

I remember as as kid (7 or may 8) my dad an I were standing on the lake side down by the USCG station and he told me and old Indian man he used to fish with, told him about a road being out under the water. He also said that they used to catch Pickerel or Blue Pike out of Lake Erie.
I'm almost 60 now, but I remember him telling me that.