Tuesday, June 12, 2012

That House by Lakeview Park Part 2

After finding out that this house at 1405 West Erie was one of the most expensive kit homes featured in the Aladdin catalog, I wondered: Who had it built?

Naturally, I hit the Lorain City Directories in the library to find out.

The 1915-16 directory did not include that 1405 West Erie address. The two nearest addresses were 1348 West Erie (H. O. Wurmser – gee, this blog is becoming his P.R. machine) and 1422 West Erie (the address for Capt. Richard Thew, founder of the Thew Shovel Company). Now that's good company.

The next available directory in sequence at the library was the 1919 book, which revealed the home's owner as being Allison H. Babcock, the president and manager of The A. H. Babcock Company (which specialized in real estate, insurance and surety bonds) and his wife Minnie. So his is the earliest name that I can find that is associated with the house.

His biography in A Standard History of Lorain County Volume 2 states that he was born in Lorain on January 21, 1874 and was the son of Allison H. Babcock and Mary (Hill) Babcock. The elder Babcock was a Civil War veteran, and later a merchant and large owner of real estate in Lorain; he also served several terms as mayor. The younger Babcock organized the A. H. Babcock Company in 1898; he was a member of the Masons as well as the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and was "one of the leading and influential citizens" of the community.

The house at 1405 West Erie continued to be listed as the address for A. H. Babcock until the 1926 edition, which indicated that Morris M. Atkin, the president of the Benmor Electric Company was the current owner.

Judging by my emails, in the latter part of the century the house seemed to be mostly identified with the Cooper family, with several people emailing me to share a reminisce about the house or family.

Ironically, the spouse and I were even interested in the house when it went up for sale in the early 1990s. We called for an appointment to see the house, but if I remember correctly, the house sold shortly after it was listed and we were never able to get in to see it. We were told that someone in that neighborhood who had admired it for years snapped it up immediately.

That's not too surprising. It's still a grand looking house with a lot of class.


Anonymous said...

Do you think Allison ave. is named for this gentelman? (Allison H. Babcock ) It's in this area. Just a thought.

Rose said...

Thanks for following up on this Villa! What a beautiful house! Could I use your photos at my blog? I'll include a link back to YOUR blog.

It's not just the HOUSES that are so darn interesting (but the idea of someone assembling 12,000 pieces and turning it into a house is fascinating), but it's the history behind these houses that really make the story come alive.

Typically, these houses were built by families who fully expected that the house was remain in the family for generations to come.

These houses really were "a labor of love," in every sense of the word.

And that's what makes this topic so fascinating!!!

Let me know about the photos. :)

Rose Thornton

Dan Brady said...

Hi Rose!

Help yourself to any and all photos! And thanks for the information about the Villa--I appreciate it!