Friday, January 31, 2014

Willis Leiter's Home – Then & Now

To close out my celebration of the publication of Lorain: The Real Postcards of Willis Leiter, here's a real photo postcard of the photographer's own home at Thorn Beach on E. Erie Avenue in Lorain.

Thorn Beach? Where was that?

That's what a lot of people were asking when the mysterious real photo postcard appeared on Ebay last August. Fortunately, Paula Shorf, one of the authors of Lorain: The Real Postcards of Willis Leiter was able to identify the house in the photo as his home and even provide an address: 2447 East Erie.

Here's what the same view as the postcard looked like in early September 2013.

A more recent, wintery view reveals more of the house and its setting.
Even with the addition of a garage, it's still a great looking home, full of historical significance.
Photo taken Sept. 18, 2013
Just a quick note – Paula asked me to pass along that there are two local book signings planned for Lorain: The Real Postcards of Willis Leiter. The first is scheduled for February 8 at the Avon Costco and another is tentatively scheduled for Sunday, March 9 with the Lorain Historical Society. Watch the Society's Facebook page for details.


Jeremy said...

Any idea what year the original photo is from? Since the address puts this house in the vicinity of Nebraska Ave I assume this was outside of the Lorain city limits at the time of the photo.

Dan Brady said...

Hi Jeremy,

I understand that the 1909 city directory had Leiter listed as living at Thorn Beach, so the photo is possibly from that era. The Thorn Beach address was used pretty rarely and I don't know why.

Those oldest Lorain City Directories use Root Road as the cutoff point for East Erie Ave. listings. The addresses in the books are listed going east from Broadway, with the North-South streets identified as they intersect with E. Erie. In the 1915-16 book, the last intersecting street listed is Kansas, followed by about 25 addresses. After the last address (2355 E. Erie) there is a note that says, "The following houses have no numbers." What follows then is a list of numbered houses in descending order from 25 to 1, with #1 being what I assume is the Root house, since O. E. Root is listed as an owner. Leiter's house is #22, which meant that it was the 22nd house from Root Road. That's why it was so hard to pinpoint the exact location and address of his house.

Tom H. said...

This area of East Erie became part of Lorain in 1894. The garage was added in the 1980's,I knew the people that lived there,since I lived at 2415 East Erie in the 1980's.