Monday, April 25, 2016

On the Trail of the Lyon Murder House

Ever since I first read about the Jim Lyon murder case and saw the photo of the house where it all happened, I knew I had to drive out to Havana, Ohio sooner or later to see if it was still there. Chalk it up to my morbid curiosity.

I made a half-hearted attempt to find it last weekend with no success.

Fortunately, local historian Dennis Thompson also wondered if the house was still there and decided to research it properly. He visited the historical records room on the fifth floor of the Huron County offices in Norwalk, where he examined the coroner’s report on the McGrath murder. It listed the Lyon house’s location as Norwich Township.

To find out more, Dennis consulted the curator of the historical records room, Henry R. TimmanTimman is the past president of Firelands Historical Society, as well as County historian for Huron County, Ohio. He is also the well-known Norwalk Reflector columnist and author of the Just Like Old Times book series.

Timman provided Dennis with much more than the location of the house. As Dennis explained, "Not only is he well versed in the murder, his father played a small role! His father knew Jim Lyon. Henry's father worked for one of the county departments and they had come into possession of an old house they wished to re-purpose. His dad and Jim Lyon worked on cleaning out the house. The attic was full of antiques, and one day he saw Lyons driving off with a truck load of them. This was possibly one of the crimes for which Lyon was being investigated.”

Best of all, Dennis came up with the address for the house. It’s still there too, out on Thomas Road just south of Havana. So I drove out there on Saturday afternoon to photograph the house.

It sits pretty far back from the road with a very long driveway to boot. It’s obvious that the Lyon brothers had a good view of the approaching law officers back on that fateful day in 1926 – and plenty of time to get ready for them, too.

But in stark contrast to the house seen in the vintage black and white photo, the handsome farmhouse almost shines in the afternoon sun, its bleak past literally whitewashed away.

Special thanks to local historian Dennis Thompson for his help with this and other posts!


Loraine Ritchey said...

How nice to see the house in such a lovely condition- not what I was expecting but then again I live in Lorain where old homes become fodder for cash........ great posts enjoyed the story

Anonymous said...

Wow that is neat it is still there. I would never have guessed it the same house so far off the road looking at the old photo! Good work! Thanks for writing about it. rae

Anonymous said...

Guess you didn't have the nerve to drive up that very long driveway. Don't blame you.....

Teri Gates said...

Thank you for the comments on our house. We love it here, and you're welcome to stop by. Don't be afraid of the driveway!

Teri Gates said...

Thank you for the compliments on our home. You're welcome to stop by, and don't be afraid of the driveway!