Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Colonel Henry Brown’s House – Part 3

Mrs. Harvey Emmerich – interviewed in the two Journal articles posted earlier this week – found herself talking about her historic house again to a local newspaper in mid-July 1956.

This time, however, the circumstances were quite different.

The Ford Motor Company’s new assembly plant was coming, and many Brownhelm Township residents – including the Emmerichs – had already sold their farms to Ford. All that remained was the annexation of the land to Lorain.

Many township residents had mixed feelings about losing their farms, which is the subject of the article below, which ran in the Chronicle-Telegram on July 13, 1956.

Brownhelm Residents Voice Views On New Ford Plant
Reluctance To Vacate Homesites Is Blended With Joy At Progress

Mixed feelings – joy at seeing their area grow and reluctance to give up their homesites – were voiced yesterday by residents and neighbors of the Brownhelm Township tract where the Ford Motor Co. will erect a huge truck and car assembly plant.

Sale of the land to Ford will mean, in some cases, families moving from properties that have been in their families for nearly 100 years. In others, it will mean that residents newly moved from cities to “the country” will soon find themselves neighbors to a bustling new industry center.

Members of the Baumhart family, owners of most of the 375-acre site, are selling property that’s been in the family since 1865.

Young couples who will not be selling their newly-constructed Baumhart Rd. homes have no financial salve for having an industry move in across the street from the “country homes” they built to get away from the traffic and factories in the city.

Officials Jubilant
Township officials are jubilant over the activity and new importance coming to their area. No one seems to dispute one point: The industrial development will be good for the area.

“You can’t stop progress,” said Mrs. Harvey Emmerich, granddaughter of the Baumharts who settled the area when there was grass growing in the middle of Lake Rd. and Baumhart Rd. was just the “path to the church.”

Some residents previously have had sections of their farms lopped off for the widening of Lake Rd. Then Ohio Edison bought the section just to the east of the Ford site. The Lake Rd. widening took many of their front yards, but the Ford plant will take most of their entire farms.

Will Retain Home
“We’re selling the 167 acres of farm land, but we get to keep the house because it’s on the north side of Lake Rd.,” Mrs. Emmerich said. “My father, my daughter and I were all born in that bedroom.

“Naturally, I’m glad to get the money – in fact they came around and raised the price four times.”

Mrs. Emmerich said she doesn’t think the industrial development will hurt the neighborhood. “The zoning is rigid,” she said. “I wondered what they could have when I heard all the restrictions. But I understand it will be a light industry and the building will be glazed brick.”

Selling 105 acres
One of the few plant site residents not related to the Baumharts is the Howard Burke family, who live on Rt. 2 and 6. Mrs. Burke said the family’s 105 acres all is on the plant site, but she doesn’t particularly mind moving. “It’s all right if we can find what we want in some other farm… Everybody else is satisfied. I guess we’ll have to be too,” she commented as she walked back into the field to continue cultivating.

“We don’t like it,” said Mrs. James Bell, one of the young people who are building new homes on Baumhart Rd. “We moved away from 21st Street in Lorain to get the children out in the country away from traffic and factories. Then they go and start building a plant right across the street… We’ve got this big picture window and now we’ll be looking right at a factory. But I guess it depends on where they put it and what it looks like…”

Two Farms West of Road
Two farms on the west side of Baumhart Rd., owned by the Kenneth Baumhart family also are being sold for the industrial site. “When you’ve had anything such a long time it’ll seem kind of odd to be without it,” Mrs. Baumhart said. She said the owners of other farms being sold for the side, Adam and John Claus and Charles Baumhart, all are relatives.

Her daughter, Mrs. Richard (Ruth) Reed is building another new home on Baumhart Rd. “We’ve been working three years at building our own home, now it’ll be right across the street from a plant. But you can’t stop progress,” she commented.

‘Good For Area’
“I really don’t give a darn – I’m a farmer and that’s what this land has been,” said Robert Leimbach, township trustee chairman. “But the plant will be good for the area. As long as we know what it is now, it’s OK. But I was opposed to rezoning the land when we didn’t know who wanted to come in here.

“The plant taxes probably won’t help the Firelands school district much because most of the site is in the Vermilion school district. Actually I think it will help Brownhelm Township more than anything else,” Leimbach said.

Ben Taylor, another trustee, said he had “very much faith that the plant would arrive here finally.” He said “We’ve been obscured here too long.” He compared the new plant to a new child: “It will bring a lot of activity… life. I’m glad we got it – the rezoning was a crisis, but it’s all set now."

Next: Anachronism

1 comment:

Col. Matt Nahorn said...

Hi Dan, thank you for highlighting an important, early Homestead that is often forgotten about and overlooked with the "old Ford Plant" site currently occupying the old Homestead site. I was reviewing some old aerial views and trying to learn more about the demise of the Brown-Baunhardt House, and it seems that when the overpass was constructed, connecting the two Ford Plant properties across Route 6, that is when the house would've been demolished. I am still looking into history on this house, and I am finding your posts most interesting! Thank you! The one article mentioned the existence of the old Post Office cabinet in the basement of the house, then used as a pantry cupboard.....I really wonder what ever happened to that. What a piece that would be to find! Someone may still have it...