Monday, January 31, 2011

Jacob Meyer House Then and Now

Winter is a bummer for someone like me, who likes to go out and photograph local landmarks, as well as 'then and now' shots. Not only are some of the finer details of the compositions covered with a blanket of snow, but winter skies tend to be white and uninteresting. That's why in the fall, I went out and photographed with a vengeance to build up somewhat of a backlog of this kind of thing. Now the only problem is to try and find a particular shot on my iMac, when I have hundreds of digital photos stored in dozens of folders!


Here's the Jacob Meyer residence (above). The photo appeared in the Lorain, Ohio 1903 Souvenir and 1924 Tornado book at the Lorain Public Library. It has a charming inset of the Meyer family in the upper right hand corner.

Along with the photo, the 1903 book includes a nice bio of Jacob Meyer. It describes him as "an example of those enterprising and aggressive youth of this country who have risen in the cycle of their native surroundings to be men of force and public consequence." He was born in Sheffield Township, and after working in Cleveland during the late 1880's and early 1890's, decided to go into business in Lorain.

Meyer became a successful contractor with several local landmarks at that time (St. Mary's Church and the Verbeck theater) to his credit. He later went into politics, becoming president of the Lorain city council during the late 1890's. He also founded the Lorain Democrat newspaper.

Anyway, I had to dig around in city directories from that era to find the address of his residence. The 1903 and 1905 directories had his address as 710 Park. Since many of Lorain's streets were renamed in the early 1900's, I then had to scrounge up a map with the old names and match up the streets on a newer map.

Park Avenue had become Lexington, so I assumed that the numerical addresses would be the same. Wrong! But after driving up and down the street a few times, I found the house. It's amazing how well it held up and how little it changed through the years. I guess Jacob Meyer built a sturdy house for himself.

1 comment:

Ken said...

I wonder if those two little shrubs next to the house in the older picture are the leaning monstrosities that are there now? Also the addition of driveways and garages did not really improve the way homes look.