Friday, May 5, 2017

Colonel Henry Brown’s House – Part 5

The historic house built by Colonel Henry Brown, and associated with the Baumhart family for generations, eventually passed into other hands in the years after the Ford plant was built.

By 1958, the Emmerich family was living on Foster Park Road. (Harvey G. Emmerich’s obituary from late January 1964 also revealed a move to Tampa, Florida two years earlier.)

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to know for sure who lived in the house (if anyone) after the Emmerich family.

The house’s location in Brownhelm Township meant that it was not included in the Lorain city directories until the end of the 1950s. It did not have a numerical street address in the books until the early 1960s, after the Emmerich family had moved out. (Prior to that, “Stop 119” was the only address indicated.)

But using city directories and phone books, it’s possible to come up with some theories.

The 1954 Lorain County Farm & Rural Directory confirms that the house was the second house east of Baumhart on the north side of U. S. Route 6. Here is that directory's listing (below). Note that the listings at the top of the column (including the Holiday Inn Motel) are closer to Vermilion and that the listings run from west to east towards Lorain.

This 1952 aerial (courtesy of Dennis Thompson) shows the Emmerich house (circled) and farm where the Ford plant would later be located. As you can see, there are only the two houses on the north side of Lake Road near Baumhart Road.

The 1964 Lorain City Directory listing below – with the addresses starting at Beaver Park and progressing west towards Vermilion (including Allen's Shell Service) – reveals numerical addresses for what I believe are those two houses.
It appears that the address of our historic house was 8360 West Erie Avenue, assuming that the 8360 and 8366 addresses are for two different houses with two different phone numbers.

But as usual, city directories and phone books create a confusing jumble of information.

Sometimes the residents for the two addresses are swapped in one directory, but not the corresponding phone book; then, the following year, the residents are swapped again, as if they were moving back and forth between two houses. Sometimes the phone book eliminated the 8366 address and had both sets of residents living at the 8360 address, making me wonder if the historic house had been converted to a duplex of sorts.

Anyway, I reviewed the available Lorain phone books and city directories, as well as the Dickman Criss-Cross Directories for Lorain County for the years 1957 to 1973. A gentleman named Harry Griffith (who worked as a welder for Ford) and his wife seemed to live at both addresses the longest, beginning at 8360 West Erie in 1962 and ending at the same address in 1970, with the same phone number all those years. In between those years, he is sometimes listed at 8366, such as in the 1964 entry reproduced above.

Next: The Rest of the Story


Mark said...

Can't wait for the rest - my dad worked at the ford plant, mainly what he called the "bi-Level, which is where that house was located. Its where they loaded cars onto the trains.

Col. Matt Nahorn said...

Love following this story along...only wish I could step into the house today. As a local historian who finds early houses so fascinating, this is one of my favorite posts!

Rick Kurish said...

Great series of blogs Dan, and finding the photos was incredible! Although I have studied the local history over the years, I had not heard of Col. Henry Brown, or his house on the Lake Road. I had always assumed that the Baumhart family were the original settlers of that area. Your blog has now made clear to me why the cemetery just a little west (near the old Holiday Inn Motel) is named Brown's Lake Road Cemetery.

A rather interesting item in an article in your blog indicated that four of Henry Brown's children apparently died between 1822 and 1827 but are not buried in Brown's Cemetery, but rather in the Brownhelm Cemetery on North Ridge Road. Brown's Cemetery was certainly active during the 1820s, Bildad Belden, a Revolutionary War veteran was buried there in 1824. Seems kind of curious. By the way, Bildad Belden was about 75 years old when he came from Connecticut to Ohio, circa 1820, with his son's family, who settled in the Grafton area. His son Bildad B. Belden and most of his family are buried in the old cemetery in Grafton. Why was the old veteran buried in Brown's Cemetery? Certainly, at the age of 75 it would seem unlikely that he left his son's house to live on his own. Almost certainly he was living with some family member in the area of the cemetery. Another mystery.