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Thursday, February 22, 1979


PIX #1 - Seven wagons made up Union Delivery Service

PIX #2 - A wooden veranda upstairs was a popular feature

PIX #3 - "Poley Stucco Flats" with Murphy in foreground

PIX #4 - Clement Murphy with his wagon

Recently, on television a commentator was reporting the changes that have taken place in this county, like...try-on-and-fit-your-shoe purchases... serve-yourself eating places...push a button to make a bank deposit or draw out and carry, no deliveries. The commentator went on to say that today the only satisfactory delivery service is self delivery.

Back approximately 70 years ago, Fostoria had a service which provided delivery of merchandise from most of this city's merchants. It was a valuable service from the stand point of the merchants as well as the public. Each merchant did not need to maintain separate service, and the cost was less for them.

Comsumers then were in the era when automobiles were not yet a common conveyance. Horse and buggies were still in use, and the public did need a delivery service for merchandise which otherwise they would have to carry home. Imagine lugging home a 25-pound sack of flour, plus other food items which might fill a couple of bags...but without bags. Back then, if you went to the grocery you had a couple of market baskets.


Of course, it is true that there were many neighborhood groceries then in all parts of Fostoria, which alleviated the carrying problem some. And, the kids had wagons which could be drafted into service.

Well, anyway you look at it, the Union Delivery service which existed in Fostoria then, around 1910, maybe a little earlier, was valuable and much appreciated. By referring to the accompanying illustration No. 1 you will see that there were seven wagons that made up the fleet...with seven trusty horses that needed no occasional "overhauls"...just food, water, brushing and currying.

When the photo was taken the "rigs" were lined up beside the Poley Building on Perry Street...a location well-known to Fostorians through the years. The man in the photo wearing a complete suit (fourth from right) was N.B. Flack, owner of Union Delivery. At that time the Flack family lived at 536 W. Fremont St.

Photo No. 2 shows one of the delivery wagons on the south side of the Poley Building's extreme rear, where the horse stables were located. Clement Murphy, still a well-known Fostorian then just a boy who was a part time helper at Union Delivery, appears in the photo. I am indebted to Murphy for photos and some of the information for this story.

In later years, the delivery service was called Merchants Delivery, after the local merchants took it over as a joint enterprise, with Duane Gear as manager. That was around 1918, according to Henry Gary who worked there at that time. He also recalls that the delivery schedules were two each morning and afternoon. Each wagon had a territory to cover.

Some Fostorians will also remember that the service went under the name of Central Delivery at one time, when "Spot" Rohrs owned it.

Other names of people who worked for the delivery service at some time as recalled by Gary are: Forest Crow, Archie Crow, "Peg" Clary, Wendel Morel, Clarence Waldron, Gene Jordan.


Some time after the delivery service went out of existence, enterprising Joe Poley turned that part of his building into a pro wrestling arena. Accompanying Photo No. 2 also shows exactly that part of the Poley building used for the "grunt and groan" matches. Your editor, as will many readers, remembers the headliners...The Black Panther...Martino Angelo...Masked Marvel and many others now forgotten.

They were hair raising events. There was always the "villain" and the favored "nice guy", with some "fake" thrown in for thrills. Dr. Norris was always on hand, and never failed, at the peak of excitement to rise to his feet at ringside and pointing his finger at "the villain" proceed to scold with chosen words. Usually there was some man in the audience who would offer to take on the "villain" during the heat of excitement.


Joseph Poley was the head of Joseph Poley and Co. Marble and Granite Works. The company also made street curbing, large quantities of which was used for Fostoria's streets.

Even back then, in 1915, Poley had already erected apartments for dwelling to the north of his main building. Photo No. 3 shows one of the apartments... just as it still is today. This particular apartment was named Poley Stucco Flats, since the outside finish was stucco. In the photo Clement Murphy is seen with one of the delivery service horses.

After Poley had gone out of the monument business, many others took over space in his building. The following list and accompanying photos will remind Fostorians of years of the past: Murphy and Hummer Shoe Repair, Dozer Concrete Vault Works, G.L. Kline Co. Chair Rental, J.M. Schlenker Barber Shop, F.A. Watts-Naturopathy, Duffield's Music Center, Sara Jane's Dance School, L and S Hobby and Yarn Shop, Edwards Dry Cleaning, Hoemrick Studio.

Where the Alley Gallery is now, in the rear, Bus Groves once had his printing shop and before that the Davis Bicycle Shop was also there.

Photo No. 4 shows the building when it still had the wooden veranda for the upstairs residential apartments. In recent years the veranda was replaced with cement, as it appears today.

Perhaps readers have forgotten the old freighthouse building for the LE and W Railroad that was located north of the tracks, opposite the passenger station. It can be seen in the extreme left, in the background of photo No. 4. It was not on the Poley property. After the LE and W had stopped operations the freighthouse was used as a place of business for selling fertlizer and other farm products. The Globe Fertilizer sign on the building can be discerned with a magnifying glass.


After both Mr. and Mrs. Poley had passed away, the property was inherited by Joseph Arnold, a nephew, who grew up in Fostoria, but moved to Toledo. Arnold's mother and Mrs. Poley were sisters, as was also Mrs. Karl Rohland. Rohland was an old glass worker who came to this country from Denmakr. I have the trunk in which he brought all of his earthly possessions to America.

Arnold didn't own the property very long, and sold it to Fostorians Arlie Davis, Deb Graber and Royal Harrison on Jan. 5, 1961. Davis sold his share to the other partners in 1964, and Graber sold his shared in 1967, leaving Harrison the sole owner. In November 1969, Harrison sold the property to W.L. Wonders. Shortly after that the Studio of Wonders was established in its new home.

When Arnold sold the building to the three partners it was then that it was named "Dahaber" after the new owners, using some letters from each name. Harrison told me that his daughter devised the name.

Fostorians know, but former residents now living elsewhere will want to know that in addition to Wonders Studio and the dwelling aprtments above and in the rear, the building currently also houses: The Fostoria Auto Club, Fostoria Eletric, Head Shed Barber Shop, Robert M. Green Insurance, Homerick Sharp Studios.


Approximately 25 years ago, when air-raid shelters were much in the news, and on the minds of all Americans, the Dahaber Building was one of the sites for shelters in Fostoria.

As was the case then, each shelter was equipped with the necessities for sustaining life inside until danger was past.

Wonders said when he took over the building the shelter was still stocked with 24 pound boxes of biscuits, some of which are still there, and in edible condition. There are also containers for storing water for emergencies.

That part of the basement designated as an air raid shelter was sturdily built when originally constructed. The basement ceilings are poured concrete reinforced with steel, above which are terazzo floors. That portion of the building also has a poured concrete roof.

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