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August 25, 1983

The followng are excerpts from a letter received from Palmer Rogers, Tucson, Ariz., a former Fostorian, who suggested I do the article about the Brown house on West Tiffin Street and the family.

Palmer had been gone from Fostoria for many years, but retained many memories about the old house which was across from his.

"Dear Paul: I want to thank you very much for sending me the very outstand- ing articles you had written concerning the old Brown residence and related matters.

"Please keep the McKinley letter, or, if you prefer, donate it to the local library.

"The following may be of interest: Col. Brown was one of the most charming men I ever met, and while I never met his wife, I understand she was a fabu- lous, wonderful person.

"In addition to the people mentioned by you, at the time of the occupancy of the Brown home by Mr. and Mrs. Charles Campbell, their son Tom, whom I did not know well and their niece, Carolyn Snodgrass, a thoroughly delightful young lady, lived there. Carolyn later married George Leonard, and, for all I know, may still be living in Fostoria.

"You opinion about the downstairs layout of the Brown home, before its divi- sion into a duplex, is correct. A strange feature of the original dining room was that it contained two wall telephones, side by side, at the time Fostoria was served by two telephone companies simultaneously--Ohio Bell and the Home Telephone Co. I understand that on several occasions, friends of Anna and Mamie Brown, who had only one phone but desired to call someone served only by the other company, called the Browns and requested that they relay the call by holding the receiver of each phone over the mouthpiece of the other.

"The later years of Anna Brown were, if anything, more tragic than Mamie's Formerly a brilliant, delightful person, in her later years she became af- flicted with a strange, baffling illness which seemed to make it impossible for her to hold her head upright, and gave her a strange, drawling speech that was most difficult to understand. Ultimately, she died in a sort of parlor directly at the right of the front door. After her death, Mamie closed that room and, as long as she lived there, would allow no one to enter it.

"You asked in your letter whether I ever got to Phoenix. The answer is, not if I can help it. When my mother first took me on a visit to Phoenix in about 1925, the last part of our journey was on a train including one day coach, one baggage and mail car, plus about 40 freight cars between the baggage-mail car and the locomotive. The city then contained about 30,000 people. It now contains around 60 times that many; it is now bigger than any city in western U.S. except Los Angeles or San Diego. Too much traffic there for us."


K.D. "Eck" Thrailkill, Perry Street, said that Harry Mergenthaler never did mechanical work on cars, as mentioned in article No. 5 about Sandusky Street. According to "Eck," he only built and repaired bodies.

The reason "Eck" recalls that Mergenthaler always came to The Fostoria Pressed Steel Corp. where "Eck" worked to buy his sheet metal. According to "Eck," Mergenthaler always came just about closing time, which caused him to stay late.

Thrailkill's report probably accounts for the unusual piece of automotive equipment in the foreground of the photo of the Caples Street house.

According to Bill Murphy of Murphy Realty, an antique care buff, he believes that the car in that photo resembles a Reo Speed Wagon Bus of about 1915 vintage.

It's very possible that Mergenthaler copied and built such a vehicle on a Reo chassis. Anyone have any opinions?

Dossie Merrit, 318 Lytle St., telephoned to report that Mrs. J.D. McDonel (Lola) who once lived at 501 Sandusky St. and was later married to Charles Mergenthaler, was the mother of Ruth McDonel also mentioned in that item in the Aug. 18 column. The item was not specific about their relationship.

Ethren Russell, former Fostorian, was in town recently calling on his mother, Mrs. O.P. Cramer, and telephoned to add a comment about the Sandusky Street series.

He reported that after Sendelbach quit the grocery business at 345 Sandusky St., Namon Fruth took over the store and continued it, later selling to Russell. When Russell quit, he made the two apartments mentioned in the original article. Russell then went to work at the Carbon Co.

Mrs. Tom Miller Jr., 517 Sandusky St., informed me of several items that should have been in one of the Sandusky Street articles.

First, the house where the J.H. Williams family lived at 205 was occupied later by Otto and Helene Milligan, also by Walter Saldusky.

Also, No. 211, next to it, was at one time the San Lar Rest Home, operated by Lyle Boos and later was the Soles Rest Home.


Information continues to feedback from readers about "old school" articles.

Not long ago, we (my family and I) were having dinner with Al Bryan, Findlay, once editor of The Fostoria Times, which later followed by reminiscing of old times at his home.

I started to tell Al about the interest of Roscoe Carle, publisher of The Times, in Possum Hill School. But before I could even name it, he said, "I'll bet it was Possum Hill." Bryan knew about Carle's birthplace being near the old school and his long-time interest in the school reunions.

Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Vanderhoff, Williston Avenue, stopped me recently to talk about Potluck articles, especially "old schools."

After the Lovers Lane School article, Mrs. Vanderhoff dug out a photo taken at Lovers Lane when her first husband, Don Heckathorn, attended school there. Since there are some faces in the photo not shown in the one published, I had intended to publish it with today's article. But, since that discussion, she has misplaced it, so perhaps it will be found and can be used later.


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