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October 11, 1982


Pix #1 - Photo shows the remainder of the property built by Nicholas Burtscher at 115-119 W. Center Street.

Pix #2 - Frank Burtscher, father of Mrs. E.J. Helen Wright

The fourth part of the series of articles about West Center Street starts with another structure built by Nicholas Burtscher on the south side of the street, directly opposite where Carr Furniture was for many years. It is shown by the one photo with this article, with three business rooms on the first floor and resident apartments on the second floor. The occupants will be listed later in this article.

Much of the property developed by Nicholas Burtscher is still owned by his descendents, Mrs. E.J. (Helen) Wright is the only one living locally since the death of her brother Park in 1980. Their father was Frank, a twin whose brother Charles left Fostoria prior to the death of their father, Nicholas and then settled in Washington D.C. Frank was well-known in Fostoria.

Descendents, besides Mrs. Wright, who are still owners of the property developed by Nicholas are: Charles and Nicholas Burtscher, Baltimore, MD., both sons of Charles, the twin of Frank; and Park Burtscher's wife and daughter, living in Seattle WA.


Only two names of business firms that were located in the Burtscher Block many years alo are still functioning today: Mann-Hare Funeral Home and Gillig Electric.

Back then, the former was known as Mann Bros. Undertakers. That was long ago, around 1915, there was no such business as a "funeral home". Funerals were conducted either in the home or church. The "undertaker" prepared the body and made other burial arrangements only.

According to John Mann, son of Asa, who started the business, Jay, the brother of Asa, did not join the business at first. A more lengthy story about the Mann Bros. business will be presented at a later date.

When Gillig Electric was located at No. 115 in the Burtscher Block in about 1929, it was headed by Carl Gillig, founder of the business who has been retired from it for many years. Today, the business is on West Tiffin Street and Robert Gillig, Carl's son is president. Carl is retired and lives in Florida.

The following list is of many businesses and residents who were in the Burtscher Block at various periods of time.


No. 115 - Mann Bros. Undertakers; Florence Lonsway, art goods; Dr. R.A. Palmer; I.A. Coon, chiropractor; Pollyanna Beauty Shoppe; Gillig Electric Store; Western Union Telegraph; Western Auto Parts; Fostoria Vacuum, TV & Stereo.

No. 115 1/2 - F.J. Burtscher, residence; Jennie R. Burtscher, residence; Ambrose H. Fisher, residence; Glenn R. Shepler, residence; George S. Call, residence.

No. 117 - Pfau's Pure Food Bakery; Chicago Merchandising Co.; A & P Tea Co.; Alice's Beauty Salon; Art & Yarn Shop; DeMarco's Carpet Town.

No. 117 1/2 - Charles Pfau, residence; Charles R. Davis, residence; Nellie R. O'Connor, residence; Dorothy E. Taylor, residence; Mrs. Lillie Nicholson, residence.

No. 119 - Harland Sharp Restaurant; Mar-Jo Restaurant; Lord & Kuhn, Plumbing & Heating; Seebon Truck & Storage; Ohio Savings & Loan; H & R Electric Co.; John Droll, barber; Myers Sewing Center.

No. 119 1/2 - Pollanna Beauty Shoppe (Bessie L. Fisher); Nellie B. McCubbin, residence; Laura Koskey, residence; Genevieve Stoddard, residence.


Some readers will remember the Mar-Jo Restaurant since they worked there: Nola Gardner, Marian Russell, Dorothy Whitman, Richard Russell, Shirley Karr, Esther Ferguson, Beverly Guritsen, Evelyn (Harshman) Myers, Francis Gottfried

The restaurant, owned by Richard Keyes, was a popular eating place which started in 1951 and will be remembered by those who frequented it. Keyes expanded the restaurant in 1953 or 1954 by taking over No. 117. A large archway opened from the regular restaurant into the adjacent room, which was named the Richwood Room, used for private parties.

Regretably, I have been unable to locate any photos of West Center Street where the parking lot is now. If any readers have such photos plase contact me.

At one time, there was a row of two-story buildings thre, housing a variety of businesses with residences on the second floors.

One of those businesses should be specially mentioned, J.P. Bowers Drug Store since it was probably Fostoria's first discount drug store. It was located at No. 129 in a separate one-story building next to the north-south alley.

Others occupying space in that area through the years were:

No. 121 - Center Street Meat Market; Clarence H. Swick, barber.

No. 121 1/2 - Nollie Emerine, residence; Mrs. Mary E. Davis, residence.

No. 123 - M.F. Schuck, feeds grain and hay.

No. 125 - Brice F. Kissell, furnaces and sheet metal; Charles Rowles, horseshoeing (rear)

No. 125 1/2 - Mrs. Hazel M. Brentlinger, residence; Charles F. Luzader, residence; Elihu P. Allen, residence.

No. 129 - J.P. Bower Drug Store

The Schuck Feed Store was operated by a father and son team the younger also being a city firefighter for many years. when the fire whistle blew he would dash down the alley to the fire station on North Street and catch the fire truck on the run. Back then, a stam whistle at the Waterworks building on West Fremont Street would tell the ward (location) of the fire by blowing one, two, three, or four blasts. The civilians would race after the firefighters to the site of the fire, a practice now outlawed.

Author's Note: Readers have been treated to four articles about West Center Street and there is still more to be told about that street. However, in the past four consecutive weeks there has been an accumulation of Feedback, and I think four consecutive weeks on one subject is enough for now. I promise to continue the rest of that street history again soon.

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