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August 23, 1979


PIX #1 - Vera's mother's bed over 150 years old.

PIX #2 - Vera Eger's home, 504 McDougal St.

PIX #3 - Vera's "hideaway" back porch.

PIX #4 - Antique kitchen table, chairs and cupboard.

PIX #5 - Stairway to upstairs.

PIX #6 - Pitcher pump and 150-year-old clock.

Seventy-three years is a long time to live in one house. That's how long Miss Vera Eger has lived in the house at 504 McDougal St., which was names a Heritage House by the Fostoria Antique Study Club.

Miss Eger's parents, Charles and Lucy Eger, and brother Dean and sister Carrie, moved to Fostoria from Pleasant Bend, Ohio in 1906 and took up resi- dence in the house. (See Potluck July 5, 1979).

The land on which the house was built was sold to Hanna Boyer in 1838 by the United States government when Andrew Jackson was president. Boyer sold to Elizabeth Fisher in 1846; the Fishers sold to Melinda and W. H. Bush in 1861; the Bushes sold to John Walding, a local tailor, and he built the house in 1867, making it 112 years old. Walding lived there until 1902, then sold the property to John Shiebel, and it was from him that the Egers bought it in 1906.

Miss Eger remembers that when they moved to McDougal Street, there was one beg apple orchard that extended from their house, at the corner of Caples, eastward to Town Street, and southward there were just fields, no houses. She remembers that circuses and carnivals "set up" on the fields at what is now east Center and Tiffin streets. Dean, her brother, carried water for the circus elephants to earn tickets for himself and Vera.


The Eger property is the same as it was when built, except for new roofs and paint jobs. It has been well maintained and contains the charm of old houses of that era. It is a frame house, setting on a fieldstone foundation.

The hot-air central heating system was built with the house. Unlike most coal-fired furnaces, it was enclosed with bricks, and looked more like a kiln, according to Miss Eger, who remembers it well. In later years it was disman- tled and a gas-fired furnace installed.

Like most houses then, illumination was by kerosene lamps. Later, when nat- ural gas was plentiful, gas lights were installed. In about 1920, electric wiring was installed in the house for illumination and other electrical re- quirements.

Two fireplaces provided a means for supplementary heating, one in the dining room and another in a downstairs bedroom.

A rarity exists in the Eger house which was common years ago, but rarely seen now: a pitcher pump in an old-fashioned apron sink. The pump was discon- nected from the well many years ago. It is a relic of bygone days which Miss Eger hesitated to part with. The clock on the shelf above the pump be- longed to Vera's father's mother. It still runs, even though it's at least 150 years old.


In fact, the house is full of relics and antiques, each one treasured, having been a part of the family for nearly 100 years or more. Some of the items belonged to Miss Eger's grandparents on both sides of the family. Some of the items were brought to Fostoria on the huckster wagon, shown in "Potluck" July 5.

The downstairs of the house has six rooms and a pantry, or buttery as they were often called 100 years ago. The upstairs has three bedrooms and a trunkroom.

A treasured spot of the house is the unique latticed porch at the back of the house, which provides shelter from most storms, and makes an outdoor spot to snack, read and relax. The bench on the porch was a Methodist Church pew, brought from Pleasantbend, as was the hanging lantern.

Near the back porch is a very large walnut tree which Mr. Eger planted when they moved there. An arbor still supports a grape vine which was there when the Egers moved in.

Among other items of interest in the kitchen are an antique dropleaf kitchen table which accomodates extra insert boards for expansion, antique kitchen chairs, and a cupboard.

The antique bed in the downstairs bedroom was given to Vera's mother when she was 15 years old, making it over 100 years old. The quilt on the bed was made by Vera's mother with the "Flower Garden" pattern.


The fireplace in the downstairs bedroom is trimmed in oak with an oak mantle. Over the mantle is a picture of Vera's grandmaother and grandfather on her mother's side. The rocker in the room is over 100 years old.

At the top of the stairway leading to the upstairs there is a washstand, some- times called a commode, adorned by a water pitcher and washbowl. Above the washstand is an old-fashioned picture of a maiden, called "Meditation."

In other articles I have mentioned that Vera Eger and her deceased sister Carrie were both schoolteachers for many years and brother Dean carved out a successful career with F. W. Woolworth Co.

This article would not be complete without a couple of paragraphs about Mr. Eger, the father.

After coming to Fostoria from Pleasant Bend, Ohio, part of the family support was derived from a large vegetable garden. He worked at the carbon company at one time, and also at Harter, now Mennel Milling.


But very few Fostorians know that Mr. Eger and his sons Lewis and Henry started a potato chip factory here in 1916. It was the first one in this area. The factory was on the Eger property on McDougal Street.

According to Vera it was unlike the modern, mechanized potato chip factories of today. But, it turned out a quality product, and was successful for many years. Vera remembers kids of all ages came to the chip factory to get the free broken rejects at the end of each day's production.

Later, Vera's two older brothers George and Lewis started a potato chip and pretzel factory in Sandusky. They also made ice cream cones, the old- fashioned coneshaped ones.

How long will the Eger house by standing? I'm sure as long as Vera and her friend Helen Saum, a retired university teacher living with her, are around...because that's "home" to them. Structurally, it could last many years and perhaps reach 200. But who knows.

It is a nice old house for Fostoria to have.

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