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January 3, 1985


PIX #1 - Entry into vestibule from front porch. Halfway up stairs was reading or sitting room.

PIX #2 - Another view of reading or sitting room halfway up stairs.

PIX #3 - Can you guess where this house once was? (All photos courtesy of Anna Thiry, last resident of house).

Don't cheat! Before reading any further in this article, can you guess where the house, pictured here was located, before it was demolished?

I am sure there are a few readers who will recognize it, especially those who know the north end of town.

I know some readers have already guessed the house, buth there are many who have not, so I'll tell you. It once was located just south of the Ellis property at High and Perry Street, on the east side. It was demolished several years ago to allow the Commercial Bank & Savings Co. expansion to their main office.


Many months ago, I received a note from Charles Reed, lifelong resident of Fostoria, and son of Mr. and Mrs. Carl Reed, also long-time residents here. Charles, once an employee in the city's office, has been a resident at Good Shepherd Home for several years. Readers will remember Carl Reed as the instructor in the woodworking ship at Fostoria High School for many years, and later in the insurance business.

Charles, with his unlimited time at Good Shepherd, has often thought about the house with today's article because it was built by his great grandfather Edward J. Cunningham, as a wedding gift for his daughter Cora and her husband John McDonel. Charles Reed's mother, Anna cunningham, was another daughter of E.J. prior to her marriage to Carl Reed.


E.J. Cunningham along with John Noble and Charles Foster were the organizers of the Fostoria Stave & Barrel Company which later became Seneca Lumber. Cunningham was also the first president of the First National Bank, according to Charles Reed.

John McDonel and his brother James (Jim) had Mcdonel Brothers Clothing Store at 109 N. Main St., where Montgomery Ward is now, and John was involved in organizing the fostoria & Fremont (electric) Railway.

Now, how did I happen to put together this article? I believe it was in April 1984 that I received the short note from Charles Reed, saying he had constructed from memory a description of the inside layout of the house, where he had spent some time as a boy, and some in later years. He included a copy of his description of the interior with his note. Having been partly through the house when the Anna Thiry family lived there, not too long before it was demolished. Reed's description matched what I saw.


Reed thought I might want to use his description in an article. The predicament was to desribe a house which no longer existed. I though there must be a photo(s) someplace around. Surely, I thought, Commercial Bank must have had photos taken before it was demolished, but no!

A search of old historical booklets, inquiry at the library and of Ray Dell failed to uncover the picture sought. Finally, a few lines of inquiry was published in a Potluck column. That same evening I had a telephone call from Mrs. Hipshur, a resident there with her family before marriage. She said her mother, Mrs. Anna Thiry, had a photo of the house also a set of photos of most of the interior.

The next day, Mrs. Thiry telephoned and soon I was looking at an excellent set of photos of the exterior and interior when they owned it and lived there.

Charles Reed's memory was real good!


How long John McDonel and his wife occupied the house themselved is unknown at this date and Reed does not know, but presumably until their deaths. It is known that Earl Cunningham, son of E.J., in his later years, lived in part of the house. Earl was a well-known Fostorian, having been an employee of the city's Water Department for many years.

In later years, after the Mcdonels were deceased, the house was altered to aloow it to become a two-family house. During the time, Claire Kelley and her mother Mrs. Tungstil lived there, as did Celia Dicken before her marriage to Lester Cadwallader.

Now, a little more about the house. As said earlier, how could I describe a house which no longer exists? I couldn't have done it without Reed's description and the help of Mrs. Thiry, the last owner and resident.


Reed recalled that the front porch extended across the front of the house and around the south side where there was space for porch furniture.

The photos with today's and next week's article show some of the rooms in the house.

The first floor of the house contained six rooms. Entry at the front was into a vestibule. Reed recalls from boyhood days that there was a large mirror there, with gold-colored hooks on each side for hanging out apparel, and a place for umbrellas and rubbers.

From the vestibule, stairs led to a second level halfway up, where there was a cozy sitting or reading room with a fireplace. From that level, the stairs led on to the second floor where there were three bedrooms and bath.

Continued next week. Top of page



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