‘The Man Along the Line’ stories recalled


By Bernard M. Mansfield, MD - Galion Historical Society



This photograph shows the Dr. Neville-Dr. Ridgway home on Harding Way West. The ground previously had been used as Galion’s first cemetery.

This photograph shows the Dr. Neville-Dr. Ridgway home on Harding Way West. The ground previously had been used as Galion’s first cemetery.


Galion Historical Society and Museum

We continue to find interest in the old newspaper accounts of “The Man Along the Line.” Written in the 1920s, these old stories and references by the Inquirer columnist were thought to have been written by C.F. Eise, the editor. Here are some stories from those columns.

“Do you remember Galion’s first graveyard? The graveyard or cemetery as now termed was located on Lincoln Way West between Union Street and the First Reformed Church. It occupied this entire territory with the exception of the first two lots west of Union Street.

“Northward, the cemetery extended to the present alley line. The burial place was for the first dead of the Methodist church, which was located across the street and still stands at the rear of the lot and is now occupied as a residence.

“In fact, the original cemetery occupied the street and across into the lot, this having been ascertained during the eighties when skeletons were unearthed on the street as it was excavated for the first maca dam paving.

“For many years the old graveyard had been abandoned and an eye sore when finally the late N.B. Ridgeway acquired the property in a spirit of enterprise and community pride, arranged to remove all the bodies and erected the present Neville home which Doctor Ridgway occupied as a residence and office until his death.

“Other residences were erected and this plot, once was the shame of the city has been made to blossom as the rose.”

(This area includes the present Wendy’s restaurant, and the lots westward, including the offices of Dr. Fellner. The empty space westward to the First United Church of Christ, formerly the First Reformed Church, was occupied by the Ridgway residence. It later contained the law offices of Rolland E. Laughbaum and other offices before it was destroyed by fire.)

The former columnist then reports on Galion’s first artificial reservoir:

“(It was constructed) in 1872 when the excavation was made for Metallic Vault Company and mun- icipal electric light buildings.

“Prior to that time all the water used by the then Bee Line shops and locomotives was pumped directly from Whetstone creek. Eventually the supply was not sufficient, especially during the dry seasons of the year, and the reservoir was constructed.

“Later the body of water was enlarged and some years ago an additional basin was constructed on the west side of the bridge. Frequently it had been necessary to haul water from Cardington to this city, but since the new basin was constructed the water supply is generally ample.

“Following the construction of the first reservoir, the Erie railroad some years later excavated the large basin east of East Steet, so that now there is an almost continuous chain of artificial lakes from a point near Fairview Avenue east for a distance of a mile or more.

Another column began with the question, “Remember Sunflower? Sunflower was a horse, exceedingly tall and a patient, steady workhorse utilized in hauling gravel from the pit just opposite the present high school building on North Union Street.

“All along where houses now stand on the east side of the street and north about a block from Church Street there was a deposit of gravel which was hauled on the streets every summer. Sunflower was one of a team and his associate was a miniature pony, a Mutt and Jeff comparison.

“Stomach” Goss, whose first name is not recalled because he was always known by his nickname, was the driver of the team which looked queer because of the great difference in size.”

Another column recalled the pioneer wagonmaking shops. “One was on the site of the present Rettig Block, on South Market Street and was owned and conducted by the late Adam Howert (known after a spelling change as Adam Howard). He built and repaired wagons for years with the late Michael Helfrich as assistant.

“The building was moved around the corner on South Walnut Street when the Howard Block was erected and has served as a cottage ever since.

“As the business expanded, Mr. Howert opened a blacksmith shop in the alley one-half block from Market Street one-half block south of Lincoln Way West and which building is part of the A. Howard factories.

“Eventually the carriage works of A. Howard and Sons were established and later conducted for many years by A. Howard. The other wagon shop was conducted by the late Jacob Hessenauer on North Market Street where Todhunter home now stands. The building was moved in the rear of the lot and eventually was torn down.”

(Editor’s note: This article first appeared in the Saturday, June 25, 1994, edition of the Galion Inquirer. For information about the Galion Historical Society and Museum, visit www.galionhistory.com.)

This photograph shows the Dr. Neville-Dr. Ridgway home on Harding Way West. The ground previously had been used as Galion’s first cemetery.
https://www.galioninquirer.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/38/2021/03/web1_GAL032721_HISTORY.jpgThis photograph shows the Dr. Neville-Dr. Ridgway home on Harding Way West. The ground previously had been used as Galion’s first cemetery. Galion Historical Society and Museum

By Bernard M. Mansfield, MD

Galion Historical Society

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