Monthly Archives: July 2016

Longtime “Angelo’s Pizza” Building Demolished

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The southeast corner of Church Street and Tenney Avenue in Amherst has been home to numerous businesses over the years.  Most recently, from about 1973-2001, it was home to the famous Angelo’s Pizza restaurant (301 Church St.).  Col. Nahorn recalls enjoying many tasty pizza-related meals in that establishment over the years.  Previously, the building – and the lot itself – was home to several other businesses.

Years before, a grain elevator operated on this spot.  The first grain elevator-grist mill combined operation was built on this site c.1858.  It has been noted that farmers came there to grind, store, and sell their grain from this operation, which was steam-powered.  It is documented in early newspapers that that building burned down in 1864 when a coal-fired train engine came by, spewing out sparks, leading to a fire.  (The newspaper article appeared in the Thursday, June 9, 1864 edition of the “Cleveland Daily Leader” under the headline “Fire in North Amherst.”)  At this time, the train tracks were still at ground level.  The steam grist mill and saw mill, owned by Mr. M. S. Hitchcock, of Elyria, and the Foundry and Plow Factory, of the Kendeigh brothers, were completely destroyed by fire “Tuesday night” (June 7, 1864).  The loss, at that time, was estimated to be $10-12,000, and they were uninsured.

The grain elevator was then rebuilt in a different building style, as an impressive three-story steam gristmill.  In May of 1897 this structure, owned by John Gerlach, caught on fire and was also destroyed.  It had been rented from Gerlach to Ben Wiegand (Wiegant), and Kinsey and Bivins had had interest in the operation.  The area was cleaned up, and a building was moved to this site, likely from next door, to the east.  It is possible but not confirmed that this building was the original Amherst Fire barn, where the Fire Department once operated (originally, however, located on South R.R. St. and Lewis St. – the area now known as Maple St. – and moved from that site c.1880) and dated somewhere in the mid-1800s.

Brucker’s Blacksmith shop then occupied this “new” building.  Later, “heavy and light trucking” was operated out of this spot, according to a 1919 advertisement for Zilch Transfer Line in the “Amherst News-Times.”  (The original front portion of the structure (peaked roof portion) likely dated to the mid-1800s).  This building was remodeled into Dangle Dairy, operated by Wm. Dangle, who later sold it to Wm. Baetz.  Baetz Dairy operated here from about 1922-1952.  A few other businesses operated here, including Amherst Photo Studio, Brown’s Studio & Camera, Evan’s Photo Studio, Tommy’s Rec (block section of the building), Elaine Kay Beauty Shop, The Beauty Nook, Ace Interiors, Turner’s Music, and also Amon’s Music, until Angelo’s Pizza and Restaurant opened in 1973.

The building, empty for several years, was condemned by the City of Amherst.  On July 12-13, 2016, demolition occurred.  A group of interested citizens and local historians gathered to witness the event.  Square nail construction was found in the front portion, during demolition, confirming beliefs in the age of the building.  Further, the window located in the peak of the oldest section of the building, facing Church Street, was able to be salvaged by Col. Nahorn for the Museum, and upon inspection, it was noted the glass is quite wavy, confirming suspicion of an aged window.  We are most pleased to have the window now preserved at the New Indian Ridge Museum, as it was often prominently featured in photographic views of the building over the years.

A special thank you to D. & L. Construction, Charlie Marty, Jim Wilhelm, Mark Haff, and Bill Nahorn for aiding in the salvage of the window.  Thanks also to Jim Wilhelm, Joan Rosenbusch, and Fay Van Nuys Ott for aiding in the historical research leading to the completion of this article.

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Lorain Block Bricks

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The Lorain Brick Co. and Kilns were located across the Black River from Bungart Island.  This company made road paving bricks.  The Brick Company was incorporated Feb. 13, 1904 (but it is shown on the 1896 Lorain County map, below).

Bricks made at this factory, marked “Lorain Block,” are relatively rare finds.  We located a few of these bricks at the Shupe Homestead in a long-forgotten pile of bricks.  This was a very unique and interesting find, and we thank our brick advisor and specialist Debbie Slavik for her information and insight into this brick company and other brick information she has furnished the Museum.

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Black River Restoration Reviewed

As a member of the Black River Area of Concern, Col. Nahorn attended this organization’s quarterly meeting in July 2016 in order to aid in moving the business of the group forward and also discuss and view some of the latest stream bank restoration projects in the lower Black River.  These restoration projects include re-vegetating stream banks with native plants and trees; re-creating rocky ledges known as “fish shelves” for fish breeding and shelter; and floodplain restoration.  After the potluck meal and subsequent business meeting, a boat tour was taken of the lower Black River from the Landing upriver to just beyond Bungart Island.  Restoration sites were pointed out, and a few may be noted below:

Stream bank restoration with native plantings and rock stabilization walls.

Stream bank restoration with native plantings and rock stabilization walls (after finding a seep).

Great blue heron rookery area, adjacent to floodplain restoration sites. Nearly 300 nests have been logged here, along this bend in the Canesadooharie.

Great blue heron rookery area, adjacent to floodplain restoration sites. Nearly 300 nests have been logged here, along this bend in the Canesadooharie.

Stream bank restoration site.

Stream bank restoration site.

Finally, we welcome the LoCo Yak group and thank them for their deeper participation in the furtherance of this important action group.  Much has been accomplished over the years, and we appreciate the LoCo Yaks for their dedication and choice to step forward at this crucial moment.