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.