Remarkable Ohio

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250 East Market Street
Akron

, OH

On May 1, 1950, the Akron Community Service Center and Urban League building opened to the public. The Center was a gathering place for African Americans of the community, where they addressed workplace, education, and other issues dividing the city. Directors included the late George W. Thompson, Raymond Brown and Vernon L. Odom. The Center provided space for meetings, classes and receptions and had a swimming pool and gymnasium. The Center also hosted talent shows, which included the musicians who became Ruby and the Romantics. The group scored a #1 hit in 1963 with “Our Day Will Come.”

202 S. Main Street
Poland

, OH

William McKinley’s boyhood home once stood here. The McKinley family moved to Poland in 1852 when William was nine to send the children to its superior schools. William was a diligent student at the Poland Academy, and passed his time playing sports and swimming in nearby Yellow Creek. Upon graduation, he left for college, but illness forced him to return home. He then worked as a postal clerk and taught school. At the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, McKinley enlisted as a private in the Poland Guard, and returned in 1865 a brevet major. He then studied under Poland lawyer Charles Glidden and attended Albany Law School. In 1867 McKinley moved to Canton to pursue a career in law and politics. He served in Congress, as Governor of Ohio, and finally as the 25th President of the United States.

351 E. Spring Street
Oxford

, OH

Built by “Old Miami” University President Robert L. Stanton, D.D. (1810-1885) as his private home and president’s office, Stanton’s 1868 Italianate house faced University Square, and welcomed students and guests. The house retains its original symmetrical façade, enclosed portal, grand staircase, double parlors, parlor doors, marbleized slate mantels, and triangular bay windows. Stanton served as president from 1866-1871. Stanton’s son, Robert Brewster Stanton, MU ’71, famed civil engineer, lived here as an undergraduate. His Miami mentor, mathematics professor Robert W. McFarland (1825-1910), purchased the house in 1873. McFarland rented it while distinguishing himself at Ohio State University during Miami’s twelve-year closure, and then resided here while first president of “New Miami” (1885-1888) and until his death. McFarland’s daughter Frances and her husband Llewellyn Bonham sold the home to Miami in 1940.

281 Hanford Street
Columbus

, OH

Merion Village was named for the Nathaniel Merion family, who in 1809 settled what is now the South Side of Columbus on 1800 acres of the Refugee Lands. Entrepreneur William Merion operated “Merion’s Landing” in the 1830s to capitalize on the canal trade from the Columbus Feeder Canal. This area saw a large influx of German immigrants as the South Side industrialized in the mid-nineteenth century. Later, many Irish, Italian, and eastern European immigrants who worked in the local steel mills and foundries made their homes here.

329 W. 10th Street
Lorain

, OH

Author Toni Morrison was born, Chloe Ardelia Wofford, in Lorain on February 18, 1931. Her passion for language was nurtured by her family and while working at the Lorain Public Library during high school. Then housed in the Carnegie Center, the library hired her to reshelve and catalog books. Morrison said that she “was slow because I kept reading the books instead of putting them back fast.” Graduating Lorain High School (1949), she attended Howard University (BA 1953), Cornell (MA 1955), and she was a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. During college she took the name “Toni,” shortening her saint name Anthony. Morrison worked as a literary editor and professor while also writing award-winning novels. She maintained a lifelong connection with Lorain. Morrison died August 5, 2019.

6 E Federal Street
Youngstown

, OH

Steel-frame skyscrapers and retail buildings replaced wood-frame residences as the downtown evolved into a commercial district. A small public library branch occupied the north side of the square from 1923 to 1954. The Keith-Albee Theater (later the Palace) in the northeast corner of the square from 1926 to 1964, featured vaudeville performances and movies. Streetcar tracks around the square were removed for scrap during World War II. With expansion of suburban shopping malls, downtown theaters and department stores gradually closed. In 1973-74 Central Square was converted to a pedestrian Federal Plaza by closing off traffic on Federal Street one block east and west of Market Street. Central Square reopened in 2004 with a new traffic pattern, planting beds, and street furniture. Marker for “Central Square (1798-1899)” across the street.

6 Federal Plaza E
Youngstown

, OH

John Young included a public square in his town plan of 1798. A one-room log schoolhouse opened in 1803. In the decades that followed, the Market and Federal Street intersection became the social center of Youngstown with wood-frame houses, churches, and an opera house surrounding the square. Horse-drawn streetcars, running from Brier Hill through the square, became the first form of public transportation in 1875. From 1869 to 1969 the nationally known Tod Hotel dominated the southeast corner of the square. Guests included seven U.S. presidents. Federal Street was paved in 1882, and electric street lights were installed in 1886. The “Diamond,” as the square was sometimes called, became the transportation hub of the city, especially after the Market Street Bridge opened in 1899. Marker for “Central Square (1900-2004)” across the street.

300 N. 3rd Street
Hamilton

, OH

Clark Lane (1823-1907), industrialist and philanthropist, was a son of John Lane (1793-1880) and Rosanah Crum (1795-1877). John came with his family to the Ohio Country when it was still part of the Northwest Territory. As a young man, Clark worked in his family’s blacksmith shop, and eventually helped found Owens, Lane & Dyer Machine Company in 1854. It built agricultural machinery, sawmills, papermaking machines, and other products, initiating Hamilton’s prominence in metals manufacturing. Lane funded the Butler County Children’s Home, an orphanage for over a century, and constructed an octagon house as his residence on Third Street. He built this library in 1866, also as an octagon, and donated it to the people of Hamilton. A 19th century admirer wrote, “The name and generous deeds of Clark Lane will never fade from the memories of a grateful people who have been recipients of his favor.”