Side A: William Graves Sharp lived at this location before and after his tenure as Ambassador to France during World War I. He was born to George Sharp and Mahala Graves Sharp in Mount Gilead, Ohio, on March 14, 1859. As children, Sharp and his twin brother George moved to Elyria with their mother and grandparents, William and Ephra Graves. An Elyria High School graduate, Sharp earned a law degree from the University of Michigan in 1881. He was a journalist, lawyer, industrialist, and Lorain County Prosecutor. Serving three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, Sharp introduced the first legislation providing for airmail service. Shortly before the outbreak of World War I, President Woodrow Wilson named Sharp as ambassador to France. He served from December 4, 1914, to April 14, 1919. (Continued on other side)
Side B: (Continued from other side) Ambassador Sharp oversaw aid to refugees, helped citizens of the combatant countries, monitored conditions in prison camps, and represented American interests. In 1916, he directed the American investigation into the torpedoing of the French steamer Sussex by a U-boat. The investigation led to Germany’s “Sussex Pledge” to give warning to passenger and merchant ships before attacking. After Germany’s resumption of unrestricted submarine warfare and the publication of the “Zimmermann Telegram” in 1917, the United States declared war. Ambassador Sharp acknowledged the ovations of the French Parliament at the reading of the declaration. After resigning the ambassadorship, Sharp returned to Elyria. He died November 17, 1922, and was interred in the Graves mausoleum at Ridgelawn Cemetery. His former home was incorporated inside the north end of the Washington Avenue Christian Church in 1951.