Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Historic Huron Home For Sale

In 2009, homeowner, Ina Townsend Young, hired Historical Research Partners to research the history of her home so she could present the written history to her husband, Kevin, as a Christmas gift. As with most houses, the history of the house located at 125 Center Street in Huron, Ohio, was quite interesting. The house was constructed around 1851 by master shipbuilder, John F. Squier. From 1854 until 1883, Squier built or modified 30 ships and tugs, but his most outstanding contribution to Great Lakes commerce was the propeller, Ohio, which he built in 1875. The Ohio was known as the first four-masted ship to sail all of the Great Lakes. Squier primarily built ships in Huron, but also worked in Milan, Toledo, Vermilion, and Lorain. Squier’s ship building career ended in 1883 when he constructed one of the last ships to be built in Huron, the Sakie Shepard.

John Squier and his wife, Maria, lived at 125 Center Street with their three children (who were all likely born in the house) until 1861. Over the next six years, the property changed hands many times until it was purchased in 1867 by prominent Huron businessman, Christopher Krock. Krock and his wife, Susan, lived at the Center Street home with their 7 children. Both Christopher and Maria lived there for the remainder of their lives.

The next long-term residents of 125 Center Street were Edward and Blanche Shaffer. The Shaffers purchased the home in 1919 and remained there the rest of their days. Shaffer was a self-employed fisherman. He constructed the interesting stone building that sits just to the northwest of the house. Shaffer used this sturdy structure as his ice house and as a place to store his catch until it could be sold or shipped.

In 1987, Kevin Young purchased the Center Street home and has lived there ever since. Currently, the home is for sale as Kevin and Ina seek to spend their retired years in a warmer climate. So, who will be the next resident to add to the rich history associated with this fine Huron home?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

John Munson Boalt- A Life of Tragedy and Triumph

John Munson Boalt was born in Norwalk, CT, in 1814. His family settled in Norwalk, OH, in 1816, and then moved to Sandusky, OH, in 1824 where his father opened the Steamboat Hotel. In 1826, John’s father died, and the family returned to Norwalk. At the age of 14, John was orphaned; yet, he was an industrious young man, and soon found employment in Sandusky in the grain and shipping industry.

In 1842, John married Sarah Follett. Sadly, Sarah died in 1844 during childbirth, and their infant son, Edward, died six months later. John served on Sandusky’s first two city councils in 1845 and 1846. Around 1850, he moved to Milwaukee, WI, and then to Winona, MN. John returned to Sandusky in 1866 as a wealthy man and ordered construction of a new home located at 631 Wayne Street. The grand, Italianate-style home took two years to complete. John heavily invested in the Sandusky Wheel Co., a large producer of carriage wheels, and was named president in 1867. Upon completion of his new home in 1868, John again married, taking for his bride Francis (Fannie) Griswold. Through this union, three children were born, two of whom died in infancy.

In 1872, a fire destroyed most of the buildings and finished stock of the Sandusky Wheel Co. Presumably, this is why John filed for bankruptcy in 1873. Though John legally reached an agreement to pay his creditors a portion of what he owed them, he eventually repaid them in full, plus interest. From 1876 to 1880, John served as Postmaster for Sandusky. John died on May 4, 1890, at home at the age of 76. Services were held at the family home. Fannie Boalt moved from her home shortly after John’s death and rented the house until 1898 when she sold it.