EDITOR’S NOTE–This is another article on Findlay-area history adapted from a series written from 1959 to 1974 by the late R.L. Heminger, publisher and editor of The Courier.
By R.L. HEMINGER
The razing of the building at 126 E. Sandusky St. (in May, 1967, prompted) memories of earlier days in that immediate vicinity.
First constructed as a residence, the property subsequently was enlarged on the rear and transformed into a small hotel known for many years as the Bacher Hotel and later as the Murphy Hotel. (In 1967 it closed, the hotel discontinuing in 1966.)
The home was built in the 1850s and 1860s. It was located in that part of Findlay which was first developed after the Vances had laid out the town in the 1820s. All the initial building took place east of Main Street towards East Street, between the Blanchard River and Sandusky Street, then known as Back Street.
One of the early families living in the home was that of Jacob Cromley, who conducted a tinware and roofing business at 331 S. Main St. This was in the late 1870s and the 1880s. Mr. Cromley had two sons, Bruce and Byron, who worked for their fathers. The sons raised canaries as a pastime.
When the hotel was started, a two-story addition was constructed on the rear to provide accommodations for the guests. The hotel was conducted by Charles Bacher for many years and it bore his name. Later, Herbert J. Murphy, who had been a clerk at the Altmeyer Hotel (later called the Fort Findlay), acquired the hotel and it became the Murphy Hotel. It was continued as a hotel for some years after his death.
The RCH Realty Co., a Kirk interest, acquired the property in 1966. It had been owned for some time by the late Paul Williamson, of Bowling Green, and C. Lee, of Findlay, received it from his estate, selling it then to the realty firm.
The property adjoins the four-story building which housed the Kirk Wholesale Grocery for a long time. This structure was erected in 1905 and the grocery business was moved from its former location on East Main Cross Street just across the New York Central Railroad (now Conrail).
Standing on the grocery building site on East Sandusky Street for many years was the residence of Benjamin F. Hyatt, a Findlay merchant of early days. His father, A.H. Hyatt, had come to Findlay as an early settler of Pennsylvania stock. Father and son were engaged in merchandising for a long time here. They constructed the Main Street building in the 300 block, standing at the north corner of the first alley south of East Main Cross Street. It was long known as the Hyatt Block.
The Hyatts presented to Hancock County the familiar “leaky boot” fountain which stood for many years on the courthouse lawn. The Hyatt home on East Sandusky Street was moved to 845 Washington Ave. when the Kirk building went up in 1905.
Across the street on East Sandusky at the southwest corner of Beech Avenue stood the home of Dr. Lorenzo Firmin. This later became the Young Men’s Christian Association.
At the northeast corner of Beech and East Sandusky stood for a number of years the residence of Charles Ebling, a Findlay tailoring merchant for a long time. Subsequently, it was occupied by Dr. William Dreitzler, a prominent Findlay physician and surgeon, who passed away early in his medical career.
Across the street at the southeast corner of the two thoroughfares stood the home of Henry Byal, a well-known Findlay citizen for many years. He had extensive farm interests.
Mr. Byal was a leader in the First Presbyterian Church in Findlay for many years and his Sandusky Street home subsequently became the manse of the church. Mr. Byal was honored by the church when it constructed a new edifice at the southwest corner of South Main Street and West Lincoln Street early in the 20th century, the chapel of the church receiving his name.
Mr. Byal’s next door neighbors on the east were the Jacob Blackfords. Mr. Blackford was a prominent Findlay attorney practicing in partnership with his brother Aaron Blackford for a long time.
The sites of the Byal and Blackford homes now form part of a Marathon Oil Co. parking area.