By JEANNIE WILEY WOLF
The American Mask Factory, Five Points railroad depot in Mount Blanchard, Arcadia’s Reeves Park and the McComb Dairy — they’re some of Hancock County’s long-forgotten places.
Teresa Lambert is researching these sites and others for a book she’s writing called “Lost Hancock County” for History Press, Arcadia Publishing. And she’s asking for help from people who are willing to share personal knowledge or memories of these sites.
“I’m trying to bring a little life into these old places,” she said.
The Findlay woman previously put together a book titled “The ABCs of Gravestone Symbols” after photographing interesting sayings and symbols on gravestones at cemeteries throughout the United States and Europe. She’s also a member of the Ohio Chapter and the national organization of the Association for Gravestone Studies.
“I had a contract to do an ebook on Hancock County cemeteries, so I went out and photographed over 60 cemeteries and did research,” she said. The deal never materialized, however, and Lambert was left with “tens of thousands of pictures and all that information.” A friend who had published a book through History Press put her in touch with an editor there. Together, they changed the scope of the project to the “lost” places in Hancock County.
“So if I have something in Findlay, for example an opera house, then I found one in McComb and then one in Rawson and Arlington. But it’s difficult to find a lot of information on them,” she said. “And what I don’t want to do is regurgitate the history books.”
That’s why she needs the public’s help.
“What really got me started on finding out about all these lost things was, I started volunteering at the Hancock Historical Museum,” she said. “I do tours for the third-graders and fifth-graders, but I also do presentations for assisted living places.”
Lambert focuses on a different topic each month and has been surprised by the things she’s learned.
“It was like, ‘I didn’t know we used to have this place here.’ And then the people at the nursing homes would offer memories,” she said.
The museum has also been helpful.
“The archives are at my disposal, photographs, articles, all that. So that’s a blessing,” she said. “I have so much information, but it’s from the sources that all the other histories were taken from, so I’ve got all that basic information. I need more personal stories.”
Lambert has divided her topics into five basic categories: agriculture, factories, neighborhoods, transportation and entertainment.
“There’s a lot of lost things that may have a sentence about, but I have to find things that there’s more information about,” she said. “I did one of the presentations about theaters at several different assisted living facilities and there were several women who said, ‘Oh yeah, I worked there. I was in the box office’. And that’s really a great source, but if that’s all I have, it doesn’t give me a whole lot.”
“I know there are people out there. I just have to find them,” she said.
The old factories are particularly intriguing to Lambert.
“I could do a book just on the old factories, because who knew we had an underwear factory in Findlay? Toothpicks? Caskets?” she said.
Lambert has also uncovered other interesting tidbits. For example, she said, Reeves Park in Arcadia came into being because it was a stop on the interurban railway.
“And I didn’t know that the Ferris wheel that was at Reeves was brought to Riverside at one point,” she said. “And the dance halls — there were dance halls in Findlay and in Mount Blanchard.”
Another park on her list is Fahl’s Grove in Mount Blanchard.
“Fahl’s Grove was probably just a family that had a farm and they had people that would come picnic there. I just don’t know if I’m going to find much more on it,” she said.
Lambert also learned along the way that automobiles were once manufactured in Findlay by the Grant Motor Co. and Adams Trucks.
Other places of interest include:
• Mills: Waterloo Mill near Arlington; Eagle/Kirk Mill, Findlay; Steinman Lumber, Arlington/Jenera; M.L. Fassett Lumber Yard/Planing Mill, Findlay; and F.S. Pendleton Lumber, McComb
• Dairies: Plain View Dairy, Arlington/Jenera; San-A-Pure Dairy and East View Jersey Farm, Findlay; Pure Milk & Dairy/Homestead, Mount Blanchard
• Hatcheries: Davis Poultry, Arlington; Neuhaus Hatchery, Findlay; Modern Hatchery, Mount Blanchard
• Stockyards: Beef Hoist Factory, Findlay; any others in Hancock County
• Glass factories: Dalzell, Gilmore & Leighton Glass Co., Bell Pottery, Findlay; Cadillac Glass Co., McComb
• Brick/tile factories: Cement Tile Factory, Arlington; Hancock Brick and Tile, Findlay; Tile Mill, Rawson
• Unusual factories: American Mask Factory, DWG Cigar Factory, Boss Gloves and Glessner Medicines
• Furniture making/selling: Diller’s/Bennett’s Furniture, McComb; Dietsch’s Church Furniture, Findlay
• Theaters: Casto/Globe and Amanda Drive-In, Arlington; Whisler Hall, Benton Ridge; Pastime Theater and/or bandstand, Jenera; Edgewood Dance Hall, Mount Blanchard
• Also schools in any of the county communities, street cars and the interurban, railroad depots and opera houses
In addition to personal stories, Lambert is looking for memorabilia, newspaper articles and photographs connected with these places. And while the project seems to be a bit overwhelming in its current state, Lambert believes it’s an important one.
“I just think it needs to be passed on before it’s lost,” she said.
Anyone with information can contact her via email at email@example.com.