The Tiffin Train Depot and Greenlawn Cemetery were the venues for Tiffin Tomorrow's second annual Soup and Trolley event Sunday.
Guests lined up at the North Monroe Street depot for samples of hobo stew and cheddar broccoli, vegetable, pasta fagioli and potato soups.
Trolley riders were accompanied by Theresa Sullivan, director of Tiffin Tomorrow. She explained the organization's purpose - to promote the community to residents of Seneca County and beyond.
PHOTO BY MIKE MASELLA
Gary Dundore of Tiffin portrays Lewis Selle, a businessman who donated money to build a baby nursery at the Junior Home.
Traveling through downtown, Sullivan pointed out the former Chamber of Commerce office that is to be converted to a coffee shop and an empty storefront that is to house a business selling Seneca County products, expected to open late next month.
The trolley followed South Washington Street to Melmore Street, Spayth Street and Coe Road.
"This is the original trolley route that went from downtown to Greenlawn Cemetery," Sullivan said. "We feel this cemetery is full of history, people who helped to shape Tiffin into what it is right now."
Josiah Hedges, the founder of Tiffin, established the first community cemetery at the east end of Madison Street, now called Little Hedges Park. In 1859, graves were moved to the current site, purchased from the Thomas Coe Family.
Sullivan pointed out the four granite columns at the cemetery entrance. Records show that George Loomis had the columns constructed in 1926 to honor his father, John Loomis. The family owned the Loomis Manufacturing Co., which built oil drilling equipment, saw mills, plows and steam engines.
Passing the chapel, Sullivan said Greenlawn Cemetery Association had recently refurbished the building, which also houses the cemetery office.
As the trolley made its way past gravestones, Sullivan told riders to look for people from the past. Costumed re-enactors were waiting to share their stories.
The first visitor was Lewis Selle, who ran a store that sold men's clothing and tailoring. He served on the boards of other Tiffin businesses and belonged to many civic organizations. The trolley came to a stop, and Selle (played by Gary Dundore) climbed aboard. He spoke about visiting the Junior Home Orphanage with a proposal to beautify the campus with shrubs and trees. The superintendent of the home invited him to see the nursery. Thinking he would get a look at the greenhouse, Selle followed the superintendent to another building.
"He took me to his nursery, which had eight babies in it ... Right then and there, I knew something important needed to be done. A few days later, I returned with a $25,000 check, and I told the trustees to build a nursery to house 30 babies. The building still stands the Developmental Center, he said.
The tour continued, stopping at graves where stories about other historical figures were shared. They included:
Warren P. Noble, a former Seneca County prosecutor, member of Ohio General Assembly, congressman and founder of Commercial Bank in 1876. He organized the Tiffin Board of Trade, the forerunner of the Chamber of Commerce. His grandson, Edward Noble Porter, was architect for the current Tiffin City Building.
Florence Cronise, sister of Nettie Cronise Lutes, the first woman to pass the Ohio bar. The sisters practiced law in Tiffin until 1880, when Nettie became a partner in the practice of her husband, Nelson Lutes. Florence was the state's first female notary public, but Gov. Charles Foster refused to renew her commission, declaring that because she could not vote, she was not eligible to serve in such a position.
Julia Brown, daughter of Peter Grammes, second wife of Jesse Brown, a carpenter. Julia's father ran a bakery, and her brothers opened a candy store on Court Street. Jesse was instrumental in formation of the historical society, and he persuaded the Troxel family to donate their home for use as a museum. Julia's daughter, Rosina Brown, lived in the family home on Jefferson Street. In 1988, it became property of the historical society.
Henry Hubach, native of Germany, owner of Hubach Brewery. He purchased Wagner Brewing Co., which once stood across the river from Kiwanis Manor. When prohibition ruined the brewing business, the brewery was converted to a dairy. Later, Beatrice Foods purchased the plant. In the 1960s, a fire destroyed it.
Ida Knecht, wife of Jacob, mother of Wilson and Clarence, victims of 1913 flood in Tiffin. Ida left her East Davis Street home for higher ground while the men stayed to protect the family's belongings. The raging Sandusky River washed the house from its foundation. At the Huss Street bridge, the men jumped from the house and were lost.
Russell H. Beaver, blacksmith, member of 55th Ohio Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War. After the war, he worked with his brother as a carpenter. He died in 1899 when he fell from a high scaffold at a building site.
Laura Sneath, second wife of Samuel Sneath. Samuel was in the mercantile business. One of the principal organizers of the National Exchange Bank and Commercial Bank, he invested in many of Tiffin's largest industries, including Great Western Pottery, National Machinery, Tiffin Glass Factory and Western Manufacturing. Samuel also built Tiffin Fostoria and Eastern Electric Railway, operated the Tiffin railway system and brought the B&O Railroad to Tiffin.
Sullivan pointed out other places of note in the cemetery: the graves of Josiah Hedges (founder of Tiffin) and his three wives; and the resting place of Alex Cuthbert, an architect and foreman of construction for the 1884 Seneca County Court House. Cuthbert, a native of Scotland, also placed stone on Old Trinity Episcopal Church and other buildings.
As the trolly turned to leave the cemetery, Sullivan expressed thanks to the sponsors of the tours.
"In putting this tour together ... we were trying to think of who could help us sponsor the trolley," Sullivan said. "It's actually sponsored by Hoffman-Godfrey-Mack Funeral Home, Traunero Funeral Home, Engle-Shook Funeral Home, and this year we added Seislove Burial Vaults and Welly's Monuments."
Other businesses that helped with the event include Tiffin Bake Shop, S&S Beverages, Tiffin Paper Co., Clover Club, Fort Ball Pizza and Pasta, GW Fine Food and Spirits, Reino's and the Viaduct.