An Evening Walk Through Galion (Part One)Galion, Ohio.
Population 11,500. Primarily in Crawford County, but now also sneaking into both Richland and Morrow Counties.
Galion was settled by German Lutherans starting in the 1820s. The city was a center for railroads, road-making machinery and the telecommunications industry. The latter brought many inventors and entrepreneurs to town; Alexander Graham Bell tested the telephone hear in the late 1870s, hiring local schoolchildren to run wires across Public Square from his room at the Central Hotel (still standing, picture in this thread), and then the modern switchboard -- and the dial tone -- were invented and perfected here. It was also the home of Bishop William Montgomery Brown, the first Episcopal/Anglican Bishop deposed since the Middle Ages -- his home and study survive intact.
Between 1920 and 1970, it was a dynamic place, headquarters of thriving industries employing over 5,000; by 1990, only 500 or so employees remained from these companies. In 1997, Galion became one of Ohio’s first three “Main Street” communities, and has a historic preservation ordinance which protects approximately 150 buildings.
I took an evening stroll through town….this is Part One; Part Two will come soon.
Galion Public Library. Built in 1901 with funds from Andrew Carnegie.
Southwest corner of Galion’s Public Square. To the right, the Central Hotel, the oldest part of which dates to 1851; to the left is the Hackedorn Building, location of an independent drug store from 1859 to the present day. The Central Hotel was vacant from 1980 to 2003, and literally had crumbling walls and gaping holes in its roof; it was saved at the very last moment and will open next month as a new senior residential complex.
Southeast corner of Public Square.
Harding Way East, first block east of the Square.
The Galion Theater, built in 1949, home of the last surviving original porcelain enameled-front, all-neon marquee in Ohio. Recently renovated to house the local community theater.
The Galion Theater this evening.
US Post Office.
The “Professional Building,” one of Galion’s original hospitals.
The next few shots are of the Big Four Depot, owned by the City of Galion and currently under restoration. The first shot explains its significance.
The Henry D. Lee House, one block from Public Square. This is the only home ever lived in by Henry and Emma Lee. Henry got his start in the business world as a clerk at the Central Hotel, later owned an oil company which was purchased by John D. Rockefeller, and after he moved to Kansas, founded the Lee Jean Company. Henry and Emma were only married a few months, and neither remarried during their lifetimes. Emma stayed in Galion; when she died in the 1920s, it was discovered that she had hoarded massive quantities of clothes, furnishings, etc., so that only small pathways were left in each room (different house than the one pictured). The massive auction was covered by the New York Times.
Galion’s Odd Fellows Building, soon to be restored/renovated into condominiums and ground-floor retail.
A bit of “the future” -- these signs are sitting next to the intersection of the new US30 and State Route 598, just north of Galion, waiting to be installed. The new stretch of US30 between Mansfield and Bucyrus opens next month. It’s safe to say that it will change things around here -- for better or worse remains to be determined.
Sigining off with another shot of the Galion Theater...