Main Street had been paved in 1897.
The intersection of Main Street and Park Avenue
was home to three inns or hotels from 1840-1900s.
The northeast corner was originally the location
of the Sandford House which was built in 1836. In 1906 the Allison
building was now located on the site of the Sandford House or
The building with the portico and columns on
the left of Main Street near the middle of the photograph belongs
to the Sandford House.
On the southeast corner was the old Ward Residence
built in the early 1840s. After the Wards moved to their more elaborate
home on Brown Street in 1862, known today as The Ward-Thomas Museum
today. This house was used as a hotel for many years until it was
torn down in 1918 for the Dollar Bank Building.
southwest corner was built as a hotel in 1842 and purchased by the
Harris Family in 1865 who occupied it until 1904. From then until
1920, it was used as a store and warehouse.
Pictured in the photograph:
Marth J. Robbins, Sarah A. Pew, Hannah M. Taylor, A.F. Harris,
C.G. Harris, Mrs. James
Harris, F.W.Harris and H.J. Harris.
photograph on the left shows the newsboys in front of the newstand
where the Harris House was located.
Photo CA 1915.
In 1920, the Harris heirs
sold it to the Niles Trust Company. In 1930 the Niles Bank Building
was completed on this site.
Of the 54 lots platted by James
Heaton in 1834, lot 43 and 44 at the north east corner of
Main Street and James Street(Park Avenue) were deeded to A. Kingsley.
In 1836, L.W. Sandford
built the Sandford House which is highlighted in red below in
a section of the Panoramic View of Niles, Ohio, 1882.
The Sandford House appears to have
a covered porch facing James Street and two additional add-ons
forming a 'U' shape with an open area in between the additions.
Advertisement for Sandford House Livery.
1836 when the Sandford House or Inn first opened until the Allison
Hotel was built in 1906, the mode of local transportation was generally
by horse-drawn carriage or on horseback.
The first trains
arrived in Niles in the mid-1850s and provided city-to-city travel.
Streetcars became available in the late 1880s and provided point-to-point
transportation. However, horses still provided the main transportation
to locations that were unavailable to trains and streetcars.
The Sandford House provided livery
service whereby travelers could rent a carriage or horse for travel,
parties, and funerals.
mailed September 24, 1895 with the letterhead of the Sandford House.
"Sept. 24, 1895
Mr. Andrew Steffen.
A few lines to ask you a favor. I
have sent several letters to and (sic) old friend of mine S. E Watson.
The puck and judge advertiser and knowing he collects off you every
week I have use this method of finding him so would like you to
hold the letter sent in your care for him untill (sic) he calls
to collect and handed to him as I have important business with him
and would like to hear from him at once.
But haveing (sic) lost his address
so happening to think of you thought I could trust your kindness
to hand him the letter to oblige.
Yours most respectfully, J. B. Myers
134 Huron St., Cleveland, Ohio.
N.B. was a former citizen of Indianapolis
and a ready smoker of old Tishmingo cigars and if Watson left the
city please let me know at once by postal card.
view of the Allison Hotel, CA 1908.
to several 'old-timers', the Sandford House was not actually torn
down; instead the new hotel was built around it and the old Sandford
Inn became part of the new Allison Hotel.
Comparing the Panoramic View of Niles
map above to the postcard on the left, it appears that the previous
entrance on James Street, now Park Avenue, was changed to face North
Main Street with areas for shops on the ground level.
Allison Hotel lobby floor appears to be small marble tiles, set
into a pattern, chosen for its durability and ease of maintenance.
The furniture appears to be in the 'Craftsman' style using oak hardwood
and leather which is also durable.
As a side note, The McKinley High
School which was under construction in 1914 also had this type of
tile floor, except a with different pattern.
McKinley High School became Edison
Junior High School in 1958 and was demolished in 2004.
Construction of the Niles Bank Company began
on November 25, 1929 and was completed in early 1930.
The view looking diagonally
across Main Street from the construction site reveals that the
name of the Allison Hotel has been changed to Hotel Heaton.
Location of the Antler Hotel prior to 1976.
Antler Hotel as it appeared in 1974 prior to demolition during
urban renewal which occured in 1976.
Mervyn's Jewelry and the McKinley Restaurant
were earlier businesses located in the first floor shops on North
Main Street side of the Antler.
The Parkway Restaurant, Soriano's and Rice Electric
were stores located on Park Avenue near the Antler.
Photographs showing the demolition of the Allison
Building in 1976 during urban renewal.
The buildings in downtown Niles had virtually
remained unchanged after the McKinley Memorial(1917),the Dollar
Bank Building(1918) and the Niles Bank Building(1930).
Different businesses and ownership may have changed
over the course of time, but the same buildings remained at their
location in downtown Niles.
1962, a fire destroyed Hoffman's Deparment Store and two adjacent
businesses, Ragazzo's and Pritchard's clothing stores.
Many residents consider the 1962 fire
and urban renewal as the cause of the demise of Niles' downtown
Also, the introduction of several
strip malls, especially the Eastwood Mall, in this time period certainly
added to the loss of businesses in the downtown area.
Lack of downtown parking with the
traffic patterns also influenced people in their shopping preferences.
The northeast corner of Main Street and Park
Avenue that the Sandford House, the Allison Hotel, the Hotel Heaton,
and finally the Antler Hotel had occupied for 140 years is now
the site for the Main Place Building.
The Main Place Building is occupied by several
small businesses; a dance studio and a Subway sandwich shop, among
The McKinley Memorial and the William McKinley
Research Center are two downtown historical attractions for visitors
The Ward-Thomas Museum on Brown Street offers
many artifacts of the time period from the early 1800s up to the