John Key Wilson Home

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John Key Wilson residence as it appeared in 1874.

John Key Wilson residence as it appeared in 1874.

This photograph with the large upper and lower porches and back additions
This photograph with the large upper and lower porches and back additions
shows the new Eagles Building, ca 1919. This photograph appeared in the
1834-1934 Niles Daily Times Centennial Edition.

Fraternal Order of Eagles - NILES #1476 was established as a not for profit organization in 1898 in the United States of America. In 1998, the Fraternal Order of Eagles, Aerie #1476 located on South Main Street celebrated their 100th anniversary in Niles, Ohio. The planning committee placed an article in the Niles Times requesting readers to share photos, stories from the past and any memorabilia relating to the Eagles # 1476.


From the “Pictorial History of Niles”, published by the Niles Historical Society, Barbara Gilmore recognized the house of John Key Wilson. Mr. Wilson resided in the home at 316 South Main Street in 1874. He was born in Scotland and later moved to Niles, Ohio. He married Sarah Porter and had one daughter, Alice Wilson who was born in 1878. Mr. Wilson died in 1888.

By comparing the photo and an early picture taken of the Eagles building she realized it was the same building. The roof structure was the same and the twin gables and the copula were all the same.

 

A title search was started to verify if it was the same building. After spending several days at the Trumbull Court House Archives Department and the Warren Library seeking information it was confirmed it was the same building. The Sanborn Fire Insurance Map 1867-1970 and the Niles Census taken in 1870-1880 were also very helpful.

In September 1919, the house was sold to the Eagles, #1476 and an addition was added on to the back of the house consisting of large ballroom upstairs and large social quarters downstairs.


Fraternal Order of Eagles, Aerie #1476 located

Fraternal Order of Eagles, Aerie #1476 located
on South Main Street as it appears today(2017).

The all over purpose of the Eagles is “People helping People” and they have bound together throughout the years to help pave the way for a better life for all citizens. Seven Presidents of the United States have been associated with the Eagles organizations. Supporting family values and strong law enforcement, the local Eagles have collected thousands of dollars, through the years donating to Spina Bifida, Homes for Kids, Mosquito Creek Fishing Tournament and other needed projects.

Barbara Gilmore donated a detailed history of the Eagles to the Niles Historical Society. It remains on view at the Ward-Thomas Museum.


The Iron Bridge as it appeared in the 1913 Flood with the photograph taken from approximately where the John Key Wilson residence was located on the south side of the Mahoning River.
P01.1016

The Viaduct as it appeared in 1933 with the arches spanning the PRR tracks and the Mahoning River. It was at this time that the remaining buildings on the south side were blocked from access on their ground level.
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The Iron Bridge as it appeared in the 1913 Flood with the photograph taken from approximately where the John Key Wilson residence was located on the south side of the Mahoning River.

 

 

 

 

The Viaduct as it appeared in 1933 with the arches spanning the Pennsylvania Railroad tracks and the Mahoning River. It was at this time that the remaining buildings on the south side were blocked from access on their ground level.


The Viaduct Story.

The Mahoning River was spanned by many different types of bridges. First a wooden covered bridge next an iron bridge which was supported by a stone pier in the middle of the river. It was replaced by the iron bridge when high water washed one side away. The “Iron Bridge” built by Morse Bridge Company of Youngstown, in 1882 was replaced by the viaduct in 1933.


There had been two major floods of the Mahoning River(1901 and 1913) where the waters flowed over the Iron Bridge. After experiencing the 1913 flood, the South Side Improvement Club was formed to help promote construction of a new since the south side was frequently isolated from the rest of the city by the rising of the Mahoning River.


The Nile Bridge project was first suggested some time prior to 1924. A consulting engineer was hired to estimate the cost of the bridge and assist the county engineer is preparing plans which were presented in 1926. Three prominent real estate men were appointed to make an estimate of the damage to the adjoining properties that in any way might be involved in the work of construction.


The general plans were approved and adopted in 1927 and a permit was secured from the War Department for the construction of the bridge over the Mahoning River which was still classified as a navigable stream. Notices were served upon the property owners in April 1927 and they were notified to file their claims. The total cost of the bridge construction and settlement of property claims was $627,000.
Damage claims began to be submitted and when all were filed there was a total of $$630,000 demanded by the property owners.


The Iron Bridge was a flat steel bridge which spanned the Mahoning River. Main Street sloped down to the bridge beginning at State Street and past Water Street. On the South Side, First Street was level with the bridge. The buildings along both sides of Main Street would either be destroyed or access the new Viaduct with a higher entrance on the second floor. The Eagles Building is a good example of the height change that would occur in the viaduct construction.


On Sept. 16, 1932 the first load of material arrived for the construction of the Viaduct. On Sept. 19, work started on the temporary bridge and it was opened Oct. 20th, at which time, this old iron bridge was torn down.

     
 
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