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Residence of James Crandon and Crandon Quarry.
James Crandon was highly respected as
a citizen and businessman. Persons who knew him said that, "James
Crandon was one of the finest, best mannered, and most honest
pioneers who visited the Valley."
Off the banks of Lake Champlain in New York state in 1836, a father,
mother and son, James, made the decision to start West. Judge
Mason, grandfather of Jason Crandon, gathered his
family together and in the company of the Crandon's came overland
and by boat to the wilderness of north eastern Ohio. The elder
Crandon built a log cabin and tilled a small farm in Vienna, Ohio.
At that time Niles had a population of a few more than 300; the
Heaton furnace was the only industry, and the occupation for the
men of the town was the chopping of pine logs for the furnace.
The Tannery opened by the elder Crandon was one of the few industries.
After the coming of the Crandon family to Niles, a tiny frame
house was erected in the middle of what now is Crandon Avenue
just west of the present Crandon stone quarry area.
The Sanford House was located on
the corner of Park Avenue and Main Street where the Allison Hotel
would eventually be built.PO1.493
James's father gave up the tannery business, he engaged in making
potash out of ashes locating his plant where the Heaton Gristmill
stood. Shipping his product to Pittsburgh by canal and selling
it on the cash basis.
He then bought the Allison Hotel corner occupied
by a tavern, which is now only a memory of the past. The Allison
Hotel would later be renamed Hotel Heaton and finally The Antler
Hotel. The building would be razed in 1976 during urban renewal.
He lived here for years and then decided to sell and move his
holdings to Girard, Ohio. The "Old Black Tavern", a
stopping place between Ashtabula and Pittsburgh and the temporary
home for transient traders, became his property in Girard, Ohio.
James continued his schooling, beginning at the
Leslie Avenue brick school in Niles, but after a short time he
was forced to withdraw.
East side of south Main Street with the Crandon
Block marked by the red arrow. PO1.919
Newspaper clipping from the Western
Reserve Chronicle, published in
Warren, Ohio on February 3, 1864.
The year was 1850 and it found James Crandon
starting out on his own. He came to Niles and secured his position
in the store of H. H. Mason and was given $75 a year
and board. In 1856 he went to Duffs Commercial College in Pittsburgh
and was a graduate from their bookkeeping course in six weeks.
It marked his exceptional ability and moved a Pittsburgh firm
to offer him a position of $750 a year. Crandon refused the
offer, and went back to the store to become a partner with his
former employer. Mr. Mason sold him a third interest in the
$3000 stock. James borrowed $1000.00 at 10% interest in order
to take advantage of this first real opportunity. On March 26,
1861, James Crandon married Miss Orinda S. Foster of
Youngstown. In 1862 he built the first brick block in Niles,
the one that was occupied by the H. H. Hoffman company on South
Main Street. This building burned down in 1962, 100 years after
it had been built by James Crandon.
During that same year he started in business for himself. He
opened a merchandise supply store in the new block with E.
A. Hartzell and H. L. Gephardt as partners. This
new enterprise was successful until the Civil War necessitated
its sale. Having been drafted into the war service, Crandon's
health gave way and he was honorably discharged and he returned
home. On his return from the war he accepted a position in the
Bentley Bank. This was the first and the only bank in Niles
at the time.
Crandon was a charter member of Mahoning Lodge #394 of the Masons.
On March 23, 1918 a reception in his honor was given by the
Masons as the oldest surviving charter member of the Lodge.
At that time he was 85 years old. His death in 19 l 8 brought
to a close a life which has left marked influence on the development
of the city of Niles.
"The James Crandon Story" was printed as it was written
in the Centennial Edition of the Niles Times on Sept. 9, 1934.
The Thomas & Hoffman Store
occupying the Crandon Block in 1906.
Ohio National Guard camp on Crandon Hill
in Niles about 1870-1880. PO1.1237
View of Crandon Quarry.
Left: H.H. Mason was the President of
City National Bank in 1895. Elected first mayor in 1866 after
Niles was incorporated as a village. He succeeded his father,
Ambrose Mason, as postmaster. One of the builders of the Mason
Block, the first large brick building in Niles. It was built prior
Center and right: The Crandon Block burned down
in March of 1962 when a fire broke out in the H.H. Hoffman Department
Store. Almost 100 years to the day that is was built.