Front View of Thomas House

Ward-Thomas Museum

Ohio Association of Historical Societies and Museums

Five images of buildings and grounds

James Crandon

Ward — Thomas Museum
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503 Brown Street Niles, Ohio 44446

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Residence of James Crandon and Crandon Quarry.

Residence of James Crandon and Crandon Quarry.

James Crandon

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 an inn located on the corner of Park Avenue and Main Street where the Allison Hotel would eventually be built.

The Sanford House was located on the corner of Park Avenue and Main Street where the Allison Hotel would eventually be built.PO1.493

After 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.

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

Ohio National Guard camp on Crandon Hill
in Niles about 1870-1880. PO1.1237

View of Crandon Quarry.

View of Crandon Quarry.


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 to 1882.

PO1.1105

The Crandon Block burned down in March of 1962 when a fire broke out in the H.H. Hoffman Department Store.

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 to 1882.

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.

The Crandon Block burned down in March of 1962 when a fire broke out in the H.H. Hoffman Department Store.

SO3.63


 

 

 


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