Albion, Oh, Albion

Neil Johnson

Albion Village Historian

September 18, 2008

No. 1297—The William Hart Farm is Subdivided.

By the 1870s John Wells Hart, acting for his father, William Hart, had sold all the farm frontage on South Main, except for the farmstead, at 228 South Main.  The only frontage they had left to sell was along East Avenue, and now they were slowly creeping east from their most desirable lot, the corner of East Avenue and South Main, where William G. Swan had built his pretentious mansion.

On 22 October 1874, they sold a lot to John Harris (1827-1903) for $600.  This lot began on the east line of Temperance St. (which extended to East Avenue before the Burt Olney Canning Factory was built in 1903) and extended 132 feet east and 330 feet south (the standard depth of lots along East Avenue), covering one acre.  There were two restrictions on this lot:  (1) No building could be closer than 22 feet to East Avenue; (2) the lot owner had to maintain a fence at the back of the property as long as William Hart or John W. Hart owned the farm (OCD 80: 283).  This lot was far enough away from the corner that it sold for only $600 an acre (12% the price of the corner lot), but it had much less a setback.

On 9 March 1979 John W. Hart, acting for his father, continued to  move east, selling the 3˝ acre lot east of the Harris lot to Althea A. Bordwell, on the east side of a lot he had sold to John Harris in 1874.  The price was $2100 or $600 an acre (OCD 88:441).  The depth was the standard 330 feet.  The frontage was 462 feet, with the standard 20-foot setback.  The deed also carried the permission for the Village of Albion to carry water across the land in pipes and to enter the premises to repair the pipes as necessary.

William Hart died at home on December 29, 1879.  John W. Hart, the only surviving child, received what was left of the farm.  The Harts continued to live on their land and farm it.  Then, on 19 December 1899, almost exactly 20 years after William’s death, John W. Hart sold the farm to his wife, Sarah. Hart, for $10,000 (OCD 118:564).  I do not know the purpose of this maneuver.  I presume it involved protecting the farm or producing money, or both.  Anyway, Sarah was now the sole owner of what was left of the William Hart farm. 

Somehow, and I have not traced the sequence, the William G. Swan estate had bought the lot immediately east of the Bordwell lot.  This lot had the same conditions and depth as the Bordwell lot, with a 363-foot frontage.  The Swan estate sold it to Henry Crowther on 17 June 1903.  This brought the houses on East Avenue as far east as they would go for the next fifty years.

MOUNT ALBION CEMETERY TOUR—Orleans County Historian C. W. Lattin and I will give our penultimate cemetery tour of 2008 at Mount Albion this Sunday, September 21, at 2:00 PM.  This tour will be on the newer west side.  The last tour, on Sunday, October 19, will be in the oldest part of the cemetery, around the valley on the east side.

Next week:  The Behringer Subdivision and the New High School.