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The 1940s photograph is depicting the tracks of the Mad River, I.B.&W., C.C.C.&St.L. (Big Four), or New York Central (NYC) railroad through Forest. It was chartered in 1932 by the legislature as the Mad River & Western Ry. North is actually at the bottom of the Mad River R.R. photograph. The tracks ran from Wharton in the northeast (bottom right) to Patterson, Grant, and Kenton at the top of the photograph (southwest). According to Bert Jaquith, editor of The Forest Review, the Mad River Ry. was originally the old Mad River & Western Ry. chartered by the legislature in 1832 as the first railroad in Ohio. The 1960s photograph depicts the business fronts of those businesses located on the south side of Lima street and visible at the bottom right of the 1940s photograph. The Shell station near the bottom center of the 1940s photograph provided automobile service. The station looks to be surrounded with traffic so the repair business of the station must have been good. The original station burned on January 6, 1945. This is the station built to replace the one that burned.


Mad River street sits east of and parallels the original Mad River track. The track no longer exists. Patterson street is just east of Mad River street. Patterson street meeets Lima street near the lower right hand corner of the Mad River R.R. photograph. From that corner extend your sight along Patterson for one block (the thin road just behind the businnesses is an alley) to the Masonic Temple.

The Masonic Temple sat on the southeast corner of Dixon & Patterson streets. It was sold to a church group in 2006. Some time after that date it was re-sold to as a private residence.

From the Temple extend your sight to the east for one block to the Methodist Episcopal church which sits on the southwest corner of Gormley & Dixon streets. One block further east is the Episcopal church. It sits on the southwest corner of Warner & Dixon streets and is still operating.

Originally:Mick & Cline Grocery
Then:New Star theater
Currently:B&B Dairy

The first building east of the Mad River track was Merlin Howard's elevator, State Route 53 (Mad River paralleled the Mad River RR tracks), and the New Star theater. The elevator has operated off & on since the 1930s.

The theater operated years earlier as the Star on the north side of Lima street next to a barber shop. When it was moved from the north side to the south side of Lima street, it moved into the old Mick & Cline grocery (arrow in above right aerial) which had been converted into a theater by Leo T. Jones.).

The original location of the Mick & Cline building in the photograph to the right was the location of the New Star theater. You have to look closely at the photograph as at a quick glance it seems to be an optical illusion. The original building was razed many years ago and replaced with a much smaller single story building. But, close examination of this photograph shows it was taken during the time the building was used as the movie theater; a movie marquis is attached to the front of the building.

Continuing east across Patterson street was the Village Inn restaurant now torn down and currently serving as the parking lot for the Tree Town Inn restaurant which is located in the old Pfeiffer mens clothing store. Next to Pfeiffer's is Shotts Style Shop, then Wayne Bell's barber shop, and the Odd Fellows building. After the Odd Fellows building there is an alley, then a building which houses Boyds drug store on its east side & the Forest Library on its west side, then the Keiper funeral home which operated in the 1930s, then the Moats hardware store, and then Gormley street.

Corner I.G.A. Market (1954)

East from Gormley street is John Rabberman's I.G.A. grocery (originally P.D. Lehman's Corner Market), then the Lois Shop of ladies clothing, then Gier's T.V. & Appliance store, then Basinger's Jewelry & Photography store, then Bob Spencer's International Harvester & Machinery Co., and finally, the Shell station. This is the second Shell station. The original burned in 1946. The date when the station stopped serving customers in Forest is unknown. It currently Forest customers with pizza delivery.

The photograph above shows an aerial view of Forest taken by Don Rabberman on April 4, 1964. The plane in which Rabberman was riding was traveling west so South is at the top of the photograph. The south-side "fronts" of the businesses on Lima Street are visible as are the "rears" of the north-side businesses.

The Methodist Episcopal church can just be seen at the top middle of the photograph. The old Masonic Temple is at the next corner west of the church.

Starting from the left side of the photograph on the north side of Lima street was Bob Spencer's International Harvester dealership. It is currently a doctor's office & parking lot. Then the Gulf station. It is currently Martin's Meat Mart & filling station. Then Gormley street followed by the Mapletoft Hardware store. It is currently the Paul D. Walter's & Todd D. Evans's print shop. The building in the rear of the Print Shop has been torn down as have the two buildings next to it. Next was Crum's restaurant. It is currently the Gridiron Bar & Grill. Currently, next to the bar & grill is __'s Beauty shop, then several empty buildings, then the Forest Community Bank, an alley, __'s Beauty shop, several more empty buildings, then the Post Office, then Victoria's restaurant (now closed), __'s Insurance Agency. The building in the lower right of the photograph has been torn down and the entire area is now a parking lot. The building at the bottom middle of the photograph have been replaced with a storage facility.

Gormley Park pond

In 1881, the heirs of John Gormley, one of the founders of the village of Forest, donated 5 acres of land that the village used to create a park. Two of the earliest features of Gormley Park were historical in nature. In 1906, two canons from the Civil War were placed in the park. In 1908, a log cabin was built, which the Forest Historical Society has continued to preserve. In 1960, a community pool was added and many updates have been made over the years. Currently, the park has basketball courts, tennis courts, horseshoe pits, volleyball courts, baseball diamonds, playground equipment, pavillions, walking paths and much more.

Several of Forest's homes can be seen from the Gormley Park pond in this photograph. The home on the right still exists though its porch has been removed.

McDaniel Fire

Also, a summer diving platform, now removed, can be seen near the center of the photograph. There were also steps, since removed, which allowed swimmers to enter the water during the summer months or onto the ice during the winter months.

No individuals in the photogaph have been identified. The date is probably 1930s or 1940s.

The McDaniel Auto Service fire occurred __, 1946. It seems that several individuals in this photograph were helping to save cabinets from inside the store. No individuals have been identified, but the individual standing in the front of the building may be the owner, Everett McDaniel. After World War II, Norman Wright purchased the business from McDaniel and opened it as Wright's East End Service.

E.D. & Blanche? Fishburn
Fishburn's Store (1950)

The Fishburn clothing store was located in the I.O.O.F. building on the southwest corner of Gormley & Lima streets in Forest. It has also been a billiards palor and tanning salon, and church. The individual standing in the doorway with E.D. may be Blanche A. Fishburn. The building was razed in 2014.


Owners of billiard and pool rooms will take notice that Section 699S of the Revised Statutes of Ohio prohitibing minors under the age of 18 years from entering pool or billiard rooms will be strictly enforced.

Chas. Q. Vaughn, mayor

H.D. Fishburn Clothing

The store was burgled on May 17, 1932 from a window which opened onto a private drive at Keiper's funeral home. A wooden shutter was drilled through and an iron bar securing the window was moved. The diligence of officer Don Roach scared off the burglars who fled leaving a small crowbar. Crum's restaurant across the street was still open at the time, but no one noticed anything. Fishburn later found the brace & bit used to drill the hole.

September 14, 2009

Forest-Area Historical Society
Forest, Ohio


Hallie D. Mark Fishburn, b. 1889 in Ridgeway (Boke's Creek), OH, was the son of Edwin-Douglas Fishburn and Ida Cattrell-Allyn.


Edwin and Ida, both born in IL, had four children - Mark, Hazel Roberts, Vesta (Vetty) Fridley, and Pearl Wenner. In the 1900 census they still lived in Ridgeway where Edwin made his living as a telegraph operator. By 1910 (per the census) the family had moved to Forest where Edwin owned a clothing store and Mark was the clerk. The girls did not work, even though Hazel was a year older. Edwin and Ida passed away in 1920 and 1933.

I believe the original family name was "Fischborn" or "Fishbein" and they came from the Dauphin County, PA area to Iroquois County, IL about 1860. It's a hard trail to follow but it looks like Edwin's mother may have died and his whole family moved back to PA except him by 1870. I believe he wound up living with a cousin (Josiah "Fisborn") in Boke's Creek, OH (now Ridgeway).

By the way, the woman in the picture is not my grandmother Hazel Fishburn. The most likely guess is that it is Blanche. My father s eyesight is poor and he can't see well enough to identify the woman. He did say that Blanche did work in the store and even has memories of being in the store in the 1920-30's.

I was only in Forest once in 1966. I still remember the 4th of July celebration at what must have been Gormley park - so classic. And their house, wow! Coming from the freshly built ranch-style housing tracts of the 1950's in Roseville, just northeast of Sacramento, their Queen Anne style home on those tree-lined streets looked like something out of a novel to me. I could have given up California then and there.


Gray & White Co.

Mapletoft & Ernest Hardware showed up in Forest in 1905. In 1940 the store was robbed. The sheriff, Lloyd Norman, was called, whereupon he was told that, "about 8 a.m. a man entered and ask to see a rifle which was displayed. Then the robber asked to see a revolver and after receiving it displayed a revolver from his pocket and demanded the contents of the cash drawer."

William Mapletoft was killed by a bull in a field at his farm on May 28, 1941. "The bull, according to coroner, J.A. Mooney, had no horns but butted the farm operator eventually trampling him to death. The victim was unable to use a pitchfork he had by his side." The photograph above right is a partial front view of the Gray & White Co. building (indicated by the "star").


The Gray & White Co. was located on the northeast corner of Lima and Gormley streets and was a wooden two-story structure, the second floor having apartments for rent. Just west of the Gray & White Co. was William Pell Mapletoft s hardware. The water feeders seen in the background of the photograph were sold by Mapletoft's hardware. The building no longer exists. In that building was the Blunk Shoe Repair Shop run by George Southward. George was in the shoe repair business as his father H.F. Sourthward had been in Wharton. A frame house stood on the lot adjacent to the north being occupied for may years by the family of Dr. H.D. Campbell.

Looking West

The Gray & White Co. sold poultry, eggs, and cream. Robert Burdett once lived in one of the apartments with his wife. The building has since been torn down and replaced with Martin's Meat Mart as was the fate of the Briggs Building which sat just north of the Gray & White. The Looking West photograph was taken in 1942. It was taken on Lima street and showing the Gray & White Building to the extreme right. In 1945 Elmer Ropp and his son Charles Ropp opened up a plumbing shop, Ropps Plumbing Shop, in the Briggs building, first door north of the Gray & White Co. and not seen in the Looking West photograph.

The original location of the Gray & White is currently the Dwane Martin's Service Station. The station was built in 1957 for the Gulf Oil Company on land purchased from Howard A. Walton. An earlier owner was Mrs. Jessie Rhonenaus formerly of Forest. During construction a mobile crane operator struck a wire cable over Lima street and pulled the anchor plate from the corner of the building. When the cable snapped it was thrown against a car window in front of Moats Hardware. The cable was used to support large banners used by Forest merchants. In 1919 James Leister was the manager of the Gray & White. Around July, 1920 L.C. Berlien was the manager and by 1934 C.R. Wilcox was manager. Across Gormley street (background) in the Looking West photograph was Mapletoft Hardware.


The Gray & White was one of four cream stations in Forest. The others were L.C. Berlien, Chief Dairy, and Clinger & Meeks. Lloyd Harford ran the store. The Gray & White bought poultry up until June, 1950 when a new state law went into effect requiring cream stations to pick up twice-weekly. From that point they were unable to handle the twice-weekly pickups and purchase poultry. Dorothy (Weber) Tracy worked as a clerk for the Gray & White. By April, 1951 the Gray & White was again purchasing poultry, but only on Friday afternoons and Saturdays. In February, 1952 Lloyd was replaced by Doyle Critchfield and Garner's was a successor to Critchfield in sell eggs, cream, and poultry from the Old Gray & White Co. building.

A new barber shop opened near the Gray & White Co. in December, 1939. It was operated by C.S. Wileke and open every night except Tuesday and Thursday. Then in 1940 the M.K. Eller barber shop was advertising that they were "next to Gray & White." This may have been the same shop, but under new management.

The Gray & White Co. was the center of a robbery December 4, 1940 when a customer asking to see some guns pulled one of his own and took $2 from store clerk Virgil Parker. Supposedly the money drawer had only two dollars in change whereupon the robber took the revolver he had asked to see and fled. There were three other robberies in Hardin Co. around that same time.

V.B. Mathers was the manager of the Gray & White Co. when he announced that the 40-year-old firm had been purchased by the Beatrice Food Company of Columbus.

The Lois Shoppe

The Smart Shoppe was located on the south side of Lima street in the Swimley Block. Lois Cramer managed the The Smart Shoppe in Forest for several months.. The Smart Shoppe had moved to the room formerly occupied by the Boston Store, in the Swimley-Dickelman Block on August 1, 1934. After operating the Smart Shoppe sucessfully for several months, Lois Cramer opened up a shop of her own, The Lois Shoppe, to be found in the same location within the Swimley-Dickelman Block.

The photograph The Lois Shoppe is a photograph taken at the Farmers Institute display at the Hardin county fair much later then the actual time of the shop. An attractive plaque bearing the name of The Lois Shoppe in raised letters was created by Rev. C.A. Bowers and displayed in the window of the Lois Shoppe in 1935.

In The Lois Shoppe photograph are several ladies who worked in the shop. From the left are Lois (Johnson) Cramer (owner/manager), Celia Dunham, and Imogene (Johnson) Hagerman. Imogene and Lois were half-sisters, having the same father. Mrs. Arthur Harris was placed in charge of the store when Lois and Imogene were on buying trips.