orest City House and Big Four Hotel & Restaurant.
The Forest City House was purchased by Robert T. Shaffer in February, 1905. Aside from regular lunches and meals he provided ice cream to the public. He was known as Bob. Boys gathered to eat sandwiches and tell stories.
If there is a cleaner, neater hostelry in the great state of Ohio than the Forest City house, the Review has yet to see it. It is a revelation to most people to see this hotel kitchen and all the belongings and appurtenances of the house and note their spic-span appearence. Every thing is scrubbed and burnished and in ship shape order. Mrs. Wire does indeed "know how to keep a hotel," and its proper and respectable reputation is only another example of "When a woman will, she will."
A former proprietor of the Big Four Hotel & Restaruant, J. Hamilton, died in June, 1906. At the time he was living in Crestline. And a report was circulated that money was taken from the drawer at the Big Four Restaurant, but that report was assumed to be false. R.T Shaffer was made aware of the report.
The package local of the Pennsylvania was backing its long way car off the Lindsay siding on December 21, 1908 when it crashed through an outbuilding and a platform, bringing it up tight against the kitchen of the Big Four restaurant making for a very happy Christmas eve. The was no bucking point so the car was off both brucks bumping over the ties where no rails were laid. In pulling the car back onto the rails damage was don to the car.
Smashing down a new and strong bucking post erected purposely to prevent just such an accident, the Pennsylvania "package local"e; backed a box car almost into the kitchen of the Big Four restaurant on March 6, 1909. It wrecked the car badly and made kindling out of the outbuilding in the rear.
The Big Four hotel installed a Malleable range which doubled its meal producing capacity in September, 1909. The range was purchased from Allyn & Hempy hardware and was a regulation double hotel range.
Under the experienced and careful management of Robert Shaffer the Big Four restaurant was improved in October, 1909. Shaffer had traveled to Toledo and purchased some elegant new fixtures; wall cases, candy, cigar cases, and other items. All fixtures were in place by October 19th.
The Forest House was well liked by the railroad. On February 9, 1911 _ Wandrop, the new "e;Pennsy"e; superintendent along with 31 other road officials stopped their special train and had dinner with the landlord, R.T. Shaffer.
By 1913 Shaffer was looking to sell the Big Four restaurant. In December M.J. Nash, of Cygnet, Ohio took charge of the Big Four hotel as manager. By May, 1914 Nash was out as manager of the hotel and working for Tom Barlow in the shoeing shop. Mrs. Lizzie Hune took over the management of the Big Four hotel, relieving M.J. Nash.
In late November, 1916 the Pennsylvania Flyer derailed and burst into the Big Four hotel. It tore up 300 feet of track and buried itself in 4 feet of ground. Usually traveling 70 to 85 miles an hour it came to a halt lying on its side, the top of the cab knocking on the hotel door. The pilot came withing 15 feet of the tower and across the south track. The tender came to a stop north of the engine and a mail car north of the tender. The train consisted of three sleepers, two day coaches, a combination, and a mail car. No one was injured. Three days later you could not tell that the wreck had occurred.
R.T. Shaffer spent his childhood in Forest, later at Belmont, Michigan. He died on March 2, 1953. He was buried in Hueston cemetery. In his obituary Burt Jaquith said, "The editor of this paper boarded at the Forest city Hotel for a long time and he and the other boarders enjoyed the good food he served them, as well as his genial hospitality. He was "tops" with the boarders and the traveling public as well while in the hotel business in Forest."