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Ada Sports
November 19, 2019

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Once upon a time in Ada

Civil War era buildings in town

By Leland Crouse
Small Town Sampler
Betty Miller

The year 1987 may go down in the Ada history books as the year of progress or it may go down as a year of destruction depending on how the future generations define our actions. Some decisions we had no control over. For example, the old Tobias house which stood next to Gardner Drugs on Main awaits destruction back of the post office because of a fire. Professor Axline’s house across from the ONU campus had to be destroyed perhaps so that progress which the automobile gives us could be accommodated.

Each year we are faced with more empty spaces in our history.

Is it important that we know the Axline house was listed in the 1896 Rice Ferguson Directory and it might have been 100 years old?  A village councilman at the turn of the century, Axline was the dean of the law college and had a law office in the Citizen’s Bank building with H.A. Clark and Simeon Fess who later became a United States Senator. 

Is it important that we record these facts for future generations? Perhaps not and yet another historical celebration may spark an interest in the next generation.

During our centennial reach into our past in 1953 we discovered four houses in our small town which had been built by early settlers. Miraculously, in 1987 they are still here.

One is the Abraham Ream home next to the Korner Kut known by the Adaites as the Sneary house. Built in 1861 as a farm home it was constructed while his family was living in a log cabin just east of it.

Another Civil War era house at 112 E. Highland was Dr. Floyd Elliott’s office before he and Dr. Bob moved to Main Street. The G.H. Zugschwert family lived there before Dr. Floyd’s father, Dr. S.H. Elliott came to Ada in 1866.

Another early home was built in 1868 by Isaac Garwood and still stands beside the Church of Christ. Mrs. Wilson who had boarders lived there. Dr. H.S. Lehr added the wings in 1876 and his granddaughter, Miss Mary Kennedy, lives there now.

The fourth house was “one of the earliest buildings erected in Ada and stood at the corner of Main and Lincoln where the post office is now. It was moved back when the Kemp home was built.

In 1953 Herald which featured the old houses on the front page during the centennial tells us “the main part of that century-old structure was moved to the corner of Union and Ballard.” The Clyde Lamb family lived there. Other homes in Ada may deserve the label, “Civil War Era”- the Young house on Lincoln has an 1869 date beside the door.

The reporter who did the research for the Herald article did not sign his/her name but I thank him for recording the facts. The old homes in our town deserve to be noticed - even though it may be only in photographs for future generations.