One of Perrysburg's interesting downtown commercial buildings is this three unit structure, each unit painted a different pastel color. It is at 119-123 Louisiana Avenue.
Like several other buildings in this old part of downtown, it is almost impossible to untangle who built it and when, in the 1800s. It is not even known if it is actually three units built separately but now with a common facade. One suspicious clue is that the upper windows in the right unit are larger than the others. But most likely it (or they) replaced other earlier frame buildings torn down or lost to fire.
James Manning Hall, merchant and one-time postmaster, owned all or part of the space in 1837. Other owners before the turn of the century were Jesse Norton, Gilbert Beach, George W. and John Hoffman and George and John Munger. The latter brothers operated a meat market at the 123 address for almost 50 years. In more modern times, Piatt's Bakery was a long-time fixture at the 119 address in the left unit.
About the building itself, it is called transitional, between Greek Revival and Commercial Italianate. Its most noticeable feature is the corbelled cornice at the roof line. Behind the flat-topped façade is a low-gable roof.
Since Munger's Meat Market is historically most often associated with the building, we will mention that George Munger was among one of the first German families to settle in Perrysburg in 1847. Taking over as the oldest of seven children when their father died, he got involved with cattle and opened a butcher shop and slaughter house. He became good enough at judging cattle that he was offered, but turned down, a position with Swift & Company in Chicago. Instead, he remained a Perrysburg resident long active in civic affairs. Among other things, he served on the Village council and the water works board.
The Munger Meat Market
One of the oldest and best known downtown Perrysburg business buildings is the Federal Revival-style one presently occupied by Mills Hardware at 124-128 Louisiana. It was built for Joseph Creps in the mid- or late 1830s as his Eagle Hotel, later called the Baird House, and when he sold it, the Franklin House.
Very little is known about Joseph Creps other that he came to Perrysburg in 1833 and from 1834 until 1845 was a licensed tavern keeper. It is said that when he arrived there were only 23 homes and cabins here and he took over an old building on the flats at the foot of Fort Meigs which had been used for cleaning and washing fish. It is supposed to have been only the third building erected in the area. It is believed that Creps died in 1854 at age 74.In 1858 the old hotel was remodeled for a general business building and it became known as the Phoenix Block. In 1871 it was divided down the middle by an interior wall and from that time on it has been occupied by many businesses -- more than 60 years alone by Kazmaier's Grocery.
Other occupants before the turn of the century included William L. Crook, agricultural implements; A. R. Champney and Charles Wright, drug store; Peck and Hamilton Hardware; O. P. Hopkins, furniture and undertaking; W. K. Willis & Bros., furniture store; J. F. Raab, grocery; L. B. Holly & Company, grocery; Jacob Davis Hardware; and assorted doctors, dentists, lawyers, real estate agents and millinery shops in the upstairs area.
Kazmaier's occupied the south side of the building in 1903, with Neiderhouse Meat Market on the north side. Mills Hardware took over the entire grocery section in 1963 after Allen Kazmaier, Sr. built its present building on East Second Street at the corner of Elm Street.
The Phoenix building offers a good example of one of the problems faced with our once swampy area. Because of the general drainage problems years ago, cellars were not practical so it was wise to construct the floor of the first level above the ground level. In the present building a ramp replaced steps that were once used from the sidewalk.
The Phoenix Block
124-128 Louisiana Ave.
The Perrysburg Banking Company building was constructed in 1906 at 131 Louisiana.
The original portion of this familiar downtown building, now the Huntington Bank, consisted of the long narrow portion seen above the wood and stone ground floor facade.
Obviously there was no drive-through service (or "free checking") when it was built. Built of historic cast river sand blocks and designed by local architect George B. Rheinfrank Sr., the building has since undergone two fairly major changes in exterior appearance.
The first, in 1959, was an overlaying of brick on the lower half of the facade and southwest corner, and changing of the entrance which had originally featured a plate glass window topped by ornamental prism glass popular at the time. At the same time, structures north of the building were acquired and razed to provide parking. The structural change was generally unpopular with some citizens, and was replaced in 1979 with the present white wooden fascia. A one-story addition on the north side and the drive-through portico (also on the north side) were made at the time.
The original interior was described as featuring a commodious banking room with entrances from both streets, a small back room with table and chairs for the private use of customers, and, in the rear of this, a Board of Directors' room. Entrance to the six-room upstairs was through a vestibule in the middle of the building, entering from Second Street.
The bank was incorporated on May 22, 1906, with capital stock of $50,000 divided into 500 shares. Edgar L. Kingsbury was president, E. E. Dow (a Toledo wholesale grocer), vice president, and Thomas M. Franey, cashier. Among the first directors from here were J. J. Amon, George Craig, V. M. Bradfield, Henry Uthoff, E. L. Kingsbury and Thomas Franey.
In 1962 the Perrysburg Banking Company merged with the Bank of Wood County, and in 1974 that institution became part of Huntington National Bank.
Edward L. Kingsbury was one of Perrysburg's and Wood County's most prominent citizens. Born in Hartford, Connecticut. In 1845, he came to Ohio and operated a farm in Defiance County west of here before moving to Perrysburg in 1877. He bought a grocery store that then occupied half of the brick building at Front Street and Louisiana Avenue, and for the next half century was one of this area's most active businessmen.
He was very active in civic and social work, serving among many other things as president and owner of the E. L. K. Builders' Supply Company, councilman for several terms, Mayor, member of the Board of Education, member of the board of managers of Way Library, Township Trustee and Treasurer, County Commissioner, and Wood County Sheriff for two terms. He also was a member of the local Masonic Lodge, the Knights of Pythias, and the Methodist Church.
Mr. Kingsbury had served in an Ohio volunteer infantry unit during the Civil War and was familiarly called "Colonel". He died in 1929 at age 84.