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100 Years Ago


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First Home in Sidney, Ohio

John Blake, a wealthy man originally from Yorkshire, England, wanted to start a new life in Sidney. In March, 1820, he moved his family from Piqua and lived in a structure built by Richard Cannon on what had been Charles Starrett’s property. At the auction, Blake bought Lot No. 49, north of the Shelby County courthouse on Poplar Street, for $125. The average cost of the lots were $50, ranging from $23.69 to $125.

With the help of two carpenters (Thomas English and Elisha Montaney), Blake built his house, the first ‘official’ building in Sidney. It was completed in the summer of 1820. This lot is now home to Furniture Express (formerly Uhlman’s Department Store). When finished, Blake’s home was said to be "the finest house within half a day’s travel." He also kept a store and tavern in another building they constructed on the property. In December of that same year, Mr. Blake secured a license "to vend merchandise" in Sidney, and until April, 1823, when Jesse Bryan was licensed, this was the only store in the settlement. In September, 1821, he had also been licensed to keep a tavern in his house. With the exception of one other in 1822, no other tavern was authorized in Sidney until 1830.

In 1826, John was robbed and murdered in Kentucky, on his way back home after transporting and selling his horses in South Carolina. Because of this loss, his family was forced to sell their property to John Carey who purchased the lot and building in 1831. Carey made several improvements to the structure, hanging out a shingle which informed the ‘weary traveler that the place was a hotel’. The National Hotel rented rooms at $1.25 per week.

The sketch below of the National Hotel was produced by historian Henry Howe in 1846 after visiting Sidney.

nationalhotel.gif (93442 bytes)

'Downtown' segment written in October, 1998 by Sherrie Casad-Lodge 

 

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