Thursday, November 18, 2010

Lot #32 in Grand River, Ohio - It's a Nice Place to Perch

While working at the lighthouse or local port authority in Fairport, I am often asked to recommend a fish place for a meal.  While some local establishments in the village get my support, I usually mention the eclectic Pickle Bills before endorsing Brennan's Fish House in Grand River, Ohio.  The town of Richmond ( Grand River ) was established in 1832. Thus, a New Era began on the banks of the Grand River as New York speculator Thomas Richmond bought properties and sought an Erie Canal for his land.  1835 marks the first mention of a newspaper, The Grand River Record and numerous saloons.  Never used glass and iron factories are noted circa 1853.  Lime kilns were operated in 1876 in the town. In 1889, Frank Jerome began a second New Era in Grand River and Fairport Harbor anticipating an extension of the B&O railroad.  Warehouses and grain elevators were built.  Jerome even buys lot #32 and three surrounding properties for $800 from a Henrietta Hendrickson.  Lot #32 is resold and a Grand River Hotel begins a long and often sullied history.  The boom town of 1890 complete with saloons and houses of ill repute fizzled by 1903.  In the aftermath only a Hotel ( lot #32 ), saloon, fish net store, fish company, town hall and jail survived.

Lot #32 is sold to Louis Seelbach in 1903.  The Hotel continued to operate under their stewardship. George and Martha Evans acquire the Hotel, also known as the Net House in 1917 from Louis' widow.  A restaurant is born.  The Evans' and their ten children operated Evans Lunch through 1968.  Harry's Lunch took over lot #32.  Harry Jones, the proprietor, transitioned the building to a Lake Erie Nautical theme.  Harry's became Brennan's Fish House in 1974.  Tim and Betty Brennan owned and operated their establishment for the next 32 years.  Another ' New Era' began in 2006 when Sharon and Steven Hill became the newest owner operators of Brennan's Fish House.  From the starry eyed hopes of Thomas Richmond to the anticipated boom and fizzle of the area, lot #32 has stood for over 160 years and remained the one constant in the local lore of Grand River, Ohio.

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