Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Bicentennial Moment: Mini Sketches of Early Fairport Business Personalities

                                                   Mrs. Elma Taittonen

Elma was one of the small number of women businesswomen in Fairport's early history.  She left her native Finland and came to America at the age of 10.  Her early fondness for cooking and baking served her well.  In time she became proprietor of Taittonen's Restaurant in Fairport.

                                                  Herman Dilgren

Born in Finland in 1891, he arrived in Fairport just a year later.  This Fairporter's career was varied and community service oriented.  Herman started his working career with Coles Nursery at the age of 16.  While engaged in that trade, he also operated a bicycle repair shop on High Street, repairing motorcycles and bikes.  Later years saw him join the employ of the Diamond Alkali as a steam fitter.  Some years down the road saw Herman become associated with the Harbor Land Company.  His final efforts in the community saw him serve on the local water board and as President of the Board of Public Affairs.

                                                Melvin S. Colgrove

Melvin S. Colgrove was born in Ashtabula, educated in Painesville, and a graduate of the University of Buffalo.  An interest in pharmacy while working for Davet Drug Store in Painesville  in 1905 led him to his future vocation.  Brief pharmacy related stops in NYC, Toronto, Wooster, and Cleveland followed. Colgrove opened his own store in Fairport and it became his final home.  Besides being the area's leading druggist for 18 consecutive years, Melvin found time to serve his adopted community well.

He was a member of the village council during the era of the first street paving. Alongwith other council members ( Rasmussen, Markko, Locotosh, Bailey, Parrish, and Wargo), Melvin oversaw all the streets being paved in just over a year.  His interest in civic affairs led him to sponsor most of the men's and women's basketball teams.  These teams successes are well documented in Lake County and N.E. Ohio basketball history.

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