Friday, July 27, 2012

A Bicentennial Moment: More Portals into Fairport's Past

Our look into the many personalities of Fairport's early history continues today with three more sketches.  Matt Killinen Jr., August Wolff, and F. Oscar Hill were three early business pioneers whose contributions to Fairport's business history are still remembered today.

                                                   Matt Killinen Jr.

Matt Killinen resided on Fifth Street.  An early businessman( late 19th-early 20th c.), he operated the Fairport Bottling Works.  working with sons, Killinen's enterprise sold soda to most of northeastern Ohio at that time.  Killinen and his wife were also members of the local Finnish Temperance Society.  Politically he was an advocate of the Republican Party and helped spearhead many efforts toward establishing Fairport as a progressive community.  The Village of Fairport dedicated a monument to Killinen's legacy.  It sits on the lighthouse hill in the village.

                                                  August Wolff

August Wolff, proprietor of Wolff's Ice & Coal Company, was born in Fairport in 1892.  He was the son of the one time Mayor of Fairport.  Known as 'Gus', he was one of the village's most versatile personalities.  Without the benefit of formal lessons, Gus mastered 22 musical instruments and led the community orchestra for over a decade.  His weekly concerts in the Village Park were well attended.

As mentioned earlier, he took over his father's Coal & Ice Company at the age of 16.  He was also part of the family grocery store, Grand River House and local post office which were located on Water Street.  Gus also served 20 years on the village fire department, 16 as chief.  Gus and his horse were well documented in community FD annals.

                                                F. Oscar Hill

F. Oscar Hill was the proprietor of Hill's Hardware Store.  A native son of Fairport, he was engaged early in his career as a building contractor.  His business employed a large group of carpenters, masons, and such.  Together they built many of the early residences in Fairport and Lake County.  Oscar opened his Hardware Store in 1928.  Located on Sixth Street, the hardware and tin shop was a fixture in the community for decades.  His store and many of the residences he built remain today as tribute to his pioneer abilities.

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