Friday, August 10, 2012

A Bicentennial Moment: The Village Barbers

Long ago sailors trimmed their own hair.  Parents cut their children's hair and ladies wore their hair long.  Today we remember the first barbers in Fairport when it was part of the Western Reserve's 'frontier'.

                                                               John Walli

John Walli is considered to be one of the first owners of a barber shop in the village.  Located on Marine Street he operated it for over 25 years covering parts of the 18th & 19th century.

                                                              R. A. Lake

R. A. Lake operated his shop at 323 High Street.  Born in Finland in 1893, he sailed to Ontario at the age of 15, learned the trade and became a shopkeeper.  Lake applied his trade in Copper Cliff, Sault St. Marie, and Ashtabula before coming to Fairport in 1925.  His business interests also included organizing the Orange Crush bottling works while in Ashtabula (1923).  R. A. Lake was very civic minded and made many public appearances as a musician and singer.  He served as the Fairport School Band Director and choirmaster of the Suomi Church Choir.  Both groups became reknown and were award winners.

                                                            W. H. Freeman

Freeman's barbershop was located at his home on High Street. Freeman was one of the oldest practitioners of the art in the village.  He learned his trade from his uncle, whose shop was in Painesville.  Although born in Painesville, Freeman spent his early years as a barber in Columbus and Perry.  Fairport became his final stop.  Freeman was also noted for his musicial prowess and was a member of the Fairport Band for years.

                                                            George Paul

Mr. Paul operated his barber shop at the intersection of Third and Eagle.  Paul was a barber since his youth.  His shop opened around 1935 and was long considered one of the most modern of its day.

                                                            Roy Johnson

In 1936, Fairport's oldest barber from a standpoint of service was Roy Johnson.  His shop was located on Third Street.  Roy who resides in Painesville, was born in Painesville,  and attended Harvey High.  He chose to open his business in Fairport and has remained ever since.  While known as the village barber, his ability to play many musical instruments led him to second career.  His jazz band and Johnson's Orchestra were well accomplished and traveled throughout N. E. Ohio.

                                                            C. L. Hall

C. L. Hall operated his shop on High Street next to the Theater.  Hall learned the trade as a youth and was a local fixture in the village for much of the mid 1900's.

                                                          John Mieroff

Johnny Mieroff operated his barber shop on the Tobias Block on Plum Street.  In an article dated 1936, it was reported that his shop has been located in the same spot the longest.

Today's blog mentions only those barbers mentioned in a 1936 book by Saul Olila.  Many other barbers have applied their trade in the village before and since.  Most notable include Redz, Barber in the Harbor.  Those mentioned today are only part of an incomplete listing.  Send articles or additional names of barbers to the village historical society for inclusion in upcoming publications.

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