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 Solon Historical Society’s 44th Year -1968-2012


Solon had several hotels in the 1800’s that served as rest stops for travelers, salesmen, and railroad construction workers. One hotel was located where today’s Charter One Bank is located, to the left of our Museum. This Harris Hotelis shown on a Solon map dated 1857.   This wooden structure was demolished in 1976 by Davis Construction as they prepared to build the Solon Centre Shopping Center that originally was anchored by K-Mart and now includes Marcs and Sears.  By the beginning of 1900’s it had became a rooming house run by Mary Harper who was the last resident when in 1909 Ray Russell purchased the property. He built a new home and moved the former hotel to the rear of his property.  He converted it into a garage by cutting some doors in the side. When demolished the former hotel rooms were still evident on the second floor. There was a long central hallway with three rooms on one side and two larger rooms on the other side.  All still had locks on the doors. Also each had a space for a pot bellied type stove for warmth in the winter. The Russell home was moved down Bainbridge Roadwhere its current address is 35750.

Another hotel was owned and operated by G. S. Rathbun. A Solon 1874 map has it located on the north side of Bainbridge Road (then Main Street) opposite the old Erie Railroad Depot and where the Poly-Carb Company is today. The hotel had ten to twelve guest rooms, a dance hall, a bar, and a dining room. Its narrow side faced the road and two long porches ran down the broad sides.  This Rathbun hotel must have had a lot of vagrants housed overnight until run out of town by the constable.

Being across from the station, these vagrants would ride the rails to Solon and become a public nuisance begging for food or work. The constable would place them in the hotel overnight and encourage their departure the next day. The boarding bills were submitted periodically to the Town Trustees by Mr. Rathbun for his reimbursement. The Museum has a copy of one such bill dated March 31, 1876.  The charges were: breakfast 40 cents, supper 40 cents and lodging 40 cents. No lunch was shown as free loading was short term. Today Solon has several hotels which were brought about because of our industrial growth in the mid 1900’s and the need for business accommodations.



Last October the Society visited Solon’s Roselawn Cemetery where early settlers were brought to life by costumed interpreters at their grave sites.  Those visited and questions asked of

"Samuel Bull" at "Meet Solon's Ancestors"

"Samuel Bull" at "Meet Solon's Ancestors"

were Samuel and Fanny Bull and Jason Robbins, first permanent settlers here in 1820; Eliza Garfield, President Garfield’s Mother; Grace Roxbury, Solon School Teacher over 50 years; and William Chamberlain, Civil War Veteran. 


"Jason Robbins" at "Meet Solon's Ancestors"

"Jason Robbins" at "Meet Solon's Ancestors"








"Meet Solon's Ancestors"

"Meet Solon's Ancestors"


This was enacted at dusk with luminaries marking the tour path and graves. All attendees met at the Museum and were bused to the cemetery.  Roselawn parking would have been problematic.  Between tour trips refreshments and Museum visitation were available.

This was a unique way to learn of Solon’s past!  We plan to again present this experience with additional personalities to meet and converse with. See our 2012 program calendar.



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A wonderful donation of a player piano has added another dimension to our collections.  The piano was painstakingly restored by former Trustee Ted Yurek and his wife Anita and donated by Ted’s Children upon his death.  Along with the piano also came some 100 music rolls covering a wide spectrum of  music styles.  When played, the music fills the Museum with a most memorable sound reminiscent of what us older generation so well remember.  Children are fascinated with the mechanical playing of the rolls, watching the keyboard fluctuating, and the Tin Pan Alley sound.  We now have in our keyboard area two pump organs and one square grand piano besides this player piano.  On your next Museum visit you might ask for a demonstration and marvel yourself at the ingenuity to build any of these musical instruments.

The New Solon Historical Marker

The New Solon Historical Marker



Your Historical Society has purchased an historical cast marker to be placed in front of our Museum Building.  Approved by the Ohio Historical Society for its content commemorates the Churches that occupied the site since 1841.  Also the significance of James Garfield, when he was a circuit Preacher, having preached at a former Church on this site in 1859. The Solon Service Department will do the installation for us.

A dedication ceremony will include local personalities speaking and possibly Garfield Descendants attending.  Watch local newspapers for date and time of this event.




Year              2009     2010     2011

Income:        $5291* $1832  $3284

Expenses:       5216    2801    4621

Gain/Loss:          75   (949)   (1337)

Balance:         7672    6703     5366

*includes special donations



Year            2009    2010   2011

 Sustaining:    26         –         –

Patron:           26       39        27

Sponsor:        26       25        30

Benefactor:    15       12        8

Founder:         7          5        7


Total:             100      81       72*

*See membership drive comments



We again are asking our community for their monetary support in a membership drive.  The statistics published in this Hoodlebug warrant serious consideration.  In particular the number of members continues its downward trend.  The questions arising are multifold.  Has the Society lost its direction to discove, preserve, and disseminate knowledge about the Solon area?  We think not as we continue to be asked and answer pertinent questions, both in person at our Museum openings and via e-mail concerning Solon’s past. We truly are the only repository for such things.  Have we ceased with our community outreach thru informative programming which is free for all to attend?

No, in fact we are always looking to improve programs that both entertain and educate. Last years Meet Solon Ancestors done at Roselawn Cemetery is a good example.  We at the Society of course are prejudice but what other organization in the community can say they truly serve the community without some sort of ulterior personal gain or satisfaction? We hope that those of you who have strayed from being a contributing member will again join and participate in our organization.



Our annual meeting in January is when we elect new officers. This year we were pleased to welcome back last years board with the exception of Clyde Knowles.  Clyde will be missed but he promises to continue as a source of Solon’s history, he and his family being a part of Solon for so long.  Replacing Clyde as a Trustee is Jim Leib, who you may know as the video guru at our City Hall Meetings.  Jim’s talents will be most welcomed.




The Society is in process of converting a room in the lower level of the Historical Building into an office.   This will be a secure area where files and artifacts not currently on display will be stored. This also will become where board meetings will be held using our large conference table moved from the Museum area.  This move will free valuable space in the Museum for enhanced artifact displays and create an area for future research of Solon History.



Thru your membership support the Historical Society was pleased to grant financial aid to two college bound graduating SolonHigh School seniors. This year’s awards were presented to Briana Razzante and Emma Reilly.  We know that these deserving students will continue as worthy contributing adults as their lives are formulated thru the college experience.  Grant application forms are available thru the Solon High School guidance office.



We continue to take artifacts to our local schools. These presentations are well received by the students.  Most often they had never seen some of the articles we show them.  They learn how their Grandparents may have lived, as an example without  electric appliances including  electric lights.  These road shows help in the process of enlightening our youth to show how thru education many things can be improved upon to make life easier.



Our Museum exists to display artifacts that show how Solon residents lived in the past  Donations don’t have to be as large as the player piano talked about in this Hoodlebug but smaller articles used in daily living.  Ex: Vintage clothing, kitchen utensils, old identifiable photographs relating to Solon-in particular street scenes.  Probably 95 percent of our collection has been donated by local residents. Give us a call to come and evaluate your potential gift to see if it could add to our collection. We can provide a letter indicating what you donate for income tax write-off of more valuable donations.