The recent Plain City Advocate article on the renovations at the Plain City Animal Hospital reminded me of the history of that building. It is among the oldest commercial buildings in town, having been built about 1852 by Dr. and Mrs. Charles McCloud.
Dr. McCloud was born in New Hampshire in 1808 and came with his family to Ohio in 1814. He studied medicine with a doctor in Galena in the 1830s and met and married Mary Jane Carpenter there. For a time they lived on a farm near Amity, before building the brick double on West Main Street at the corner of Railroad (now Maple) Street. Dr. McCloud’s brother-in-law Asa Converse constructed a building exactly like it on the opposite corner.
At first Dr. McCloud, in addition to his medical practice, kept a small dry goods store in the building in the space the Animal Hospital now occupies. The family lived in the other part of the house. Dr. McCloud was elected to the state legislature in 1844 and in 1850 was elected a member of the Ohio Constitutional Convention. He died unexpectedly in April of 1861.
Dr. and Mrs. McCloud had four surviving children: Sophronia, Rodney Curtis, Smith Newton and Mary Jane. Rodney McCloud became a druggist and operated his business in the space previously occupied by his father’s dry goods store. Mary McCloud later married Dr. E. C. Robinson, who had his dental office in the building for some 40 years. One of the Robinson daughters, Tessa Robinson Guy, owned and lived in the building until her death in 1948, when it passed to her son Charles and her sister Mrs. Bess Robinson Goodrich. They subsequently sold the building to Roy Hilbert, marking the end of almost 100 years of ownership by the same family.
In the 1900s space in the building was leased by a number of small businesses. The tailor James Strapp, who was in business in various locations in town for over 40 years, had his shop here for a time. In 1912, Rice’s Bakery and Restaurant occupied the east end of the building with Dr. Robinson’s dental office on the west end. Both sustained damage from the cyclone that struck the town on Sunday, June 16.
It is heartening to see one of our historic buildings being updated and restored for another 165 years of use.
Next year, 2018, will be Plain City’s Bicentennial year. The Plain City Historical Society has been working on a book, “Moments in Time: The Plain City Story, Vol. 1,” which is being released this weekend. The Book Committee — Karen Baldwin, Rosemary Anderson, and Bernie Vance — has been working on this project for a year and a half. Selecting pictures, deciding on the organization of the material, writing introductions and captions and proofreading the results has consumed far more time than any of us anticipated.
Collecting and verifying facts for the captions of approximately 300 photographs required a minimum of one hour per picture. The information we found was sometimes so contradictory that we were forced to fall back on vague phrasing such as “in the early 1900s” or “some sources suggest.” We are hoping that some of our readers will be able to fill in the blanks and correct our errors.
The book will be for sale at the Historical Society headquarters, 111 W. Main St., Plain City, during “Christmas Under the Clock” on the evening of Saturday, Dec. 2, and during regular operating hours through Dec. 16. The Historical Society is open Tuesdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon and Thursdays from noon to 3 p.m.
Rosemary Anderson is the vice president of the Plain City Historical Society.