Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Ohio & Erie Canal played a part in Dueber-Hampden's history

            This past weekend with the weather unseasonably warm, nearing high 70s, I took the opportunity to explore the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and Ohio & Erie Tow Path located in upper Summit and Cuyahoga counties. One of my past jobs was photographing for the Summit County Engineers.  I took many pictures as the biking tow path was under construction, and it is nice to see the completed project that was at one time only a vision with a few bike paths completed here and there, but not completely connected. 
A biker rest near the deepest lock along the Ohio & Erie Canal Tow Path 

            You may ask yourself how this ties in with my blog about Dueber-Hampden Watch Works.  Well, when John C. Dueber was making the decision about which city to move both his Newport, Kentucky case factory, and his Springfield, Massachusetts watch works from, one city vying for the relocating combined Watch Works was Massillon, Ohio.  Although Massillon desperately wanted the Watch Works, the major means of transportation Massillon had to offer John Dueber and Company was the Ohio & Erie Canal. The Canal was beginning its decline in the late 1880s and by 1913 a major flood destroyed a portion of the canal near Akron that was not repaired.  Goods could go either south or north from Akron, but as the railroad became the major mode of transportation, the canal was declining and dying.  Richard Haldi, a Canton historian, said, it was the railroad that influenced the choice for Dueber to relocate his watch works to Canton.  
Bikers line up to catch the Cuyahoga Valley Train
            Between the months of June and October, on Wednesdays through Sundays,  bikers can bike the tow path either north or south, and then for two dollars catch the Cuyahoga Valley Train traveling in the opposite direction.  This past weekend, many bikers and joggers did travel the Ohio & Erie Tow Path, and several passed me as I poked along on my bike pedaling north to Peninsula~an arty little town where I had lunch before putting my bike aboard the train back to Akron. 
            The Cuyahoga Valley Train rumbles up and down a set of tracks that were laid back in the 1880s.  According to the Cuyahoga Valley website, these same tracks were built to haul coal from south of Canton to a growing industrial Cleveland.  In addition the train served farming communities transporting goods north, as well as industries such as Dueber-Hampden shipping its finished pieces. 
The Cuyahoga Valley Train just north of Peninsula, Ohio
            The Cuyahoga Valley railroad is 51 miles long from Canton to Rockside Road near Cleveland.  If one wouldn't want to bike the entire tow path, they only need to board the train with their bike at one of the stations and ride north or south exploring the stops along the way. 
William B. Dreurey (in the third window from the rear of the bus) rides the public bus with his sister Martha Dreurey to Dueber-Hampden Watch Works in Canton. 
            While researching Dueber-Hampden I have been meeting interesting people who are either searching for their own roots, or who had a relative work at the Watch Works, or who are collectors and who have a bit more information to add to the Dueber legacy.  I was lucky enough to meet Mrs. Marilyn Phillips-Garver who owns Wild Card Sportswear on Cleveland Avenue south.  While explaining my project to Mrs. Phillips-Garver ~What Luck~ I found out that her father had worked at Dueber-Hampden. 
Marilyn Phillips-Garver and the watch her father made while working at Dueber-Hampden Watch Works in Canton, Ohio
William B. Dreurey, named for William Jennings Bryan, began at Dueber-Hampden when he was just 16 years old.  Everyone called him "Bryan".  Marilyn said the Tam O'Shanter Golf Course occupies the land that was once her father's family farm.  Today, the Club House sits atop the old barn foundation.  Marilyn showed me a watch her father made while working for Dueber-Hampden.  When William Dreurey left the Watch Works he went into the coal mines.  In 1958, he started Bryan Dreurey Brick Contractor, and spent the better part of 10 years laying up bricks.  In his later years he worked for Stanley Miller's company in East Sparta, Ohio.  

Thanks Marilyn for adding to our story and sharing your watch and your reflections about your dad.

Cuyahoga Scenic Railroad . N.p., 2009. Web. 19 Oct. 2010.

Haldi, Richard. "Dueber-Hampden Watchworks ." Massillon Genealogical Society. Massillon. 3 Feb. 2010. Lecture.

Phillips-Garver, Marilyn. Personal interview. 2 July 2010.

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