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Historic Building of downtown Bellevue, the E M Wolf Building
The brick, 3-story building at 120-122 East Main bears the name “E M Wolf “ on its pediment. It was built by Emanuel M. Wolf as an elegant men’s clothing store in 1897. The Masonic Lodge rented the third floor for their lodge rooms until building their current lodge in the 1970’s.
The Bellevue Gazette reported the shop’s opening on Oct. 21, 1897... “The elegant new store of E.M. Wolf’s Sons was thrown open to the public for the first time on Friday evening last... and 1,000 people, in all, called during the evening.”
 The store was, with one exception, the largest single ‘business room’ in town. “In the front of the storeroom is the office of the Industrial Savings Loan Assn. It is provided with a large and well-built safe of the most approved pattern. Here Jos. E. Wolf, as Secretary of the Industrial Savings & Loan, will be pleased to meet all the patrons and friends of the company. A similar compartment in the rear of the room, will be used as the business office of the new firm, and will be presided over by Sol M. Wolf.”

Anthony P. Hasselbach bought the property at 106 S. West Street in April, 1905, for $4,000.00.
He immediately began to demolish the existing wood-frame building (which had housed Eisenhour’s Restaurant) to build a 2-story brick building to house his ‘saloon’, as reported in the Bellevue Gazette. In an April 16th article, the Gazette stated that “...Henry Flagler, the Standard Oil magnate and multi-millionaire at one time kept store there.” Historian Bill Oddo said, “Business growth in Bellevue began at that location, with the Harkness-Flagler connection.”

Plans changed as the building was being built and in the fall of ’06 it was announced that R. Haensler, groceryman and saloonist who occupied one room in the Tremont House for 26 years, would sell out his grocery stock and move his saloon business to the Hasselbach building. After leasing the building, he realized that it was spacious enough to house an expanded grocery business, so he put his son Edgar in charge of the grocery, with the assistance of Edgar’s brother Clarence; and Mr. Haensler continued to operate his saloon from the Tremont House.

Bellevue's historic First Congregational Church is located on Soutwest street next to the Mad River Train Museum. The architect was L.D. Grosvenor from Kalamazoo, MI and the builder was John Parker from Norwalk. This church was built in 1887 with funds contributed by Daniel M. Harkness in memory of his wife Isabella who died in 1864.
The church was built next to his house which was the former home of his half-brother Henry Flager (many in Bellevue remember this house as the former home of the YMCA). Harkness stipulated that the church must not have a bell since he didn't wish to be disturbed by the regular ringing. Behind the church still stands the former carriage house that was part of the Harkness home. It is know as Amos' garage. It was the source of heating and served as servants quarters and the carriage house(garage).
Daniel Harkness was a trustee of Standard Oil and was the half brother of Bellevue residents Henry Flagler and Stephen V. Harkness.
One wonders about the spark that caused Daniel to build the First Congregational Church. Perhaps the motivation is no further than Henry Flagler who was building the magnificent Ponce de Leon Hotel at the same time. Just maybe, Daniel took the building cue from his half brother Henry and his other half-brother Stephen Harkness who was about to build The Cleveland  Arcade.
When Daniel died in 1896, his estate - estimated to be $35 Million Dollars (today's value is nearly $1 Billion dollars.). His estate was left to his only surviving child, William L. Harkness. Many know of Will's contributions that helped build Bellevue Hospital. 

 

Bellevue has a long list of famous and influential residents ranging from Admirals to billionaire entrepreneurs and on to both famous and infamous broadcast personalities. Here are some of Bellevue's most notable residents

 

On August 25, 2020, Bellevue lost a valued citizen and one of the town’s treasures – Bill Oddo.  Bill has been a mainstay of the Bellevue Historical Society from its beginning.
Bill’s barber shop on Main Street was a gathering place for story tellers.  These stories sparked his interest in Bellevue’s history, so in 1983 Bill began writing a weekly article in the Bellevue Gazette spotlighting the town’s rich past.  These articles became one of the most popular features of the paper.
As a citizen, Bill has been very active in his church and community.   Bill’s faith was very strong as he served the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in many ways, especially in working with the CYO.  The Bellevue City Schools benefitted also from Bill’s efforts.  He was an organizer of the Bellevue Boosters Club and he helped to initiate the Halls of Excellence program at the High School (Bill himself was recognized for that honor in 2000) as well as the Athletic Department’s Athletic Hall of Fame.
Bill’s contributions to the Bellevue Historical Society are numerous.  In 1987, he was a founding member of the Bellevue Heritage Museum which became the Bellevue Historical Society.  He served the Society for many years on the Board of Directors, most of them as president.  A pet project for Bill was the Tremont House Project.  In 2002, Bill was the Society’s president when the building was purchased.  He compiled the book, Bellevue: A Pictorial History to help pay for the Tremont House, obtaining a grant for its publication so that all profits would go to the project.  In 2005, he was instrumental in the process required to have the Tremont House listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  More recently, he dedicated all profits from his latest book, Stories of Old Bellevue – Vol. V, to the project.  Just a few days before his death, on a drive past the Tremont House, Bill was excited to see the progress that has been made this summer.  
In 2010, Bill received the Individual Outstanding Achievement Award from the Ohio Association of Historic Societies and Museums for his work in helping to preserve local history.  A group of family and fellow Society members helped him to celebrate this award at a ceremony in Columbus.  At the presentation, his introduction began with, “For almost thirty years, Bill Oddo has been making history come alive in Bellevue, Ohio.”
On May 20, 2010, when Bill retired as president, the Bellevue Historical Society recognized Bill for his many years of dedication at a reception at the Willows Clubhouse.  Family and friends gathered to wish him well and to exchange stories.  Then-mayor David Kile proclaimed May 20, 2010 to be Bill Oddo Day.
Bill will be remembered by posterity as Bellevue’s historian.  His many books and newspaper articles contain a wealth of information on Bellevue’s past that otherwise might have been lost.  We will surely miss Bill.  He was THE reference person on questions about Bellevue’s history.

Business

  • Henry Morrison Flagler - Standard Oil tycoon, developer of Eastern Florida and "Father of Miami", began his business career in Bellevue in the 1840s
  • Stephen V. Harkness - who invested as a silent partner with Henry Morrison Flagler and oil titan John D. Rockefeller, Sr.  to found Standard Oil. Stephen's son Lamon V. Harkness was born in Bellevue and was a "Standard Oil Heir" from the Harkness investments in Standard Oil
  • Daniel M. Harkness, half brother of both Henry Flagler and Stephen V. Harkness was an investor in Standard Oil. He was Bellevue's weathiest long term resident.
  • William L. Harkness, son of Daniel M. Harkness and "Standard Oil Heir" was born in Bellevue
  • Cheryl Krueger - the Founder, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Cheryl & Co. aka "Cheryl's Cookies".
  • Amos E. Northup - Automotive designer


Military Service

  • Vice Admiral John W. Greenslade (Class of 1895) - Vice Admiral & U.S. Commander of the Pacific-Southern Naval Coastal Frontier during World War II
  • Arthur F. Gorham - Commander of the 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment during World War II; twice awarded the Distinguished Service Cross the nation's second highest award for bravery
  • Howard L. Vickery - Rear Admiral Howard Vickery, Vice Chairman U.S. Maritime Commission during World War II


Sports


Broadcasting


Other

  • Mildred Gillars (Attended Bellevue High School from 1913 to 1916) - Radio personality during World War II, best known for propaganda broadcasts for Nazi Germany; also known as Axis Sally
  • Brittany Binger - June 2007 Playboy Playmate and International Model

John Aubrey Wright. Among the active men prominent in the business and social life of Bellevue, one of the most prominent is John Aubrey Wright, who is president of the Wright Brothers Insurance Agency. He was born at Bellevue, March 28, 1858, the son of John and Betsy (Ford) Wright. 
Both John Wright, the father, and his wife were natives of England. At the age of 20 years he came to the United States and settled on a farm in Lyme Township, Huron County. During his first year here he was employed by Rufus Russell for the sum of $100 per year. With this small start after one year he married and settled on a farm in Groton Township, Erie County, Ohio. Mr. Wright became one of the most prosperous farmers in this section of Ohio and was the owner of 4,000 acres of well improved land. He retired from farming in 1884. He was then living in Lyme Township, Huron County, four miles east of Bellevue, where he spent the remainder of his life. He died in 1907. His wife, Betsy Wright, died in 1886. Both are buried in Lyme Township.

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