The Fairview Area Historical Society
Posted April 27, 2014
The Old and the New
Some years back one of the staples of the Fairview community was Weslogel's Shur Fine Food Mart. It, along with four other businesses, was the subject of a summer exhibit at the Sturgeon House - Celebrating Fairview Businesses. Each had been in existence 70 or more years at that time. The five businesses were: the Fairview Hardware Store, begun c. 1870; Weislogel's, 1904; Fairview Evergreen Nurseries, Inc., 1911; Fairview Chrysler Jeep, Inc., 1920; and Titan Tool Company, 1920. Each had a proud history. Today both Weislogel's and Chrysler Plymouth are gone, with other businesses in their place.
The Weislogel story may be typical of long-time families to the area... families who came and stayed. The first was Jacob Jr. who bought farmland about 1854, raised cattle and sold the meat. Some information indicates that he "peddled" the meat around by wagon in the Manchester Road area. Later he built a store for his meat and built a barn behind it in the old Borough. A spark from the barn lit the hay there and started a spectacular fire in 1886 that wiped out buildings on both sides of West Main Street. By the end of the century Jacob's son Carl (a.k.a. Charles), who also was farming in the township, sold his farm and moved into the Borough. He was appointed postmaster and held the position for two years ( 1903 - 1905).
Charles' son Roy was born in 1884. When Roy was 20 he and a business partner Ed Geist opened a meat market in the Borough. In 1906 Charles joined the enterprise and soon the two Weislogels bought out Ed Geist's interest. In addition, they purchased 96 more acres of what is now the Chestnut Street area and raised cattle there. The story goes that once Charles joined the buisness he "pretty much took over."
At that time the Weislogels operated a slaughterhouse and smokehouse behind the storefront.
(The storefront, about 1926.)
Business was good and in 1930 the Weislogels added groceries to their enterprise. At first the meat was kept chilled by cutting ice off Lohrer's pond (which supplied power to the Lohrer Grist Mill). But about 1935 the business bought a refrigerated case and a new era began!
Charles died in 1939 and his son Roy died in 1952. By then, actually about the late 1940s, Roy's son Leroy (Bud) had taken over the management of the business. Bud and his wife Charlotte (Hon to everyone who knew her) were committed to making the business a huge success and recognized how vital it was to the community. About the same time that Roy died Bud designed a new layout for the store. It was built next to the old store where business continued until the new facilities were ready. The new structure was 84' x 38' and opened for business in 1953. At that point the old building was razed to make room for more parking.
Weislogels joined the Independent Grocers Association (IGA) in 1955 and then in 1981 joined Shur Fine, a co-op owned by the retail growers who were members. As for the building, it expanded in 1961 to 84' x 100', making it necessary for the house next door to be moved to Chestnut Street. It expanded again, in 1971 when 6,300 square feet were added to the building. This required razing the old Western Auto building next door for more parking places. In 1984 the building was expanded once again.
Bud retired in 1995 and his son Ron, who had joined the business in 1979, took over management. For many years Bud's brother Bill had been in charge of the meat department. He died in 1996 and Bud died five years later.
Weislogel's had many fine features to the store - the meat department and deli being the best remembered. Hon concocted several recipes for the deli, among them her unforgettable "dill dip." The family took part in all the activities of the community, contributing when asked. Again, they were a staple. But times changed. Giant Eagle moved into Girard Township, then Wegmans into Millcreek Township. With the coming of the Big WalMart the family knew the end was near. The store closed, finally in December 2010 and the building stood empty for nearly two years.
This year a new enterprise took over the building, Dollar General. The "Grand Opening" was March 29, 2014, although it had been doing business for about two weeks by that time. While it doesn't offer fresh produce and meats, it has many supplies that are vital for Fairview homeowners and nearby residents at Chestnut Street Apartments (formerly Chestnut School) . The community wishes the new business well!
Years ago a "short" at the movies was called "Time Marches On." And
so it does.
Tradition: the handing down of information, beliefs, or customs from one generation to another.
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The Fairview Area Historical Society is one of 26 members of Erie Yesterday, a county-wide consortium of historically-oriented organizations and individuals. Together these organizations are saving history for the future. For more information, see erieyesterday.org
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