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Stryker Methodist Church Choir photo needs more identifications

Stryker Methodist Church circa late 30s photo posted on Facebook on Jessica Grisier Tingley

     Can’t you just imagine them filling the former sanctuary with song? Jessica Grisier Tingley shared this photo of the Stryker Methodist Church choir with us. She thinks the photo is circa 1935-1937, but it could be later. At that time the church was located where the library is today. Several people have named members of the choir. They are (from left to right):

Front Row: Jeanne Robinson, ?, Helen Garber Bly, ?, ?, ?

2nd Row: Marg Miller, Thelma Norris Lehman, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?

3rd Row: ?, William Grisier, Spec Woodard, ?, ?, ?

Top Row: W. P. Grisier, ?, ?

If you can help identify anyone, send us a message at! Thanks, Jessica, for sharing your photo!!!



Stryker High School photos about 1940Stryker High School Band circa 1940 John Coy is in photo used by permission of Trish Coy-Sanders













     Trish Coy-Sanders was going through some old photographs of her grandfather John Coy, who graduated from Stryker High School in 1940. She found these school  pics from about that time and wanted to share them with us. In the one above, Mr. Buehrer, the Band Director, is named on the bass drum! Trish said there were no identifications on the back of the photos. The rest of the photos follow below.

Stryker HS Band circa 1940 John Coy photo used with permission of Trish Coy-Sanders

Stryker HS Basketball Team circa 1940 John Coy photo used by permission of Trish Coy-Sanders

Stryker HS team circa 1940 John Coy photo used by permission of Trish Coy-Sanders

Stryker HS class play circa 1940 John Coy photo used by permission of Trish Coy-Sanders

Stryker HS probably class play circa 1940 John Coy photo used by permission of Trish Coy-Sanders



Renovations take Stryker train depot back to its early daysStryker depot from southwest Dec 2020 3

     Thanks to some recent renovations, the former Stryker train depot has a new look taking it back to its early 1900’s roots. Four new signs, replicas of the original signs with the village name, have been added to each side of the 120-year-old depot which today houses the headquarters of the Stryker Area Heritage Council.
     Bruce Zigler from Bryan, who is shown below next to one of the signs he built, said it took about two years to complete the project. Zigler, a member of the local heritage council said he first met with SAHC trustee Sue Buehrer and her husband, Ben, who had borrowed an original depot sign from a local resident and had old photos of the signs on the depot. While the sign was quite weathered, the Buehrers took photos and documented the original dimensions of the sign.Stryker depot front with Bruce Zigler next to Stryker sign Dec 2020
     Each sign is 108 inches long and almost 13 inches wide. The signs had to be made from two sheets of pine as Zigler couldn’t find single boards large enough to match the width they needed. He used biscuits and joiners to bring the boards together.
     “I then cut the edges down to the correct shape and then I routed the edge all the way around so it had the correct 45-degree bevel on it,” he said.
     It was also helpful that the Buehrers had the original scans of the lettering so he could make a plastic template of each letter which he used to paint each letter onto the signs. Looking at the original sign, Zigler said it was obvious that the style of lettering was changed several times through the years. He believes the one he used is the font on the original signs when the depot was new in 1900.
     All told, it took about two years to complete the process. He finished the sign facing North Depot Street first and it was hung on the building in the spring of 2019. He then worked on the other three signs which were hung sometime in the fall this year. Zigler said Stryker Welding constructed the brackets that hold the signs in place and hung both the brackets and signs on the building. Zigler didn’t know how long it has been since the signs were taken down.Stryker depot west side looking south with Bruce Zigler holding brick from walkway Dec 2020
     A new brick walkway was also added to the west side of the depot. Sue Buehrer said the bricks, made in Wooster, Ohio, were originally used in sidewalks in different parts of the town. As they were replaced by concrete, the bricks were stored at Stryker Welding. When the business constructed their new addition several years ago, the bricks were moved to the depot and are the ones used in the new walkway.
     Mrs. Buehrer said that while they had a couple offers from volunteers to lay the bricks, the heritage council opted to hire Creek’s Landscaping of Bryan to do the work since the walkway would be in place for a long time to come. Mr. Zigler is pictured above holding one of the original bricks while standing on the new walkway laid by Creek’s.
     To complete the work, the town added some gravel along the south side of the building facing the railroad tracks.
     Buehrer said following the completion of this project, the council hopes to renovate the lighting inside the depot.Stryker depot from west Dec 2020 1
     While the present depot building goes back 120 years, it is actually Stryker’s third railroad depot. In a brochure written for the Stryker heritage council, local historian Kevin Maynard noted that Stryker’s first railroad station appears to have been a small combination passenger/freight station on the south side of the tracks.
     The second depot was also a wooden depot built in 1876 on the north side of the tracks. It was destroyed by fire on March 22, 1900. The existing passenger depot was completed about July 9, 1900 on or near the site of the previous depot. Passenger service from the Stryker station ceased around 1956.
     The depot is part of the rich railroad heritage of the Stryker community and today houses historic artifacts of the Stryker, Evansport and Lockport area as the headquarters of the Stryker Area Heritage Council.



The Stryker American Legion Celebrates 100th Anniversary!!
Stryker American Legion 100 Anniversary group shot 10Aug2019
(Photo courtesy of The Village Reporter newspaper, and taken by photographer Rebecca Miller)

     Members of the Yackee-Strong American Legion Post #60 of Stryker pose for a photo after an evening program celebrating their 100th anniversary on Aug. 10, 2019. The program was held at the American Legion Hall in downtown Stryker.
     Bill Priest acted as the Master of Ceremonies welcoming the guests and inviting them to look around at the interesting displays that had been prepared depicting wars and service time involving people from Stryker.
     After an opening prayer by Chapter Adjutant and Chaplain Don Carroll and the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance by Post Commander Rick Wityk, a delicious dinner was served to the guests. The dinner was capped with slices of a special 100th anniversary commemorative cake.
     Following the dinner, Mr. Priest provided some history of the American Legion and Stryker’s Post, including details of the WWI cannon that used to sit in the grassy median of the boulevard for many years in the middle of South Defiance Street. It sat just south of Short Street and was likely melted down for scrap in WWII.
     Priest introduced three guest speakers for the night: Fifth District U.S. Congressman Bob Latta, Stryker Mayor Joey Beck and Stryker Area Heritage Council President Terry Wieland.
     Two veterans of WWII, Jim Ruffer and Walt “Tug” Guthrie, were on hand and were recognized by the crowd.
     Commander Wityk introduced the showing of a DVD that depicted individuals from Stryker who served America in the U. S. Armed Forces.
     A solemn moment followed with the playing of “Taps” by Ellie Jacochee.
     Chaplain Carroll gave the closing prayer following final remarks by Commander Wityk.
     We salute everyone at the Stryker American Legion for your 100 year anniversary!!!



Going back in the Stryker American Legion past

     One of the displays at the Stryker American Legion’s 100th anniversary commemoration gave some glimpses back into their history.IMG_20190810_205443_441
     According to the display, Post #60 was chartered in 1919 with 15 members. William Oberlin was the first Post Commander.
     The post hall is believed to have been above the Nevin J. Huffman Shoe Store on the east side of North Defiance Street. There is an “X” on the upper floor of the photo showing the store on the right. Today, the Grisier Funeral Home is located there.
     N. J. Huffman had opened the store sometime around 1902, and according to the Stryker Advance, was one of the leading commercial men of the community taking an interest in the progress and growth of the town. He had a reputation for square dealing second to none in this part of the country. The store operated for 35 years, closing in July of 1937. Even so, Mr. and Mrs. Huffman remained in Stryker to live among their friends.
      A story from the Stryker Advance on January 13, 1921 says the “Yackee Memorial Post recently moved into new quarters above Huffman’s shoe store.” It continues, “New officers are Commander W. P. Oberlin; Vice Commander William Peterson; Adj., Emmett Garber; Finance Officer Dr. C. G. Goll.”
     However, they apparently didn’t stay in that location for a long period of time. According to a Stryker Advance story from the next year, “On Wednesday, February 8, the Legion moved to their new quarters over Bolles Drug Store.”
     By 1924, the Legion was on the move again. An Advance story from Nov. 6 says the “American Legion Post moved into their new quarters, first door north of the city hall, last week.”IMG_20190810_205459_522
     A year later, the Advance noted that “the American Legion post of this place was six years old on Aug. 11, 1925. This year they bought a house (shown in the photo on the left) and moved it to a plot of ground leased from the N.Y.C. railway company.” The lot was adjacent to the south side of the railroad tracks
     (For those that remember it, the house was originally where the Union 76 gas station used to be on the northwest corner of South Defiance Street and West Curtis Street. Herb Cline and Don Chamberlain used to run the station at one time. Today the place where it used to set is part of the parking lot for the Stryker Local Schools.)
     This would be the Legion’s home for 50 years. But they outgrew the house and began looking for a new home.
     In 1975 they purchased the Gurwell building north of where the U.S. Post Office is today. The building at one time used to host community pageants and large productions with a stage upstairs. The upstairs was also a skating rink run by the Cupp family from 1939 until about 1946. At one time the downstairs was a home for Luepp Brothers who ran a farm implement and Ford auto sales business with a garage.
     The Legion members did some remodeling from 1975 to 1981 of the first and second stories of the building. They were pleased when in Nov. of 1981 they were able to burn the mortgage for the building!
     More extensive remodeling was started in 1987, and the first rental of its newly completed first floor was in June of 1989.
     On May 10, 1991 a new loan of $57,000 was secured from the F&M State Bank for the purpose of finishing the remodeling work on the first floor. The note was to be paid by May of 2011, but the Legion worked hard and repaid the loan in March of 2005, a full six years early! This left Post #60 debt-free once again!
     Remodeling to the front of the building and the addition of a new heating system have been done since that date.
     Today, the building continues to house a proud tradition dedicated to the people from Stryker who served their country during times of peace and war.


The Stryker Area Heritage CouncilTandIStrykerDepotCopy

     The Stryker Area Heritage Council was formed to record and preserve the rich history of the Stryker area. Located in the very northwestern corner of Ohio, Stryker, Evansport and Lockport have all had interesting histories surrounding their development. Some of the early growth was due to their location along the Tiffin River.
     Stryker has had a significant part in the development and operation of several railroad lines. From 1905 to 1939, Stryker was the home to the car storage, maintenance facility, and electric generating station for the Toledo & Indiana (T & I) interurban electric train line.
     For more than 50 years, long pans of water were placed in the track for some of the steam locomotives going through the town. It saved trains a stop if they could pickup water to replenish their boilers along the way. During the winter, men were hired to break up the ice in the pans so the trains could continue to scoop up the precious liquid as they made their way along the route.
     Several people of significance have come from the area. William J. Knight was among the first group of men honored with the Congressional Medal of Honor for his part in the great train robbery during the Civil War. Harry Wickey was a famous illustrator, sculptor and author. Ralph Goll was a writer on the famous Lone Ranger radio series and had several of his episodes turned into TV shows. Sam Hornish, the winner of the 2006 Indianapolis 500, lived in Stryker when he was a young boy.
     We hope you find this website of interest and if you have questions or would like to join the group in collecting and preserving this rich history of the Stryker area, please contact us at the Stryker Area Heritage Council.

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