There is a little house on a corner along Front Street in New Philadelphia that was once the home of well-known, entrepreneurial family. That family saw a number of highs-and-lows while living there.
A note about addresses: House numbers and street names often change over time.
The Maholm family was residing in Harrison County, Ohio as early as the first few years of the 1800s when Samuel Maholm (1803-1856) was born in Cadiz in 1803. Samuel and his wife Hester (1803-1856) had a son they named Arthur Martin Maholm (1824-1884) shortly after their marriage in 1823. Arthur grew up and worked on his father’s farm just north of Cadiz in Archer Township, Harrison County; a farm that he inherited after his father’s death.
Arthur married Nancy Holland (1825-1911) in 1848 and the couple started what became a large family. They welcomed eight children over the course of their marriage, though only six survived to adulthood. There were four sons and four daughters, and among them were twins James (1865-1938) and Gabriel (1865-1916). All of the Maholm children helped out on their parents’ farm and, since the farm was relatively small and there were a lot of children, they needed to find other forms of gainful employment as adults.
Gabriel married Belle Brindley (1869-1937) and the couple moved to the town of Dennison in Tuscarawas County. Gabriel found work as a Barber and the couple began to start their own family. They welcomed their first child, Clarence (1889-1932), in 1889 and five more children followed until 1909. Gabriel and his family moved into a small house on the corner of East Front Street and (then) South 3rd Street in New Philadelphia, Ohio in the fall of 1903. Gabriel had started a livery business in the busy county seat and the home was just doors away from his livery stable. The livery business was one where individuals, for a fee, could stable their own horses, rent out horses, carriages or wagons.
The home that the Maholm family moved into was built sometime after 1875 but before 1887. The lot had originally been the home of a German Church, but by 1887 the church was gone and there were three homes on the lot facing Front Street. More houses were built as the years progressed and, by the time that the Maholms bought their home in 1903 for $1000, there were six houses on the lot lining East Front Street. Gabriel’s livery stable was located less than a block away near the intersection (then) of Salmon and Miller’s Alley.
The style of the Maholm’s home falls best into the Greek Revival school of architecture, though much of its original details have been long covered up and neutered. The house is a story-and-a-half side gabled home with symmetrically aligned windows, a central entrance, and cornice returns on the gable ends. Additionally, it has a lower-pitched shed roof covering a single-story section off the rear of the home. All-in-all, the deceptively small house boasted almost 2000 square feet of living space for the Maholm’s family of six children.
The livery business was not the only business that Gabriel Maholm’s operated. Just before the opening of Tuscora Park in the summer of 1907, Gabriel travelled to New York to acquire something unique for the new park; an Aerial Swing. When he acquired and operated the swing for the park, it was billed as “the first of its kind in this part of the state.” Gabriel had also acquired another ride for the park called the “Sea-Wave” that he stored in his livery stable until it could be installed.
Gabriel’s livery business suffered many ups-and-downs, many of them public, during the years that it operated. Gabriel purchased another liveryman’s “transfer business”, operating a horse-drawn bus, in 1907 to diversify his own business. There were risks in renting horses and wagons to third-parties and, on a number of occasions, horses Gabriel had rented out had to be shot after they were severely injured in accidents. The worst setback to Gabriel’s livery business though occurred in December 1908 when the barn that housed his livery burned to the ground. The New Philadelphia Daily Times newspaper account reported:
“The structure was destroyed by fire early Monday morning entailing a loss of about $4000 to Mr. Maholm…The structure was about 100×35 feet…Mr. Maholm lost three cabs, about fifteen other rigs, all his feed, harness and robes…The Sea-Wave which Mr. Maholm purchased a year ago was also in the barn and is a total loss, the frame work being a tangled mess of warped steel.”
Gabriel Maholm was able to rebuild his business in the years immediately following the catastrophic fire. He offered “hack” service from the various hotels in New Philadelphia as he built back his livery business. Automobiles started to become more and more common and Gabriel, seeing the writing on the wall, purchased one to use as a taxi service. Seeing this as the natural progression of his business, he offered his entire livery stock for sale in the summer of 1915. He was ready to embrace the future and the future was gasoline powered.
Unfortunately, about a year later, Gabriel suffered a massive cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 51. He had complained of a headache for several days prior to the hemorrhage, but continued to work. Gabriel, his wife, and four of his children were still living in the house on Front Street at the time he died. Gabriel H. Maholm died October 9, 1916 and was buried a few days later in East Avenue Cemetery in New Philadelphia. His widow, Belle Maholm, remarried a couple of years later.
© Noel B. Poirier, 2022.