This house’s story is one of the family of a German immigrant who, after arriving in the United States at the age of 22, was able to become a successful businessman, community leader, and father in the city of Dover. The street it sits on was called Factory Street at the time he and his family lived there
A note about addresses: House numbers and street names often change over time.
When the SS Neckar arrived at the Port of New York from Bremen on June 3, 1876 on board was a 22 year old German immigrant named Hugo Lachenmeyer (1854-1915). Hugo, was born in Heilbronn, Germany, a town about 25 miles north of Stuttgart, and was the son of Johann Conrad Casper Lachenmayer and his wife Pauline Merker. Hugo received enough of an education as a young man that, by the time of his immigration to America, his profession was that of a clerk. Hugo spent two years working in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania before relocating to Dover, Ohio in 1878.
Once in Dover, Hugo found work with local Civil War veteran and wholesale grocer Christian Deis (1843-1914) and he boarded in the Deis home at the time the 1880 census was taken. Four years later Hugo married Mary Schaffer (1866-1911) and the wholesale grocery business provided Hugo ample opportunity to advance. Hugo was made a partner in the Deis wholesale grocery firm in January 1891 and, a few years later, purchased the lot on the northeast corner of Factory and 7th Streets in Dover.
The Lachenmeyer family included three children, two daughters and a son, by the time the family moved to Factory Street. Whether the house on the lot was already constructed is open to debate, though evidence would seem to indicate that it was. The man from whom Hugo purchased the lot in 1896 for $1300 had acquired the property only two years earlier for $650, indicating that an improvement was made by the time of its sale to the Lachenmeyers. It would seem therefore that the home was likely constructed in the first half of the 1890s.
The home was a large Queen Anne style home and sat prominently on a corner lot. As a testament to both Hugo’s business success and the home’s prominence, it appeared as an inset in a birds-eye, perspective map made of Canal Dover in 1899. The home boasted many of the characteristics associated with the Queen Anne style including a crossed gabled roof, ornamented gable ends, a large pedimented L-shaped porch with a tower feature on the corner, a pedimented second floor porch over the main entrance, and likely decorative posts and spindles around the porch itself.
The Lachenmeyer family expanded to include four children living in the home on Factory, as well as a domestic servant who also resided in the home. Mary Lachenmeyer was very active in the Dover social circles and the home often served as a hub for all of the social clubs to which she belonged. Hugo meanwhile served terms as Dover’s treasurer and on the school board while also being active in the Masonic Lodge and a local German Workingmen’s Society. The Lachenmeyer home hosted many of the community’s most prominent citizens during the time the family resided there.
During the spring of 1911, Mary Lachenmeyer started to suffer from jaundice and her conditioned worsened during the next few weeks. Eventually she travelled to Cleveland to undergo treatment but, after going under anesthesia for treatment of potential gall stones, she passed away. Hugo Lachenmeyer, twelve years older than Mary, only lived for another four years and died in January 1915. His cause of death was given as cirrhosis of the liver. The home stayed in the Lachenmeyer family for a short time after Hugo’s death and the marriage of one of the Lachenmeyer daughters.
© Noel B. Poirier, 2023.