Sylvania Then & Now – 5800 Summit Street

By Gayleen Gindy

This house was built in 1902 while owned by Henry Hubbard. Henry married Harriet Harroun-VanOrman in 1865, after her first husband, John VanOrman, was killed serving during the Civil War. Harriet had one child from the first marriage, Viola Clarabelle VanOrman, born 1858 and died 1930. With Henry Hubbard she had two children: Frederick Hubbard – born 1868 – died 1891; and Levi Collins Hubbard – born 1874 – died 1953. While they were still alive the Hubbard’s divided up their property along the east side of Summit Street among the three children.

Harriet Harroun VanOrman Hubbard split up property for her children

Frederick Hubbard received the property at 5768 Summit and built a house there in 1891. Viola Smith received the property at 5778 Summit and built a house there in 1919. Levi Collins Hubbard received the property at 5800 Summit (our subject home) and the house there was built in 1902.

In 1903 this property transferred into Levi Hubbard’s name. He had married Bessie Ayers in 1900 in Adrian, Mich. When the 1910 census was taken they were listed living on Summit Street. He was 34 years old and employed as a clerk in a hardware store. Bessie was 31 years old. In 1912 they sold this home to Adam Fischer.

Records show that Adam was first married to Catharine Richman, who died in 1908. He married his second wife, Louise Olrich Finger, in 1910. He first owned and operated a large farm in Ottawa Lake, Michigan. He retired, leaving the farm to his son Christian Fischer to operate, and moved to Sylvania and purchased this home. He didn’t stay retired for long. The Sylvania School Board minutes show that he was hired to the position of janitor at the Sylvania high school building at 5735 Main Street in May of 1917. He kept that position until September of 1924. In the 1920 census Adam Fischer was listed living here. He owned the home, free of mortgage. He was 60 years old – married – employed as a janitor at the public school. His wife Louise was listed at 57 years old.

In 1928 Adam Fischer passed away and was buried in Ravine Cemetery next to his first wife. Louise Fischer continued to own this home until she died in 1940. At the 1930 census the home was being rented out to Dennis and Bessie Hatherly, both 40 years old, and he was employed as a manager at a fertilizer plant. Their children included: Charles – 17 years; Beulah – 16 years; and Bessie – 14 years.

In the 1940 census the home was being rented out to Parter Byrn and his wife Gladys. He was 35 years old and employed as a salesman and dealer of retail farm machinery. She was 33 years old. Also living in the home was their daughter Annette – 4 years old, and his mother-in-law Sarah Esterline – widowed – 67 years old.

Louise Fischer died in 1940, and at that time Clayton and Eldora (Beck) Fischer purchased the home. Clayton was the grandson of Adam Fischer. He married Eldora Mae Hall in June of 1940, and they purchased this home the same year. Clayton Fischer was known as “Mr. Sylvania” because of his many years of service to the community. He graduated from Burnham High School in 1927 and received a degree in business from UT in 1942. He served in Italy during World War II, earning the rank of Corporal by the time he returned to this home on Summit Street. In 1947 he ran for the office of clerk of the Village of Sylvania and won. This was a part-time elected position at first, but later it became a full-time appointed position. Mr. Fischer worked for 40 years in the positions of clerk-auditor, chief financial officer and then city clerk, retiring in 1987. He was involved in many civic organizations and was responsible for organizing the Memorial Day parades in Sylvania for more than 20 years. He passed away in 1999. In 2000 Huntington Park, located at 5440 Marshall Road in Sylvania, was renamed Clayton Fischer Park in honor of his many years as a board member and serving as their secretary for many years.

In the 1950 census Clayton and Eldora Fischer were listed living here. Clayton was 39 and employed as an accountant for a mortgage company. Eldora was 36 years old and their son Thomas was 5 years old. After this census was taken they had a daughter, Ida Mae. In November of 1950 Mr. Fischer was issued a building permit to alter the garage door and make repairs to the front porch and steps. In February of 1951 Eldora obtained a building permit to remodel the kitchen and bathroom. The work was being done by Zwayer Construction Company. Another building permit was issued in June of 1954 to make repairs to the front porch railing.

In 1967 Mr. and Mrs. Fischer sold this home to Eugene G. and Mary J. Hoffman (sometimes spelled Hoffmann) and purchased a home on Woodland Lane in Sylvania. This home was in both their names until 2021 when Mary Jo Smith Hoffman passed away. Her obituary notice said that she was born in Sylvania in the living room of her parents, Ralph and Isabelle (Schmidt) Smith. Records show she married Eugene Hoffman in July of 1966. She was survived by her loving husband of 54 years, Eugene “Gene” Hoffman; children: Steven, Elaine, Ralph and Benjamin; and was preceded in death by a daughter, Monica. Eugene Hoffman still owns the home.

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