Bristol dedicates historic buildings

BRISTOL — More than 80 people came to the township center on a humid Saturday afternoon to dedicate two historical buildings that officials hope will someday become part of a larger historical village.

A barber shop, built in the early 1900s, and doctor’s office, built in the late 1800s, were moved from state Route 45 south of state Route 88 to the township center, next to the township park, last year.

“Bristol’s life, both its challenges and joys, came through these doors. We are glad these doors are open to share the story with all of you,” said Leslie King, great-granddaughter of Dr. Edward Brinkerhoff, whose practice began in 1887 in Bristol.

King, of Warren, said the doctor’s office had been a hat shop at one time before her father, John King, proposed restoring the historic building in the 1980s.

Moved from a family homestead on state Route 45, where it had remained since it was a medical practice until 1933, it was embraced by the community as the center of a historic monument.

“We will take a look at the cemetery and we will see where my grandmother lived,” Larisa Masri of Chicago said. Masri brought her 8-year-old daughter, Aurelia Masri-Newstadt with her to play alongside her cousin, Jaylee Reynolds, 4, of Macedonia. The great-great-great-granddaugthers of Dr. Brinkerhoff played on the old steps of the office where he tended to women and children — charging an average of 50 cents and often accepting chickens as payment– a century before, just down the road from the public library he helped found. John Reynolds, their great-grandfather, and donor of the doctor’s office, spoke at the dedication.

“I have spent the last 30 years working for the National Park Service. I come from a legacy of preservation of my grandfather, Judge Carter, and my mother, Dorothy Reynolds,” John Reynolds said.

Mary Ann Raidel, a lifetime resident of Bristol, also spoke at the celebration about the work of her mother, Leah Hubbard, and her desire to see the buildings protected and cared for beyond her own generation.

“I was concerned the building would be lost. I called the trustees and John (Reynolds) about donating the doctor’s office,” she said.

Raidel said the importance for her was spurred by a love of history and family.

“I am a town historian walking the steps of my mother, who saw this building falling apart,” Raidel said of the barbershop operated for 40-plus years by Charles “Charlie” Shaffer, until his death in 1941.

“I’m following through on what she would have wanted, the legacy she left,” Raidel said. “And the love for the community, too.”

Enid Mills, 88, the wife of Shaffer’s grandson, who still lives in Bristolville, was among those in attendance, as well as Trustee Ray French’s niece, Amy Ulrich, and husband, Tracy, who worked on the construction of the project.

“Everyone who has volunteered has done so graciously and been willing to help,” French said. “We have several historic buildings here that can still be relocated if we get the funds to do so.”

The nearly $19,511 project was accomplished with help from volunteers and Boy Scout Troop 75, French said. The trustee thanked his colleagues, the Bristolville Fire Department, which helped blocked traffic during the moving process, and supporters who donated about $4,000.

French said the project was the beginning and restoration would continue in Bristolville Center.

“We would like to see an original tongue-and-groove floor in the barber shop,” he said.

He also hinted that the naming of the century village or the road leading to it might be future considerations.