The National Historic Preservation Act was passed in 1966 but it was too late to save one of the best-known and -loved buildings in Vienna Township.
Razed in 1967
Combination Atlas Map of Trumbull County, Ohio: Compiled, Drawn and Published from Personal Examinations and Surveys (Chicago: L. H. Everts, 1874).No written primary (first-hand) evidence documents the oft-told tale that the Temperance House was used as a "station" for the Underground Railroad, a secret organization of men and women willing to aid slaves from the 1820s through the 1850s in their flights to freedom in Canada. Oral tradition in the late twentieth century (and not traceable to any earlier era) recounts that escaped slaves were hidden in the cellar of the Temperance House or, alternately, in the stable loft. Even local newspapers, such as the Warren Tribune-Chronicle, reported the building's use as an Underground Railroad station and an earlier construction date (see June 9, 196,7 article, below) The 1871-1872 construction date of the Temperance House disproves this myth.
A product of the national temperance movement throughout the nineteenth century, the hotel did not sell or allow the consumption of intoxicating beverages on its premises after it was constructed (on the site of the Township's first schoolhouse). The building's construction date is 1871, based on a letter to the editor of the Western Reserve Chronicle (below, left) discussing the completion of a new building constructed on the site of Vienna School Number 1. The Temperance House was called a "new hotel" in a letter from Vienna resident published on July 10, 1872, in the Western Reserve Chronicle (excerpted below, right).
The hotel was for a time a stagecoach stop between Cleveland and Pittsburgh. The building accommodated twenty guests. Its livery stable and barn housed housed eight horses (see advertisement below, which appeared in the Western Reserve Chronicle on May 28, 1873.).
The building was financed and constructed by Vienna businessman and entrepreneur Ira B. Mackey, Sr., and was owned and operated for a time by his younger brother Tensard D. Mackey. The hotel changed ownership throughout the latter half of the nineteenth century and was used as a family dwelling and as a restaurant. Besides Ira B. Mackey, Jr. and Tensard D. Mackey, the property's owners included John Roy, William and George Terry, Era H. Mackey, Mary Fuller, Margaret Treat, and James and Jennie Nolan.
In the 1920s Claude Hull purchased the property. He called it the Country Grille and served beer. The Hull family owned the business for about thirty-five years. Claude Hull died in 1961 and his Russell assumed the business until the building was razed in 1967. During its last years the business was called Hull House.
The Temperance Movement
The temperance movement was one of several national social and religious reform movements sweeping through the United States from the 1820s to the beginning of the Civil War. Moderation, not abstinence, was the immediate goal of the many temperance societies established at that time. Citizens of Trumbull County formed a temperance society in 1826. In January 1853 the Ohio Women's Temperance Society was formed.
Women in particular were advocates of temperance. Alcohol was blamed for crime, illness, poverty, and domestic abuse, and public drunkenness was perceived as a widespread problem and threat to women. Temperance houses, such as Tensard D. Mackey's establishment, were considered safer for families and for women travelers in this era. These businesses also became symbols of middle-class respectability in the communities in which they were located. Indeed, Vienna was one of the stops of the temperance lecturer Sarah A. Shepard in 1857.
The Temperance House building appears in this photograph of a Vienna Home Day in the early 1960s.
At this time the building was owned by Russell Hull and was called Hull House.
The temperance movement lost momentum during the Civil War (1861-1865), but again gained steam during Vienna's coal boom in the late 1860s and 1870s. Some thirty-two saloons, some mere shacks, sprang up around the mines, but other hotels located at Vienna Center had long served alcohol. On January 9, 1867, Reverend Xenophon Betts, minister of the Vienna Presbyterian Church, and Township residents established a temperance association.
The Underground Railroad
This article is adapted from Fred L. Martin and James Bradley, "A Genealogical History of Vienna," in Vienna, Ohio, "Where We Live and Let Live": Town 4, Range 2 of the Connecticut Western Reserve (Apollo, PA: Closson Press, 1999), pp. 61, 64-65, 88. Additional research added by Shirley T. Wajda, March 2012. Thanks to Bob Smith, Trumbull County Historical Society, for the Warren Tribune Chronicle article dated June 9, 1967.