The vanished streets of Oberlin

Today, the intersection of Groveland and Spring Streets is used to access the bike path and Oberlin Community Garden. But 100 years ago, it would have been the intersections of Spring Street, Frankfort Street, and Railroad Street, two of which don’t exist anymore.


On a sleepy Sunday morning, Bashshar Wiley drove around town looking for the lost streets of Oberlin.

As an Oberlin police officer, he spends 40 hours a week patrolling the neighborhood and has come to know the nooks and crannies of town like the back of his hand — until he came across old maps that detail Oberlin’s streets in a way he’d never seen.

Some roads no longer exist at all.

Armed with a natural curiosity and maps dating back to 1874, Wiley compiled a list of streets that have drastically changed over the last 100 years.

Frankfort Street ran east and westbound between Water Street —which is modern-day South Park Street— and Spring Street. Although Frankfort Street still appears just to the south of Groveland Street on some maps, today it’s a private driveway for the residents at 173 South Park St.

Railroad Street was located north of Sumner Street and ran parallel with the city’s old railroad tracks. It was accessed by Water Street and the intersection of Mechanic and Spring streets.

Mechanic Street, to the west of Water Street, would become Locust Street, and to the east would become Frankfort Street.

On Oct. 25, 1926, a homicide took place at a residence on the corner of Railroad Street and Spring Street when Chester Durham was allegedly shot and killed by William Whiteside after a drunken disagreement over money during a card game.

It’s neat to see how things have changed and evolved over the years,” Wiley said. “There was a murder on a street that doesn’t even exist anymore.”

A bike path has replaced the railroad tracks. The private driveway of 225 South Park St. would have been the approximate location of the west side access to Railroad Street.

Culvert Street and Catherine Street used to be between the railroad tracks and Follett Street, neither exist today.

At one time, South Prospect Street continued south of Morgan Street, over the railroad tracks, and ended at what is currently West Hamilton Street.

Prior to the construction of the Morgan Street Reservoir, South Cedar Street, then known as West Street and later Cedar Avenue, continued south of Morgan Street and ended at Follett Street, which is modern-day Lincoln Street.

Today, South Prospect Street and South Cedar Street end at Morgan Street, followed by gravel driveways.

Penfield Street was accessed just to the south of Johnson House on South Professor Street. It also connected to Cedar Avenue and continued on the south side of the Morgan Street Reservoir to Follett Street.

By 1912, Penfield Street still existed although the sections of South Professor and South Cedar streets that ran south of Morgan Street have been removed.

Hovey Lane is now a gravel driveway access for the private residence of 234 East Lorain St. and continues north to the Oberlin High School football field.

Frank Hovey served as the Oberlin village marshal during the 1800s prior to his sudden resignation during a council meeting on May 6, 1881.

He was replaced by Constable Franklin Stone, whose line-of-duty death was the first recorded in Lorain County.