The above picture will recall many incidents to the minds of the early settlers of Steuben County, and no doubt be of interest to the people of a later generation.
In 1836 Cornelius Gilmore and Thomas Gale came to what is now the town of Angola and Steuben County, which was then included under the name of Lagrange County. Mr Gale was a member of the state legislature and it was through him that Steuben County was set off and later the site of Angola located. To secure the location of the county seat on the land they had entered, these gentlemen agreed to give necessary land for county buildings and build a court house. The land was entered by them jointly, April 4, 1836 and there came a day when it was necessary to divide their possessions. This division was made June 28, 1838, and the town plotted the same date. What is now Wayne Street was chosen as the diving line, and in casting lots the east half fell to Mr. Gale and the west half to Mr. Gilmore. It was further understood that when the county commissioners selected the site for the county buildings, which they had a right to do, the one from whose land the selection was made was to deed the other half as much land, so Mr. Gale this came into possession of land where Gillis' store and the Jackson block are now located.
When Gilmore came here in 1836, he built a bark shanty at the east side of what is now known as the public square and the same year on the site of the Eureka, shown in the picture, he erected a tamarack building which he occupied as a residence. Mr. Gale came later the same year and began erection of the Bee Hive that stood where Hotel Hendry is now located, hauling the lumber from Lagrange. The result of casting lots gave Mr. Gale the tamarack building, so Mr. Gilmore built another house just north of where is now the Christian Church, and Gale occupied the tamarack house with a general stock of goods consisting of articles needed by the early settlers, not the least in demand being quinine. In 1841 Mr Gale tore down the tamarack shanty and erected the west half of the building shown as the Eureka, extending to the east side of the door on the north, and and moved to it from the Bee Hive, the first frame house built in Angola. About 1843, Mr Gale added four rooms, first and second story and wood shed to the east of the building, and at a latter date, about 1855, it was extended on the east by James Jackson, to Martha Street, the second story being used as a dance hall and the lower rooms for stores. The building was opened as a hotel and christened the "Eureka, "in 1851, the first landlord being an Englishman by the name of Moody. The addition on the south was built was built later and used as a dining room. The entire building was destroyed by fire July 6th, 1866, the fire originating in the back part of a grocery in the east half of the building, the fire occurring about three o'clock in the morning.
The next building on the south was formerly located on East Maumee Street, near McCartney's present home, where it was occupied by the Republican, and moved office and all, to the place shown in the picture, in 1860, and at the time of the fire was occupied by J. A. Woodhull. It was not destroyed by the fire and is now situated on Martha street and occupied by Thomas Whitwell. The brick building was erected by Dr. C.D. Rice, and was occupied by L.E. Carver as a drug store. It is now occupied by F.E. Burt. Many of our readers will remember how quickly the stock of drugs, including a few bottles of Hostetter's Bitters, was removed from the building.
The small old building at the front of the picture was built by Gale and Gilmore in 1837, located just east of where our present courthouse now stands, and occupied by Dr. James McConnell, the first county clerk. It was used for this purpose until the old courthouse was completed in 1849. It was then moved to the east side of the public square where it was rented for various purposes, the sign over the door at the time when this picture was taken, being, "J. Carpenter, Grocery Store." When the news was received in Angola that Richmond had fallen, the old building was pushed onto the public square and burned, while people cheered over the victory.
The sign at the rear of this old building is the one that guided travelers toe the Eldorado Hotel, now the Russel House. Dr. LaDue built a part of this house at a very early date and when "Angola" was chosen as the name of the town, he was so indignant tat he painted the building black.
On the right of the picture is a little one story brick building built by the county in 1855 as an office for the county clerk, recorder, and auditor, and was used by them until the present new courthouse was commenced, the treasure's office being movable property, and located at least in five different places in town. The old county building was bought by Henry J. Twichell, and used in the construction of the dwelling now owned by William Potter in the northeast part of town.
Note -- We are under obligation to Mrs. A.W. Hendry, (Louisa Gale) who came here with her father, Thomas Gale, in the early days, for most of the facts.
Steuben Republican June 13, 1900 Page 1