349 Main Street: The Michael Mahan house
349 Main Street

he earliest recorded deed for this property was in 1858, when the heirs of William L. Way sold it to Franklin A. Risdon, a blacksmith. It was originally part of the land William Babcock bought from Morris F. Sheppard in 1814, and had been acquired by Way, presumably as a rental property, as early as the 1830s.

Cleveland thought Risdon built the place, and he may have done. However, a house was shown on the site on the 1854 wall map of the village as a tenant house. J.W. Randall is shown as the occupant in 1857.

At the time he bought the lot in 1858 Risdon was already living there, and his shop was in the shed to the rear. He sold it in 1862 to James S. Powell, another blacksmith who was the son of John Powell, one of the settlement’s earliest practitioners of this art. Powell sold the lot only two years later to Michael Mahan, yet another blacksmith, whose name was about as often spelled Meehan, so presumably that is how it was pronounced. The family held onto the property until well into the 20th century; his estate sold it to his daughter Julia in 1909, and she was still shown as the occupant in a directory of 1946.

This was a very handy venue for a man working for the carriage works on the corner, or for its predecessors and rivals, as was true of many of the people in the neighborhood once the factory was started in the 1820s.

349 Main Street



Above right: The Michael Mahan house, built about 1858, probably by Franklin Risdon (who was, like Mahan after him, a blacksmith). The structure avoids the familiar architectural styles of the period, being utilitarian in origin. The back part was originally the shop of the various iron workers who lived here. The portico is a 20th-century addition.

Near right: Another view of the same house from a different angle. From a photograph in the collection of the Oliver House Museum.

People related to this lot and structure:

    Abraham Wagener
    Morris F. Sheppard
    William Babcock
    The Powells
    The Ways

Related history: