Gene Williams

by James Lee Price

In 1859 Charles Warner came to settle in Monroe. He opened a blacksmith shop on Main

Street, to accommodate the horse traffic running from Cincinnati to Columbus. In 1861,

Marion Warner was born to the Warner family. The family home was located where the

new Monroe Museum is located, at 10 East Elm Street. He also operated a successful

general store across the street, at the corner of Elm and Main Streets. When his general

store was remodeled into the Monroe National Bank (now First Financial), he built a

new general store next to his house at 2 East Elm. We now call it the 1910 Building.

Marion Warner’s hobby was photography, but he continued to run the general store. His

son Carl moved to Cincinnati. His daughter, Nell Warner never married, but eventually

became the owner and operator of the General Store at 2 East Elm (the 1910 Building).

Let’s back up to 1879 for a moment. In 1879, Clarence (Boone) Warner was born (18

years younger than his brother, Marion). Boone continued his father’s blacksmith

business at the site of the new city building. In 1941, the Lee Price family moved to 34

Butler Avenue in Monroe. James Lee Price, the present owner of the 1910 Building was

born in August 1941. On 7 December 1941, Japan started WW II. At the time, Lee

Price worked at ARMCO, at the East Works Pipe Shop. On 8 April 1943, Lee Price was

presented with the George M. Verity Medal For Outstanding Service to War Production.

In 1944, Lee Price was drafted into the U.S. Army. Lee Price came home for Christmas

after his basic training and was stationed to Germany in January 1945. Lee Price was

killed in action on 8 April 1945. 30 days later, on 8 May 1945, V.E. Day was declared,

thus ending the War in Europe. Mary Lee Price was born on 25 September 1945, nine

months after her father was sent to fight and die for his country in Germany. In 1946,

Earl C. Marshall came home to Monroe after World War II. Earl’s father was the

Minister of the Monroe Methodist Church from 1911 – 1914. Earl Marshall purchased

the 1910 General Store from Nell Warner in February 1946 for the sum of $2000, as

advised by her brother, Carl Warner, in Cincinnati. Nell’s deed restrictions were simple:


PREMISES. Earl Marshall remodeled the store to include a soda fountain with a counter

and eight stools. Nell Warner still lived at 10 E. Elm. The Warner barn was at the site of

the AT&T telephone building. A small shed was at the back of her lot, next to the alley.

In 1954, Mary Lou Price, the widow of Lee Price, and mother of Jim and Mary Lee, was

married to Earl Marshall. When Jim went into Monroe High School, Earl put him to

work at the General Store, as a soda jerk until he graduated and went on to Ohio State

University in 1959. David Marshall was born to Earl and Mary Lou in August 1959.

Earl Marshall died of cancer in September 1960. Mary Lou Price Marshall tried to keep

the store operating, but could not. She sold the business to Bob Thompson and he

named the store “The Hornet’s Nest”. In 1964 Nell Warner died. Her nephew put her

house up for sale by sealed bid auction. Mary Lou still had Earl’s $10,000 G.I. Life

insurance and decided to bid the money on Nell’s property. She was the highest bidder..

The only other bidder was Dr Boyd, who lived on the other side of Nell. In 1965 Nell’s

house was in bad shape, beyond repair and was demolished. The shed in Nell’s back

yard contained a lot of “JUNK”. Imagine the surprise when Jim Price found several

boxes of glass, thought to be small window panes. Closer inspection revealed they were

5 X 7 glass negatives for photographs taken of the Monroe area by Marion Warner

around 1900 (a real honest-to-goodness treasure hidden in plain sight). They were

donated to the Monroe Historical Society for safe keeping. Boyd Smith, Marshall Mehl,

and Joe Ihle reviewed and catalogued the negatives. Many of the photos are on display at

the museum and can be seen in the book, “MONROE”. In 1967 the Monroe Historical

Society was incorporated into a non-profit organization. In 1969 Bob Thompson sold the

“Hornet’s Nest” and it was converted into a pizza shop. In 1973, the pizza shop closed

and “Almeda’s Fashion Shop” was opened. In 1975 the 1910 Building was leased to the

village of Monroe for office space and Mayor’s Court. In 1977 David Marshall went to

Southern Methodist College on a football scholarship. Mary Lou Price Marshall needed

extra money and tried to sell both lots. Mary Lou offered to sell the property to the

telephone company, but they declined. In 1990, the 1910 Building lease was terminated

by the village of Monroe. Mary Lou was preparing to lease the building again when Dr

James Anderson, then president of the Monroe Historical Society, asked Mary Lou if she

would lease the property to the Historical Society. In April 1990, the lease was signed.

The 1910 Building Museum was dedicated on 4 July 1990. Mary Lou died of cancer in

October 1991. In 1992 the 1910 Building and corner lots were deeded to James Price,

after purchasing the shares of his sister and brother. Major repairs followed in the next

few years, a new roof, new siding, and new windows. In 1998, Joyce Tannreuther, then

president of the Historical Society, spoke to Jim Price about the need for more room

. The vacant lot was donated by Jim Price to the Historical Society. Jim retired from

General Electric in December 1998. Prior to donating the vacant lots, the Monroe

Historical Society was approved by the G.E. Foundation for their Matching Funds

Program in May 1999. The lots were donated in July 1999 and the Society received

about $20,000 in G.E. Matching Funds. The deed to the lots has several Use Restrictions

in that the property can only be used for the preservation of Monroe’s history and no

commercial use “Forever”. In 2000, fundraising and planning started for the new

Chickahominy House style building, similar to the one in Williamsburg, Virginia.

With Joyce Tannreuther as president, Elbert Tannreuther as City Mayor, Bob Youtsler as

fund raising chairman, and Tom Faulkner as contractor coordinator, the new building

activity flew. Fund raising was huge. 51 cash donations of more than $500 and 42

materials donations of more than $500 were received from the community, plus our

beautiful “sidewalk brick” donations. Construction was completed at 10 East Elm in

December 2001. All construction bill were paid and $8000 was put into a “future

maintenance fund” with the Monroe Community Foundation. In 2004, the Historical

Society Board of Directors chose to start renovation of the 1910 Building, to reflect the

“General Store” that it was in years gone by. A plan was designed and defined with the

work accomplished as available fund raising allowed. In April 2009, the 1910 Building

“General Store” opened for business, allowing our community and visitors to step into

the past, to see much of what our forefathers dealt with and bought each day.

(from Gene Williams)
Many thanks and congratulations to Jim Price on this history of a very influential part of

our past, and his ongoing protection of this important part of our local history. We will

be formally celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the 1910 Building in the near future,

plus celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War, so stay tuned for more exciting


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