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Lakeside Heritage Trail
20. Abigail Tea Room
Abigail Tea Room Circa 1940
104 W. Third Street and 230 Central Avenue cottages 2022
The cherished Abigail Tea Room actually consisted of two joined cottages – one at 104 W. 3rd St. and other at 230 Central Ave. The original W. 3rd. cottage was one of the first nine cottages built by the Lakeside Company in 1873. In the early 1900’s, major renovations were made to the original cottage, including the addition of distinctive two-story wraparound porch. The 3rd St. side of the porch would later serve as the main entrance to the future Abigail.
The Central cottage was built by James Wallace in 1890. In contrast to the rather plain two-story rectangular-shaped W. 3rd cottage, the Wallace Cottage was an ornate Queen Ann style structure.
During 1922-1923, sisters Mary and Nora May purchased the two cottages, combined them and opened the new configuration as the Mayflower Inn. They offered home cooking, rooms with sleeping porches, electric lights and hot water. Unfortunately, they lost the inn to foreclosure in 1928. Operation continued under the Oberlin Savings Bank, with a series of people serving as manager. In 1933, Abigail Spaulding assumed management of the Mayflower Inn and changed its name to the Abigail Tea Room.
In 1937, Edith Martin took over the management for Oberlin Savings. This was the beginning of a 70 year family commitment to operating and later owning the Abigail Tea Room. For four generations, the Martin family was the collective heart and soul of the Abigail. Edith, her husband Nate, daughter Betty, son Bob and his wife Ruth greeted and cooked for guests each summer, six days a week (never on Monday!) for years. Through the years, other family members could be found waiting and setting tables, helping cooking and washing dishes.
As family members aged, operations were passed on to the next generations with Edith’s grandsons, Ladd and Shel taking ownership in 1987. The Abigail Tea Room’s long and treasured history came to an end when its doors were closed and the building was sold in 2007. During its life, hundreds of Lakesiders served as staff, while thousands of guests enjoyed a summer meal on Abigail’s vine covered porches. Many will remember Elva Thomas, hostess who greeted every guest for over 30 years.
In 2010, David and Pamela Hottenroth purchased the Abigail building. David, an architect specializing in historical restoration and preservation, undertook an extensive renovation that again separated the two original cottages. Each was then meticulously rebuilt and restored to its Victorian appearance. Both were winterized for year-around use and furnished with modernized interior features. Today, they are private residences.