Hellers played big role early

The Heller family played vital roles in the history of Napoleon, especially in the cityís business climate.

Published:†Northwest Signal, Monday, April 28, 2014

(Reprinted with permission of the Northwest Signal)

Editorís note: This year will mark the 180th anniversary of Napoleon. The Henry County Historical Society is partnering with the Northwest Signal to provide historical profiles of early Napoleon businesses.

Heller BlockToday for our historic business profile, we would like to feature the Heller family. The Heller family played vital roles in the history of Napoleon.

(The photo at left is the historic Heller Block in downtown Napoleon) (Click to enlarge)

Letís start with the home located on the corner of Washington and Webster streets. The original portion of the house was built by Washington L. Heller, who happened to be the great great grandfather of Graceann Heller Reese, a well known philanthropist, business woman and friend to the community.

His brother was Samuel M. Heller, who eventually willed his home on the corner of Clinton and Scott streets for a hospital. Many of us here in Napoleon and Henry County were born in Heller Memorial Hospital, which is now occupied by Family Video. S.M. Heller was also responsible for the development of the Heller-Aller Co., a windmill factory.

While many of the Hellers were merchants and landowners, Graceannís great grandfather, Russell B. Heller, and her grandfather were more into retail. They were responsible for the hardware store downtown at 122 W Washington St. Many of us also remember Watson-Lash Hardware and Gift Shop, as well as the toy store upstairs.

This business was once owned by Ben and Graceann Reese.† As we stand on Washington Street today, we can see the name R. B. Heller spanning a stretch of buildings, representing our past, being used in the present, and hopefully remaining a part of our future.

(Information courtesy of Russ Patterson and the Henry County Historical Society.)