Snippets of Bay Village History: The Hassler Family on Bassett Road

The Hassler family – Anita, Matilda, Edna, Gertrude, Laura and J. Robert – in front of Uncle Theodore's white frame cottage. on Bassett Road.

In 1854, Grandfather Charles and Grandmother Babette Hassler lived in Dover Township, farming 35 acres of land at 28838 Lake Road on Lot No. 94. Charles (Carl in German) grew wheat and grain. Charles was from Bavaria. Not finding the soil to his liking, he moved his family to a farm in Cleveland. A son, J. Robert, and a daughter, Matilda, were born in the Lake Road house we know today as the Baker/Hassler house.

J. Robert Hassler and his wife, Anna, raised daughters Laura, Edna, Gertrude and son, Robert C., in Cleveland. The children's great-uncle, Theodore Liebrich, Babette’s brother, owned 25 acres of land at 379 Bassett Road in Dover Township, buying the property in 1875. (These acres, part of Lot No. 93, once were owned by Christopher Saddler.) Uncle Theodore had a white frame cottage on his property. The family enjoyed summering with him, picking peaches and apples from the extensive orchards behind the yellow barn.

In 1910, Uncle Theodore passed away, his lands and cottage passing to J. Robert. In 1914, the Hassler family moved from Cleveland to the Village of Bay and took up permanent residency at 379 Bassett Road. Grandfather Charles and J. Robert’s sister, Matilda, lived with the family at the time. Uncle Theodore’s cottage was moved back by the barn and a new house was built for them by the road. J. Robert, being retired, continued the hobby of growing peaches and apples and general gardening on the land as did Robert C. (Today, the orchard is Bay High School.)

Laura Hassler was a single, intelligent, and educated lady. Laura taught German at Lincoln and Rhodes high schools. Laura lived the rest of her life in this house with her sisters, Edna and Gertrude, also teachers, along with brother, Robert C., a lumber salesman, and his daughter, Helen. Robert C.’s wife died while giving birth to Helen and the family was devastated. Robert C. made the decision to live with his sisters on Bassett Road so Helen would have a motherly influence in her life.

The Hasslers were philanthropists. J. Robert and Anna Hassler were founding members of Fairview Hospital. One of their concerns was for young women to receive guidance and care during pregnancy and birthing. In 1892, the Society for the Christian Care of the Sick and Needy was established by several congregations of the Reformed Church, now the United Church of Christ. A mostly German-speaking congregation at the time, they were concerned with the deplorable conditions that prevailed. A plate was passed and $4.73 was collected becoming the first financial underwriting supporting the organization.

Laura and Robert C. would continue in financially supporting the institution the rest of their lives. In 1981, the Hassler Center for Family Medicine was opened directly across the street from the present Fairview Hospital. After Laura’s death the name of the building was changed.

Laura and Robert C. established the Hassler Scholarship Fund at Bay High School to encourage young adults to finish high school and go on to college. Twenty-five thousand dollars was entrusted to the Bay Village Board of Education in 1976. The first scholarship was awarded in 1978.

Laura Hassler died at age 103 in 1988. The Hassler family is buried in Lakeside Cemetery. The house is still standing at 379 Bassett Road. The barn burned down not that long ago.

kay laughlin

I am the Historian for the Bay Village Historical Society. Member and Past President of the society. Lived in the village since 1936.

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Volume 8, Issue 2, Posted 10:03 AM, 01.19.2016