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More often than we can count the Ramsayer Research Center is asked to provide information on an interesting topic concerning either Stark County or President McKinley. We are honored and consider it fun and a privilege to help these fellow researchers “Seek the Threads.” This is the story of one of our visiting researchers and her experiences here.

Hoover Evacuee Author

We were once again given the opportunity to host and help fellow sojourner, Rebecca McVay from central Indiana. We first met Rebecca and her father in 2015. She returned in 2019 to continue her search for the threads of history that tied together people in little North Canton and London, England.

Rebecca is writing a novel on the experiences of children of Hoover Company employees who worked at a branch of the company just north of London, England during World War II. Many children were brought to the United States to escape the war and placed with North Canton foster families. This is Rebecca’s third trip to Canton, Ohio to research in the Ramsayer Research Center, the North Canton Heritage Society, and the Hoover Historical Center, which is now maintained and administered by Walsh University, North Canton, Ohio.

Herb Hoover Sr. pictured here hosted at least one Thanksgiving dinner for the English evacuees in Hotel Onesto’s Ballroom. Rebecca was given the opportunity to visit the building, now known as the Onesto Lofts, located on North Cleveland Avenue and 2nd Street N.W., Canton, Ohio. Steve Coon and his team at Coon Restoration & Sealants were the people responsible for taking an old historic building in downtown Canton. Ohio and bringing it back to its former glory. Much appreciation goes to Brett Haverlick, project manager for the restoration and transformation of the historic hotel into condos. Brett is a good friend of the Ramsayer Research Center and on a Sunday morning he made a special trip from Akron, Ohio to Canton to show Rebecca the former hotel. She was immersed in a location visited by the English evacuees in the 1940’s. Rebecca walked on the same floors where these children had experienced American kindness and holiday tradition some eighty years earlier. There is much more to the story of her latest visit, but we will leave that for another time.

Mark G. Holland
February 14, 2023
McKinley Presidential Library & Museum