Alvah Chisholm - Assistant to the President of American Steel and Wire
12717 Lake Shore Boulevard
Following a world tour, Alvah Chisholm entered the employ of the Cleveland Rolling Mill Co. in 1894, a business purchased in 1857 by his grandfather, Henry Chisholm. Henry was a simple man, unspoiled by wealth, and a friend to the employees.
For Independence Day 1876, Henry Chisholm, on behalf of Cleveland Rolling Mill, erected a 168-foot flagstaff near the center of the Public Square. The pole, made of Bessemer steel, was said to be the first of its kind ever erected.
When Henry Chisholm died on May 9, 1881, employees laid down their tools and went home saddened. His passing was a blow to them and to the entire city. William Chisholm, Alvah’s father, became president after Henry died. About 150 men were employed at the time producing about 50 tons of railroad iron daily.
The business grew until the works covered thirty acres of ground and the products included Bessemer steel, iron, and steel rails and fastenings, spring steel and wire of all kinds, steel horseshoes, tires, axles and other forgings, boilerplate, galvanized and black sheet iron, corrugated roofing, and siding.
Locomotives and railcars, all owned by the company, were used in transporting their products. It produced 110,000 tons of steel and iron rails annually and 21,000 tons of wire. It had its own mines in the Lake Superior region of Michigan. It ranked as one of the great industries of Cleveland in the years following the Civil war.
The company was taken over by American Steel and Wire Company in 1899 whereupon Alvah Chisholm became assistant to the president until his death.
Alvah Stone Chisholm Sr. was born in Chicago, Illinois on November 13, 1871, the son of William and Mary Stone Chisholm. His family moved to 3618 Euclid Avenue when he was eight years old. Early education in Cleveland schools prepared him to graduate from Yale in 1893 with a Bachelor of Arts degree.
Alvah married Adele Corning on November 24, 1896. She was born July 17, 1874, the daughter of Warren and Mary Helen Corning. Adele was educated in Farmington, Connecticut. She was a member of the Colonial Dames of America and the Intown Club. The couple had five children: Adele (Eells) born on September 11, 1897, Alvah Stone Jr. was born on January 6, 1899, and William Chisholm II was born on December 29, 1901, Helen (Halle) born on February 2, 1906, and Corning was born on July 18, 1914. William and Corning attended Bratenahl School.
Adele volunteered for the Red Cross during World War I. She was a member of The Country, Chagrin Valley Country, Kirtland Country, and Women’s City clubs plus the Women’s National Republican Club of New York. An art patron, Mrs. Chisholm was a member of a committee that donated a painting to Mrs. John F. Kennedy when the White House was being refurbished in 1962. A “Mountain Glimpse” was by Jasper Cropsey, a 19th-century artist.
Alvah Chisholm was elected to Bratenahl Village Council in 1910 and served through 1919.
Alvah also took a leading role in banking as a director of the National Bank of Commerce and the Citizens Savings and Trust Company. He was also a director of American Mining Co., Cleveland and Buffalo Transit Co., Cleveland Builders’ Supply Co., Kelly Island Lime and Transport Company, Standard Sewing Machine Company, and the Standard Land Company. He was also vice-president and director of Newburgh & South Railroad Co. and Pennsylvania and Lake Erie Dock Company.
He was a trustee of Babies’ Dispensary and Hospital, University School, and the YWCA. He was very active in philanthropic work largely centered in the Red Cross, The Associated Charities, and the Welfare Federation of Cleveland. During World War I, he captained teams in the War Chest, Red Cross, Y.M.C.A. and Liberty Loan drives. He served as Bratenahl councilman from 1912 to 1919.
Social memberships included The Country, Cleveland Athletic, East End Tennis, Hunt, Mayfield Country, Roadside, Tavern, and Union clubs.
Alvah Chisholm died on August 20, 1919, from heart disease while playing tennis at the East End Tennis Club in Cleveland. Adele died on June 13, 1967. Both are buried in Lake View Cemetery.