Alvah Chisholm - Assistant to the President of American Steel and Wire
12717 Lake Shore Boulevard
Following a world tour, Alvah Chisholm entered the Cleveland Rolling Mill Co. in 1894, a business developed in 1857 by his grandfather, Henry Chisholm. The company was incorporated as Chisholm, Jones, and Company to reroll worn rails.
In 1858, Andros B. Stone, brother of Amasa Stone, bought into the firm, which became the Stone, Chisholm & Jones Company, which produced iron rails. The firm built the first blast furnace in Cleveland in 1861. In November 1863, the company reorganized to become the Cleveland Rolling Mill Company.
In 1868 the company installed a pair of Bessemer converters and started using them to produce steel. During the 1870s, the company made various types of wire products at the mill. In 1881 the company built Central Furnaces plant near the Cuyahoga River to produce pig iron.
For Independence Day 1876, Henry Chisholm, on behalf of Cleveland Rolling Mill, erected a 168-foot flagstaff near the Public Square center. 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 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.
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 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.
American Steel and Wire Company took over the company in 1899, after which 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.
Alvah and Adele had five children: Adele (Eells), was born on September 11, 1897; Alvah Stone Jr., was born on January 6, 1899; 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 Colonial Dames of America, the Women’s City club, the Intown Club plus the Women’s National Republican Club of New York. An art patron, Mrs. Chisholm, was a committee member who 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 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.
Alvah was a trustee of Babies’ Dispensary and Hospital, University School, and the YWCA. He was very active in philanthropic work, primarily 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.