When it comes to architects the works of Charles F. Schweinfurth are well celebrated in Northeast Ohio. Trinity Cathedral on Euclid Avenue was his as was the Mather Mansion that sits a short walk away on the campus of Cleveland State University and if you've ever driven along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Cleveland through the Cultural Gardens and passed under those ornate bridges with brick underlinings you should know they were his work as well.
In all, he designed around 15 homes that made up Millionaire's Row in Cleveland, only a small sample of his work remains though as the homes were torn down at the expense of progress. But an example of what they were like still lives, it's just a short drive away in Stark County.
"It's probably a fortunate thing that this house was built where it was built," said Massillon Heritage Society President Dave Darnell outside of Schweinfurth house known as Five Oaks. "Had it been built on Euclid Avenue it'd probably be gone now also like the other ones."
The 22 room mansion was built for the McClymond family and given to the Massillon Woman's Club by the couple's daughter years ago. President William McKinley among the frequent guests to the mansion.
The woodwork, stonework and stained glass are tributes to the perfection that Schweinfurth demanded in his projects, though the years have taken their toll.
"Inside everything looks so beautiful but we've had some serious problems with water seeping in through the motor joints that have been failing," Darnell said.
The Massillon Woman's Club along with the City's Heritage Foundation have set out to raise the $800,000 they feel it will take to preserve and bring back this historical landmark, they've been able to raise about half of that with $350,000 coming from a state grant.
"We just try to help to bring in as much money as we can that helps preserve and operate this fine house that we all love," said Woman's Club President Dee Welch.
"I think we feel like the ladies did 100 years ago that we want to keep and thrive this house so that other generations can enjoy and use it just as we have," she said.
Darnell added, "we're trying right now to get the worst problems taken care of on the outside to get the building watertight."
"We'd love to get everything done as soon as possible, funds permitting and that's always the hard part," he said.