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Medina woman trying to save historic house from bulldozer

Posted at 6:01 PM, Mar 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-01 19:56:45-05

MEDINA, Ohio — A Medina woman is trying to stop an historic house from having a date with a bulldozer.

The house, located at 346 N. Huntington Street, is in the process of being purchased by the Medina City School District from a private owner for $65,000.

The plan is for the district to tear down the house and then trade the land for property known as the Bowman House on Bowman Lane, currently owned by the city but rented to the district for special-needs students.

If the deal is finalized, the district would then take ownership of the Bowman House, and city officials would use the space created by the razed Huntington property to build a larger parking lot for Mellert Park.

"There's not enough parking and then it has to spill over in the side streets, so we're thinking we could get much more use of the park with the extended parking," said Medina Mayor Dennis Hanwell.

However, Suzanne Sharpe, who is part of the Bankers Row Historic Neighborhood Association, is trying to save the house, which dates back to the 1830s.

"That's one of the oldest pioneer homes in Medina city," Sharpe said. "The value of this house was $250 in 1840."

Sharp also referenced a book written by Gloria Brown called "Medina: Images of America."

According to the book, Sophia Huntington Parker lived in the farmhouse. In her will, she stipulated that the 86-acre farm should go to any group that would build a home for aged women.

In the early 1900s, part of the property would become the Pythian Sisters Home. That building was torn down to make way for senior citizens apartments in 2017.

Sharpe said she wants to explore options to preserve the remaining historic farmhouse.

"Moving the house could be a possibility. If you think about it, we could move the house to a different location in the park. Why couldn't we think of using it for the community?" she asked.

Hanwell isn't sure how much it would cost to move the old house, but doesn't think it would come cheap.

"Sometimes the cost of preserving it versus the benefit of it is what comes into question," Hanwell said. "If it can be moved and preserved somewhere, I'm all for that."

Hanwell said the earliest the house could be torn down would be 2020.

Both the city and the school district are willing to give Sharpe more time to look for ways to save the house, and she intends to keep fighting.

"Because one by one, these historic homes are disappearing," she said.