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FRIENDS OF KENT WELLS - SHERMAN HOUSE

REPORT TO THE KENT CITY COUNCIL March 30, 2012

This report includes Addenda referencing the following: -History -Letter of Support from Kent Historical Society -Home Repair Resource Center -Preservation Consultant Report and Robison Commentary -Movability and Quote from Stein House Movers.


FRIENDS OF KENT WELLS - SHERMAN HOUSE "Dr. Sherman, Pioneering Physician" Arthur J. Trory, Photograph Collection KSU Special Collections, Box 6, Photograph 15

Mayor and Council City of Kent 217 E. Summit Street Kent, Ohio 44240 Dear Mayor and Council, The citizens of Kent (including Kent State University) have a once in a lifetime opportunity to preserve a building that has major historical significance, the Kent Wells Sherman House. To this end, a growing group of supporters have founded a friends group and enlisted support from the Kent Historical Society to find a suitable site and use for this structure. Associated with the Kent family for whom our town is named and who donated the land for the original Kent Normal College, we strongly believe this fine example of Greek Revival Architecture deserves a prominent place on the soon constructed Esplanade-Great lawn. The attached report provides details why this is so and proposes how to achieve this. Inn summary we respectfully ask the following from the Kent City Council: 1. That you endorse in principle, the objective of preserving this house, 2. That you guide our City Manager and staff to collaborate with the University, Kent Historical Society and our group to achieve this end, 3. That the city and university make a relatively small investment to the effort by providing land, utilities, technical assistance, monetary support and in-kind resources for its relocation and installation on a foundation. For our part, the Friends of the Kent Wells-Sherman house,(Friends) with the support of the Kent Historical Society, will, assuming no interest for the University or City to own the structure, take responsibility for ownership, restoration, and management of the property. We will raise the funds through private, not-for profit and public grants, and work with the City and the University to find uses that are agreeable to the City and University. We understand that the only way this makes sense is for us to develop a strong building pro-forma that will provide for the long term care and maintenance of the structure. We hope that you can, after reviewing our proposal in detail, pass a resolution that includes the three items above. Sincerely, Friends of the Kent-Wells-Sherman House Sally Burnell, Kathleen Chandler, Doug Fuller, Rick Hawksley, Alan Orashan, Jon Ridinger, Tim Simandl, Roger Thurman,

FRIENDS OF KENT-WELLS SHERMAN HOUSE Photos by Brad Bolton unless otherwise indicated

, Tracy Wallach

REPORT TO THE KENT CITY COUNCIL

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THE PEOPLE OF KENT (KSU) HAVE A UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY The recent discovery of the Kent-Wells-Sherman house is a rare opportunity to recover and interpret the history the pioneering period of our community. This structure, like no other structure currently preserved in our city or on campus, links us to the Founding of our Town and our University. It also dovetails with the culmination of more than three decades of effort to re-integrate the university to the downtown. A fine example of Greek Revival Architecture, once common in the Connecticut Western Reserve, in its time the Kent-Wells-Sherman House stood as an impressive structure on the corner of Erie and South Water. In the early part of the 20th century it was relocated to its present location. Its connection to the Kent Family, who was instrumental to both the development of our city and the location of the university, makes it an embodiment of both our history and our aspirations.

Notations added by Kent Resident Jon Ridinger

1. WE BELIEVE THIS STRUCTURE SHOULD BE GIVEN A PROMINENT LOCATION ON THE ESPLANADE In its present location it is in the way of the planned Esplanade extension, but we believe that its scale, proportion, detailing and history require it to be placed in a prominent location. Our first choice is for it to be sited due south of its current location so that it sits on the new Great Lawn and esplanade being constructed in the coming months. This location seems perfect to us because this lawn will become our village green; a meeting ground between community and campus, and developing low impact uses (this house has a footprint of only 800 SF) will help activate the space. It would be a focal point that with some well-developed landscaping would complement the campus development to the east, and focus the eye from the not so wonderful College Street neighborhood to the south. There will be a large amount of parking, if needed, just across the parkway. FRIENDS OF KENT-WELLS SHERMAN HOUSE Photos by Brad Bolton unless otherwise indicated

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PROPOSED LOCATION ON ESPLANADE (NORTH UP)

2. WE BELIEVE THIS STRUCTURE SHOULD BE USED FOR A FUNCTION THAT TEACHES OUR CITIZENS ABOUT OUR PAST AND INSPIRES THEM TO APPLY THESE LESSONS TO WORK TOWARDS A SUSTAINABILE FUTURE. WE ALSO SEE IT AS A PLACE WHERE THE UNIVERSITY AND COMMUNITY CAN COLLABORATE TOWARDS THESE ENDS.

We feel strongly that this structure should find a use that will enable the public to engage in the history of its making, the life of people of that era, and to serve as a place where individuals and community groups can find inspiration for the future of our city and university. To this end, assuming that the University does not want to own it, we propose that either the city or a local not for profit be granted a land lease with restrictions by the university. DKC, our friends group (with assistance) or TransPortage, a newly formed 501c3 working on sustainability issues, all could potentially be helpful in this regard. Many ideas have been floated for uses, but it seems to us that a mix of university, city and community uses would function well in this new meeting place. The objective would be to FRIENDS OF KENT-WELLS SHERMAN HOUSE Photos by Brad Bolton unless otherwise indicated

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have uses that inform, inspire and initiate dialog. Some of the ideas include; a small museum room, office of the university liaison, a meeting room on the ground level for community use, and offices for local not for profits working on sustainability such as TransPortage and Kent Environmental Council. We have only begun working on this issue so we are open to creative ideas that will contribute to the joint efforts of the university and community to improve our neighborhoods. In this regard, a complimentary vision would be to use this house as a living/learning workshop for the community to learn skills for restoration of the fantastic historic building stock in our neighborhoods, similar to Home Repair Resource Center in Cleveland Heights. (See Addendum) These centers are cropping up all over the country as we increasingly learn that there is a tremendous resource in our historic neighborhoods that can be revitalized to create a prosperous and ecologically sound community. This center could be an opportunity for Kent State Architecture students to learn preservation skills and serve the community. It can also spur on economic development as a large number of the next generation of knowledge workers will work out of their homes and desire pedestrian and bicycle friendly neighborhoods. A basement level could also be developed and leased to a use such as a bicycle rental or other use to help meet the costs of maintenance, such as was accomplished with the AGW Depot (IE:Pufferbelly.) TABLE OF POSSIBLE USES First Floor

KSU

CITY OF KENT

501C3

PRIVATE

Meeting Room

Meeting Room

Meeting Room

Second Floor

Office of KSU-Kent Liaison or Neighborhood Restoration Services

Meeting Room Museum Offices for center for sustainability non profits

Basement

Center for Neighborhood restoration See, A DESCRIPTIVE AND HISTORIC OVERVIEW for plans of the building.

Possible rental office if needed, perhaps short term to help with finances Possible rental space for bike rental, etc.

In the spirit of partnership, we hope that we can form a long term relationship between the city, university and local citizens sector organizations that will create unforeseen synergies. The commitment of the city and the university in providing upfront support could therefore be considered a strategic investment. Developing a joint use program and lease with zero payments for several years would help the city and university offset their initial investment, should that be desired.

FRIENDS OF KENT-WELLS SHERMAN HOUSE Photos by Brad Bolton unless otherwise indicated

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PRELIMINARY PRESERVATION PLAN AND POTENTIAL PARTNERS 1. Due to the recent discovery and the schedule of the work on the Great Lawn, we understand that the building needs to be relocated in the coming months. Given this reality, at the very lease we need to find a way to move this building on a temporary basis until a permanent location can be agreed upon. We have procured a bid from Stein House Movers to relocate the structure temporarily to either a site adjacent to the currently stored May Prentice House, or at the dead end of College Street. This cost, including putting it up on blocks and boarding up the base would be $15,000. (it is assumed that the demolition of the basement and utilities and removal of furnace and hot water heater would be by others.) The cost of moving the house to a new foundation in the proposed location would be $12,000. These costs are relatively low, based on moving the house in close vicinity and not needing to relocate overhead utilities. They do not include cost savings to the University for not demolishing the building. We therefore ask that the University and City cover the costs of temporary relocation. 2. We would like to be able to put the building on a foundation in the proposed location as early in the year as possible, in order to be able to begin documentation and restoration this fall. This would enable us to have the building presentable by the time the Esplanade is opened for public use. In order to do this, we would ask that the city and University cover the costs of site utilities, foundation, and final move, as well as donate a site. Rick Hawksley, Architect, estimates that the foundation could cost $35,000. Site utilities costs are not known at this time. If the University and City are willing to cover these costs, and agree to help us seek grants as appropriate, the Friends, supported by KHS will be responsible for all other costs associated for the restoration, rehabilitation, operations, management and maintenance of the building. (Assuming that we would own it.) Below is a table that outlines relationships and responsibilities for the project.

Table of Relationships and Responsibilities ITEM DATE City-KSU-FKWSH agreement on April site and legalities May RELOCATE house to temporary May/June Site Site planning/utility April/May thinking/engineering/surveying Build Foundation/Site 7/2012 FRIENDS OF KENT-WELLS SHERMAN HOUSE Photos by Brad Bolton unless otherwise indicated

COST

$15,000 Not Known $35,000 plus in kind Utilities

PARTNERS KHS, FKWSH,KSU, CITY OF KENT, City of Kent Kent State University City of Kent, KSU, Friends City of Kent/KSU

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Move House to Foundation

Early Fall 2012

12,000 Bid from Stein‌does not include demotion of basement and utilities.

Building Forensics/Documentation

Summer/Fall

Remove Siding/Selective demolition of interior. Lead Paint Abatement

Summer/Fall

Exterior Repair/Reconstruction

F-2012- S2013 2013-14

Fall 2012

25,000 to $200,000 Interior Renovation/Restoration $50,000 to $200,000 Obviously this is preliminary thinking, subject to collaboration.

KSU/City of Kent

KSU Architecture Students?/Friends, Others Trained Volunteers Certified Contractor/Volunteers Trained Volunteers, Sub Contractors Trained Volunteers and Contractors

It is assumed that a combination of private, foundation and government grants, along with potential leases for parts of the building, would be procured. We were alerted this week by former State Representative Chandler of a new Preservation Tax Check Off Program sponsored by the Ohio Historic Preservation Offices that will provide funds for preservation programs.

CONTINGENCIES The friends have discussed other contingencies should our vision for this location not be viable. Our first choice would be for it to be in the downtown on a public parcel, owned by the City or University, such as the current parking lot behind the courthouse. Beyond that, we would either find a private lot to purchase, a private owner to purchase or dismantle rather than demolish the structure. All of these options are far less desirable than the location recommended in this report. PIONEERS OF OUR FUTURE This preservation and re-purposing of this structure will be a significant opportunity for our community to come together in new and creative ways. Like the pioneers of old, whose legacy we hold dear, we are pioneers of our future.

FRIENDS OF KENT-WELLS SHERMAN HOUSE Photos by Brad Bolton unless otherwise indicated

REPORT TO THE KENT CITY COUNCIL

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A DESCRIPTIVE AND HISTORIC OVERVIEW

By Timothy Simandl

B.A. Greek and Roman Classical Studies (Specializing in Greek and Roman Architecture) Michigan State University 1973, M.A. Greek and Roman Classical Studies, Boston University, 1976 M.A Architectural History/Historic Preservation Michigan State University 1995 Tim also has credits in building construction from Kent State University and Building Restoration from Belmont College.

1910 Photograph with reflection of Wells-Sherman House in its original location. Photo Courtesy Roger DiPaulo Record Courier

The Kent/Sherman house (250 East Erie St., Kent, Ohio) is a two-story timber-frame Greek Revival dwelling. Originally standing where it was built in 1853 at the north-east corner of East Erie and South Water Streets in Kent, the house was removed from this site in 1924 and set upon a concrete block foundation at its present site. Its exterior and interior retain much of the original appearance and construction, making this house a rarity in present-day Kent.

Detail of Gable Light

View of North Elevation/Front

FRIENDS OF KENT-WELLS SHERMAN HOUSE Photos by Brad Bolton unless otherwise indicated

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The original exterior appearance (before the addition of the current vinyl siding) remains much the same as when the house was first built. The original exterior cladding consists of 7� corner boards running vertically the entire height of the house and of horizontal clapboard siding with 4-1/2" exposure on all four sides of the house from water table sill up to a frieze board directly below the cornice. The front elevation (24'-4" width) consists of a main entrance at the current northwest end of the front with two

View of East Side

windows on the first floor and three on the second floor, the latter all directly above the windows and front entrance on the first floor. The main entrance consists of a symmetrically placed front door flanked by three-paned vertical sidelights on either side and topped by a transom light. In the attic tympanum of the low-pitched front gable is a rectangular window, placed horizontally, containing a simple decorative design of rectangular glass panes and wooden muntins containing them. The gable cornice has two horizontal "returns" supporting the raking cornice running to the ridge of the roof. The west flank (32'-2") or side of the house has first and second story windows similar in size and shape to those of the front (present north) facade, and has identical clapboard siding and cornice mill work to the facade. The rear (south) gable elevation of the house is identical in size (24'-4") and basic shape to the front (north) gable end of the house. However, the south gable end has a different placing of windows on the first and second stories. At the east side and on the first story of the rear (south) elevation of the house is an attached enclosed rear porch, probably an addition from 1924. The attic tympanum of the south (rear) end of the house contains beneath the current vinyl siding a small double-hung sash window. As with the front (north) elevati on of the house, there are two cornice "returns" supporting the lower ends of the raking cornice of the gable. The east side (32'-2") or flank of the house has on the first floor modern, smaller windows for the kitchen and front parlor or living room; those of the second floor are the

View of West Side and Rear

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original and thus of the same size and shape as those found on the other three elevations of the house. Its siding and cornice are identical to those of the west side of the house.

A very similar entry out of a textbook: Blumenson 1977

FRIENDS OF KENT-WELLS SHERMAN HOUSE Photos by Brad Bolton unless otherwise indicated

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The interior plans of the house are as follows. The first floor of the house is supported by adzehewn 10" by 10" oak timber beam and sill construction visible in the cellar. There is a front side entrance (current north west corner of the house) with a straight-run stairway attached to the west interior wall of the entrance hallway. This stairway leads directly from first to second floor. The interior mill work of the front entrance remains largely intact although the original door was replaced in recent years by a stamped metal "cross and bible" door. The newel post of the stairway at its lowest step appears to be original, but the stairway balusters have disappeared and upright slats are now in their place. The risers and treads of the stairway appear to be original. The wall below the outer edge of this stairway retains its original plaster work on wood lath; it is uncertain, due to a limited time to examine it, as to what extent similar plaster-on-lath wall and ceiling treatment has survived throughout the remaining interior of the house. The ceiling height of the entrance hallway is the same as for all the first floor rooms--9'0". To the east of the entrance hallway is the front parlor or living room, once a full room from the front wall to the load-bearing interior wall but in recent years divided into two separate rooms with a diagonal west-to-east interior wall.

Note intact Window Paneling...Typical

The two front windows (3'-0" width by 5'-0") of this parlor retain not only their original mill work surrounds but also their finely-carved base panels below the sills (2’-0�). The baseboards for the most part seem also to be original. To the south of the entrance hall is the dining room in which the windows of the west and south walls retain largely intact their original mill work surrounds with base panels below the sills. These windows are identical in size, shape and detail to those found in the parlor. Presumably, all these windows consisted of two doublehung sashes with six pane lights per sash. To the east of the dining room is a modern full FRIENDS OF KENT-WELLS SHERMAN HOUSE Photos by Brad Bolton unless otherwise indicated

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bathroom, and beyond it is the present-day kitchen. It is likely that the original kitchen was also in this spot. A central chimney (1924 ?) runs up from the cellar through the north-west corner of the kitchen. It is likely that the original chimney (1853) was also situated at this spot; if so, it served for a cook stove in the kitchen and also for a heating stove in the parlor to the north of the kitchen. The current kitchen has a south entrance by means of the porch (1924 ?) attached to the east side of the rear elevation of the house.

Rear Entry

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The second floor of the house consists in plan of the stairwell hallway on the west side, a small room at the northwest corner (currently a full bathroom) with two bed chambers to the east of the stair well and one to the south of it. The original bed chamber to the east of the stair well has been divided by a modern wall into two separate rooms, while the bed chambers south and south-east of the stair well seem to have retained their original floor dimensions. The window surrounds. The ceiling height of all second floor rooms is consistently 9'-0". Like the original windows of the first floor, these windows were presumably double hung sash with a number of lights yet to be determined from historical documentation. FRIENDS OF KENT-WELLS SHERMAN HOUSE Photos by Brad Bolton unless otherwise indicated

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A ceiling hatch way in the south-west bedroom, located in a closet directly below the ridgepole of the roof, is accessible by ladder and gives access to the third-story attic of the house. The massive timber framing of the attic interior has two great "truss" supports running parallel to the ridgepole above and between them. These truss supports, consisting of adzehewn 10" by 10" oak beams with diagonal bracing connecting horizontal and vertical members, are joined by means of mortise and tenon which in turn are secured by wooden pegs. This truss supporting beams slant outward from the floor of the attic up to the roof purlins (rafters), supporting them at a right angle. The timbers of the north and south gable ends of the attic are of identical shape and dimension to those of the trusses supporting the roof purlins. These purlins, of smaller dimension, appear to be sawn lumber, either by hand or from a local saw mill. They meet at the peak of the roof a ridgepole of similar shape and dimension. It is the massive timber construction within the attic in which the traditional timber frame construction supporting the whole of the house is most fully revealed. Within the tympanum of either gable end of the attic may be seen upright 2" by 4" studs (oak?); whether these were hand-sawn or were produced by a local saw mill is uncertain. The original exterior roof cladding of the house is also uncertain; further investigation of it will be necessary to determine if any of the original shingles (1853) remain intact, but it is assumed they do not.

View of Attic

Taken as a whole, the Kent/Sherman house remains remarkably intact considering its age and its removal in 1924 from its original to current site. All the more remarkable is that its exterior and interior mill work has survived fairly extensive remodeling and alterations since 1924. So much of the original fabric from its original construction in 1853 remains intact that the Kent/Sherman house is perhaps one of the very few remaining examples of its period left in Kent. This is reason enough by itself to suffice for preserving this house apart from its welldocumented association with Zenas Kent (whose son Marvin in 1863 brought the railroad to then-named Franklin Mills and for whom Kent was thereafter named) and local Civil War Union Army physician Aaron Sherman, a local man who gained prominence after the Civil War as a state legislator, among other notable achievements. That these two historic figures in Kent's history were associated with the house now bearing their names thus serves as a second and equally important reason for preserving the house. Its historic significance is thus doubly affirmed and its preservation thus should be beyond dispute. FRIENDS OF KENT-WELLS SHERMAN HOUSE Photos by Brad Bolton unless otherwise indicated

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A history of the wells-sherman house By Sally Burnell In the 1850s, Franklin Mills was a growing community of industries and entrepreneurs. Among those who came to our area to take advantage of this was Zenas Kent, who with David Ladd, bought 600 acres of land in 1832, eventually buying him out in 1833 and erecting a flour mill that stayed in operation for many long years. In 1849, the Franklin Bank was begun and Kent was named its first President. It was later renamed the Kent National Bank and Kent remained in his position until his death in 1865. In 1850, Kent started a cotton mill on the banks of the Cuyahoga River, but it eventually failed. He built his home in 1851 on present day South River Street, but sadly, it was lost to fire several years ago. He married the former Pamelia Lewis and with her had 13 children, nine of whom were alive at the time of his death in 1865: Harriet, Henry, Edward, George, Marvin, Charles, Frances, Emily and Amelia. The homes of three of Kent’s children remain standing today, the home of Charles on North Pearl Street, the home of Marvin, the current day Masonic Temple, and the home of Frances, the home pictured below, on the soon to be vacated East Erie Street. This rare example of a two story Greek Revival home once stood on the Northeast corner of Erie and South Water Streets. It can be seen in this 1874 engraving from an atlas of Kent:


Frances Kent married George W. Wells on August 27, 1851 in Ravenna and then moved to Kent. Wells was a glassmaker who, along with Marvin and Charles Kent, started Kent, Wells & Co. glassworks, an early industry in our town. This house was possibly built somewhere between 1853 and 1858 under the supervision of her father, Zenas Kent, who had been a carpenter and joiner, among his many professions. When this engraving was made, the home is said to belong to Civil War veteran Dr. Aaron M. Sherman, who bought the house from the Kents when they moved to Brownsville, Pennsylvania, which, according to obituaries of both Mr. and Mrs. Wells, was in 1863. In the 1860 census of Franklin Mills, Frances and George Wells and two of the three children they would eventually have are enumerated right after Dr. Aaron Sherman and his wife Harriet and their three year old son Harris, leading me to believe that Dr. Sherman and his family lived next door to the Wells’s since houses were visited in order. It would make sense that Dr. Sherman would buy this house when the Wells family left for Pennsylvania. He maintained his business next door to this home. In the obituary for Helen Parkhill, Frances’s daughter, it says “She was the niece of the late Marvin Kent, being the daughter of his sister. Her father was prominent in the old glass works here. She was born near the Old Sherman residence here on S. Water Street.” Perhaps the Wells house had not yet been built at this time, since Helen was the eldest daughter of this couple, born in 1852. Dr. Aaron M. Sherman, M.D. was a local physician who trained at Western Reserve College in Cleveland, graduated from that institution in 1851 and set up his practice in Garrettsville. He later moved to Kent to set up a pharmacy business but later returned to his practice of medicine. When the Civil War broke out, he joined the 46th Ohio Volunteer Infantry as a “contract surgeon” and ended up serving as an Assistant Surgeon at Lincoln General Hospital in Washington, DC. This “hospital” was nothing more than a series of tents and Sherman would have seen patients fresh off of the battlefields. He returned home to Kent at the conclusion of the war. He served a number of terms on the local school board and in 1883 was elected to represent our area in the Ohio General Assembly. He also helped to found the First Universalist Church of Kent, modern day Unitarian Universalist Church of Kent, in 1866, as well as the Portage County Medical Society that same year. He was one of the founding members of the Rockton Masonic Lodge and served as its master for ten years. He also helped to attract many businesses to our growing village. The old alpaca mill that now serves as the Silk Mill Apartments was another business that Sherman helped to establish in Kent. Dr. Sherman was also a longtime member of the Pioneer Association, a local organization in the Kent area whose purpose was to perpetuate the memories of the early settlers of our area. Dt. Sherman served his city, his state and his country and should be remembered as one of Kent’s more notable citizens of the 19th century.


Dr. Sherman remained in the house he bought from Frances and George Wells until 1904, when he sold it and his medical practice to Dr. Byron Jacob. Sherman then moved to Pasadena, California, where he died on November 3, 1919 at the age of 93. Dr. Jacob sold the house to Dr. William Andrews in 1924, who moved it to its current location on East Erie Street to make room for a business building that still stands today where the house once stood. In that same year, the Kent Tribune, the predecessor to today’s Record-Courier, interviewed local historian Charlotte Weaver, who was born here in the 1840s and remembered when this house was new and said that she recalled that its first owner was a man named George Wells. This is what we who do historic documentation call a primary source, someone who was there and saw things firsthand and is considered to be the most reliable source possible.


We believe that this house is a significant part of early Kent history, which is why we believe that it should be preserved. At the time of its construction, it was considered the finest home in Franklin Mills. We believe that this is still a very fine home, a classic example of the Greek Revival architecture that was very prevalent in the mid-19th century and has rapidly disappeared from our landscape. It is a solid timber framed home, an example of lost craftsmanship that could serve any number of functions that we envision could bring City and University together on the Grand Lawn of the new Esplanade. We hope to see this become a town square, a meeting place for the city and the University to come together to engage in creative dialogue. Its robust Greek Revival architecture reminds us of our democratic heritage that is a hallmark of our country. We hope to see this historic home become the focal point of the Esplanade, an attractive welcoming place for visitors to our city and our University.


KENT HISTORICAL SOC I ETY

3/29/2012

Board of Trustees Officers

Rick Hawksley 120 Portage St. Kent, OH 44240

Sandra Halem President Jack Amrhein Vice President

Dear Rick: Here’s the text of my remarks to Kent City Council last night. Thanks. -Tom

Scott Flynn Vice President Matt Metcalf Treasurer John Benedik

My name is Tom Hatch and I’m here today as the director of the Kent Historical Society. We have seen the Wells-Sherman house up close and have discussed this issue internally as a board. The conclusion we’ve drawn from our investigation is the we strongly support saving this important structure if at all possible. There are two reasons that we find compelling. First, this building is one of a handful in our town that date from before the Civil War. And, the fact that it is a two-story Greek Revival home makes it unique - It’s the only one like it that we’ve been able to identify within the city of Kent. But more importantly, this is a home closely associated with the Kent family. As you know, Zenas Kent’s daughter Florence and her husband lived there and It is probably the only structure left in town that Zenas Kent actually spent time in. The Marvin Kent home and the Clapp-Woodward House were built after his death in 1865. For these reasons Kent Historical Society has agreed to lend its support to the Friends group and encourage you, the members of Kent city council, to consider their request in committee. Once an appropriate location and use for the building has been identified, we plan to help the effort by setting up a special fund at KHS and solicit our membership for contributions. We can also further help the group develop a fundraising campaign they can take to those offering grants and to the public. We think that we have a structure that is significant from an architectural perspective and from a social/historic perspective and we would like to see it preserved and put to a good use in our community.

237 East Main Street, Kent, Ohio 44240 • 33 0 - 6 78-2 712 • kent oh i oh i s t or y.org

Howard Boyle Audrey Kessler Jim Myers Carol Stroble Rebecca Dunlap Kasha Legeza-Burton

Staff Thomas Hatch Director Lorie Bendar Administrator


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Rhonda Boyd City of Kent 930 Overholt Road Kent, Ohio 44240 March 8, 2012 Re: National Register of Historic Places Eligibility of 250 Erie Street Dear Rhonda, I read the March 6, 2012 article by Thomas Gallick and Roger J. DiPaolo and titled “Historic Kent Home Slated for Demolition.” The article presents a plausible and likely accurate history of the building currently located at 250 Erie Street. However, the building at 250 Erie Street is not eligible for the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). The NRHP Criteria for Evaluation states: “The quality of significance in American history, architecture, archaeology, engineering, and culture is present in districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects that possess integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, association and; A. That are associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history; or B. That are associated with the lives of persons significant in our past; or C. That embody the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction, or that represent the work of a master, or that possess high artistic values, or that represent a significant and distinguishable entity whose components may lack individual distinction; or D. That have yielded or may be likely to yield, information important in prehistory or history.” (National Park Service, How to Apply the National Register Criteria for Evaluation, 1990) Even though a building is associated with lives of persons significant in our past, the building must possess integrity. Unfortunately, the building at 250 Erie Street has lost all aspects of integrity. Following is an explanation of each aspect of integrity as it relates to 250 Erie Street.


Location: Sometime between 1920 and 1929, the building was moved to 250 Erie Street from its original location near South Water Street and Erie Street. Therefore, the building lacks integrity of location. Design: From the exterior, the house retains the plan of a Side Hallway type house. However, there have been modifications to the fenestration pattern. The addition on the south elevation is not original. The first story window opening on the south elevation is not original. The first story window openings on the east elevation have been altered. The fenestration pattern on the west elevation is altered from what is depicted in the 1874 atlas drawing of this building (see below). In addition, the interior plan has been altered. Therefore, the building lacks integrity of design. Setting: The Side Hallway type house was commonly constructed in urban settings. Originally, this building was built on a narrow lot in a commercial area adjacent to buildings of similar age. The house was on a bustling, commercial street. In the 1920s, the house was moved from its original setting and placed on a quiet, residential street. The 1830-1850s era home is on a street with 1920-1940s era homes. The Greek Revival style, Side Hallway type house is out of place adjacent to the American Foursquare, Tudor and Craftsman houses along Erie Street. Therefore, the building lacks integrity of setting. Materials: The house currently located at 250 Erie Street lacks its original foundation, its original exterior wall treatment and its original windows. When moved, the home’s original foundation was replaced with a rock faced concrete block foundation that post-dates the original building foundation by about 80 years. The home’s original windows are now vinyl replacement windows. The original doors have been replaced. The home’s exterior has been clad in vinyl siding and the cornice returns and entablature have been wrapped in a vinyl or aluminum material. Therefore, the building lacks integrity of materials. Workmanship: The vinyl siding and trim covers the original wood work and details. All that remains of the original detail is the entry door surround with transom and the attic window. Therefore, the building’s integrity of workmanship is greatly diminished. Feeling: The home, moved from its original location, lacks the feeling associated with its original setting. The home at 250 Erie Street is a on a quiet residential street developed from the 1920s to the 1940s. The home’s present location lacks the feeling of the urban commercial district associated with the house during the home’s period of significance. Therefore, the building lacks integrity of feeling. Association: The home’s period of significance ranges from the home’s time of construction through the occupation of the home by the Kent family and Dr. Aaron Sherman. This period of significance was while the home was located near the corner of East Erie Street and South Water Street. Thus, the period of significance spans from about the 1830s to 1900. After 1920, the home was moved to its present location at 250 Erie Street and no longer associated with the Kent Family


or Dr. Aaron Sherman. Once at 250 Erie Street, the home lost its association with the urban commercial district that was its setting throughout the homeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s period of significance. Therefore, the building lacks integrity of association. Below is a picture of the original setting associated with 250 Erie Street.

Image from the 1874 Combination Atlas of Portage County, Ohio by L.H. Everts

If you need further explanation, please let me know. Sincerely,

Amy L. Kramb Architectural Historian amy.kramb@krambconsulting.com


Dr. Elwin C. Robison 7358 Sylvan Dr. Kent, Ohio 44240 330.221.1428

Rhonda Boyd City of Kent 930 Overholt Road Kent, Ohio 44240 26 March 2012 Dear Ms. Boyd, Rick Hawksley was kind enough to send me a pdf copy of Kramb Consulting's letter to you of 8 March 2012. The letter contained a sufficient number of errors and inaccuracies that I felt it appropriate to write a short evaluation of the letter. My qualification for writing this letter is that I am an architectural historian. This means that I hold graduate degrees in the field [specifically, an MA (1983) and PhD (1985) in Architectural History from Cornell University]. In addition, I hold a current appointment to the Ohio Historic Site Preservation Advisory Board. First, let me agree with points in the letter that are appropriate. The house has been moved, which removes the integrity of “Location.” This is true and is correctly stated. Also, the letter correctly states that most windows and doors have been replaced. I disagree with the conclusion regarding the discussion on “Materials.” Having the original siding and cornice returns covered with vinyl siding does not mean a lack of integrity of materials. Instead, it means just the opposite: the building retains a significant portion of its original exterior envelope underneath the new siding. It is true that most doors and windows have been replaced, but there is an original window in the gable, and the original entry door moldings, sidelights, and glazed transom are still present. Later in the report it concludes that the “building's integrity of workmanship is greatly diminished” because the vinyl siding covers the original siding. I disagree—this only means that the original workmanship is covered, not missing. The letter lists the presence of the south addition as partial justification for concluding that the building lacks the integrity of “Design.” This is untenable. Later additions may be considered a contributing part of the history of the building, or they may be removed as part of a restoration process. I know of no instance where the integrity of a property was downgraded because of an addition which can be easily removed. The report does not discuss the interior of the building. I have reviewed photographs of the interior of the building and conclude that many window and door jamb moldings, interior doors, and base moldings remain from the original building. In addition the original heavy timber framing is visible in the basement and attic. Observation of the building leads to the opposite conclusion: a significant portion of the original building fabric is still extant, and the building retains great integrity of materials and workmanship.


At the bottom of page one of the letter it states, â&#x20AC;&#x153; Unfortunately, the building at 250 Erie Street has lost all aspects of integrity.â&#x20AC;? As an architectural historian, a member of the Ohio Historic Site Preservation Advisory Board, and a practicing Professional Engineer in the field of Preservation Engineering, it is my professional opinion that the Kramb Consulting letter of 8 March 2012 arrives at a conclusion which is not supported by observed conditions and is not an appropriate interpretation of historic preservation principles. I would be happy to discuss my conclusions with you or with a representative of Kramb Consulting in the future. Sincerely,

Dr. Elwin C. Robison


Addendum Recommendations by City Council to the Bicentennial Plan, in Particular, the Campus Link Special Planning Area 1) Recommendation: Adopt a policy statement that the City will maintain at least as many housing units as what currently exists in the Campus Link Neighborhood, and will support maintaining a positive balance in that housing number so that no housing units are removed without having already created an equal number of units so as to avoid displacement of students in other neighborhoods. 2) Recommendation: Adopt a public policy that the City of Kent will protect the present value of property tax revenues generated from the aggregate property values of properties in the Campus Link Neighborhood to the Kent School District. 3) Recommendation: The Council should adopt a policy statement that it intends to further study the concept of a hotel, conference center, and multi-modal facility for the Campus Link Neighborhood, to evaluate alternative locations for such improvements, to study the economic feasibility and financial structuring of such an undertaking, to analyze current and future traffic congestion and flow in and around the Campus Link neighborhood and throughout the eastern half of the community, and investigate other issues related to such a potential project. 4) Recommendation: Leave the hotel, conference center and parking facility in the Plan. Removing it will literally purge the Plan of its potential to attract new commercial revitalization of the downtown area. It is the most important element that enables the other components possible. Do not remove it from the Plan. 5) Recommendation: The Council should adopt a policy statement agreeing to participate in a study with Kent State University and PARTA to evaluate possible sites for the location of a multi-modal facility in the Campus Link neighborhood, including the north side of Haymaker Parkway. 6) Recommendation: Establish a traffic model with program standards that forecast a â&#x20AC;&#x153;no netâ&#x20AC;? increase in traffic volumes on Crain, North Willow and Summit (between Water and Lincoln) Streets as a direct result of the placement of a multimodal facility in the Campus Link Neighborhood (i.e. the multi-modal needs to be placed in a location that either reduces or has no direct impact on traffic volume on these streets). 7) Recommendation: Undertake a market analysis and direct the Administration to embark on a recruitment campaign to attract retail and restaurant businesses that appeal to the Kent community. Motion to approve recommendation #7, with the addition of including the market analysis, with and without the hotel, how it touches the direct sustainability goals of the Central Business District; and to ask input from downtown businesses, the Chamber and the University.


8) Recommendation: Include a policy statement in the Plan to the effect that the City of Kent intends to maintain Summit Street in its present configuration and does not intend to widen it into a 4-lane street nor install a median for a boulevard. 9) Lincoln Street reconstruction: no recommendation 10) Recommendation: Adopt a policy statement as part of the plan to amend the zoning regulation and rezone the Campus Link area to accommodate all proposed land uses. This will permit higher density development and allow for the construction of additional larger housing units. 11) Recommendation: Adopt a policy statement that the City will perform a financial analysis on the investment of City funds in the Campus Link Neighborhood and will generally support investments that demonstrate a 10-year payback. 12) Recommendation: Establish a limited policy statement that would allow the City Council to consider the use of eminent domain to acquire isolated parcels of land under only extreme situations that will enable a project to move forward. 13) Recommendation: Direct the Administration to form a small administrative ad hoc committee of community leaders to develop assumptions pertaining to the implementation of the comprehensive plan, and develop a five-year financial forecast of expected revenues, comparing it against the financial projections developed for the General Fund in the Five-Year Capital Improvement Program every August. 14) Recommendation: Adopt a policy statement that the City will conduct a review of any building slated for acquisition by the City of Kent for historical or architectural significance. The City Administration, in conjunction with an approved development plan, will endeavor to preserve, relocate and/or reuse these buildings, based upon a study, and incorporate them into the design framework of the Campus Link, to the extent feasible.

Friends of Kent Wells-Sherman House  

View a copy of the Friends of Kent Wells-Sherman House's Report to the Kent City Council.

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