Historic Home Tour – Lorain Style?- Wurmser -Ohio Historic Inventory

May 16, 2012 at 10:25 am 13 comments

On my desk is a plethora of information on Henry Oswald Wurmser – the renowned architect mentioned in the previous post
http://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2012/05/14/the-rant-pride-in-lorain-how-about-her-historical-worth/


Oh! he was appreciated when he came to Lorain with his partners the firm of Kramer and Wurmser in 1893:
The Lorain Evening Herald 1895

“Their buildings stand on all portions of the United States as monuments of genius and ability…..
The following are a few of the many buildings constructed from their plans:
Opera houses, at Grundy Center Ia, Cherokee, Ia Findlay Ohio, Bowling Green O, Delta O, Sabina , O City Hall Baltimore, O- Hotels Marvin and Gibson- Findlay, Harrison at N. Baltimore, O Minneapolis, At Ottawa, O. Public Schools: New Philadelphia,(2) Findlay O (6) Ashland Ky; Conneaut O, Mansfield O,Canal Dover, Cheeryville, Kans; Homer , Mich; Burlington Vt; Decatur Ill;

And then to Lorain in 1893 where in the History of Lorain County he continued to be identified with the best work of his profession

At Lorain he has erected all the public school buildings during the past 21 years – with the exception of three. …..

During his active career Mr. Wurmser has designed and built 1,224 buildings in Ohio, including among many others the Methodist Church at Elyria and the Reeves Hotel at New Philadelphia Ohio….

He has been especially favored by the School Board of Lorain

—– ahhhh! sorry Mr. Wurmser your monuments of genius and ability….. have gone for the most part ……..Poor old Wurmser – his buildings weren’t favored by other school boards in Lorain in the coming years…. guess they didn’t appreciate his genius and ability ….

Click on to enlarge
And now his home at 1348 West Erie Avenue that is is part of the Ohio Historic Inventory along with the little house in the back 1348 B is negated by those who “decide”
The Front
The Back

The little house 1348B where Cliff Wurmser (son), a teacher at Harrison School, had also resided .

and today inside that little house

And so much for that Ohio Historical Inventory and study so hyped and touted back in the early 90’s showing Lorain’s Historical Worth. Just another study collecting dust. Oh! it is used if the City Of Lorain has to use federal money to demo a house. Community Development has to go through the paperwork in Columbus if they are using federal funds, but really if there are no federal or tax payers monies involved, there is no teeth to this particular “historical dog”. So let us take a walk through the Wurmser House, the one where the Ohio Historic Inventory stated:


“This may be one of the oldest houses in the Charleston Village survey area It reflects the Federal style in its side gable roof , strict symmetry , and windows of 6/6 double hung sash . The 5 bay facade features an Italianate-era doorhood but the multi -paned sidelights are probably original as ar the fan lights in the gable ends. and may date as early as the 1840’s.
Obviously, the home may have been 50 years old already as the Wurmsers moved in in 1893- ( ah! a historic home even in Wurmser’s time )- You have to wonder what this renowned architect saw in this house to make it his home- what I wonder appealed to architect’s eye – its symmetry, simple lines, its Federal styling- who knows ? We never will – like his schools and other buildings his thoughts too, are gone………….

So let us take a video stroll through this home in Lorain’s Preservation District ( there is an oxymoron for you)

Come let me show you how Lorain treats America’s historic inventory………..

And another one bites the dust of decay even with its building permit!

Glad “the powers that be” didn’t treat my home town’s history ( London England) with the same lack of respect- we would be in deeper trouble without all those tourist dollars from America every year…………………….

Note: Thanks to Dennis Lamont, Renee Dore and my secret squirrel photographer for all their help and informaton.

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Entry filed under: a Cow -elle opinion, Charleston Village, city of lorain. Tags: , , , , , , , .

The Rant – Pride in Lorain- How about her Historical Worth? Lorain Dude(s)- Lorain Pride- Settlers’ Watch 2012

13 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Lisa  |  May 16, 2012 at 11:14 am

    According to a Zillow search of 1348 West Erie Avenue:
    Nice colonial near Lakeview Park. View of Lake Erie from rear of property. This historic home was designed and built by the famous architect Henry O. Wurmser, and was his personal residence in the early 20th century. Additional separate home on property with one bedroom extra suite. Newer windows in home. Home needs painting and cleaning. Could be a beautiful colonial with some updates. Fireplace and hardwood floors.
    Last sold: Feb 2001 for $93,000
    They estimate the current value at $42,000.

    (lol @ “home needs painting and cleaning” – ya think?)

    The realtor’s website lists 14 other properties on West Erie but not this one. The auditor’s website shows that the property taxes are current on Parcel: 02-02-027-105-007.

    Thanks for the clarification – I thought Wurmser built this house, too. Here he was just another tenant in what has been allowed to become a typical Lorain house.

  • 2. Brian  |  May 16, 2012 at 11:23 am

    I have driven by the house in this story a hundred times or more. While it appears to be a cute house, it has been re-sided with vinyl siding and if it was going to go to “historical condition” someone is going to have to “unwrap” the present.

    Inside wise, it would have been nice if there was a better representation of what the wood floors looked like. When redoing a house, it is typically best to go from the ceilings down, but the floors “can talk” if you can see them and are a major part of any restoration.

    While I didn’t see the basement in the video, I assume there is one. I have worked on other homes in that neighborhood many years ago, that is the area where I adopted the “Chair”. The basements on that side of West Erie are typically in better shape than the ones to the southern side because the storm water drains off much quicker because of geography.

    I get what your idea is and I believe it could work except for a couple of issues. One is politics. The politicos will proclaim that it is a wonderful idea but won’t do shit to help to get the ball rolling at the beginning (committing funding) and the second is Community Development has no idea what a historic reconstruction is and will want its fingers in everything and make the project twice as hard to complete.

    If the project is doable, it can be completed in about a year if monies are secured to hire a company to complete the project, and would probably take 4 years if done by volunteers and completed in phases.

    Insuring a vacant property may be an expensive issue because insurance companies do not want to insure vacant homes that are being rebuilt BUT if a “caretaker” was to reside there during the initial phases it would help safeguard the property.

  • 3. Loraine Ritchey  |  May 16, 2012 at 11:31 am

    Lisa if the age according to the OHI is correct then Wurmser wasn’t the architect for the home as he didn’t get into the business until 1884.. it was his home because he purchased it- did he make modifications- I don’t know but having a home of probable 1840’s when this village had just been plotted in 1836 you have to wonder who did build that home- was it a Gilmore, Reed, any of Lorain’s then Charleston Village founding fathers,. we will probably never know and the walls are having a tough time standing up let alone “talking”

  • 4. Loraine Ritchey  |  May 16, 2012 at 11:50 am

    Brian , the home is “historical” by the mere fact it has a “worth from the historical perspective” Unless federal monies are used you can paint it sky blue pink, side it and put in glass window block for all the windows….. There is no teeth to the historical classification in this country- UNLESS( there is that word again :) federal ( taxpayers oney is used in any way shape or form) then you have to meet the guidelines.UNLESS your community has its own ordinances and are enforced – Oh dear that hasn’t happened in a while in Lorain as per previous posts….. The Broadway Building is on the National Historic Register but if a private individual with private money came in and wanted to knock it down they could…..

    The floors were carpeted – the original video is 10 minutes long too long to upload on this blog.but I am told the floors that were exposed were in good shape. the roof is crap the basement is a full basement but one wall is covered in mould………

    I have no plans to do anything with this house- I just wanted to show the reason that Lorain better get its finger out if pretty damned quick if there is any thought to preserving her historical worth ( lack of follow through on the OHI study by this city) which might be beneficial from a money standpoint – because this house which is on the main thoroughfare ( The Staubach report/ Study) is a disgrace to lack of building code enforcement- lack of care- lack of adhereing to studys and plans by the dozens (ERA AStudy)…. the plethora of visionings where nothing ever happened.… and is the poster child for everything that is wrong with this town

    this house has seen it all….. gone from the hopes of a new community on a lake- to the home of a prominent man – to middle class home ownership- slowly decaying as the codes weren’t enforced that should’ve protected her decline…. to her presnt condition and youknow there are plenty of uses being made of that home by those that aren’t paying rent 4 legged and two legged kind……… She IS Lorain

  • 5. Renee Dore  |  May 16, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    Mr. Wurmser’s name is on one of the corner stones of the Amherst Public Library-it was one of the Carnegie Libraries built at the turn of the last century. Mr. Wurmser helped design some of those also across Ohio. There is one in Carey Ohio that still carries his name also. I think but am not sure Lorain’s original lirabary was also a Carnegie Library and I tried to see if Mr Wurmser’s name is on that building but didn’t get close enough to see it. It’s not in the best of shape compared to the others from what I could see.
    In doing some research a few years ago I saw a drawing of the Wurmers house in a very old publication but I can’t remember where I saw it-should have made a copy then. What makes me know it was an older photo is because it mentions it being on the corner of Dwight st which I think was the name of the side street off of West Erie originally. I have tried to find the book the photo was in but can;t locate it. If anyone has any other clues to this let us know, Renee

  • 6. Brian  |  May 16, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    Loraine,
    I have no doubt in my mind at all that you have great ideas and your ability to get things done, HOWEVER, what was the last thing that Community Development completed from start to finish that has any real impact in our city?

    The cities infill housing program is now a buy here/ pay here program putting people into homes that they don’t qualify for a real mortgage.

    We have Harborwalk that the city as far as I know doesn’t have the bond reserve money sitting in an account that the taxpayers could be on the hook for.

    We have St. Joes COMMUNITY center that the COMMUNITY has ended up footing the bill to keep open.

    We have the East Side nature park that we the taxpayers that are paying for that we can’t see, unless we walk.

    We have an old director that is awaiting trial that worked for an outfit that imports convicted cons.

    Then there was the whole CRA thingy on the west side and UNLESS you don’t mind the million bucks paid out to a law firm that has one of its past principle attorneys also under inditment, with our old community development director, would have funded your idea two or three times over.

    Then there are the things that are lurking. A rumor that another computer has been seized, mountains of documents requested by the FBI, and a three year five million dollar grant that was killed after the first year.

    And by the way, Howard Goldberg gets my vote for being the director of Community Development. That dude has such an impressive resume and he gets paid from a company to do property aquisitions in other states to help our vets! Damn he is a busy guy doing all that stuff in his spare time and commuting back and forth also to the utopia community that he lives in.

    And the list goes on, and on, and on, and on…..

  • 7. Loraine Ritchey  |  May 16, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    I know Brian can’t argue….. all true………and I am just as depressed and in a funk as you…… as I said….. do I think these posts on this blog are going to do “bugger all” no….. I got to vent…. I got to leave a trail in cyberspace and that is about it………. and ruined my nails and the keyboard pounding out the words……

    I have sent a plethora of emails to the city administraton / managers in the last couple of days about nuisance house laws/ cost to the safety service depts for call outs LPD/LFD any number of issues I have not received even ONE acknowledgement to my emails or queries…… HOW rude!!!! :) but then again I didn’t expect them to reply would have been a nice surprise… hard questrions don’t typically get answers ……….. but there is a paper trail in cyberspace………. ;)

  • 8. Alice  |  May 17, 2012 at 2:19 am

    Brian, there was only one room in the house that wasn’t carpeted and it is shown in the video @ 2:03-2:20. If the floor in that room represents the rest of the house, the floors would be the least of the restorer’s worries. The immediate needs are a new roof and proper latch for the west fan window in the attic. Loraine’s report indicates that there is a fan window at each end of the attic (“the fan lights in the gable ends”) but we didn’t see one on the east end. It isn’t visible from outside either, but could be under the siding. The chimney dominates the east wall. It is possible that the window was walled off in a room of its own like the west one, but it was impossible to get any further in the attic to explore than we did. Besides, there coulda been bats up there ;-)

    As for the basement, it is a full course basement. It was suggested to me today that the black wall could be due to an old coal chute/room and not mold. Hard to tell in the dark.

    Did you know that Mr. Wurmser is buried at Elmwood Cemetery?

    http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=Wurmser&GSbyrel=in&GSdyrel=in&GSob=n&GRid=64453575&

  • 9. Renee Dore  |  May 17, 2012 at 3:00 am

    Yes- I have done some research on his family.

  • [...] Earlier this month I went on a rant – a rant about historical significance and the throw away homes of this oldest neighborhood of Lorain http://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2012/05/16/historic-home-tour-lorain-style-wurmser-ohio-historic-inve… [...]

  • 12. Amy  |  October 19, 2014 at 12:53 am

    My boyfriend and I live in the lorain amherst area, and have been looking for a house. This house popped up on our search for a measly 25 grand. Beautiful house (at one time, I imagine) sad to see what it turned into. The photos online portray it to be far more deteriorated than these photos; however. The fireplace in the living room (?) Has nothing but black soot covering the ceiling. So sad. Thanks for this article

  • 13. Loraine Ritchey  |  October 19, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    Unfortunately since that article was written two years ago the house had been left open , vagrants etc and to the elements so more damage was done . It is a such a shame

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