Lorain’s History Mystery- The Wurmser House- a tale of two houses

May 30, 2012 at 12:24 pm 14 comments

ED NOTE: Two more of the tornado photos of the Wurmser House have been added-Thank you Dennis Lamont

Earlier this month I went on a rant – a rant about historical significance and the throw away homes of this oldest neighborhood of Lorain

I recounted the pattern of neglect and cover-up ( literally) of Lorain’s pioneer history.

The Wurmser House on West Erie – you remember this house don’t you ?

The house , according to the Ohio Historical Inventory , could be one of Charleston Village’s oldest buildings circa 1840-
Click on to enlarge

They make mention of the fact in their report:

“surrounding residences date much later from the early 20th century”

Infact, in 1924 a tornado came through Lorain and destroyed many homes and the Wurmser house at the address 1348 was apparently one of them. Dan Brady of Brady’s Bunch of Lorain County Nostalgia
http://danielebrady.blogspot.com/2011/02/5th-west-erie-then-and-now.html and Renee Dore(CVSI) and I have puzzled over the tornado photos shown here:

and yet another view of the wrecked Wurmser House here :

amother view

An aerial view showing all that remains is the basement

Something doesn’t add up-

The street today- photo Daniel Brady

This home according to the Ohio Historic Inventory ( the professionals and those who studied the architecture) is much older than its neighborbors – but the pictures don’t lie – this is not the house that was originally on that lot.

So how did this home , according to the Ohio Historic Inventory , which was probably 80 years old by the time of the tornado end up sitting on a lot that had had a much younger home situated there.

If indeed the Ohio Historic Inventory is to be believed and the house is around circa 1840- the only possible explanation is – it was moved there from elsewhere in the neighborhood.
Lorain actually has a “history of moving ” structures, so it isn’t that far-fetched – for instance this house

pictured in the Wickens drawing by 11-year-old George Wickens in 1891

and pictured here in 1872

“History of the First Methodist Church -1856-1956” page 21

Our first parsonage is pictured for you right along side of the little brick church. It was built when the church was built and cost $1,000. It stood on the northwest corner of Washington and W. Main St ( W. Erie) on lot no 110 of the original town plat ……..

The parsonage was a good house for those days but when Rev. J.P. Mills came in 1883 we find in records “The Parsonage underwent repairs, an addition was built, the grounds graded ….. The manse[cleric’s house] was sold when the old church was torn down. A Mr. Robinson , a young real estate dealer of the day, bought the property for $1,650.00 ……….

For many years a Miss Kate Baumgart owned the corner property but quite a few feet of land were taken off when W. Erie was widened. One of the oil companies bought the corner when it became eligible for business and the house was moved north on Washington and west on Fox St. ( 2nd St). If you go down that way you will see it about half way down the block on the north side. ………

For a house that is getting on for 80 years old( 1956) it looks pretty good. The trimming under the eves, fancy wooden braces, still help hold up the style and incidentally the roof….

The house is still there – and now approximately 136 years old- and for sale – faded and forlorn

The trimming under the eaves is still there but half the chimney is missing

(ED NOTE: are you listening Lorain- city of-any grants available, surely if we can get grants to tear them down we can also find ones to save them???


THE FIRST PURPOSE BUILT PARSONAGE FOR THE METHODIST CHURCH 1872 (possibly the first Lorain parsonage – research needed )



I will explore in part two some other “movers and shakers” . It seems Lorain’s forefathers recycled – they valued their buildings and I believe this is a possible explanation with regard to the Wurmser House. It is another of Lorain’s History Mysteries and there is more to be explored with “this old house”.

ED NOTE if anyone has information re the moving of Lorain’s homes through the years please contact me .
to be continued……………………..


Entry filed under: a Cow -elle opinion, Brit take, Charleston Village, city of lorain, history, Lorain's Magical History Tour. Tags: , , , , , .

Vidi- Vici – Weeded – Lorain Pride- Settlers’ Watch 2012 Lorain’s History- moved about- literally

14 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Anne Molnar  |  May 30, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    Loraine, I do not have a problem with the family dollar store across the street from city hall. Years ago, we had two five and dime stores on broadway. I along with many others shop at these stores. They are like the five and dime stores of yesterday, and even better.
    I want to see the type of building they plan to erect. This is my opinon only

  • 2. Loraine Ritchey  |  May 30, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    Anne, this post actually wasn’t about the Family Dollar store (planned by Veard) –

    that was a tongue in cheek mention in the subject line when you received the the notification of this new post by email……. Sorry to be confusing.

    The post itself is about Lorain’s history for sale and the fact that other communities in this nation – Elyria to mention one- actually go after grants etc to preserve not only their history but in doing so that of the USA… it is all connected…. I just wanted to point out there is an opportunity here for someone to do something in the city as the homes are for sale and there are more of them. we spend a lot of resources tearing down……..but C’est La Vive in Lorain…… futility is the F word still………. 😦

    I believe City council and the administration need to join me andothers on a walkabout in this neighborhood…….

  • 3. Diane Wargo Medina  |  May 30, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    Again my friends the typical crap I find in this town, I cannot get a grant for the cemetery because the city owns it, but yet they will not apply, or have no interest or the time, our problem is the fact that I have not noticed anybody in the city hall actually interested in going forward with saving houses/buildings ….blah blah…maybe we should get together and appear to one of the city council meetings or am I wasting my time? I spent about a half hour yesterday at the cemetery, cause I found a group of students from Lorain High School with their teacher, so I gave them a tour, they have put together a “history club” at their school, back in my day I would have been president in that club!!! Anyway there is interest out there, it needs to be spoken loud.

  • 4. Lisa  |  May 30, 2012 at 10:56 pm

    See pix of the inside here:
    (If link doesn’t work, go to Keller Williams’ website and look up listing# 3303139.) Although a lot of the woodwork has been painted over, it looks a lot nicer inside than I expected. Chuck says there’s probably a crack in every wall.

    How exciting to think that the current Wurmser house could actually turn out to have been built by the architect himself! I saw folks over there makin’ hay and wandering around the other day. The least they could have done was clean up all the shtuff in the yard and straighten the porch railings.

  • 5. Loraine Ritchey  |  May 30, 2012 at 11:16 pm

    Nah Lisa the current house if built in circa 1840 could not have been built by Wurmser ..after 1926 maybe but someone has to have gotten it badly wrong………. so all you detectives – see what hyou can find out 🙂

  • 6. Loraine Ritchey  |  May 30, 2012 at 11:31 pm

    AHHHHHHHHH Lisa no it doesn’t look to bad for a house that is 136 yeasrs old – obviously turned into a duplex errrrrrgg short sale…and they have sided over windows over the years and added crap…but the bones are still there .for a little while at least……

    also depessing is the fact there are 276 homes for sale on that site in Lorain and most of them under 50,00 ouch

  • 7. Lisa  |  May 31, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    But Loraine, what if Mr. Wurmser was just that darn good at what he did and recreated an 1840’s house well enough to fool today’s historians? He only lived nine years after the tornado. Maybe the current house was his last project, one of those “I’ve always wanted to build a … ” kind of things. However, if that’s the case, I really wish he’d have recreated the Bigelow house for himself 😉

  • […] During the History Mystery of the Wurmser House we came across a few inconsistencies. https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2012/05/30/lorains-history-mystery-the-wurmser-house-a-tale-of-two-ho… […]

  • 9. colmatt  |  June 1, 2012 at 11:19 am

    Hmm, very interesting! The house certainly could’ve been moved. Maybe taking a closer look at the foundation stones would help to better understand if the house was moved. Also, taking a closer look at the basement beams and floor joists would give a better idea of the actual age of the house. Sometimes just looking at the exterior architecture can fool us!

  • 10. Loraine Ritchey  |  June 1, 2012 at 11:31 am

    We have some video of the attic not of the basement though I will see if my videographer can pull some stills from the video of the attic.

  • […] https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2012/05/30/lorains-history-mystery-the-wurmser-house-a-tale-of-two-ho… Our first parsonage is pictured for you right along side of the little brick church. It was built when the church was built and cost $1,000. It stood on the northwest corner of Washington and W. Main St ( W. Erie) on lot no 110 of the original town plat …….. […]

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