Friday, May 31, 2013

This Place Matters Features Historic Buildings

This picture and some of the article below came from Frank Myers' blog, June 7, 2013.

Chariton Free Public Library trustees and the librarian (from left) Trustees Tim McGee, Sarah Davis, Ruth Comer (chair) and Jim Mefferd and Library Director Kris Murphy.

Chariton's beautifully maintained library dates from 1904, when the front part of the current building, shown here, was constructed. It was a Carnegie Library, funded in part by a $10,000 grant from Andrew Carnegie, and designed by Chicago-based Patton & Miller (Normand Smith Patton and Grant C. Miller). If the library looks familiar, that's because its design became the prototype "Chariton Plan" for many Carnegies across the country.

Its central circulation desk allowed a librarian to keep an eye on everything that was going on because it faced the entrance and was open to large reading rooms on either side. The extremely high basement also allowed useful rooms on the lower level. The Lucas County Genealogical Society now occupies the former Music Room.

Although the building has been by now more than doubled in size, the major addition to the north mirrored the original building in design, materials --- even the tile roof --- so it remains a harmonious composition. That addition, a full two floors to the north, also allowed a ground-floor entrance from a parking lot, considerably more convenient than the original dizzying flight of front steps.
May is Preservation Month, intended to raise awareness of the power historic preservation had both to protect the fabric of and enhance the present and future of places like Chariton.

Alyse Hunter, president of the Chariton Historic Preservation Commission has been carry around "This Place Matters" signs to promote a national campaign to recognize Chariton's historical buildings.

Chariton has 15 properties listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. Many of these buildings have a rich history.

Communities across the country are posting pictures to the National Registry website. The preservation movement has picked up steam as more people are recognizing the value of older buildings.

The first picture in this series was taken in front of the First Presbyterian Church, built during 1909, at the intersection of Braden and North 8th. It is built of brick and pressed block coating over a limestone base.

(from left) Ilene Church, Bill and Carol Marner, Ev Brightman, Sarah Palmer (retired First Presbyterian pastor), Doug Jones and Dru Thorne.

The church features beautifully stained glass windows and a newly rejuvenated stained glass dome over the santuary. The pipe organ also has been repaired recently and restored to its place.

Below is a picture of the dome taken by Frank Myers. If you would like to see more about this church, visit his website by clicking the following link: 

The next building is the James T. Crozier house at the Intersection of North 7th Street and Ilion Avenue, now owned and lovingly maintained by Fred and Sherry Steinbach, who are holding the sign. The house is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, thanks to the Steinbachs,, on its own merit and also as one of a suite of National Registry properties in Chariton designed by hometown architect William Perkins

J.T. Crozier was a pioneer Chariton businessman whose landmark store was located for more than 80 years on the southeast corner of the square. The family home, a substantial frame structure.

After fire destroyed the frame building in 1917, J.T. Crozier employed Perkins, who had just moved to town to open his office, to design this house. It was intended to be "fireproof", although that is a relative term. The exterior walls are tile clad in brick, but the interior is frame. It falls generally into the "Prairie" style.

Drs. Herman and Egley had purchased the Crozier property, thinking the house might work as a clinic. When it became evident that it would not, a new clinic was built to the north and the Egleys moved into the house.

Fred and Sherry Steinbach have worked hard to upgrade the home's infrastructure, swept away acres of wall-to-wall carpeting to reveal (refinished) oak flooring, rebuilt the living room fireplace and redecorated in a manner sympathetic to the style of the old house. As a result, the Crozier-Steinbach house is one of Chariton's most distinctive preservation success stories.
Here's another of those "This Place Matters" photos that have been recognized in May. Behind the sign are Barb Vogel, Kay Brown, Fred Steinbach, Joe Sellers and Adam Bahr.

The Lucas County Historical Society purchased the old house and its grounds (three and a half acres) during 1966, spent a couple of years restoring it, then opened it to the public during 1968. For a number of years, it was the only building on the museum campus, then others were added. The John L. Lewis Building (in two stages), Puckerbrush School, Otterbein Church, pioneer log cabin, barn and blacksmith shop.

It was built during 1911 by Andrew Jackson Stephens, a Chariton-based contractor who worked throughout the state.

When the home was added to the National Register of Historic Places during 1987, there was considerable debate about how to classify it. Architectural historians called it "American vernacular". It might also be called "classical revival" because of the portico and porches appended to what is essentially an American foursquare building.

The material that it's constructed of, plus the odd mix of styles, are what make it unique. The walls are a mix of rusticated concrete block and brick of a similar color. It is not, despite the Leader's 1911 description, a "pretty house" but it is distinctive and interesting.
Anyone who wishes to visit the old house, and the rest of the Lucas County Historical Society Museum, is welcome to do so. We open for the summer season June 1, 1- 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Admission is free. The place actually is open year-around by appointment or catch as catch can.

Again if you want to read more you can visit Frank Myers website at:

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