Historical Homes of Grove City
The streets of Grove City are lined with homes which house a beautiful history. As a part of the town’s Bicentennial celebration, members of the Grove City Woman’s Club researched a sampling of Grove City’s more historical dwellings. A sampling of that information appears below.
Oldest Existing House in Grove City is located on Liberty Street
This house was built about 1840 by GC’s first postmaster, William Fleming. 1853 house purchased by William A. Young who came to the area to purchase James Tidball’s Tannery which stood behind the house. 3 front doors – one to post office started in 1844, one to tannery office, and one to grocery store. Fourth door at the side led to upstairs, where Pine Grove Select School held its first classes started in 1876. Trap door on 2nd floor, above one on 1st floor which was over a cistern in the basement – could drop a bucket down to get water. Family lived in the basement.
Built about 1870 by D.A. Boots. Mr. Boots was an engineer. Little house at rear -1820 had no kitchen or bath – rented for $15.00 per month – Frelin’s moved little house and used it as an office. House going to be raised by church next door – land used as parking lot. Clair and Ginny Frelin purchased it in early 1970’s. Daughter of Boots married Ted Hassler who was an editor of local newspaper.
Striking red brick at crest of hill built about 1889. Built by Tom McCoy who was a Civil War Veteran held captive in Andersonville. Mr. McCoy was a stone mason who cut the stone for the foundation. The bricks were made locally. Some of the fruit trees around the house were planted by Mr. McCoy.
204 East Main Street
This home is one of the oldest in Grove City. Built prior to 1869. Charles Cunningham owned 333 acres and sold it to his brother James in 1838. Taylor Barr acquired the property and buildings in 1869. Well built. Double foundations of hand-hewn field stone, hardwood interlocked dove-tailed beams. Unusual windows – top and bottom open for both light and air. Shoe maker shop -people drop off their shoes then go “next door” to pick up their mail.
(Next door was Young’s house.)
Built in 1845 or 1854 by James “Squire” Cunningham. Bricks were made on the site. Beautiful detail work. “Squire” Cunningham lived there until his death. Apple orchards were in the back yard. College purchased the house in 1897.
112 East Main Street – Former Snow Goose Inn
Built about 1896 as a rooming house for young ladies attending Grove City College. Purchased by Dr. James McClelland in 1920. He was a physician and wanted to use the house as his office and home. It was located at the corner of Main Street and Broad Street. In 1930,Sunoco, owned by J. Howard Pew, wanted the lot for a gas station. McClelland House moved. House 2 houses away was purchased and torn down. McClelland House moved. Cost to move was $2,000. Sleeping porch added to back. James McClelland and his friends used porch as a gym – called it the “Bull Day Athletic Club”. Remained in McClelland family until 1983. Purchased by Bob and Teddy Cowan and made into a bed and breakfast – Red Rose Inn. Formally owned by Orville and Dorothy McMillen and called the Snow Goose Inn. Now owned by Grove City College.
132 West Main Street
Built about 1900 by Mr. Welch. He was first Burgess of Grove City in 1883 when the town was incorporated. He married Elizabeth Cunningham, daughter of Squire Cunningham, son of Valentine. They were married in the living room of Cunningham Hall. House now 4 apartments. At one time, Gene Eshelman lived here; he was a writer for Allied News.
335 West Main Street
Built by Pearsall Family in late 1800s. Had 22 rooms, beautiful woodwork and marble floors on first floor. 1902 sold for $5,000 for Firth family. 1907 Firths sold house to hospital. Room added at back that was operating room – drain in center for blood to drain. 1922 Black family purchased house for $7,970. Stayed in Black family until 1995-6 when Ruth Black died. No heirs except 1 nephew. House donated to “Y” for fundraiser. Sold for $46,000 to be a bed and breakfast.
Original Stewart farm house. Built in late 1880s. Made into a duplex – 2 front doors. Sold to Arthur Armour in 1946. Armour sold it in 1966.
Arthur Armour Shop
Built in 1905 as a soda pop bottling plant. AA rented building in 1933 for his forge for $10 a month. Bought house in 1946 – sold it in 1966 but retained use of shop for as long as he wanted or until he died. He died in 1998. House owned by Eber and Joanne Gaylord. Tom Armour bought house and shop to retain history of business.
415 Stewart Avenue
Built about 1900 probably by a dentist named Dr. Hall. Back of an old picture said house may have been built by an oilman. Beautiful house- leaded windows etc. Nesbits taking it back to the way it originally was.
614 Superior Street
Currently owned by Erik Anderson, mechanical engineering professor at GCC. Land traced back to Charles Cunningham – son of Valentine. Part of a grant from state of Pennsylvania in 1838. Land changed hands 17 times. Owners include: James Tidball, Dr. Nicholas W. Van Eman, Stewart family of Stewart Avenue, Milford H. McCoy – relative of Miff McBride. Lot purchased in 1923 by contractor W.A. Nelson. Built house and sold it in 1925 to Elmer and Elizabeth Price.
334 West Poplar Street
Built in 1895 for Capt. Charles Rowell- First Commandant of Military Department at GCC. Moved when given another assignment – killed in Spanish American War. House sold to W.A. Stewart family. Daughter Angie married in dining room. Dr. Kelly later purchased hosue and removed original porches and added columns. Paula Kelly, one of the daughters, sang with sisters Julia and Martha as the Kelly Sisters. She also sang with Glenn Miller and the Artie Shaw Band. She was the lead singer in the “Modernaires” on CBS Radio.
West Pine Street – Graham House
Built in late 1800s – early 1900s by Mark Graham. He was a banker and president of the school board. Children put on plays on the landing between first and second floor. Beautiful woodwork. Currently Stevenson’s office and law offices.
142 East Pine Street
Built in late 1890s by C.C. Floyd. “L”-shaped porch. Built where post office now stands. Saved wood from 1883 for house – beautiful woodwork – but painted now. Plumbing installed even though now sewers in town. Carpenters paid $1.50 per day. Post Office purchased land house sat on. House moved over Memorial Day weekend in 1932 – stuck on bridge.
Big Four Corner. R.E. English, John Carruthers, E.J. Fithian, and Charles Frederick Fithian
160 East Pine Street – R. E. English House
Classic Box Colonial Revival – front porch enclosed and reconfigured. Bought first “covered car” for his wife.
161 East Pine Street – E.J. Fithian House
Queen Anne style home. Home built about 1901. Had both gas and electric light fixtures. Built on 5 lots in Monroe Plan. Had rug porch on 2nd floor. Carriage entrance on the side. Purchased first electric car for his wife – an “open car”. Interesting person – ran for Governor on Prohibition Party; toured in first motor home; started first Boy Scouts in Grove City; medical doctor,but practiced medicine a short time.
200 East Pine Street – C.F. Fithian House
Colonial Revival also known as the Classic Box. In 1922 large 3-floor addition added to back. Mr. Fithian coined phrase, “Where Industry and Education Meet”.
203 East Pine Street – John Carruthers House
Built about 1901 on 2 lots in the Monroe Plan. Sold to Shelley’s to become a funeral home in 1936.
Houses built in early 1940s for soldiers coming home from war. Well built – plaster walls, hardwood floors. 2 styles – Cape Cod and Colonial. No metal for bathtubs – marble tubs. College buying this row- currently serving as short term housing for employees of the college. Woman having one built didn’t like the quality of construction – called Eleanor Roosevelt and complained to her. She took care of the problem.
611 Lincoln Avenue
Built by one of the Harshaws. True Dutch Colonial home. Currently owned by “Patch” McClelland.
The Washington Boulevard Area
Developed in early 1900s by Ed and Cliff Harshaw.
“The Boulevard” was designed without sidewalks and had underground lights. Enlisted local horticulturist Fred Kocher to do the plantings.
Beautiful in spring and summer – veritable botanical garden.
Built in 1926 by “Bud” Carruthers. Architect was W.G. Eckles of New Castle. 1932 sold to Mike Pollock – salesman for Cooper Bessemer. Mrs. Pollack didn’t like house, so sold it to Mike Wherry Sr. Mrs. Wherry wouldn’t move. Mr. Wherry ran into Weir Ketler – asked him to buy house. Weir thought it would be a good house for the president of the college – Mike Wherry owned the house for one day. Weir owned the house for 20 years, then soldit to son George and wife Alice who still lives in the house.
405 West Washington Boulevard
Built in early 1930s by C.F. Fithian. Architect wanted house set straight on lot. Mrs. Fithian insisted on house at angle. Architect quit. House gets light almost the entire way across rooms. Purchased by Johnstones- known as the Johnstone House.
Built in 1935 by Charlie Montgomery of Montgomery Truss Company. It is French Provencial Style made of selected Indiana Limestone. Magnificent home – beautiful woodwork inside. Mr. Montgomery disappeared in Florida several years later. Body was found. He was murdered for his large diamond ring.
Knoll House – Woodland Avenue
Built in 1912 by John McCune. Mr. Campbell of the dairy farm hauled stone from his farm for the house. Hauled the stone to buy an engagement and wedding ring for his girlfriend. Paid $1 per load- rings cost $100. Rings now in the possession of Campbell daughter. John McCune responsible for where the Chestnut Street Bridge is located. Instrumental in building former Catholic Church. Donated land the church sits on.
Built in 1910 probably by C.C. Floyd because of “L” shaped porch – “L” houses became known as “Hell” Houses. Built by Firth Family. Mr. Firth died so house became a rental. Minister and family rented in 1918 – held church services in sunporch every Sunday. 1920 O.O. Bashline tried to buy house – moved 24 beds into garage, but unable to complete sale. Rented by Reed and Case families until sold to Don Bashline in 1951. Samples bought house in 1971. Should always sell to young family.