Believed to have been built in the 1860s, this is one of a number of Perrysburg houses whose modern looks belie their true age when you examine their rough-sawn framing.
The probable builder was German immigrant and Civil War veteran John C. Himmelman who bought the property in 1866 and sold it seven years later for much more than he paid for it.
With numerous alterations since, the original look is lost.
The Himmelman House
215 West Second Street
A much-altered home of Italianate style, this 1830s home occupying two addresses features a two-story angled bay with windows topped by segmental arches of vertically angled brick over protruding brick sills. In 1928, a two-story frame addition was made in the rear,
apparently a totally separate housing unit leading to the second address of 225 West Front. A frame entrance and the porch on the right side are also additions.
Augustus M. Thompson was born near Poughkeepsie, NY in 1814, and first came to Perrysburg in 1832, settling here permanently in 1836. He was a dry goods and grocery merchant and farmer and was active in various civic affairs. He died here in 1875.
The Augustus M. Thompson House
223 & 225 West Second Street
This attractive house at 227 West Second Street is described in our historical inventory as Catalog Italianate with Gothic influence. It was built between 1865 and 1872 by John H. McKnight, a descendant of one of the first settlers in this area.
In the late 1930s the Glen Charles family did extensive renovation and remodeling of this house, so how much of its present look is original is unknown. It is known that there was once a front porch.
Not much is known about John McKnight, other than he was born here in 1827 and during the 1850s operated a grocery store on Louisiana Avenue. He died at age 66, in 1893.
But he was a descendent of Thomas McKnight who first lived at Orleans of the North on the flats just upriver from the Fort Meigs Memorial Bridge. During the War of 1812 he was a solider at Fort Meigs and in 1819 acquired a lot in the first block of West Front Street where he built a log cabin. He was later to become clerk of the Wood County Court of Common Pleas, county recorder, township justice of the peace, and Perrysburg's first postmaster.
The facade of this house features a multi-pane bay window with a central window flanked by what resembles sidelights. A single narrow shuttered window in the front gable is below the peak which is ornamented by incised woodwork and a short pendant.
The east elevation has a small setback porch with a supporting Doric column. This and the gabled dormer are among known later additions.
The McKnight House
227 West Second Street
Built ca. 1840, this house is one of several similarly shaped homes in Perrysburg commonly called “saltbox” houses, a Colonial style of architecture that originated in New England. The shape derives from the practice in Colonial America days of simply continuing the roof slope over added space on one side of the structure, thus giving it an early American saltbox shape. The front entrance here is topped with a small pediment framed by simple pilasters.
It is not certain who built it, but it is generally attributed to Gilbert Beach, who also built the home at 342 West Second Street.
The Beach House #2
232 West Second Street
Another of Perrysburg's classically proportioned and well- maintained Greek Revival houses has stood on the corner at 246 West Second Street since about 1847. It was built by James J. Parks who came here as a shoe and harness maker and ended as a prosperous and well- known businessman.
The house, with front-gabled roof and exterior chimney on the west side, is a good example of the so-called upright end wing. Pilasters at the facade corners balance the gable pediment with its plain entablature (decorative work between the edge of the roof and the supporting wall). The off-center front entrance has a matching pediment with a miniature entablature and Doric-capped pilasters.
A 10-pane transom and 4-pane sidelights surround the door. A one-story and a half-story wing in the rear with frieze windows on the east and west sides might also be original construction.
The house has retained its original character throughout the years and was restored by its owner in 1938, under the supervision of local architect Donald Buckhout.
James J. Parks was born in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania in 1814. As mentioned, he began here as a shoe and harness maker before joining Michael Hayes (one of three Irish brothers who later owned and preserved the site of Fort Meigs) in taking contracts on constructing the Miami and Erie Canal across the river, and in building plank roads through the Black Swamp. Later he was superintendent of the Maumee and Western Reserve Road (now U.S. Route 20) and lived on a farm near here. Other sources say that he also at one time operated a sawmill near the foot of Locust Street and supplied oak lumber for the shipbuilding industry in the 1850s.
Mr. Parks was well known in the community, having served as township justice of the peace, treasurer and assessor, and village councilman. He was also a member of the Masonic Lodge and the Walnut Street Presbyterian Church.
He retired and lived in Toledo where he died in 1885, at the age of 71. He is buried in Fort Meigs Union Cemetery.