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 house.
Andrew Jackson was President when the center, or "upright," portion of this Greek Revival home at 300 West Second was built by Thomas W. Powell.
At least he is presumed the builder, having purchased the lot from Ambrose Rice three years earlier. Powell is also believed to be the builder of the small frame house known as Powell's Cottage at 538 West Front.
This is called a fine example of its popular architectural style, once a small "two over two"-room house. At some later date wings were added at either side. The single story wing on the left is recessed from the facade with the roof extended in a slight curve to form a porch. The street-facing gable features an entablature along the sides, with a plain wood entablature under the rakeboard of the gable. The chimney extends through the center of the gable ridge.
Thomas Powell came to Ohio from Utica, New York, and arrived in Perrysburg in 1820. In the same year he was admitted to the bar. Upon arriving here through the Black Swamp, he noted that there was not a single house (perhaps other than log) in this settlement, and he crossed the river to stay at a public house in Maumee. He almost immediately was appointed Wood County prosecuting attorney, a job he held for the next 10 years. He later, of course, did live in Perrysburg and was one of, if not the first, school teachers here, and Justice of the Peace of Perrysburg Township. He prosecuted the first man hanged for murder in Wood County (at the eastern foot of Fort Meigs).
In 1976 the house was completely restored by the Frank Hirsts with the original woodwork and molding retained. Many of the windows contain original panes and bark covered beams are visible in the basement.
Thomas Powell left Perrysburg for Delaware, Ohio, in 1830 when this area failed to provide the kind of professional growth and prosperity he desired.
sing 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 Powell House #2
300 West Second Street
Built ca. 1900, this Colonial Revival style structure’s exact age and original ownership are lost in time; however, it has been in the William A. Finkbeiner family for more than 90 years. The family is believed to be responsible for most of its current appearance.
William Finkbeiner was born in Perrysburg and was in the mercantile business here and in Toledo.
The Finkbeiner House
305 West Second Street
This fine old Greek Revival frame house at 310 West Second Street has seen a lot of Perrysburg history -- perhaps more than 150 years worth. Records indicate that it might have been built in the late 1830s by Ruben Sawyer who sold it to Peter Cranker in 1851. Or it could possibly have been built by Cranker himself sometime between that date and 1873.
Whichever is correct, Cranker family members lived in it well into this century and this article will focus on Peter Cranker as the principal occupant.
The house, first of all, features a front gabled roof with a wide trim band.
There are three upstairs façade windows with multi-pane glazing typical of the style, and two downstairs. The off-center front entrance likewise represents Greek Revival, the rectangular transom and sidelights set within a simple but attractive frame surrounding the single door. A small wing on the east side of the house could be a later addition. Built on the crest of a hill, the rear of the house is three-level.
Peter Cranker was born in New York state in 1806 and came here in 1832. From humble beginnings, he became a very successful and highly-respected Perrysburg businessman. He began by operating a blacksmith shop, which in the 1860s was housed in a brick building on the north side of the first block of West Second Street.
In 1868 he erected a large, two-story building on an adjoining lot and began building wagons, carriages and sleighs under the name P. Cranker & Sons. His shop was in a sense the equivalent of a present-day automobile factory turning out all parts of plain and fancy horse-drawn vehicles in a competitive environment. (There were two such businesses here at the time.) Peter Cranker had charge of the blacksmith shop while other members of the family headed the wagon and carriage building and painting operations.
One long-time resident recalled that at one time nearly every wagon or carriage in the vicinity bore on the rear axle the inscription, "P. Cranker & Sons," or "William H. Hollenbeck." In 1873 ill health caused partnership with his sons to dissolve, but the business continued under his name.
Mr. Cranker served as village councilman for a number of years and was a member of the Methodist Church. He died in 1877 at the age of 70.
The Cranker House
310 West Second Street
This modest frame house, Gothic Revival in style, was built at 323 West Second Street around 1875. It is believed to have been built for Perrysburg merchant Michael Fitzgerald, an Irish immigrant who settled in Wood County in 1848.
The L-shaped building's most distinguishing feature is the steep front gable with decorated vergeboards (sometimes called bargeboards) and the dropped or downturning finial at the peak. The front porch has multi-sided posts and the siding is over original clapboard.
Unusual small three-pane ribbon windows just above the porch roof and the east side of the house are sources of light low on the second floor. A one-story addition has been made in the rear.
Michael Fitzgerald was born in 1825 in County Tipperary. Some sources suggest that he descended from Lord Edward Fitzgerald who is famous in Irish history. In any case, he operated a grocery store on Louisiana Avenue.
In 1874 his place of business was one of the targets of the town's Women's Temperance Band. As was often common then, his grocery store also sold liquor from an adjoining saloon. According to the Journal, some 63 ladies marched sternly down Louisiana Avenue one morning holding devotional exercises and exhorting saloonkeepers to cease their traffic.
Fitzgerald is said to have closed his doors to them, suggesting that the church was the place for them to do their praying. The next day the determined ladies placed a pair of pickets at the entrance to each saloon in town and Mr. Fitzgerald tossed the chairs they were sitting on into the dusty street. A month later one irate lady, still on the warpath, smashed windows in the place with her bare hands.
Matters eventually calmed down and Mike Fitzgerald enjoyed many years as a respected Perrysburg businessman and member of St. Rose Catholic Church.
He died at age 67 in 1892. In 1902 his business building, owned by his heirs, burned to the ground. It then housed the E. R. Trombla undertaking establishment.
The Fitzgerald House
323 West Second Street
It's a neat but modest house, this one at 337 West Second Street, but its builder was an interesting gentleman whose name, despite some controversy, is somewhat revered here.
He was John Hood.
Hood came here with his family from Scotland in 1833. They were part of a group of immigrants who, in Buffalo, New York, accidentally met with Captain David Wilkinson of Perrysburg.
Wilkinson, then in command of the lake schooner, Eagle, induced them to come here. They did and liked the location so well that they wrote back home encouraging others to come, meanwhile squatting for a time at what was called the "Scotch Settlement" on or near Fort Meigs ground.
The Hood family moved on to a wild land at Hull Prairie where young John grew up. He worked hard and never attended school, but from the family farm he eventually amassed a comfortable amount of money and retired at age 55, making his home here.
Hood lived in this house beginning in the late 1800s. It is fairly simple, vernacular Victorian frame building with a stone foundation and a gabled roof. Exactly when it was built is in question, but it quite likely was well before Hood moved in since it contains log beams with bark on them. Finished lumber was certainly available in the late 1880s.
John Hood lived frugally and was known here as a kind and charitable man who sought anonymity for his benevolence. In 1901 he donated the land for what is now Hood Park, buying it and then quietly giving it to the village. For years, probably at his initial insistence, it was known as Monument Park, site of the area's soldiers and sailors monument for which it was intended.
Shortly after his death in 1905, the county auditor claimed that the 80-year-old man owed back taxes of as much as $19,000 and left an estate valued at more than $80,000, a large amount then. The auditor alleged that Hood had earlier "plead with tears streaming down his face that he was poor." Whether true or not, the tax claim was settled for some $13,400, the largest such delinquent tax collection in county history at the time.
The John Hood House
337 West Second Street
He was a well-known Perrysburg merchant for 42 years and he built the house at 342 West Second in 1838. He was Gilbert Beach, prominent businessman and citizen. He passed this home along to his brother Schuyler, another prominent citizen, and this is their story.
Gilbert Beach came here from New York state in 1835 while Perrysburg was still in an unimpressive oasis on the rim of the great Black Swamp. He opened a grocery store on Front Street, which was then the village's main thoroughfare, near the Exchange Hotel.
He remained there for the next 29 years, part of the time in partnership with Schuyler. At one point fire destroyed his store, but he built another that eventually was moved to where the Hood Park parking lot is now located and which later became the home of the Perrysburg Journal until it was razed in 1966.
In 1863 Gilbert purchased the building later occupied by the Munger Brothers Meat Market at 123 Louisiana where he added dry goods to his line of business. He continued there until closing the store in 1877.
Meanwhile, early on in his many years he built the original portion of the home on West Second. It is not unduly imposing, but it is of noteworthy Greek Revival architectural style with a pediment gable front. It has a wide, plain frieze board, 6x6 windows and a simple flat lentil over the front door, with pilasters and sidelights.
Gilbert Beach was quite active in community and county affairs. He served as a township trustee, was elected county recorder, was a founder of the Wood County Horticultural Society, helped bring the railroad here and was an influential member of the Presbyterian Church. He lived to the ripe age of 85, dying in 1891, and is buried in Fort Meigs Union Cemetery.
Schuyler Beach, also of New York state, came here in 1837 after his brother. Although he spent time in the mercantile business, he made a much bigger name as a builder and a contractor. He was a director and construction supervisor of the Perrysburg to Findlay and McCutchenville Roads, both of which helped establish the system used in draining the swamp in this area. He was a contractor on the Miami & Erie Canal, helped build the Junction Railroad from Millbury to the Maumee River, built the old Perrysburg Union School and the Wood County Jail here, and at one stage enlarged and reconstructed the old Hydraulic Canal.
Gilbert Beach owned his new house for only five years before transferring ownership to Schuyler. The house eventually changed hands a couple of times before being re-acquired by Schuyler who, in 1876, transferred it back to Gilbert. Schuyler died in Dayton in 1887 at the age of 76 and was buried in Fort Meigs Union Cemetery.
The house, renovated and restored in recent years by David Hafner, has a foundation of double limestone and sandstone about 2-1/2 feet thick. It originally contained seven fireplaces. A huge barn formerly at the rear of the property was used by Schuyler to stable 12 teams of horses used in his work. It was said to be still standing as late as 1917.