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June 12, 1980


Another amazing story that developed from the East Tiffin Street series con- cerns the John Peter residence, which originally stood where the Sterling Dairy is today. In the segment which dealt with the Peter house, I said it still stands and would be discussed in a later column. "Ike" Cadwallader told me where it was and that Larry Henry was the owner.

I telephoned Henry to verify the report and learned he lives in the house, now 1733 N. Union St., and has a photo of it as its original site. The old photo was so yellowed with age, it could not be reproduced for printing with this story.

Josephine Lee, local artist, used the old photo as a model for a pen and ink drawing showing how the house looked many years ago, even before Henry bought it. Back then, the side of the house showing the porch faced Poplar St. To- day, that side faces Union St. The house had only one porch originally.

When Henry bought it the porch has been continued around the side to form a front porch too, the way it is today. He added the garage on the side, and there were minor changes when the aluminum siding was applied; otherwise readers should have no trouble in matching up the drawing with the latest pho- to of it.


When I drove out to look at the house, I was amazed that it looked so much like the old photo. But, I was even more amazed when Henry explained the method used to move the house. He told me the top part of the house was lit- erally cut off just above the second floor line. The slate was removed from the roof, and all of the wall and roof members were disassembled and marked, to be assembled in their original places later. The plaster had to be re- moved and new reapplied after it was re-assembled. The movers broke only about 50 slates.

Next, the first floor of the house was cut into three vertical section. The movers actually sawed from top to bottom in such a way that the wall could be bolted together again.

The house was not moved in one unit because it was too large--not only in height, but in other dimensions--to get it through the streets to reach its new home. Even so, Henry recalls they encountered some problems with low electric lines and tree limbs. The house was moved west on Tiffin Street to Wood Street, north on Wood to Perry Street, then north on Union to its present site.


Henry's house was moved 43 years ago, and as I sat in his home listening to his story and thrilled by the beauty of the old house it seemed more like a fairy tale than a true story.

It was on July 4, 1937 that he started to tear apart the top of the house as its original site. It took him six weeks to complete that part of the pro- ject. Four years later the house was put together and ready for occupancy.

Henry was single in 1937 and lived with his parents in the house just south of where is house is now. He has never lived anyplace but at home and in his present house next door. And the old homeplace is still there. When the house was ready for occupancy, Henry married. The old house is where the Henry's started housekeeping and where they raised their family.


The oak floors and woodwork are as beautiful as the day they were put into place in the original structure...which must be more than 90 years ago. Henry says he is sure the house was at least 50 years old when he purchased it, judging from the size of newly-planted trees in the old photo. When he bought the house the trees were 26 to 28 inches in diameter. The house may be 100 years old...who knows?

The stairway, shown in the accompanying photo is the original as are the book- cases with the stained and leaded-glass doors and the built-in mirror which extends from floor to ceiling. One of Henry's projects for this year is to re-silver it.

The French doors which separated the large living room from the downstairs bedroom have heavy, bevelled plate glass.

The late John Friedman, who headed the National Machinery Co., Tiffin, in 1937, had purchased the house from Mrs. Peter. After it was moved he built the filling station that occupied that corner, and is now the same building occupied by Sterling Dairy Store.

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