Sunday, November 30, 2008

East Dayton's Oldest: Heirloom Houses at Linden & Huffman

We saw how James Findlays' estate subdivided East Dayton, laying out the land surveys the gave form to the modern east side.

Actual buildings on the land were few, though, since this wasn't pioneer land claims but a speculation. One can see, however, from the 1850's map how property was already being sold off in bits, as there are three owners shown on this map for the claims bisected by what was to become Linden Avenue (no east 3rd beyond Tals Corner yet).

One of the properties is labeled Widow Newcom, so this would be on the southwest quarter section of Section 28; Newcom property shown in the 1805 tax duplicate.

Early Huffman Avenue (at that time a country lane running east of the end of 5th Street) also appears.

One sees four houses with three owners listed: Vorhee, William Jennison, and Eichelberger.

As we've seen the land was first subdivided in 1854. fifteen years later the Titus map gives some detail, showing structures and property lines approximating the owners shown in the 1850 map. One can conjecture that these were the some of the first structures on the Findlay properties.

Though its notable that one structure is not shown. This building may have been ommitted, or the 1850s map, which is not that accurate, may be showing a structure further east on Huffman Avenue, east of the north-south section line (which marked the start of Newcom property to the east).

From a 1930 plat book one can fairly closely trace out the orginal lot lines, which have been re-subdivided. One can see slightly larger lots were some of the original houses were at.

William Jennison house

The 1898 Sanborn does show two large houses approximating the location of the Jennison house shown on the 1850s map.

Enlarging the Sanborn we see this was a brick house with the long side parallel to the street. There is a characterstic L shape of the antebellum I-house housform buried in plan (shaded in red) which may have been the original house. The map shows this as a double, so perhaps the house was converted and additions added, to make it two family. Or it may have been a double to start with.

Absent photographic evidenc we'll never know as this house is lost to us.

Eichelberger House

A well known name in the Dayton area as there is an Eichelberger Shopping Center in Kettering, and an Eichelberger was the first city manager of Dayton.

One can see the pie-shaped large lot on this 1898 Sanborn, with a fire station as a next door neighbor. Another old house of unknown age is further down the street. Presumably this was built shortly after 1869 or was not shown on the 1869 map for some reason.

As with the Jennison house, the Eichelberger house has a L shape, really a U shape, but perhaps the house was built in increments. Note that the unknown age house is built out to the lot line, similar to older houses appearing in old downtown photos and occasionally in the neighborhoods.

The two houses in a modern birds eye view.
And an enlargment of the Eichelberger house, showing the I House houseform, gable end perpendicular to the street. The two rear wings have been filled in, though.

On the ground at the intersection of Linden and Huffman, a rare survivor of antebellum Dayton, dating to 1851 at the latest.

...and a close-up, showing the side chimneys/fireplaces, central hall entry. There is also a raised lawn (with a low limestone watertable) and wrought-iron fence and gate. The wrought iron uprights at the porch? A later addition no-doubt.

Just beautiful. It would be a crime if this house was lost, not just because it is one of the oldest houses in East Dayton, but because the porportions are so good. This is excellent classical facade composition.

Down the street, the little brother. The zero lot line siting could easily fit this house in Springboro or Centerville villages, or Germantown. Again, age uncertain, but it is one of the first houses on this block per the 1898 Sanborn.

Though the Eichelberger house, certainly, was built well outside the city when new it's uncertain if it was a farm house or just a country house for a city person, or even an inn of some sort as it was near the end of the Xenia turnpike (Linden Avenue), just past one of the last tollgates. We also know that some inns near the public market downtown had a U shape like this house.

We do know that since it sat on the Findlay property it was not the house of a pioneer settler or early farmer in what is now East Dayton. We will turn to some of these early farm houses houses next.


Anonymous said...

This is fascinating early history -- it helps me have a context for my own home at 60 Linden.
Thanks for doing the work.

Jefferey said...

Your welcome. There is a post below a bit specifically on the James Findlay property, which is the first plat before the Huffman subdivision we know today.

Actually the western part of the Huffman district was on the original Dayton outlots, which might be worth its own thread in the future.