Editor’s note: This article is one of a series of articles provided by the Champaign County Preservation Alliance and leading up to the annual Historic Home & Garden Tour. This year’s tour is an opportunity to visit eight homes, a couple museums, a garden, a church, a business and a railroad car. The tour is 11 a.m.-5 p.m. June 29 and 30 in Urbana. Pre-sale tickets are available at local banks and retailers, and a complete list is available at www.ccpapreserveohio.org
The Idle home, located at 3627 E. state Route 29, is known as Haunted Hills, an architecturally significant residence that has overlooked Urbana since about 1820. The first owners, Jacob and Lydia Leonard, moved from Cincinnati to Urbana around 1811. He was a physician and merchant. During the War of 1812, when Urbana became the rally point for all of the American forces west of the Alleghenies, he was a key seller of provisions for the troops camped in and about Urbana. The profits from those sales resulted in this house being built.
The home is a one-and-a-half-story Federal style house (in the Virginia fashion), with a Gothic Revival center dormer added in the 1840s, and a late 19th century front porch. The Federal style features symmetrical windows, internal chimneys and 4×1 or steeper roof pitches. Front doors are usually found in the center of the building. This house has all of these features and has unusual paired bridged chimneys.
Original 1820 features to be seen inside the house include the central hall and staircase, six panel doors throughout, and an original fireplace in the living room.
This house is known as Haunted Hills. Dr. Sarah Dupler owned the house in the late 19th century. She is rumored to haunt the home today and has been seen in the second floor front window over the porch.
The Ohio Historical Society has estimated that the home was built between 1820-1823. The tax records indicate that a residential structure was built between 1815 and 1816, but that may not be the existing house.
The house is said to have been a stop on the Underground Railroad.
Dr. Sarah Leonard Dupler was the owner in the last part of the 19th century. Her “shingle” was found by the owners between the walls and is on display in the living room. It reads “S. Dupler Female Doctress” and was featured on the WBGH Public TV show “Antiques Roadshow.”
The current owners’ family purchased the home in 1971 and Hollie moved in 1994. Since moving in she has added the upstairs rear gable and added a second floor bathroom. The original floors have been refinished, and the kitchen is updated.
Haunted Hills is furnished with family antiques from Ireland and Austria. Hollie’s mother’s watercolors and oil paintings are on display.
Info from the Champaign County Preservation Alliance.