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 one-and-a-half-story Avey home at 111 East Lawn Ave. is lucky that its newest owner comes from a long line of wood-workers/handymen because this house needed those talents to spring back to life. The owners have replaced the roof, taken down wallpaper, removed wall-to-wall carpet exposing original hardwood floors, and painted everything else. And, they have installed an elevator to reach the second floor, which was previously accessible only by a pull-down staircase.
This 1,496-square-foot home is brick laid in a running bond fashion. The style is American Folk National, which is not usually constructed of brick. The front porch once faced Scioto Street, and now is found on the right side of the house, and the original side door is now the main entrance.
The reason for the change was around 1934 the front lawn was converted into a Turner Oil gas station and was eventually sold off as a different lot. The home went from being addressed as 604 Scioto Street, to 111 East Lawn Avenue.
Some of the historical features include a “Diane Series” sink from 1947 made by the Youngstown Kitchen Division of American Standard in Warren, Ohio. The home owners have also found an original gas-lamp from the pre-electricity days.
John M. Carter was the first owner of the SW corner of Scioto and East Lawn Avenue purchasing it for $500 in October 1858. It is not entirely certain when the house was built but in 1892 the taxable valuation of his land went from $550 to $1,750, so 1892 is a good guess. However, the home may be much older. In the 29 Nov. 1929 edition of the Champaign Democrat its “Little Stories of Years Ago” column mentions that in “olden times” the David Hovey house was the first building after the Episcopal Church on Scioto Street. If true, that would put its construction around 1835.
In November 1898 the home was purchased by David Hovey, owner of one of four Urbana slaughterhouses and Meat Merchant on the Square. The four slaughterhouses were located at the “extreme end of Boyce Street way out in the country’ which is now about the intersection of Boyce and N. Jefferson streets.
In 1934 a service station was erected on the front lawn by Joe Wagner (leaseholder). By 1938 it was called the Turner Oil Co. operated by Cicil Bendell. By 1961 it was Kester’s Marathon, and in 1979 it was Polsley’s Marathon. Today it is the Urbana office of Henderson Land Investment Company.
The house was sold to Fannie M. Waggner in 1928, to Lewis C. Inskeep in 1937, to Dora G. Bedell in 1938, to Robert M. McDonald in 1944, Anna Dusenberry in 1945, Wilbur Hendrikson 1955, Corwin Biddle 1963, and James & Anna Young 1967.
Info from the Champaign County Preservation Alliance.