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 delightful McClain home at 332 E. Court St. is almost 140 years old. It is located in one of the earliest residential developments in Urbana. It has been home to retired farmers, clerks, a medical specialist and merchants. For almost 80 years it was the home of three generations of the Holding family.
The house style is Center Gabled American Folk National with Gothic Revival details. American Folk is an architectural style hallmarked by sturdy construction with simple window and door surrounds. This style is usually unadorned. The McClain home features a prominent Gothic arched window and carpenter turned porch posts as its primary external decoration. Note the near perfect proportions of the home’s front facade, which allows the home to fit comfortably in its lot.
This almost 2000-square-foot house has undergone several remodels in its past. Plumbing, electricity, sewage and central heating were added in 1912. In 1990 a large open concept kitchen and family room addition were added to the rear of the house, and all of the mechanicals were brought to modern standards.
This house is in the T.M. Gwynne Addition of Urbana platted in May 1859. The lot was originally purchased by Urbana University as an investment opportunity. In 1870 Urbana University sold the lot and after short ownership by many, it was purchased in 1878 by Emma B. Weaver. Emma Weaver built the current home, but did not live there. She rented the property for 25 years until selling it to Marjory F. Holding. Three generations of the Holding family owned the home for over 80 years between 1912 and 1991. The Holdings were merchants who operated a store on Monument Square where Oxner’s General Store now operates.
Since the Holding era, the house has been home to the McDaniel, Brackney and Hill families. In 2017 the McClain family purchased the home and is enjoying its charms.
The McClain house is an excellent example of how to make an old structure fully functional for today’s usage.
Info from the Champaign County Preservation Alliance.