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
Over 92 years, the grand edifice at 1052 S. Main St. has been the first architecturally significant structure seen by drivers entering Urbana from the south. Built as a retirement home for the Amarath Grand Council of the Eastern Star, it has also served as the Champaign County Courthouse, nursing home, office building, and now as a dental center.
The two-and-one-half-story building was built in 1927 in the Colonial Revival Style. Identifiable features of this style include columned porticos, front-door side-lights, symmetrical facade, multi-paned windows, triple windows, side gabled roof, and dormer windows – all of which are found in this building.
The building is now home to Urbana Dental Smiles and the practice of Dr. Jessica Kile and Dr. Marta Strembitsky. Mr. Jason Kile designed the conversion of the building from offices into a thoroughly modern medical facility, which required new plumbing, pneumatics, electricity and a redesigned floor plan to facilitate flow and patient care.
Dr. Kile and Dr. Strembitsky are dentists who love building great relationships with the community and their patients. They enjoy providing the absolute best dentistry has to offer. The building “spoke to them” because it aligned with their personal values of excellence and relationships.
Building History: 1052 S. Main St. and 1040 S. Main St. are forever linked. 1040 S. Main St. was built sometime between 1917 and 1920. In 1923 the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons, Prince Hall Affiliation, for the State of Ohio purchased a 21-acre tract in Urbana just north of Route 55 and between S. High St, and S. Main St. The building at 1040 S. Main St. (still standing in 2019) was converted into a Men’s Masonic Retirement Home, which operated until December 31, 1963, and was then leased to become Hoover’s Nursing Home No. 1.
The Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons, Prince Hall Affiliation, for the State of Ohio donated land just south of their home (1040) for the construction of a Masonic widows and orphans home and as a retirement home for the Prince Hall Affiliation Eastern Star. The cornerstone for 1052 S. Main St. was laid on August 4, 1927 in full Masonic tradition, conducted by the Grand Line of their fraternity. The building was originally known as the “Women’s Dormitory” and was managed by the Amarath Grand Council of the Eastern Rite. The “Women’s Dormitory” continued until the mid-1940s when it was closed.
The second career of this building was brought on by a calamity. In 1948 the Champaign County Courthouse burned and collapsed. From 1948 until 1956 the Champaign County Courthouse was housed in this building. There are still painted signs on the basement walls stating that there is “No Smoking by order of the County Commissioners.”
In 1957 the building (still owned by the Masons) was leased by the Gordons, who operated a rest/nursing home in the structure. In 1953 it became the Patterson Nursing Home, and from 1964-1976 it operated as Hoover Nursing Home No. 2.
The fourth career of this building was as an office building housing such local businesses as Walter H. Lauterback Architect; David W. Pfaff Golf Course Designer; Edwin E McCall Architect; Richard A Meyer Esq; Warehouse Transportation Freight Inc.; V. Patrick Hamilton Real Estate Team with ReMax Alliance.
In its current career, it has been lovingly renovated and is now a dedicated dental facility.
Info from the Champaign County Preservation Alliance.