Retired Art Teacher Robin Brucker entertained a group of 28 with stories from Mount Gilead’s past, combined with features of architecture as she led them on a loop around downtown Mount Gilead Sept. 21. The tour was the fourth of her evening architecture walks this summer.
The walking tour began at the History Center on the public square with the first subject the Cook Building across the street which now houses Keith’s Flower Shop and the Capitol Theatre.
Brucker noted the building is in the Italianate style, which is featured in many of the downtown buildings. She talked about the businesses that were once located in the building, including the dentist Dr. Millard on the second floor who had the only x-ray equipment in town at that time. There was also a dress shop and mercantile business on the first floor.
The tour moved up High Street to the library annex, courthouse and jail.
“I love this kind of thing – history and details like this,” said Cheryl Jason as Brucker told about the progression of additions to the Morrow County Courthouse, which was built in 1854 and the jail in 1850.
Brucker added the detail that the courthouse tower could be seen in Edison three miles away when the tower was added to the building and before the trees had grown up in between.
After a look at the Gothic style of the library annex and the Greek Revival style of the courthouse, Brucker had the group look at the home which is now The Rose Heart Inn bed and breakfast. She described the inn with its tower and wide front porch as Queen Anne style.
The group then walked down Church Street, the only remaining brick street in town to look at the Victorian home remembered as the Wasserman house. Brucker pointed to the high-pitched roof with ornate trim and decorative work around the windows, porch and gables. She had the group look back at the inn’s Queen Anne style and appreciate the differences and similarities. She noted both homes are of the Victorian period, but Queen Anne has fewer decorative features and less trim.
As the evening shadows fell, Brucker moved on to the corner of Main Street and Marion Street to talk about the Tucker buildings and the influence of Dr. Nathan Tucker, who built a dozen buildings on the south side of Main Street.
Tucker’s asthma specific medicine was developed and made by him in one of the buildings where he saw patients. The building was owned by Snyder Funeral Home for many years and is now the Morrow County Health Center.
As Tucker’s fortunes grew, he built several brick townhouses beginning in 1901. Sears kits were used for windows and other features in the buildings. Brucker lives in one of the homes and noted they have fine hardwood floors, mantles and pocket doors. They are substantial buildings and have been well-maintained over the years. Tucker also built the building now occupied by Joe’s True Value which has seen several businesses over the years.
Brucker ended the tour of architecture by the Levering Building built in 1876, which touts an opera house on the second and third floors. In the mid-1990s, Ed Amick owned the building and had an estimate it could be renovated with an elevator for $250,000. She said the estimate would no doubt be several million today. Unfortunately, that building, like many of the older three-story buildings in town, have upper floors which are disintegrating and no longer usable.
Brucker acknowledged Stan Sipes for researching much of the history of buildings and stories from accounts in the Morrow County Sentinel and other sources at the Genealogy department in the library annex. She ended with a tease for upcoming tours and History Center programs in October:
• An exhibit featuring musical instruments “Over there.”
• An exhibit of tools and kitchen gadgets.
• Murder, Mystery and Mayhem 2.0 Walking Tour leaving from the History Center at 7 p.m on Oct. 3, 12, 17, and 26.
• Haunted Museum in the History Center lobby on Oct. 28.
The History Center is open from 2-4 p.m. on Sunday.
* October 28 Haunted Museum in the History Center lobby
Alberta Stojkovic is a correspondent for The Morrow County Sentinel.