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Local Medina County News

$170K down, $330K to go to preserve historic McDowell-Phillips House

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    One of the windows off the sitting room has a spider-web design.


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    A sign in the front yard of the McDowell-Phillips House shows the progress toward the goal of raising $500,000 for the purchase and renovation of the house built in 1890.


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    This is one of the seven fireplaces in the McDowell-Phillips House.


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    A framed picture of the McDowell-Phillips House sits on one of the tables.



MEDINA — The Medina County Historical Society announced Monday it has raised $170,000 in its campaign to purchase and preserve the historic McDowell-Phillips House.

Its goal is to amass $500,000 to $300,000 for the purchase of the house and $200,000 to renovate it.

Historical Society President Brian Feron made the announcement at a press conference on the front porch of the house built in 1890. It’s located at 205 S. Prospect St., and is said to be one of the most unique houses in the city.

Medina County Probate and Juvenile Judge Kevin Dunn donated $30,000 on behalf of the Medina Rotary Club during the press conference.

He said the Rotary Club wants to leave its legacy on the city. Dunn, president of Rotary, said the McDowell-Phillips house is the “coolest” house in Medina. He said he always drove by the Queen Anne shingle-style home and wondered what it was like inside.

Dunn took a tour Monday.

Feron said checks are trickling in almost every day for the campaign. Those wishing to make a donation can send a check to the John Smart House Museum, 206 N. Elmwood Ave., Medina.

“We’re grateful to Miriam Phillips for her patience and allowing this to percolate,” he said.

Miriam and her husband, Drew, have lived in the house for almost 30 years.

It is a palatial dwelling of about 5,000 square feet with 14 rooms, seven fire places and two barns on the 2-acre lot. The house will provide additional space for the Historical Society to display its extensive artifact collection.

Among the renovations planned by the Historical Society are:

  • Replace damaged shingle siding and paint the exterior;
  • Upgrade electrical service and lighting;
  • Interior plaster repairs and decorating;
  • Install a security system;
  • Update the HVAC system for climate control;
  • Reconstruct a carriage house and barn.

The home was built by R.M. McDowell for $10,800. It has passed down through the family for 130 years. McDowell was a prominent citizen and president of the Old Phoenix Bank.

Elizabeth Blake McDowell was the daughter of H.G. Blake, a leading citizen in Medina County who served as state representative, U.S. congressman, and staunch abolitionist. Blake’s other daughter, Helen, married R.M. McDowell’s brother, O.H. McDowell.

“I’m sure (H.G. Blake) would be happy with the home in the hands of the Historical Society,” Feron said.

He said he hopes Senate President Larry Obhof, R-Montville Township, and state Rep. Steve Hambley, R-Brunswick, support the home and its renovation in the next capital budget.

“I hope this house proves to be a stimulus for more renovation in the city,” he said.

Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or

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