Cahoon0

Built in 1825 by Avon’s first settler Wilbur Cahoon, the city of Avon will finalize its purchase of the Cahoon House in July.

AVON

A big part of Avon’s history is being preserved for residents to enjoy for generations. The city is in the final stages of buying the historic Cahoon House, 2940 Stoney Ridge Road, for $200,000, from the family that has owned the 1825 Greek Revival home since 1966.

Mayor Bryan Jensen said everything is on track for the sale to be finalized in a few weeks from homeowner Jean Fischer

“I’ve known the Fischer family for a long time, and understood the significance of the home,” Jensen said. “When the time was right, I reached out to them to inquire about the city purchasing this property with the goal of preserving a significant piece of Avon’s history. It’s important that younger generations have access to the house, in order to understand Avon’s legacy and what life was like back when the first settlers arrived.”

The Cahoon House serves an integral role in Avon’s history. Wilbur Cahoon and his family were Avon’s first settlers, arriving in 1814 from New York. They settled on the land where the current Cahoon House is located. Cahoon developed the property overlooking French Creek and built a sawmill and a gristmill. In 1825, Cahoon and his family moved out of the log cabin that served as their temporary family dwelling, and into the existing Cahoon House, constructed on the property.

It is one of the oldest homes in Lorain County and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Avon business development consultant Sheri Seroka worked closely with Jensen during the proposal process in 2018, pitching the idea of the purchase to Avon City Council. In August 2018, she provided council with an overview of the property’s history, underscoring its historical value.

In May, council approved a purchase agreement for the Cahoon House.

“Regret only goes one way,” Seroka said. “Once the house is sold to another buyer, it’s gone — Avon can’t get it back. In my research, I discovered how few people in Avon know there’s something special about the house. Now they can learn.”

Jensen agreed.

“Going forward, we’d like the Cahoon House to be used for historical educational purposes.” he said. “The natural fit of the house is akin to a museum, and we intend to honor the educational value this house brings by allowing people to come visit. At this point, we’re not planning to rent out the house for business purposes.”

Once the city takes possession, multiple artifacts donated by the Fischer family and other local families and organizations will be placed in the house to enhance its historical atmosphere.

Jensen stated that while no major renovations are planned, several improvements are needed to make the house ready for its public unveiling. The yard boasts several large pine trees that are not of historical value and will be cut down to make the property safer for visitors. A new parking lot, large enough to handle school buses and visitors’ cars, will be paved. Lastly, the house and surrounding property will soon become ADA compliant, to accommodate visitors with disabilities.

The additional work should cost about $10,000, Jensen said, adding that the August is the target date for opening Cahoon House to the public.

In 2017, the city bought the Jameson House at 36675 Detroit Road to save it from demolition, given its historical significance. Built in 1865, it was previously the home of the mayor of Vermillion. The home is currently the site of Jameson Homestead Antiques. The city had planned to establish a visitor center at the building, but granted a lease extension to the antique store in 2018 for three additional years while the city firms up its final plans for the building.

Avon currently has no plans to purchase any other properties of historical significance, Jensen said.

“We’ll always keep an eye out for properties of historical value.” Jensen said. “But the two pieces we have now are two jewels. We’re lucky to have them.”

Sarah Kilroy is a freelance writer from Fairview Park.

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