Homes tour offers glimpse of early Worthington
Worthington homeowner Pat Smith displays antique sheet music in her living room. Buy This Photo
Every table, chair, bed, book and painting comes with a story laced with history at the home of Pat Smith.
The house is a story in itself, as visitors will learn when they take the Worthington Historical Society Tour of Homes and Gardens from 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. Sunday, July 8.
The tour will be the first held on the west side of the Olentangy River. Much of the land was part of the original farmland purchased by Worthington's founders in 1803.
Not only is the location of the tour unusual, but also is the setup, tour chair Stefanie Haueisen said. Instead of driving to each home and finding a parking space, those taking the tour will park at Linworth Baptist Church, 6200 Linworth Road.
Two air-conditioned buses will provide continuous transportation among the church and the six stops.
Pre-event tickets are available for $10 at the Shop at the Old Rectory, 50 W. New England Ave., and Fritzy Jacobs, 635 High St. Cash and check-only tickets will be sold at the church during the tour.
Smith and her late husband, Robert "Smitty" Smith, designed and built the two-story house on a bluff overlooking the Olentangy (and state Route 315) in 2003. It is an ICF home, meaning the outside walls are insulated forms, often compared to large Lego blocks. The forms are filled with concrete.
The house then was covered in stucco on the outside and, of course, finished on the inside.
It could withstand a tornado, is quiet inside (no state Route 315 noise), heating and air conditioning are less expensive, and it gets little dust.
The house is spacious and filled with antiques that reflect the history of Ohio, Worthington and the Smith family.
"Thomas Worthington: Father of Ohio Statehood" will be on display. The definitive history of the man for whom Worthington was named, it was written by Alfred Sears, a relative of Robert Smith.
Sears, a professor of history at the University of Oklahoma, attended the Smith wedding so he could include a trip to Adena as background for the book.
Adena was the Worthingtons' home in Chillicothe. Smith grew up on Chillicothe and was a docent at Adena during college vacations.
Many of the antiques are from the Anchorage, the historic Marietta home built by Douglas Putnam, great grandson of Revolutionary War general Israel Putnam.
Robert Smith's aunt, Ruth Russell, grew up in the home.
Among the furniture is a 1918 Steinway, on which old music will be played during the tour; an oil painting by Edward McTaggart, a relative who was considered one of the finest open-air painters in Britain; and a curly maple/cherry table made in 1850.
The chairs to the table are not original. The originals were dropped and broken as the table and chairs were hauled among houses where parties were being held.
On display in the family room are several pieces of Imperial porcelain, made by a company owned by Robert Smith's father and three other dentists and physicians in Zanesville. The pieces were designed by Paul Webb, creator of Lil Abner and Daisy Mae.
A collection of memorabilia, much of it political, and other items owned by antiques dealer Macy Hallock will be on display in the basement during the tour.
On the basement walls are a more recent and local history of the homeowner. Smith, a former member of the Worthington and the Ohio school boards, has held many positions in her life, from teacher to columnist to educational consultant. She has run for several offices, been active in Republican politics and, during the 1980s, served on the defense advisory committee for Women in the Armed Services.
The latter earned her a commendation from President Reagan. The commendation is framed and on the wall along with photos of Smith, with political leaders from James Rhodes to Casper Weinberger.
Smith will be present to share some of her stories with visitors.
Other stops on the tour are:
* A home on Castle Crest, which was built in 1950 by Henry and Ruth Gabel. The Gabel family owned Gabel Dairy and the Linworth Farmers Exchange. The current owners have a collection of Northwest Coastal Indian masks and art, as well as pieces by local artists on display.
* A house built by Isaac Newton Case in 1829 on the lot purchased by his father, Isaac Case, in 1804. It remained in the family for more than a decade and is the oldest structure still standing on the Worthington farmlands west of the river.
* The Plesenton mound, an ancient Hopewell/Adena mound in the center of the Plesenton subdivision. Thought to have been both a ceremonial and burial mound, it was purchased in the 1920s by Herman Jeffers, who platted the subdivision and transferred ownership of the mound to the Worthington Historical Society.
* The Plesenton Drive home of architect Charles Nitschke, built in 1961 as his family home. It is considered a "natural" house, which becomes part of its surroundings. The four-bedroom open-concept ranch is constructed of mainly natural elements, such as wood and glass.
* A Strathaven Court condominium. Strathaven was built in 1983 by developer George Banning and architect William Kocher. The homeowner has many antiques and collections, including hats, quilts, bells, crosses, teddy bears, dolls, clocks and Tiffany lamps.