For more than 100 years, the Carter House in Ravenna was a home to generations of the Strickland family. More recently, the historic Greek Revival farmhouse on South Chestnut Street has served as an example of the way local residents once lived.
Now, the Portage County Historical Society is renovating the house, thanks to a $100,000 grant from the state.
State and local officials recently gathered at the house on the historical society’s campus to celebrate the renovation, which includes replacement of the roof, ice and water guard, gutter and downspouts, as well as foundation work in the basement. The historical society hopes to do other work to buildings on its campus with future grant funding and donations.
State Rep. Gail Pavliga hailed the historical society for preserving history. She said she was impressed when she visited The Liberty Camp and saw how the site is used to teach history to children. She called the site a “vibrant place” where history is restored and preserved.
Portage County Commissioner Sabrina Christian-Bennett said she was glad to see the renovation moving forward.
“I think it’s a great way to preserve our local history,” she said.
Debbie Sunderland, president of the historical society, said Salmon Carter built the house in 1835 and lived there in the later part of his life with his second wife, Lydia. Carter, she said, once owned a tavern but sold it when his first wife became ill, and moved to the farm property he had purchased in 1811.
After Carter’s death in 1854, Willis Strickland, a wealthy farmer, bought the property. A decade later, he built a brick home on the property, and his married son moved into the Carter House. For more than 100 years, generations of the Strickland family lived on the property, until Charlotte Strickland sold the land to the historical society.
The historical society uses the home as a museum. It is furnished in antiques to reflect the era in which it was built.
The society is now eying more than $1 million in upgrades to the Carter House, the brick Strickland House and clock tower on the site, and is looking for more grants and donations.
Eric Hummel said it was “an honor” to renovate the Carter House, and he hopes to restore the Strickland House in the future.
“It’s a beautiful home, and it needs some tender loving care,” he said.
Richard Whitmore said the clock in the tower once was part of the old Ravenna courthouse, and was saved “at the 11th hour” when the courthouse was torn down in 1960. The bricks in the tower were salvaged from a number of places, he said.
“These days, we all look at our phones to know what time it is,” he said. “But back then, that was a magnificent thing a government could do for its people. It’s a time treasurer. You would set your clock by that clock.”
Reporter Diane Smith can be reached at [email protected]