Original Plat Neighborhood

Since our charter in 2000, Historic Homes of Defiance has been researching the homes and properties in Defiance’s original plat.  Our goal remains to list several blocks of homes up near the Defiance Public Library and Fort Grounds to the National Register of Historic Places.  The proposed district holds a beautiful collection of architectural designs from the Victorian and Prairie Arts & Crafts Eras.  

 HHOD has identified two waves of settlement that has shaped Defiance and the neighborhood found in the original plat. The first wave came as pioneers who achieved success during the harvesting of raw materials phase. This came in the late 1800’s when timber was still plentiful and the canals were locally running at full speed.  Defiance was, at this time, a very young city of immigrants with 5 of 8 churches holding their services in German. These early settlers were operating Defiance Machine Works, Diehl Brewery, Defiance Pressed Steel, Hoffman Geiger Furniture, 2 tanneries, the Wabash Railroad Shops, a planning mill, 2 asheries, 2 gristmills, a stove foundry, Trompe Brick Yard, several small cooperage shops and the Tick Mitten Wool Company.  These businesses were taking the raw and crude materials from the area and producing goods for both local consumption and to ship across the country on the booming canal system of the time.

The economic success of this group is seen in these business owner’s Victorian styled homes including good examples of Italianate, Gothic Revival, Greek Revival and Queen Anne. This first era is also strongly connected to the Miami & Erie Canal. A citation from “Defiance History 1883” reads “Defiance is unexcelled as a place for the manufacture of wooden articles from native timber. Its three rivers and 2 canals afford it the means of bringing logs & timber from a wide scope of country at a trifling cost,” (p. 164). Even though the railroad came through Defiance in 1854, it could not outpace the canal in its ability to move logs from harvest to manufacture.

 The second wave of success came with industrialization and mass production.  Pioneers began to build foundries and produce metal implements far more complicated than the simple stoves and hubs made in the early factories. These new and modern industrial ventures built parts for the automobile industry, battery components, radio transistors, lathes and boring machines and even an airplane called the Simplex. They moved beyond harnessing the rivers for energy but instead ran their factories on steam engines as the trains replaced the canals to export their products both east and west. This second wave of industrial success is seen as these pioneers began to show newer and simpler architectural lines of the bungalow, the prairie style and the craftsman.

 This small neighborhood was spurred onward in its 21st century architecture by the destruction of the great 1913 flood. That flood caused damage to several homes and buildings near the confluence of the rivers. 268 homes in Defiance were placarded as uninhabitable by the Health Board. The waters washed a few homes completely off their foundations or even down river. The March 25, 1913 The Crescent News reported that, “the houses on First Street near the Public Library had to be vacated.” We believe our research shows that the 1913 Flood and the damage it caused coupled with the extensive building boom which followed spurred the wonderful early 20th century styles seen so prevalently in the neighborhood today.

Victorian Homes

Late Victorian Styles:

Queen Anne:  From 1880 – 1900 Queen Anne was the dominant style of home in Ohio.  They are usually asymmetrical, quite the opposite of the Colonial Revival Georgians of the District.  They used a variety of materials on the exterior including many styles and shapes of shingles as well as clapboard siding.  They often had bay or oriel windows and many times roof gables projected from the front or sides.  Full width, wrap porches with fancy woodwork and spindles were popular.  Many had steeply pitched slate roofs, prominent chimneys and exaggerated decorative treatments. 

Four homes personify the Queen Anne style in the District.

          518 Washington (Lauster) This home is the smallest of the three samples, but contains many of the elements described above.  This cross gabled home is shingled and underscored with dentil detailing.  It features a three-window bay with leaded glass in the top half.  There is original door detailing over the windows.  The rounded wrap porch is shingled.  The porch roof and  pedimented porch entry are supported by simple round columns.

          The next two Queen Annes sit side by side at 301 and 309 Third.  

301 Third (Behringer) is a highly detailed Italianate of the 1880s  remade to look like a Queen Anne about 1940.  The wraparound porch was added, but with a round design, much like the one at 518 Washington.  It also features a three-window bay in the front gable.  The exterior is shingled.

          309 Third (Diehl) is a cross gable, 2 ½ story home featuring first and second story four-window bays.  The second floor bay has overhanging bracket detail.  The roof is slate.  The eaves drip with lacey bargeboard.  The front gable is heavily ornamented with decorative beams and continuing bargeboard. 

          304 Third (Evans) This 2 ½ story Queen Anne is unique from the rest because it is front gabled.  A full brick façade front porch has circular columns supporting the roof.  The front gable features three 4/1 windows at the peak.  One side of the home has a side gable and the other sports shed dormers and bay windows.  An addition was added to the rear in 1980.  The front door is a panel beveled glass door with sidelights.  There is cladding in the front gable peak and brackets.  There appears to be dentiling, but it is actually bracing used for support.

Italianate architecture emphasizes height while using round or segmental arches instead of pointed ones found in Gothic.  They tended to have an asymmetrical façade that was two or three bays wide and a side hall.   Brackets beneath the eaves were common in most. There is a subtype of Italianate that is well represented in the District; Italian Villa sometimes called Tuscan Villa.

          415 Fort (Kintner) This home is the classic, tall Italianate with an asymmetrical design with the front door sitting to the right. It has wide overhanging eaves and a classic, low hipped roof.  A front porch runs the full width of the home.  In 1940 there were some modifications to bring in a more Arts and Crafts look and the brick was stuccoed.  The west side of the home features a cantilevered balcony with wrought iron balustrade and decorative brackets.  There is a lead glass octagonal window on the second floor.  It has a Craftsman front door with sidelight.

          515 Jefferson (Tharp/Lauster/Krotz) This Italianate falls in between the Classic and the Villa styles.  This two-story home features a hipped flat roof with quoins on the corners. This is one of the few examples of quoins in the District. As with most Classic Italianates, this home has a stepped rear portion.  The windows are correct for the type, either 2/2 or 4/4 panes. The second floor the windows are balanced and symmetrical to those below and the front door is offset.

          529 Jefferson  (Deatrick)  This was Villa Italianate and quite similar to the previous listing, but has been a commercial building for more than half a century.  It has had additions and the front porch was enclosed.  It has been vinyl sided. The front door is off center, three balanced windows on the second floor.  The front porch has been enclosed, the replacement windows are incorrect and the pedimented entry is not congruent with the type.  The gem of this “home” is that it has retained its cupola and the supporting brackets beneath the wide eaves.  Those features are significant and worthy of note. 

          524 Jefferson (Goller) Slightly different than the other three, this Italianate is square with a symmetrical hip roof. The house has a columned porch, brick foundation, and 1/1 windows with curved tops. A widow’s walk on the roof is a later addition. There are pop-out attic windows in a small dormer in the center of the roof.  A decorative band detail runs beneath the cornice of the home. An enclosed passage behind the house originally led to Goller’s Bakery in the rear.

          119 Wayne (Blair)  This classic Italianate is the most simple and original of all the five examples in the district.  It is missing its front porch, but is otherwise very much intact.  A simple hipped roof is capped with one of the few cupolas remaining in Defiance.  It has a rusticated foundation beginning with brick, then topped with limestone or sandstone. This brick two-story features left set 1st floor double doors topped with a transom and a bracketed metal hood matching the window hoods in style. The windows are 6/6 and still sport hinged, wooden shutters. A side extension to the back and south holds a second, although single, door and 2nd floor window with the same metal hoods and shutters as the front face. An attached wood sided, flat roofed garage to the north of the structure has a modern garage door. The north side of the garage structure is skim coated in a masonry cover. 

Romanesque Revival:  The only example the District holds of Romanesque Revival is the First Assembly of God at 500 Washington. It is Romanesque with a rusticated stone foundation, a hipped, red tile roof and gabled front with an offset front door, common to the style.  It has a flying buttress design.  The building is masonry, as is common to the Romanesque style with patterned brickwork above the grouped and round arched windows.  Brick dentils highlight much of the roof line.  There is a square, hip roofed tower at the northeast front corner.  Rounded windows are a classic Romanesque feature as found in the windows of this church. The Romanesque tower features round arched windows with decorative masonry at the second story.  The first floor of the tower serves as the main entrance to the vestibule.  All of the front windows and doors feature round arched transoms.  The front gable windows are stained glass.  A shed roofed porch has been added to the southeast corner entrance.  A cornerstone laid at the northeast corner reads Erected AD 1910.

Colonial Revival was an early 20th Century style attempting to re-create earlier historic styles.  

Dutch Colonial Revival are easily identified by their gambrel roofs.  They usually have a significant dormer on one or both sides of the roof as our first example below shows.  “They often exhibit Colonial Revival features such as thin Classical columns and symmetrical facades,” (Gordon, p.104) also doorway hoods and porticos.  Dutch Colonial also have multi pane upper sashes, as our first example exhibits.  Both homes have exterior chimneys which is also common to the style.

          409 Fort Street (Tustiston) has a gambrel roof with a second story shed dormer.  The first floor features a cantilevered bay window.  A ribbon of windows is found in the front shed dormer flanked with 6/1 double hung windows.  The two chimneys have decorative masonry details.  The street facing gable has a series of double hung windows and a small ribbon of windows in the gable.  The exterior is shingled.

          300 Third (Deatrick) This two story home has a front gambrel roof with no protruding dormers.  The gambrel is not nearly as pronounced as a typical Dutch style. It has one over one windows.  The rafter-tails are exposed.  A sunporch has been added across the front of the house.  An arched hood with brackets is mounted over the center second story window and repeated again over the offset front porch.  This clapboard home was stuccoed in 1950.  

Georgian Colonial Revival homes “display the formal and historically accurate characteristics of 17th and 18th century Georgian architecture.  Quoins were often used as corner accents.  Dormer windows sometimes had alternating curved and triangular pediments,” (Gordon p. 101).  Georgian homes were usually built for larger homes in more affluent neighborhoods in Ohio.  Georgians are usually formal and symmetrical with stacked openings and centered entrances. Palladian (arch topped) windows are common. They use columned porticos, decorative pilasters, ornate brackets called modillions under the eaves and dentils, (which some describe as a row of teeth). Multipaned windows and stone lintels are indicative of the style.  There are five Georgian homes in the District

          106 Washington (Whitaker/Compo)  There is a low pitched, side gabled roof.  There are 6/1 double hung windows.  The home has a full façade and a two story eight columned front porch with a large front stair entrance and a small south side entrance.  The front door is pedimented with pilasters and sidelights.  There is a brick chimney with field stone accents.

          301/307 Washington (Tenzer)  This is a very informal colonial and it too has a side gabled roof and 6/1 windows.  The home was built of brick and later stuccoed.  The window shutters are unique to the neighborhood featuring small crescents in them.  The sills are brick lug.  The centered front door has a simple roof over the porch stoop.  The front porch is supported by columns on stucco blocks.  The entrance has a segmental arch with sidelights.  The contributing attached garage has original craftsman doors with 4/4 windows and copper gutters.  

          308 Washington (Hutchinson)  Another side gable frame home, this one is more formal than its example across the street. It has a four window dormer on the front of the home.  The centered front door has sidelights.  6/1 windows flank either side of the front door.  Six round pillars support a full façade front porch. 

          300 First (Minsel) The is colonial revival and the next at 122 Wayne are the most true and formal of all our examples.  It has original painted wood clapboard siding.  There are full height pilasters at each corner of the house.  Like all the other Colonials of the neighborhood, this too is a side gabled roof with eaves and cornice returns.  It has a shed roofed, triple window dormer on the north/back side of the roof.  As were all of the other colonials, the main windows are 6/1 with a few 12/1 and louvered shutters.  A large, symmetrically stepped brick chimney stands at each end of the home and flanked by quarter windows at attic level.  There is an entry portico with an exposed rafter overhang and decorative rafter tails.  Pilasters on both corners protect an unusually wide-louvered wood front door with sidelights.  There is an east facing solarium with a half hip roof and casement windows. 

          122 Wayne(Sutphen) This is the earliest of the Colonials.  Like all the rest, it is a side gabled home.  The portico which runs the entire front of the home is supported by columns with a balustrade.  Pilasters are at each corner.  The unusual entrance is a bay projecting from the home with sidelights.  The windows are mullioned in the top half.  There are three windows with transoms on the side.  Three gabled dormers protrude from the front roof with pediments and pilasters.  All have window tracery.  It is probably the most stylized of the five examples.

Mid 19th Century

Gothic Revival:  This style gained popularity in the mid 19th century when beautiful architecture was gaining popularity. This style makes extensive use of pointed arches.  They are made of stone, brick or wood frame.  Like the later Italianate, it would emphasize vertical lines.  Decorative barge board or gingerbread, finials, octagonal posts, molded lintels over doors and windows, steeply pitched gabled roofs and stained glass are all features associated with Gothic Revival.

          415 Washington (Max) is relatively nondescript, but it has one of the few gothic style windows in the District as its most prominent feature in the front gable.  

          301 First (Lehman) This story-and-a-half home has horizontal clapboard siding and brick foundation. A steeply pitched (indicative of Gothic), cross-gabled roof features unusual dentil trim on the soffits of all four gables. Square windows are all original with some 3/1 and some 6/1. The windows of the east-facing solarium feature leaded glass transoms, popular with the style. Four fluted, tapered Doric columns support a full façade single story pergola-style porch with decorative rafter tails. Two-thirds of the porch is flat-roofed, with one-third open. The front door has an oval, leaded-glass window and is flanked by four-panel glass-over-wood frame and panel sidelights, fluted pilasters, and carriage lights, with a 1×9 light transom spanning the space. The front façade’s gable features triple 6/1 windows over a bracketed window box.  

          308 Second (Grace Episcopal) This church is the most classic example of Greek Revival with its all red brick construction with decorative brick dentil moldings along the inside of the high-peaked shingled roofline. The front façade features a multiple paneled, painted wood, arched front door, with three tall arched stained-glass windows above, and a stained glass Reuleaux window centered between those windows and the roof peak. Brick stepped-height buttresses with metal caps support the structure at its front corners and along the sides. Tall arched stained-glass windows and a circular stained-glass window are located on each side nearest the front of the building. There is a Celtic cross at the pinnacle of roof.  Research shows that this church should have been made of the finest and most perfect timber to be had as it was built and used by the many timbermen who spent time in Defiance during its timber years.

          519 & 523 (Sauer & Harris) Jefferson twin examples of Greek Revival in the District.  Both are story-and-a-half with wide side gabled roof.  Both have a large center dormer flanked with twin dormers. The sharp angle of these features emphasizes the home’s vertical features.  519 Jefferson has a pedimented front porch entry at the center stairs and its porch runs the entire width of the home.  Bay windows are on either side of the front door, but under the porch roof.  523 Jefferson  has a smaller front porch and bay windows which flank either side of the porch.

Prairie Arts & Crafts Homes

Late 19th and 20th Century American Movements

Bungalow:  One of the most prevalent styles in the District is Bungalow which is known for its “long, sweeping gable roofs, overhanging eaves, massive tapered porch posts and exposed rafters with beams commonly added under the gables” (Gordon, p. 138).  Five of the six Bungalows in the District are Dormer Front Bungalows which means that they have a side gabled roof which sweeps down toward the front of the house and extends to cover a front porch.  A large, centered gable projects from the roof.  “Wall surfaces may combine materials such as wire-cut brick, cobblestone, stucco, clapboard, and split shake shingles” (Gordon, p. 138).  This is particularly seen in the twin duplexes at the corner of First and Wayne.  Clapboard siding and shingles remain on the Washington street homes.

          319 Fort Street (Gilson) is a story and a half home with a shed roof.  The second floor gabled dormer is centered in the front with a Craftsman style balustrade.  It has original clapboard or weatherboard siding.  There are Craftsman details under the porch eaves.  The front door is centered on the porch and flanked with large, transom windows.  The brick front porch has brick stoops on either side.  Bracketed eaves are found at both the dormer and the porch rooflines.  It has wood windows and door trim with entablature.

The next three homes are very similar in style and appearance.

          424 Washington 519 Washington and 308 Fourth are all three Craftsman Bungalows and all three were built in 1919 by the Ensigns; father George and two sons Claude and William.  It is not clear if the three men built these homes themselves or hired a builder.  History shows all three were quite handy working as engineers and skilled labor at the Defiance Machine Works.  All three homes are very similar to one another with minor variations. All are one and a half story with hipped roofs and a centered front dormer.  The dormer for the homes on Washington have three 1/1 windows and 424 Washington has a gable vent.  There are variations of shed dormers on the homes. The Washington Street  homes have original clapboard siding.  Some 1/1 lead glass windows remain.  There is a craftsman style front entry door.  424 has tapering, patterned, brick pillars.  519 Washington has a post and balustrade style front porch.   Both Washington Street homes feature prominent brick chimneys, but on opposite sides of the house.  The Fourth Street Bungalow did not fare as well.  The windows have been replaced, the entire home is encased in vinyl siding and the front porch has been entirely enclosed. 

          111 Jefferson (May)  is a 1 ½ Gable Front Bungalow with an off center chimney.  The front porch and foundation is made of glazed brick.  New 6/1 double hung windows flank either side of the centered front door.

          418/420 First St and 123/125 Wayne St are unique twin duplexes.  The First Street duplex is more intact than Wayne.  It is red-brown textured brick with original 7/1 and 10/1 windows throughout on a brick foundation.  It has a symmetrical façade.  A full with brick front porch leads to a pair of original wood entrance doors with multi paned glass and transoms.  Square brick porch pillars with geometric limestone design accents support a full-width balcony with knee walls of painted frame and panel construction with a center railing section and extended center overhang.  Bilateral brick chimneys stand on either side.  Darker brick surrounds every window, while two-tone alternating bricks accent the pillars and house corners.  The shingle hip roof with bracketed tongue and groove wood soffits on all sides has a wide hip roof attic dormer with large multi pane tilt-in windows and slate sides.  The duplex on Wayne St is identical, but has lost its entire front porch which significantly changes the aesthetic.  It has lost the second floor full-width balcony and its brick front porch.  The new porch is modern deck material with a pedimented roof at the center. 

Prairie School:  “this style features a low-pitched roof, usually hipped with widely overhanging eaves; two stories, with one-story wings or porches; eaves, cornices, and façade detailing emphasizing horizontal lines; often with massive, square porch supports,” (Knopf, p. 439).  The District holds a true example of the Prairie School at 310 First Street.

          310 First (Shelly) This two story home has a low, hipped roof with a large overhang, common to the Prairie and Craftsman movements.  It features original brick on the first story.  The brick front porch is built with beautiful brick arches supporting the roof and spans the entire front of the home.   The overhang  is supported by doubled wood brackets.  There are original craftsman style 9/1 multi pane windows.  The Prairie School is also seen in the geometric design details in the brick pillars of the front porch which connect to form two arches on either side of the entry stairs.

          115 Wayne (LaVergne/Virgil Compo) is a four-square Prairie home, but it has been completely encased in vinyl siding.  It has a low pitched hip roof, much the same as the one at 310 First Street.  The front door is centered on the house with symmetrical windows flanking it up and down.  

Jacobethan:  The District’s only Jacobethan building is an excellent and undisturbed example of that style.  Jacobethan features projecting bays surrounded by small balconies, limestone features, parapets, and quoins, all reminiscent of the medieval castles in fairy tale books.  Stone trim often highlights gables and balustrades. 

The First Presbyterian Church Washington Street has all of that.  This two-story brick building has a front gable and massive center tower behind. The tower features a parapet notched roofline with masonry dentils. There are arched windows and vents with tracery details. The front gable has a large stained-glass display framed within an arched masonry frame. A smaller left of center gable features the main entry doors, which are deeply set. Horizontal masonry bands decorate the front, center, gable peak.  Large arched stained-glass windows are present on the front and side with tracery.  A right-of-center parapet features another arched window with more tracery and stained glass. An education wing was added in the 1950’s to the south with a side-gabled parapet roof and ribbon windows on the first and second floor. It is connected to the original structure with a gabled two-story secondary entrance topped with a masonry cross. Quoins are randomly placed at most corners of the original structure.

Ranch: these homes are single-story with low, pitched roofs and a rectangular shape.  They are usually brick, wood or stone and have large picture windows, low chimneys and small front porches, (Gordon, p. 141).  The District has two of these homes, both built in 1940. 

          409 Jefferson (Wiegerding)  This ranch home is made of brick with a centered front door flanked with four windows, two on either side.  A large front gable porch extends out from the center of the home.

          514 Jefferson (    ).  This ranch is also of brick with a hipped roof and a back side extension.  The door is set back to the left.  A window is centered at the front. 


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