The South South Street Historic District [†] is an excellent example of residential patterns of growth and development in American small towns in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The forty-one homes which compose the district represent the wide variety of architecture found in urban areas in this period. Many are exceptional examples of a style or house type.
The South South Street neighborhood illustrates patterns of growth and development found in small urban areas between 1840-1920. The earlier houses (the Strickle, McKay, Brackney, and Wickersham homes) sat on large parcels of land from which single lots and subdivisions were derived as time passed. Many of the nineteenth century homes have retained relatively large lots, with the twentieth century homes occupying some of the smallest lots. Like most nineteenth century residential streetscapes. South South Street does not display the economic and stylistic homogeneity typical of most twentieth century urban development. The streetscape is a mixture of large and small, brick and frame, vernacular and high style, and opulent and modest homes.
what is most interesting about the South South Street district is the complex interrelationships of its residents in all aspects of community life. Neighbors bought property and secured mortgages from each other, intermarried, shared business committments, and attended school and church together. This small district reflects typical patterns of community found in many American towns and villages in this period — patterns which have been little explored by academic historians.
None of the residents seem to have been poor, although little is known about the residents of the small Hall-and-Parlor houses, the most modest homes on South South Street. The district also represents the transition of the United States from a rural economy with its farmer-based population of unspecialized labor to an urban economy composed primarily of urban specialists. Most of the district's nineteenth century residents were raised on a farm. Some, even though they may have operated a business in Wilmington, still continued to farm within or without the corporate limits of the village. Several of the houses were also built by farmers who decided to retire to town after spending their life on the farm.
Most of the homes were not architect-designed, but at least two of the larger brick homes were designed by Wilmington architect, William Cleveland. It is likely that the number designed on South South Street by Cleveland was even larger for in the 1920s, his daughter stated that her father had designed all of the fine homes on S. South Street Visually, this is possible for they are all somehow similar in the delicacy of their stylistic details.
William McMahan Cleveland was born September 5, 1823 in Batavia, Ohio. In the 1850 census, he listed himself as a "house carpenter." He moved to Yellow Springs, Ohio ca. 1852 during the construction of Antioch College, and then to Wilmington in 1866. Cleveland was the architect for Franklin College (which became Wilmington College) and the Italian Villa style Main School (which sill stands). On South South Street, it is known that he designed the Jefferson Hildebrant House (ca. l870) and the John H. Hire House (1871). it is likely, however, that he was also the architect for the Mahlon Brackney House (ca.l860), the Robert Wickersham House (1861), and the George Glass House (1875).
For example, the frieze decoration on the George Glass House and the Jefferson Hildebrant House is identical. The tiered and pendant type frieze decoration on the Robert Wickersham House and the Mahlon Brackney House are very reminiscent of the delicate frieze decoration on the Hildebrant House.
Located within a small cluster of pre-1865 homes at the northern end of the district is the Angus McKay House (181 South South Street) built in 1855-1856. Built by Angus McKay, a lawyer who served as probate judge between 1852-1858, the house is one of two excellent examples of the Gothic Revival style in the district. It is the earlier of the two and exhibits fine Greek Revival detailing, especially in the main entrance surround.
In 1862, the house was sold to Dr. S. S. Boyd, who began his medical practice in Wilmington in 1852. After Dr. Boyd's death, his wife, Hattie, continued to live in the house until her death in 1897. Her niece and adopted daughter, Lizzie McMillan, and Lizzie's two children then inherited the house. At their death, the house was to pass to J. C. Martin, who had inherited the remainder of the estate land. This land included the land on the west side of the street between the house and Truesdell Street. Sometime in the early twentieth century, Martin subdivided and sold the land. As a result, the district streetscape between the Angus McKay House and Truesdel Street is composed of one- and two-family American Foursquares and Craftsman Bungalow houses, typical tract houses of the early twentieth century.
The earliest documented house in the district is the Isaac Strickle House (198 S. South Street) built in 1843. Isaac Strickle was the son of Jacob and Ann Ellis Strickle who came to Ohio from Berkeley County, Virginia. Jacob Strickle was a proprietor of Buckeye Loan and served as a Wilmington trustee. Isaac was born in 1809 in Clinton County. He and his brother, Jacob (Jr.), are said to have operated a large mercantile business, although the 1860 census listed him as a farmer. In 1831, he married Rebecca Farquhar, the daughter of a reform minded Quaker family. Isaac must not have been a Quaker for in 1838 Rebecca was disowned by the Society of Friends for marrying out of unity.
In 1841, Jacob Strickle sold 1 1/17 acres of land to his son, Isaac. Isaac bought two additional acres from his father in 1842. The first listing of a brick house on the land was in 1843. Isaac served as a trustee of Wilmington and also as a Director of the Agricultural Society.
In 1865, the house was sold to Samuel R. Glass. He was married to Mary Haworth, the daughter of George D. and Edith Haworth, prominent Quakers. Mary, like Rebecca Strickle, was disowned in 1845 for marrying out of unity. The Wilmington Monthly Meeting records show that during the 1870 revival, Samuel and Mary and their children, Samuel W. and Emma E., became members of the Society of Friends. The property remained in the Glass family until 1919. Originally, the Cincinnati State Road ended just opposite the house, but its terminus was moved to Truesdell Street sometime between 1859 and 1876.
On the south side of the Isaac Strickle House is the Italianate style George D. Glass House (230 S. South Street) which was built in 1875. George, the brother of Samuel R. Glass, was born in 1846 and died in 1924. He married Bruzilla Mills in 1869. He and Bruzilla were also affected by the great revival which swept Clinton County in 1870 for their names were among the large number that requested membership in that year. In 1877, George purchased Mahlon Brackney's interest in Brackney & Haynes (a pork packing business) and become partner with James M. Haynes in Haynes & Glass. The 1882 county history states that "they enjoy(ed) a good trade in dry goods and notions, and (were) probably the largest dealers in wool in the county, buying and shipping to the eastern markets."
On the southern edge of the George Glass property is the Hary Glass Caudle House (240 S. South Street). In 1894, George Glass sold a small section of his property to his daughter, Mary, on which she built this small frame Victorian cottage in 1895.
The Jeremiah Durkin House, located at 268 S. South Street on the southeast corner of Truesdell Street, is an example of the Stick style. Incorporating many different roof lines, exterior , wall treatments, and decorative elements, it is an outstanding example of its style. The house was built in 1888-1889 by Jeremiah M. Durkin, a local saloonkeeper. He purchased the land in 1888 from Mahlon Brackney, who had purchased the land from Isaac Strickle.
Jeremiah Durkin was born in Ireland in 1843. He immigrated to the United States and settled in Ohio in 1870, working on the Cincinnati & Miami Valley Railroad for fourteen years. In 1872, he married Jennie Jordan, a Clinton County resident who was born in Ireland in 1845. The Durkins had two daughters, one of whom. Rose Durkin Leary, inherited the property. Contemporary sources stated that the house was "one of the best in the village." At the time the house was built, Truesdell Street was extended through South Street putting the Durkin house on a corner lot. The property was reduced by one-third in 1924 by the Durkin heirs when a house was built on the rear of the property for Jeremiah and Jennie's unmarried daughter, Bessie. Their other daughter, Mrs. Rose Durkin Leary, resided in the S. South Street house.
The most elegant example of the Italianate style is the Mahlon H. Brackney House located at 286 S. South Street. In 1858, Mahlon Brackney purchased a large tract of land from Isaac and Rebecca Strickle on which Mahlon built this classic example of the Italianate style ca. 1860. Mahlon Brackney was born in Union Township in 1825. His father, Marmaduke Brackney, was a farmer who came to Clinton County ca.l807. Mahlon first came to Wilmington in 1854 and found work with A. E. & I. Strickle, dry goods merchants, for one year. He then followed a variety of commercial pursuits including real estate, pork packing, and dry goods, eventually settling into the grocery trade. A community minded citizen, he served as Councilman, Road Supervisor and Township Treasurer.
Like many other South South Street residents, Mahlon was a member of the Society of Friends. Originally a member of one of the rural monthly Meetings, he became a part of the Wilmington Monthly Meeting when it was established in 1868. In November 1848, he married Martha E. Horsman. It would appear that he married out of unity because Martha E. Brackney is included in the list of requests for membership in the Wilmington Monthly Meeting minutes of February 18, 1870. Mahlon and Martha had six children including Clara E. who married J. M. Haynes (see J. M. Haynes House). The 1882 county history states that "Mr. Brackney's family residence in South Wilmington is one of the most handsome and pleasing adornments of the village."
Mahlon died in 1896. His widow, Martha, sold the house to D. M. Rudduck in 1900. It was sold in 1908 to Laura M. Swain. To the south side of the Brackney home is the Hinman-Hadley House (314 S. South Street). This Greek Revival style Hall-and- Parlor was built sometime prior to 1859. The 1859 Atlas map of Wilmington indicates that in that year the house was occupied by D. C. Hinman. The 1876 Atlas shows the owner as W. C. Hadley.
To the south of the Hinman-Hadley House (now separated from the house by a turn of the century home) is the Gothic Revival style James M. Haynes House (340 S. South Street). James Monroe Haynes was born in 1847. He passed much of his boyhood on a farm, and then attended Ohio Wesleyan University at Delaware. Arriving in Wilmington, he worked for a time as a clerk for W. C. Hadley before buying a half interest in the business. In June 1870, he married Clara E. Brackney, the daughter of Mahlon Brackney. Like Clara, J. Monroe Haynes was accepted as a member of the Society of Friends in March 1870.
I n 1871, James Haynes purchased land from W. C. and Sarah Hadley and built his Gothic Revival house. At some time, he purchased an interest in his father-in-law's business, M. H. Brackney & Company, the firm then becoming Brackney & Haynes. Under this name, they engaged in the dry goods and pork packing business, a venture which was ultimately unsuccessful. In 1877, George D. Glass purchased Mahlon Brackney's interest (see Mahlon Brackney House) and the firm became Haynes & Glass. After the dissolution of that firm, he began operation of a meat market, a business he continued until the end of his life. In 1937, his widow, Clara Haynes sold the house to her daughter, Elsie Edwards. Clara died in January 1940, and her daughter died in August of the same year. The house is an excellent example of the late Gothic Revival style.
Across the street from the Mahlon Brackney House is the Italian Villa style Robert Wickersham House built in 1861. Robert Wickersham was a builder who is said to have constructed numerous homes in Wilmington as well as several buildings at Wilmington College.
The 1859 Atlas shows that the Wickersham house was located on a large parcel of land which bounded on the north by the original route of the Cincinnati State Road, on the east by S. South Street, on the west by Pearl (now Mulberry) Street, and extending to the southern town limits. Wickersham evidently had other real estate holdings outside of Wilmington for he is said to have done a lucrative business buying and selling land in other parts of Clinton County.
As mentioned previously, i t was Robert Wickersham who laid out the African Addition located just to the east of South South Street in 1868. Although the nature of his relationship with the black community is unknown, his Quaker background may have brought about his platting of the addition. Little is known about his family, but it is known that he had a brother, an Atlanta attorney, who made himself very unpopular by accepting black clients.
Robert Wickershcam lived in the house from 1861-1878. The property was sold to Charles Bosworth in 1882. Charles Bosworth was the only child of the first president of the First National Bank of Wilmington. He received a law degree from Cincinnati Law School in 1880. After his father's death, he became president of the First National Bank, a position he held until he moved to Cincinnati to practice law in 1890. In 1898, he was appointed. Assistant Treasurer of the United States. In 1912, he became president of the Second National Bank of Cincinnati.
The house was sold to O. F. Peddicord in 1891. Peddicord operated a men's clothing and furnishings store at Locust and South streets in Wilmington, but he was more widely known for his ownership of the Midland Stock farm, where he bred and sold trotters. He also served as a Director of the Peoples Banking Company in Wilmington. He lived in the house until 1938.
Located to the south of the Robert Wickersham House is the John W. Wire House (321 S. South Street). It is an excellent example of the Italianate style and was designed by architect, William Cleveland. John Wire purchased the land from Robert Wickersham in 1866 and built the house in 1871.
Wire was born three miles south of Wilmington in 1837. His father, William Wire, was a farmer who came from Maryland to Warren County ca.l830. His mother, Catherine Potterfield, was a native of Virginia. In 1863, John left the farm and came to Wilmington. He purchased the livery, stock and trade of Smith and Koogle. In 1866, he married Esther Taylor, who was a member of the Baptist Church (Beers 1882: 919). The house belonged to John Wire until 1923 when the house was inherited by Fred Wegman. Later in the same year, i t was deeded to Herbert D. Wire. Herbert and Mattie Wire owned the house until 1938 when i t was sold to Frank Hunnicut.
The Peter C. Clevenger House (337 S. South Street) was built in 1895. It is one of three turn of the century Victorian homes of the 2‑1/2 story gabled hip roof variety which show strong Queen Anne influence in form and detailing. The others are the Daniel Stout House (300 S. South) built in 1895 and the Peter and Lydia Barrett House (322 S. South Street) built in 1906.
Peter Clevenger was born near Cuba in Clinton County in 1833. His parents, Enos Clevenger and Christina Krouse, were natives of , Virginia and came to Clinton County in 1824. Peter studied surveying and was active as a surveyor in the county, especially during the years 1869-1887. In 1856, he married Mary E. Mitchell. Throughout most of his life, he resided on his farm in Washington Township, Clinton County. In 1890, he moved his family to Wilmington, leaving the operation of his farm to his only son, Randolph. Peter served as Justice of the Peace in Washington Township for twenty-four years. He also helped to organize two Wilmington manufacturing concerns, the Champion Bridge Company and the Irwin Augur Bit Works.
A very important part of the fabric of the district is the Hall-and-Parlor houses which are clustered about midway on both sides of S. South Street. These include 314, 353, 369, 384, 385, 405, and 422 S. South Street. Two of these examples, the Hinman-Hadley House at 314 S. South (discussed above) and the house at 422 S. South Street, have very fine Greek Revival features and detailing . Several of these Hall-and-Parlors, however, have been very altered (one was modified to resemble a Bungalow, for example) making it difficult to discern their original appearance. In addition, these small houses were difficult to document through the deed and tax records. It would seem that they were built before 1876 since all are noted on the 1876 Atlas map. All are frame with the exception of the brick R. Wickersheun House #2 located at 384 S. South Street.
The Asa Jenkins House (421 S. South Street) is an excellent example of a transitional Greek Revival/Italianate style home. It was built in 1871-1873. Featuring a low-pitched gable roof with returns, it also has many Italianate features in its door and window treatments. Its massive Classical Revival porch was most certainly added between 1890-1905. Asa Jenkins was born in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania in 1842. Between 1868-1875 he served as Auditor of Clinton County. In 1876 and 1883, he served as Journal Clerk for the Ohio House of Representatives.
The Eastlake style of Victorian decoration is best represented by the Simeon and Mary Cast House (435 S. South Street). Simeon was born in 1828 and was the son of William Cast, who had moved to Ohio from Kentucky with his parents. His mother was Elizabeth Smith, who came to Clinton County with her parents, Ephraim and Sarah Smith, in 1818. Simeon attended Miami University and Woodward College and then taught school from 1844- 1856. He began farming in 1859. He bought the Wilmington property from Margaret Carman in 1890. The house was built for Simeon and his wife, Mary, in 1891.
The two brick Victorian houses located at 453 S. South and 471 S. South Street were built by Thomas Milliken ca.l880 (Thomas Milliken House A and B). Thomas was born in 1808 in North Carolina and spent most of his life on his farm on Todd's Fork in Clinton County. At the age of seventy-two, Thomas decided to retire and reside in Wilmington. Therefore, he acquired a large parcel of land from John Hale and built one house for himself and another for his daughter, Elizabeth Milliken, a "single lady." Elizabeth was one of the many who became a Quaker during the 1870 revival.
Towards the southern end of the district is the gable-front house located at 478 S. South Street. Although its 6/9 double hung sash windows, Greek Revival gable-front, and overall proportions indicate a pre-Civil War construction date, i t was not possible to document the date of construction or the builder. The 1876 Atlas shows the house as the residence of F. M. Moore. Mr. Moore was born in 1837 and was the son of M. Moore, a native of Kentucky, who came to Clinton County in the early nineteenth century. His mother, Rebecca McGee, was a native of Ireland. In 1858 he married Mary Moon, and they had five children. In 1873, Moore became president of the Clinton County National Bank, a position he retained for fifteen years. The 1892 booster publication lists F. M. Moore as president of the Peoples Banking Con^any in Wilmington. A member of the Christian Church, he was also a Deacon in the Wilmington congregation. An ardent Republican, he served as a County Commissioner and a member of the Village Council.
The southern anchor of the district is the Second Empire style Jefferson Hildebrant House (515 S. South) built ca.l870. It was designed by William Cleveland and was constructed by local builder, Robert McMillan. Jefferson Hildebrant was raised on a farm and displayed an avid interest in agriculture and livestock throughout his life. At age fifteen, he was sent to the Newberry Academy of the Society of Friends in Martinsville, Clinton County. After teaching school for a time, he entered Farmers' College in College Hill near Cincinnati, graduating in 1853. After his marriage in 1861 to Margaret M. Quinn, he moved to a farm in Fayette County. In 1863, however, he purchased a bookstore in Wilmington which he operated until his death in 1910. Purchasing thi ty acres of land within the corporate limits of Wilmington, he built his elegant Second Empire style home—the first to have hot running water in Wilmington.
The house later passed to Jefferson's son, Charles Q. Hildebrant. Charles attended Wilmington College, later attending Ohio State University. In 1886, he married Ada J. Haines. For a time, he worked at his father's bookstore, but in 1890 he was elected Clerk of the Clinton County Court, a position he held for three terms. In 1900, he was elected to the United States House of Representatives. In 1914, he became Ohio Secretary of State.
He also served as the Republican party chairman for Clinton County.
The Hildebrant house and land represents an important pattern of growth in nineteenth century American small towns. Farms were located on the edge of town or even within the town limits. As the town grew and real estate became more valuable, however, the land was subdivided and developed. The Hildebrant farm is a rare resource, for most of its acreage has been preserved and retains its rural character despite heavy residential and commercial development to the south of the property.
The South South Street Historic District represents the wide variety of house styles and types found in many towns and villages across the eastern half of United States in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The district contains outstanding examples of the Italianate, Gothic Revival, Italian Villa and Queen Anne styles as well as significant examples of the Hall-and-Parlor and Folk Victorian house types. Its gradual, but solid, development reflects a common pattern of urban growth, while its pattern of life provides a glimpse into the social history of small communities. The history of South South Street is unique—as the history of all places is—but it also reveals many commonalities which contribute to our greater understanding of America's urban spaces.
Adapted from: Claudia Watson (Leslie Chamberlain, Jim Gabriel, Virginia Smith, Rhonda Curtis), consultants, South South Street Historic District, nomination document, 1992, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
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