PIQUA — Mark your calendar for Saturday, Dec. 9, when seven historic homes located in the Piqua-Caldwell Historic District will be open for tours. Among those being showcased is the John Vallery House at 528 N. Downing St. The home, established in 1898, is owned by Denise and Rick Klosterman.
The tour, explains committee member Don Smith, is being organized to highlight homes within the district that have particular significance in Piqua’s history. The district is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and encompasses areas of North Main Street, Wayne Street, Downing Street and West Ash Street.
Proceeds from the tour will be earmarked for signage identifying a number of the historic homes to include the name of the original owner and date the house was built.
The Dec. 9 tour will be held from 5-8 p.m. with tickets at $20 per person now available at Mainstreet Piqua, Readmore’s Hallmark and the Alisten Manor’s Flower Box. Light refreshments will be provided at each of the homes on tour. The Klostermans will be serving a meatball appetizer.
The background surrounding the John Vallery House began in 1837, when land sold for $50 from Matthew and Harriet Caldwell to Samuel Caldwell and it subsequently changed hands several times. In 1894, the land was sold to Alvina Vallery from Fannie Wilbur for $3,500. In I898, construction began including a house and stable with Airhart M. Fry as builder. John Vallery was a partner in the grocery firm of Vallery and Yenny at 210 N. Main St., and he was also director of the Miami Security Company. He owned many business rentals, located mostly downtown.
John and Alvina had three children, Charles, John F., and Leona, who died in 1918, It is said the composer of “Beautiful Ohio” wrote the song for her. John F. lived in the house after his parents’ death, along with his wife, Eccabelle. He passed away and in 1957, Eccabelle sold the house to Odis and Mary Ann Treon. Dave and Pat Morey bought the house in 1982, with Rick and Janet Klosterman purchasing it 10 years later.
Features of the home include five sets of working pocket doors, six fireplaces, dining room furniture made by the Cron-Kills Furniture Company in Piqua which has remained in the home since 1913; a widow’s walk at the top of the house; wide front and side windows both upstairs and downstairs featuring curved glass; original lightbulbs in the foyer’s archway; Rookwood tile surrounding the fireplace in the dining room; original light fixtures (both gas and electrified); glass shades on the family room chandelier signed Steuben; and a home “crammed full of antiques.”
A special focus is the Favorite Stove and Range Company collection — a large employer of Piqua until 1935 — with 22 stoves, cookware and advertising pieces. In 2005, the attic was finished to include the family room, bar and full bathroom. There remains original hardwood floors in most rooms, signatures of workers on walls in two rooms, original woodwork, a large stained glass window on the home’s north side, and Newal post lamp.