PIQUA — On Saturday, Dec. 8, the Piqua-Caldwell Historic District Association will be hosting their second annual Holiday Home Tour from 5-8 p.m. There are six historic homes featured this year and tourists will enjoy music along the walk and a vintage sip or nip at each home.
Among the homes on the tour will be the Charles E. Yager House, built in 1877 at 321 W. Greene St. Believed to be Federal Style, the house has five rooms and one bath on the first floor, and four rooms — a bath and sun porch (used as a summer sleeping room before air conditioning) — on the second floor. There are two finished rooms in the attic along with a third bathroom. The home is accented with original leaded glass windows in several rooms including the entry way, living room bookcase, stairway, dining room china cabinet and second floor bathroom. The cooking chimney and floor in the kitchen has been uncovered and restored.
The lot was sold to Charles and Mary Yager from another Mary Yager, who lived next door at 333 W. Greene St. When Charles Yager commissioned the house to be built it included the right side, what is now the dining room and kitchen with two rooms upstairs.
In the early 1900’s, George Hartzell bought the house and moved in not long after he moved his sawmill to Piqua. He lived in Piqua during the week and spent his weekends at 819 Harman Ave. in Oakwood, just two doors down from Orville Wright. He did major additions to the house on Greene Street, expanding it greatly in size.
In 1915, his home in Oakwood burnt down. When he rebuilt the home, he matched the floor plan with his Piqua home with very little change.
George Hartzell became friends with Orville Wright. George’s son, Robert, had an interest in aviation and encouraged by Wright, began manufacturing propellers using his father’s walnut woods. In 1917, Robert left the University of Cincinnati to give all his attention to the propeller business.
Although George passed away in 1933, his wife kept the house on Greene Street until her passing in 1943, when the home was sold to Raymond and Frances Blayney. Raymond was the Hartzell Industries mill superintendent and later a vice president. After Raymond passed, Frances remained in the home until 1970, when it was sold to Gene and Melany Benning. Gene was the president of the Benning Construction Company. The home is now owned by Barbara and John A. Schwarz.
Tour tickets are available for $25 per person at Allisten Manor’s Flower Box, Mainstreet Piqua, and Readmore’s Hallmark in Piqua. Credit card transactions should be made at Mainstreet Piqua, 326 N. Main St.
Shelley and Chuck Black, co-chairs of marketing and advertising, recommend tickets be obtained early, as only 300 are available and last year’s tour sold out several weeks in advance/
Proceeds from the tour are earmarked for signage identifying historic homes within the district and the association’s long-term goal is to place signs at the perimeter of the district to help accentuate the significance of these historic properties within the City of Piqua.
For more information, please contact the Piqua-Caldwell Historic District Association at P.O. Box 212, Piqua, OH, 45356.