Although you won’t see this house on Center Street anymore, it is
significant to Ashland history. It was located at 420 Center Street where the
Noonan House, the offices of the Ashland County Historical Society, now rests.
The house had only two family occupants, but each left its mark on Ashland
Built in 1890 for Mr. and Mrs. Philip A. Myers, the home was pictured in
the 1895 industrial edition of the Ashland Gazette in connection with a report on the F.E. Myers and Bro. Co. The article pointed out that the industrial operation began in a small way 12 years earlier (1878) in a basement room measuring 50 x 73. With a cash outlay of $200,000 the brothers had now expanded to a building covering 100,000 square feet, the article continued.
Considered the “largest pump and haying tool manufacturers in the world,” the plant employed 200 men locally and had salesmen throughout the United States, Canada, South and Central America and Japan.
P.A. Was an inventive genius, having nearly 100 patents to his name. His double-action force pump drew praise from all who viewed it at an industrial exhibition, according to Ashland historian Will Duff.
Tragedy was to hit the Myers family before they moved into the house. Together with their eight year old twins, Guy and Grace, they were checking on the builders progress when Grace fell into the basement. She later died of complications from the fall.
In 1906, Guy married Kate Moore, daughter of an Ashland grocer, and Guy’s parents bought the Cowan House (414 Center Street) as a wedding gift for the newlyweds.
As the business grew, P.A. and his wife Samantha decided to build a larger home. They had approved the architect’s plans before leaving on a European tour. While traveling, they were impressed by the style of Italian villas and notified the architect to alter the plans.
The home, now part of the Trinity Lutheran Church, was built in 1915. Samantha’s picture hangs on the living room wall.
The former home remained vacant until 1918 when they donated the house to be used as Red Cross headquarters for the duration of World War I. At the time 698 citizens of Ashland County were serving their country.
Following the war, the house was rented to Earl J. and Rhea Mansfield Knittle, antique dealers, who lived there for several years. Many Ashland homes have antiques purchased from the Knittles.
Mrs. Knittle was considered an authority on early American glass. She had been commissioned to write the section on glass for the Encyclopedia Brittanica. Her book, published in 1927, is one of a series of eight printed for the Century Library of American Antiques. Other titles dealt with pottery and china, furniture, silver and clothing.
In the preface, she writes about doing research at Carnegie library, the Metropolitan, and the Toledo museums as well as consulting editors of antique magazines. She also thanks a list of people who “motored” her around.
Mrs. Knittle preceded her husband in death. He died in 1962, and the house was again vacant for awhile. The house was razed in 1963 to provide parking.