One of the oldest houses on Center Street is the present home
of the Ashland County Historical Society museum which was built
by Dr. J.P. Cowan in 1859. He paid $200 for the lot, which had
been laid out in 1847 by William Granger, J.P. Reynor, Joseph
Wasson and Samuel Rutan. There were three previous owners but
no substantial home had been built.
Cowan, a graduate of the Starling Medical College of Columbus,
came to Ashland County in 1846, settling first in Perry Township.
He practiced medicine until 1892 but still had time to serve in the
Ohio General Assembly from 1855 to 1859 and was a United States
representative in 1874. He also dealt in real estate.
He was a staunch supporter of the Democratic Party and a faithful member of the Methodist church. He and his wife, the former Mary Jane Hooker, were the parents of nine children. A photograph of Cowan, a hat and a cane that belonged to him are on display at the museum.
In 1905, P.A. Myers, who then lived next door in a house that has been torn down, bought the Cowan property for his son Guy and his fiancée Kate Moore, who were to be married the following year. Central heating and gas lighting were installed. The upstairs was enlarged and rearranged. The dining room suite bought when Mr. and Mrs. Guy C. Myers started housekeeping is still on display at the museum.
In 1920 the house was enlarged by adding space to the south and west to create the present appearance. After the Myers family moved to the former P.A. Myers home, now part of Trinity Lutheran church, this home was occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Curtiss Ginn Jr. until 1938 and by Mr. and Mrs. F.E. Myers II and family until 1951.
In 1952 Mrs. Guy C. (Kate) Myers gave the house and property to Ashland College, who used it as the president’s home, until 1969. Again, interior changes in the way of decorating, new carpet, drapes, modernization of the kitchen as well as structurally combining the old back all, sunroom and breakfast room into a large family room with fireplace and adjoining enclosed porch took place.
In 1969, after the Claytons had moved to the former T.W. Miller Jr. home, the Cowan house was designated as the Ashland College Historical Education Center under the management of a board of directors. The Ashland County Historical Society maintained the property for the five years, before taking over ownership following a successful fund drive to raise the $98,000 purchase price in 1981.