Not only one of the oldest and best preserved landmarks in
Ashland, this home also remained in the same family for over 100
years. The home was built in 1873 by William C. Frazee. He went
into business with E. W. Wallack, the man who lived in the home that
is now the Ashland chapter of the American Red Cross. They
manufactured bed springs, which evolved into the furniture and
undertaking business. In 1864 Frazee married Nancy Swineford, an
In writing about the Frazee home in the Ashland Times
Gazette on Dec. 20, 1968 historian Sid Boyd said, “His business
associates on Orange Street told him, ‘Bill, you’re building too far out of town.’ The house was built on a large tract of land that extended from Walnut Street to College Avenue (then Bank Street) and from Center Street to Chestnut Street. Because the Frazee business required a large number of horses, his estate needed to be large.” In addition to the customary funeral carriage Frazee had a small one drawn by ponies and used for funerals of babies or young children. Boyd continued, “Bricks for the house were made at a brickyard near the present Samaritan Avenue. The bricks for several other residences and those used at Allen Hall and the original Founders Hall on the college campus also came from this brickyard.”
The Frazees invited the entire congregation of Trinity Lutheran Church to their home to a reception in 1892 for their pastor, Dr. Arthur H. Smith and his bride, Abbey. Local people came in the afternoon and those who had a greater distance to travel were entertained in the evening.
The Frazees’ only child, a daughter Carrie, played with Annabel Damp, and the Brinton girls whose homes were across the street. Miss Frazee graduated from Oberlin College and was an outstanding musician who often accompanied vocalists at weddings and social gatherings. On June 20, 1906, she married Robert Smilie. The wedding took place before an improvised altar in the east parlor with Martha Swineford, a cousin of the bride, and Alma Schultz, a niece of the groom as flower girls. Their only daughter, Helen, married Tom Dexter in the same parlor in 1940. The Dexters meticulously maintained both the interior and exterior of the home, making few structural changes. The Frazee homestead was eventually put in the hands of Trinity Lutheran Church. The church later sold it to Margaret Childs. The home is currently in the hands of Margaret’s daughter.