To trace the history of what was the Ashland chapter house
of the American Red Cross we must go back to a man named Eli
Wallack. As a lad of 20, Wallack came to Ashland in 1848 and went
into partnership in the provision business with J.W. Harman and
later the Freer Brothers, Randolph and Jonas.
In 1859, Eli Wallack and his wife, the former Anne Faws,
bought property at 432 Center Street for $500. They purchased it
from C.K. and Charlotte Risser, who bought the land in 1848 when
Center Street was laid out. Their home was probably built a short
Anne Faws Wallack died in 1873 when she was only 39.
Three years later, Eli Wallack married a widow, Caroline Campbell.
Wallack passed away in 1888 and W.C. Frazee was named trustee
for the second Mrs. Wallack. Edgar Koehl, grandson of the second
Mrs. Wallack, acquired the home in 1921 and lived there until 1926,
when they moved across the street into the former home of William
V.B. Topping, built by him in 1907, at 421 Center Street. The
original Wallack home was sold to Veda Winbigler, who had the
house split and the back portion moved to the rear of the lot and has
since been razed. Rumor has it that Mrs. Winbigler thought one
stairway was sufficient and had the front stairs removed. Her son,
Howard Winbigler, inherited the property and sold it on May 8,
1946, the Red Cross for $8,500. (J.L. Clark of 622 Center Street
was responsible for staring the local Red Cross chapter in 1917.)
The fireplace tiles are encaustic tile from Indianapolis,
Indiana. The tiles to the left of the center of the hearth are known as sycamore bells. The tiles to the right of the hearth center are known as apples and blossoms. The surround top corner tiles are Trent tiles from Trenton, New Jersey. The center “cube” like tiles are rare according to Mike Sims, member of the National Heritage Tile Foundation. He said, “This fireplace is a composite of different companies, and may have been put together by a builder that had a lot of sample tiles left over.”
In December of 2009 the Wallack homestead was purchased by Robert De Santo who uses the home as an attorney’s office.