220 West Indiana Avenue

The Thornton House

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Supporting the preservation and appreciation of Perrysburg's historic architectural heritage

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The Thornton House:

 

Based on architectural or historical interest, this small, modest house at 220 West Indiana is a well-qualified candidate. From an architectural standpoint, it represents a bit of Americana, and from a local history standpoint, it was the home (at least its predecessor was) of town marshal Frank Thornton, who was killed in line of duty over 100 years ago and who, in 1998, was finally honored with installation of a special grave marker.

The site of the house was first acquired from the land office in Wooster, Ohio, in 1824 by Marshall Key, a Kentuckian who later was an early Perrysburg resident.

house

220 West Indiana Avenue

Over the years it passed through the hands of at least 11 owners, never being sold for more than $700. Mr. and Mrs. Thornton acquired it for $600 in 1889. Whether a house stood on it then is questionable, but if so it was obviously very small.

According to the Thorntons’ granddaughter, Mrs. Lucille Pitney of Swanton, a fire in 1913 did enough damage to the original house that it was replaced by the one pictured above -- a Sears and Roebuck kit house.

It was at about this time in the early 1900s that Sears was offering via catalog many as 22 models of houses that sold for as low as $650 up to several thousand. The ready-cut houses were shipped with assembly instructions, having every board, stud and joist numbered, along with shingles, roofing and flooring. The shipping was easily accommodated as the railroad is only a block away.

Sears kit houses was a big business until the Depression years. Another example of one is said to be at 405 West Fifth Street.

About Mr. Thornton, on December 28, 1905, he received a tip that five strangers suspected of criminal intent were in town. The marshal confronted them in a restaurant on Louisiana Avenue and when he and a deputy attempted to arrest them, they drew weapons and in a shoot-out, the marshal was badly wounded. After initial attention, he was carried trolley here and taken to a Toledo hospital where he died a week later.

Three generations of Thorntons continue to live in the house until it was sold out of the family in 1987.

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