224 West Front Street
The Webb House
Supporting the preservation and appreciation of Perrysburg's historic architectural heritage
The Webb House:
It has seen more than 160 years of Perrysburg history -- falling just a couple of years short of when William Henry Harrison himself was a guest a few doors up the street upon his return here to campaign for President. It's the house at 224 West Front built by a true pioneer.
The two-story Greek Revival house was built in 1843 by John C. Webb, Sheriff of Wood County when most of it was a dismal swamp, and a well-known man in local government circles. John Webb bought the lot on which the house sits from his brother-in-law, Thomas McKnight, an even earlier pioneer resident in 1823.
224 West Front Street
The house that was eventually built has a front-gabled roof with an off-center main entry. In recent years alterations had the front porch replicate the roof pediment, but it is more likely that the present entry design more truly represents the original.
The front door is flanked by multi-paned sidelights and has a transom. The present owners say that the two downstairs front windows and what is now the east entrance ran all the way down to the floor level. Very noticeable are tall fluted pilasters on the corners of the facade. These of course are in lieu of free-standing columns often associated with Greek Revival structures. A large porch featuring a second-story balustrade supported by square Doric columns that echo the front pilasters is built above the east side ground floor entrance. The porch has recently has been rehabilitated and improved by Tom Raymond, an old-time skilled artisan in such work.
The house was for many years a two-family dwelling but was converted back into an 8-room single family home within the past 10 years. In the process the owners discovered old bark-covered rounded roof supports without a ridge beam, part of a baking oven in a downstairs chimney, and pipes to supply natural gas to lighting fixtures.
John Webb was born in New York City in 1795. His father was a hat maker and the son also learned the trade. They moved to Canton, Ohio early in the 19th century and from there John came to Perrysburg in 1822, plodding through the Black Swamp led by McKnight and John's brother, Thomas Webb, who was apparently already here.
The family "squatted" originally on a clearing near town along what is now East River Road and then took over an abandoned frame dwelling (supposedly the only one here at the time) located in the river flats near where the municipal sewage disposal plant is now located.
Webb bought some land on the north side of Front Street in 1824 and built a log building to house his hat-making factory. Two years later he was elected sheriff for the first of three times, during one term of which (in 1830) he was in charge of the county's first execution of a criminal which took place between Fort Meigs and the entrance to the Fort Meigs Memorial Bridge.
Over the course of many years he also served as County Clerk, County Recorder, Clerk of Court, Township Trustee and Village Clerk. He was also treasurer of the School Improvement Association, perhaps the earliest version of a board of education here.
John Webb was married three times and fathered 18 children during a lifespan of 90 years. He died in 1885.