228 East Front Street
The Rheinfrank House
Supporting the preservation and appreciation of Perrysburg's historic architectural heritage
The Rheinfrank House:
For close to 60 years John H. Rheinfrank practiced medicine in Perrysburg and served as a leading citizen in the community. In the process, in 1895 he built this large Queen Anne-style frame house at 228 East Front that stayed in the family until it was sold by his grandson, George, in 1980.
Dr. Rheinfrank was born in Bridgewater, Michigan, about 50 miles north of Perrysburg, in 1840. He attended school in Ypsilanti and studied literature at the University of Michigan. At the outbreak of the Civil War he attempted to enlist, but being turned down for health reasons, he then enrolled in the school of medicine, graduating in 1864.
228 East Front Street
Soon afterward he came to Perrysburg to set up practice.
Over the years, Dr. Rheinfrank rode and drove into the outlying Black Swamp to tend the sick, and patched up countless area residents injured by buzz saws during the lumbering and woodworking era here and in accidents involving horse transportation.
The Rheinfrank home was designed by Toledo architects Bacon and Huber. It is a fine example of irregular and multi-gable Queen Anne. The large gable in the front has a Palladian window-style opening containing two supporting wooden posts. Behind it is a space and a set of recessed windows. The gable on the east side contains a round arched window and on the west side is a large molded brick chimney with a carved stone ornament between the first and second stories. The first is clapboard while the second and the gables are shingle, and the walls in the second story flare out to meet the eaves.
The raised front veranda is supported by slender Doric columns and extends around to the east side. The recessed front entry has double doors. A two-story clapboard addition has been made in the rear. A large garage building in the rear has a hip roof with gables and eyebrow windows and was originally the stable. To the left of it is a smaller wooden tower structure that was once a pump house that provided water for several nearby houses.
The doctor worked out of an office on Louisiana Avenue, and in 1865, he refitted the second floor for a hospital. Two years later he bought and converted the brick home and business building on the north side of the first block of West Front into the Rheinfrank Hospital. His son, William, received his degree in medicine in 1894 and joined his father at the new hospital which over the years gained fame as a treatment center for thyroid ailments. William's son-in-law, Dr. Norman Foley, also a thyroid specialist, worked with him until World War II. The old hospital was closed in 1955.
John Rheinfrank served as mayor of Perrysburg for eight years, was on the board of trustees of the Perrysburg Gas Works and was a member of Phoenix Lodge No. 123, F. & A. M. and the Knights of Pythias. He died in 1920 at the age of 80.