28503 East River Road

The Lewis House

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

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The Lewis House:

 

This photo does not do justice to this handsome French Renaissance Revival house that noted Toledo-area preservationist Ted Ligibel once said may well be the finest in the entire state of Ohio. It sits far back at the end of a tree-lined driveway at 28503 East River Road. The French Linden trees are kept carefully trimmed, almost in the fashion of topiary art.

Built in about 1928 by Frank S. Lewis, the stone-clad building was designed by Toledo architect George L. Walling.

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28503 East River Road

The multi-acre property with its well-kept gardens, like others along Perrysburg's so-called Gold Coast, was named Chanticleer, as bronze roosters on the gate still proclaim.

Mr. Ligibel, in his application of the property to the National Register as part of the East River Road Historic District, described the house and gardens as "20th century additions to the Ohio architectural scene of the first importance."

The large house is said to have been patterned directly after a hunting lodge at Versailles, France. The front entrance is in a slightly projecting extension capped with a segmental pediment. Other than the east wing, which has a dormered Mansard roof, the building has a balanced, symmetrical facade typical of its style. The rear offers a splendid view of the river.

Toledo-bred Frank Stewart Lewis was born in 1879. He was educated at Denison University and Harvard Law School and, upon passing the bar in 1905, joined his father and a brother in a Toledo law firm that eventually became Doyle and Lewis, of which he was a partner. He became a noted corporation attorney and civic and social leader. His wife, the former Ethel Chesbrough, was a member of one Toledo's oldest and most prominent families.

Mr. Lewis died in 1947. Prior to that, in 1938, the property was sold to the C. Lockhart McKelvey family, in whose hands it remained for more than 60 years.

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