310 West Second Street
The Cranker House
Supporting the preservation and appreciation of Perrysburg's historic architectural heritage
The Cranker House:
This fine old Greek Revival frame house at 310 West Second Street has seen a lot of Perrysburg history -- perhaps more than 150 years worth. Records indicate that it might have been built in the late 1830s by Ruben Sawyer who sold it to Peter Cranker in 1851. Or it could possibly have been built by Cranker himself sometime between that date and 1873.
Whichever is correct, Cranker family members lived in it well into this century and this article will focus on Peter Cranker as the principal occupant.
The house, first of all, features a front gabled roof with a wide trim band.
310 West Second Street
There are three upstairs facade windows with multi-pane glazing typical of the style, and two downstairs. The off-center front entrance likewise represents Greek Revival, the rectangular transom and sidelights set within a simple but attractive frame surrounding the single door. A small wing on the east side of the house could be a later addition. Built on the crest of a hill, the rear of the house is three-level.
Peter Cranker was born in New York state in 1806 and came here in 1832. From humble beginnings, he became a very successful and highly-respected Perrysburg businessman. He began by operating a blacksmith shop, which in the 1860s was housed in a brick building on the north side of the first block of West Second Street.
In 1868 he erected a large, two-story building on an adjoining lot and began building wagons, carriages and sleighs under the name P. Cranker & Sons. His shop was in a sense the equivalent of a present-day automobile factory turning out all parts of plain and fancy horse-drawn vehicles in a competitive environment. (There were two such businesses here at the time.) Peter Cranker had charge of the blacksmith shop while other members of the family headed the wagon and carriage building and painting operations.
One long-time resident recalled that at one time nearly every wagon or carriage in the vicinity bore on the rear axle the inscription, "P. Cranker & Sons," or "William H. Hollenbeck." In 1873 ill health caused partnership with his sons to dissolve, but the business continued under his name.
Mr. Cranker served as village councilman for a number of years and was a member of the Methodist Church. He died in 1877 at the age of 70.