342 West Second Street
The Beach House #1
Supporting the preservation and appreciation of Perrysburg's historic architectural heritage
The Beach House #1:
He was a well-known Perrysburg merchant for 42 years and he built the house at 342 West Second in 1838. He was Gilbert Beach, prominent businessman and citizen. He passed this home along to his brother Schuyler, another prominent citizen, and this is their story.
Gilbert Beach came here from New York state in 1835 while Perrysburg was still in an unimpressive oasis on the rim of the great Black Swamp. He opened a grocery store on Front Street, which was then the village's main thoroughfare, near the Exchange Hotel.
342 West Second Street
He remained there for the next 29 years, part of the time in partnership with Schuyler. At one point fire destroyed his store, but he built another that eventually was moved to where the Hood Park parking lot is now located and which later became the home of the Perrysburg Journal until it was razed in 1966.
In 1863 Gilbert purchased the building later occupied by the Munger Brothers Meat Market at 123 Louisiana where he added dry goods to his line of business. He continued there until closing the store in 1877.
Meanwhile, early on in his many years he built the original portion of the home on West Second. It is not unduly imposing, but it is of noteworthy Greek Revival architectural style with a pediment gable front. It has a wide, plain frieze board, 6x6 windows and a simple flat lentil over the front door, with pilasters and sidelights.
Gilbert Beach was quite active in community and county affairs. He served as a township trustee, was elected county recorder, was a founder of the Wood County Horticultural Society, helped bring the railroad here and was an influential member of the Presbyterian Church. He lived to the ripe age of 85, dying in 1891, and is buried in Fort Meigs Union Cemetery.
Schuyler Beach, also of New York state, came here in 1837 after his brother. Although he spent time in the mercantile business, he made a much bigger name as a builder and a contractor. He was a director and construction supervisor of the Perrysburg to Findlay and McCutchenville Roads, both of which helped establish the system used in draining the swamp in this area. He was a contractor on the Miami & Erie Canal, helped build the Junction Railroad from Millbury to the Maumee River, built the old Perrysburg Union School and the Wood County Jail here, and at one stage enlarged and reconstructed the old Hydraulic Canal.
Gilbert Beach owned his new house for only five years before transferring ownership to Schuyler. The house eventually changed hands a couple of times before being re-acquired by Schuyler who, in 1876, transferred it back to Gilbert. Schuyler died in Dayton in 1887 at the age of 76 and was buried in Fort Meigs Union Cemetery.
The house, renovated and restored in recent years by David Hafner, has a foundation of double limestone and sandstone about 2-1/2 feet thick. It originally contained seven fireplaces. A huge barn formerly at the rear of the property was used by Schuyler to stable 12 teams of horses used in his work. It was said to be still standing as late as 1917.