577 East Front Street
The Woolfert Cabin
Supporting the preservation and appreciation of Perrysburg's historic architectural heritage
The Woolfert Cabin:
There are several log cabins still existing in Perrysburg, but there is only one that we know of that is not enclosed within a modern day house. That one is the Woolfert Cabin, which now sits upon the grounds of the 577 Foundation on East Front Street.
It originally sat on the bluff overlooking the river where it bends along East River Road less than a mile from town. The ground it rested on was part of the late George and Eleanor Roose estate, and with the exception of some 20 years, it was in the same family for several generations. The several acre riverside strip was acquired in 1873 by the Rev. George A. Adams, long-time pastor of the Presbyterian Church.
577 East Front Street
Mr. Adams was the grandfather of Mr. Roose who died in 1984, at the age of 89. The Roose property has since been subdivided and sold as individual home sites.
If information published some 60 years ago is accurate this structure could be the oldest building in the area. A Toledo newspaper article in the 1930s said that a pioneer named Woolfert, about which nothing more is known, chopped down trees and built the cabin in 1803 or 1804. That was just 10 years after the Indians here in Northwest Ohio were subdued by Anthony Wayne in the Battle of Fallen Timbers.
At the time it was built, the two-story cabin sat in heavy timber which provided the white ash logs that are held together by black walnut pegs. By the time of World War I, as still-living residents can recall it, the cabin was in a dilapidated stage, with the roof caving in. One nearby resident remembers defying parental admonishments by playing in it as a child and showing a bloodstained floor where an Indian was supposed to have scalped one or more wives. That was quite probably a childhood fantasy, but other stories are perhaps less legendary.
Once a family of 11 crowded the place. Once it appears to have been part of a bootleg operation since a stash of bottles and remains of a still were uncovered close to a nearby well. And once a newspaper account said it was a camera site for a cowboy movie. But over the years a large number of people have lived in the old place, including the James Marriott family who arrived from England in 1884 and whose nine children were born in the cabin.
When Mr. and Mrs. Roose made plans to build their home on the property in the 1930s, they set up housekeeping in the cabin during construction. They first modernized it with electricity and plumbing, replaced the roof and windows, replaced mud chinking with cement, and restored the logs (that had been painted white) to their natural look. Over the years they made it into an attractive guest home, with all the amenities.
George A. Adams, the third owner of the property, was born on Martha's Vineyard off the coast of Massachusetts in 1821. He came to Ohio with his parents five years later and lived near Cleveland. He later lived in Buffalo, New York, and was educated at Oberlin College, after which he taught school before studying for the ministry.
In 1856, he came to Perrysburg to take charge of a Presbyterian congregation then worshipping in a rented Universalist Church building on the corner across the street where Saint Rose Church is located. For the next 47 years the Reverend George Adams was pastor, taking time out for about a year and a half to serve as chaplain of the 12th Ohio Cavalry during the Civil War. He was a prominent member of the Maumee Valley Pioneer Association, the local Masonic lodge, and the Toledo Pastor's Union. He died in 1903, at the age of 82, still the active pastor.