Frostville Museum 
Carpenter House
c. 1831

Beverly Weseling

John Carpenter (c. 1786 – 1861) was born in Connecticut and worked as a carpenter and farmer. He married Lucena Thompson (1792 – 1867) in Dover, Vermont on January 19, 1813. Seven of their nine children were born before they left Vermont. William S. Carpenter (1813 – 1877) was the most successful of their sons. At one time or another, he served as constable, justice of the peace, and mayor of Olmsted Falls. He later was the proprietor of the Olmsted Falls Hotel and station agent for the L.S. and M.S. Railroad.

A farmer and blacksmith, Richard Carpenter (1826 – 1892) also owned a cheese factory located across the road from the Carpenter House. A charter member of the Congregational (Barton Road) Church, he was a Civil War veteran having served in a "100 Day" Regiment which guarded the forts around Washington. Charles Carpenter (1827 – 1883) worked as a farmer, sold marble and stone, and built several school houses. He was elected constable and served two terms as justice of the peace. George W. Carpenter (1830 – 1896) was a farmer who served in the same regiment as his brother. Only daughter in the family, Lydia Carpenter (1819 – 1852) is buried in Butternut Ridge Cemetery like the rest of her family.

With the lure of fertile land, John Carpenter and his family left Vermont about the year 1828 and traveled by ox cart to the wilderness of Ohio. They settled on Butternut Ridge (Lorain Road) in the township of Lenox which became Olmsted in 1830. In the Federal Style, he planned and built a two and a half story post and beam home. The house has a central chimney for five fireplaces: a large one in the cellar with a smokehouse built within the chimney, three fireplaces on the first floor – a large one in the kitchen with a beehive oven and wood storage space alongside. Rumford fireplaces were located in the parlor, dining room, and the master bedroom upstairs. Carpenter later added a summer-kitchen extension which included sleeping quarters for the hired help.

The Carpenter House is the earliest remaining Federal Style home in North Olmsted. (Besides a central fireplace, other features of this style include an entranceway with classical motif and a low pitched roof with the gabled ends on the sides of the house.) The U.S. Department of the Interior in 1935 placed the house on the Historic American Building Survey as being worthy of preservation for the benefit of future generations. The Carpenter House is also on the Ohio Historical Inventory of Early Homes. The North Olmsted Landmark Commission in 1982 put a plaque on the house, but its preservation was still in doubt at the time.

The Carpenter House remained in the family until foreclosure in 1940. Six years later, the Kitson family bought the property and lived in the house until the early 1980’s. Jacqueline Kitson Boss and her husband, Jack Boss, were instrumental in the house’s preservation. Forest Kitson, her father, donated the house to the Olmsted Historical Society. In May of 1987, the Society moved the old house, board by board and stone by stone to Frostville. A video of the move is the archive room at the museum. The History Channel’s "Civil War Journal" used the Carpenter House’s parlor in 1994 for a segment on the life of General James A. Longstreet.

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