Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Joseph Ule's Windmill & Storybook House

For the last two days, I'd been writing about the old house that overlooks the golf course, seen above in an aerial photo courtesy of Bing Maps. (By the way, since I posted that article, I'm thrilled to report that I'm getting a lot of help from some of the area's finest local history buffs in tracking down the history of the house and even – perhaps – the man who built it. I'll have much more to say in a future post.)

Anyway, if you look down in the lower right hand corner of the above photo, you can see the windmill and storybook house that Joseph Ule built on Kolbe Road.

You might remember that I wrote about the windmill before (back here). But what's this about a storybook house?

Well, below is a great article that tells the whole story of Joseph Ule and his creations. The article was sent to me by Rick Kurish and appeared in the Chronicle-Telegram on July 9, 1954.

This photo of the storybook house (below) accompanied the article.

Rick also generously shared his reminisces with me about his growing up in that area.
He wrote:
"I grew up on Kolbe Road, and my parents moved there when it was part of Amherst Township, and they were surrounded by farm fields. A riding stable grazed their horses in a pasture bordering my parents' property. The area is now all built up and a part of the city of Amherst. The pasture behind my parents place is now a woods that is part of Lorain County Beaver Creek Metroparks.
Anyway, I was familiar with the Joe Ule property, passing it several times a week. I believe Joe Ule moved to the area in the early to mid 1930s. 
You can see the township school house that Rick
mentioned in the 1896 map above near the Jaeger property
There was an abandoned brick Township Schoolhouse on the corner of Kolbe Road and Longbrook Road. The bricks from this building were used to build the rather fanciful house now on that corner. The house, is not nearly as old as it looks. Neither is the windmill, which from my almost daily observation was built between about 1954 and 1960. I think the house dates from about 1937.
The Ule property consisted of about 50 acres along Kolbe Road and Beaver Creek. Joe Ule was an amateur gentleman farmer, who preached organic gardening, before it was well known. In fact he planned to grind the grain from his own farm using the windmill. I can remember reading about him speaking before many agricultural groups.
Sometime in the early 1960s, he sold about 40 acres of his property to the city of Lorain. This became Kennedy Park. This still remains an undeveloped park along Beaver Creek, in the area of Jaeger road. Shortly after this he moved out of the area, to Florida, I believe. He died there in a boating accident in 1969 or 1970.
Hope I haven't bored you too much! Regards --- Rick"

Thanks, Rick! It's impossible to be bored when I receive such nice surprises in my email! Thanks for your research help. As always – I appreciate it!

Anyway, here's what the storybook house looks like today, courtesy of the Lorain County Auditor website (below).

I did shoot it myself this past weekend, but it was a cloudy day and my photo wasn't so hot (below).


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