Monday, February 29, 2016

Own Joseph Ule’s Storybook House at 4620 Kolbe Road

On Saturday, I noticed that the ‘storybook house’ on Kolbe Road, designed and constructed by Joseph Ule in the 1940s, is for sale. It’s a real historical gem.

I’d post the realty estate link, but unfortunately the company associated with the listing will not allow you to view it without giving them your email address and cell phone number. So instead, here’s the more user-friendly Zillow listing.

A 1954 article about the house and neighboring windmill that I posted in 2014 provided the history of the house. It noted that Ule as a child “was always interested in fairytales and it is ideas from his dreams that are incorporated in his interesting home."

The house was built out of bricks from a 50-year old red brick school house that had been located on what was then Jaeger Road. The article noted, “The school house was completely torn down and the bricks reused. Some of the stones found in the original foundation were so huge it took a five-ton derrick to get them out of the ground. Ule’s father split these stones by hand for the foundation of the present home. Even the outbuildings around the home are made from brick from the old school and many of the square cut nails came from the original building. The original slate roof, now well over 70 years old is on the apartment-garage next to the home. The many gables gives the home an unusual appearance.

“In the entry-way to the house are several varieties of wasps, which, according to Ule are left alone. “We don’t bother them and they don’t bother us,” he said. On a stone in the wall of the entrance is a carving done by Cass Gilbert, who helped design the Renaissance buildings at Oberlin. Hand-hewn walnut beams are also used in the entry which is to be tiled with tile from England. The front door weighs 300 pounds and boasts hand-forged hardware.

“The fireplaces are conversation pieces. The shelf in the front room fireplace is built from walnut believed to have been wood from a vessel used during the War of 1812. The wood, found in the lake, was left to dry for three years before cutting. Ule said workers at the sawmill in Vermilion discovered what appeared to be cannon balls embedded in the wood. Balistic experts said there are of a type used during the War of 1812.

“Bricks from the home of James Whitcomb Riley are in the fireplace and hand-made ceramic Etruscan tile on which are embossed early Christian symbols are incorporated in the tile used in the downstairs fireplace.

“Locks on the house are of copper and are remnants of World War I when they were used on navy vessels. Old navy lights, also used during World War I, are used as ceiling lights in the kitchen while real hurricane lamps wired for electricity are used to provide illumination elsewhere.”

Here’s hoping the new owners of the house embrace its history and heritage. They will certainly be residing in Lorain’s most unique neighborhood, with a windmill next door and one of the county’s oldest homes (below) nearby.


-Alan D Hopewell said...

I always wondered what the view from the windmill was like, when we'd drive past there ; as a kid, of course, I thought the place was haunted, which made it even cooler.
Happy Leap Year Day, all you 29 February share this unique birthday with such luminaries as Clark Kent.

Anonymous said...

Cass Gilbert was brilliant.

Anonymous said...

Please post something about the white house on the hill. Have always wondered about its origines.

Rick Kurish said...

Dan, perhaps you missed your true calling! After reading your article I almost wanted to buy the place myself. If one of your blog readers purchases the house, you should insist on a commission from the Realtor -- ha!

Dan Brady said...

As for the history of the white house on the hill, you can follow the link below to a post about the history of the house:

Lisa said...

I hope that whoever buys this house lets the neighbor add the blades to his windmill.

Dan Brady said...

Yeah, I was wondering what the story was these days about that. Every time I drive by there I hope to see the blades on the windmill!

Anonymous said...

I have never heard of this house and lived in Lorain for 70 years. Must have missed something!