HOWLAND, Ohio (WKBN) – Members of the Howland Historical Society are working hard to save what is known as the Yellow House — one of the most historic houses in the township.
Their opponent is progress in the form of a new, fancy road the Ohio Department of Transportation wants to build outside the front door.
The Yellow House sits at the intersection of Routes 82 and 46 in Howland.
“But we think it’s the oldest one here. It’s the 1830s we’ve traced it back to,” said Warren Taiclet, vice president of the Howland Historical Society.
The Howland Historical Society rents the Yellow House as its headquarters.
But now, it’s being threatened with demolition, because the Diverging Diamond interchange — scheduled for construction in 2023 — will bring the road within two feet of the front door.
“ODOT really does not want to demo it. They really have worked hard with us and tried to keep it from being demolished,” said Cindee Mines, a member of the Historical Society’s board.
Mines says they considered moving the house north, but the 82 overpass gets in the way.
“They told us not north. ODOT told us not north at all,” Mines said.
Other options are building a retaining wall out front or moving the house back on the property, both of which would require a new access road. Or, ODOT will move it south, a maximum of one mile.
“Everything south is going for like a million dollars an acre or less, and we don’t have a million dollars or anywhere near that,” Taiclet said.
The house is owned by Niles realtor Jason Altobelli, who says he has tried working with the Historical Society to save the house but has been unable to reach a deal. Altobelli says it’s likely the house will be demolished.
“It would be nice to be able to somehow save it, and keeping it on the original lot makes it a more historical value,” Mines said.
“Everything’s getting torn down and people don’t have the history of the township,” Taiclet said.
Howland Township trustee Matthew Vansuch said the access road needed to keep the house on the property would actually be a private driveway, but the township cannot agree to maintain it. Vansuch called the location a terrible place to have a house and agreed that having to demolish it would be sad.
If you have questions about saving the Yellow House, the Howland Historical Society will hold its monthly open house this Sunday from 1-4 p.m. at the house.
It’s free, though donations are welcome. You need to enter heading north.