MEDINA, Ohio — Ever since the Medina County Historical Society finalized the purchase of the McDowell-Phillips House in December 2019, the historic homestead has been a hotbed of repairs and restoration.
The iconic 14-room Queen Anne house, built in 1890, is located at 205 S. Prospect St. in Medina. It is easily recognizable for its turret and deep front porch at the spot where West Washington Street dead-ends into Prospect.
During the past eight months, despite the disruption of COVID-19, the historical society has financed and arranged for extensive exterior work. So far, damaged shingles have been replaced and the house has been painted.
The original slate roof was repaired after minimal damage sustained in Medina’s tornado in April. The two porch roofs were replaced with shingles donated by Owen-Corning. New gutters and downspouts were installed to address water issues, such as rotten window sills and dampness in the basement.
In the past month, 170 feet of uneven and broken sandstone sidewalk across the front of the property was replaced with concrete to remove tripping hazards. Some sandstone pieces were moved to other walks where they could be safely installed; others were stored elsewhere on the property to use in future projects.
With an Adopt a Tree program and with the help of Beth Schnabel of the Medina County Soil and Water Conservation District and a group of volunteers, 30 blue juniper trees were planted along the borders of the 1-acre property. A row of redbud trees will be planted in the spring.
Schnabel also returned to help transplant peonies to a new flowerbed alongside the restored barn.
As the new trees were being planted, three old, dead or dying 150-year-old trees had to be removed. One mulberry, one maple and one ash tree were taken down and cut into firewood lengths.
While the exterior work was progressing, Paul Wood performed his magic in the upstairs turret bedroom. With 13 angles and planes, the room was a wallpaper hanger’s nightmare, but volunteer Wood made it look beautiful.
The home’s original set of bedroom furniture has been placed in the room, along with dressers from the same period recently donated by the Waite family.
Thanks to an anonymous donor, air conditioning is being installed in the house, primarily to maintain proper humidity levels to preserve the furnishings and artifacts. While those workmen are installing discreet air conditioning ducts in the ceilings, a new security system is also being installed.
Although the Phillips family left most of the original furniture in