Secret Ohio: The Keeper’s House
Marblehead Lighthouse gets all the attention, but you can also visit the 1822 home where the landmark’s first three keepers resided.
Just 3 miles from the Marblehead Lighthouse, you’ll find the home of the iconic structure’s first three keepers and a well-preserved example of a type of colonial, hall-and-parlor pioneer home that is rarely found in Ohio. The lighthouse’s first keeper, Benajah Wolcott, and his family lived here beginning in 1822 on what was then our nation’s western frontier.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places and operated by the Ottawa County Historical Society, the house is a New England style that was common in the late 1700s and early 1800s, explains Paul Moon, a descendant of Wolcott and a tour guide at the home.
“It’s an old, colonial type of house that you might have seen in Baltimore or Philadelphia at the time of the [American] Revolution,” he says, adding that Wolcott moved to Ohio from Connecticut following the war. “Actually, it’s quite remarkable to have a house of that substantial structure sitting on the western frontier.”
The walls — built using limestone taken from a quarry that was behind the home — are 28 inches thick. The home’s main rooms are the parlor, where the family relaxed and entertained, and the hall, where they worked. Four tiny bedrooms, two of which have been converted to a pantry, are at the back of the house. The hall’s large restored hearth is often used for cooking demonstrations and classes. Moon notes that visitors who stop by during events might see volunteers cooking an apple pie or even roasting a duck over the flames.
“We get a lot of people who really admire the stonework both inside and outside,” he says. “The mortar has survived from 1822 since the house was built.” 9999 E. Bayshore Rd., Lakeside-Marblehead 43440, 419/798-9339, ottawacountyhistory.org