GALLIA COUNTY — Much like Meigs County with its nine locations listed in the National Register of Historic Places, Gallia County is close behind with a total of eight historic landmarks and locations, according to the National Register’s website.
The first Gallia landmark, added to the Register on Nov. 10, 1970, is Our House, located on 434 First Avenue in Gallipolis. A common place for a visit by history buffs and elementary school field trips, the former tavern reportedly got its name from Henry Cushing, who built the structure and was part owner with his sister, according to the Ohio Historical Society. In 1820, the community’s social scene was centered around the tavern and Cushing reportedly invited people over saying “Come over to our house.” The Cushings owned Our House until 1865.
The building was then purchased by Dr. and Mrs. Charles E. Holzer in 1933, and over a period of three years, the couple restored the building and its furnishing, and it was opened as a public museum in 1936. The Holzers then gave the museum to the state of Ohio in 1944, and was taken over by the Ohio Historical Society, who refurnished it completely.
The next location in the Register is the Ohio Hospital for Epileptics Stone Water Towers, which was added on Sept. 13, 1978. The hospital, which opened on Nov. 30, 1893, was reportedly the first of its kind and was the largest institution dedicated to caring for epileptics. Originally, the hospital was going to include 36 buildings, but as of 1901, the hospital’s capacity was 1,060 patients and consisted of an administration building, 13 resident cottages, a laundry cottage, a schoolhouse, two vocational buildings, a kitchen, a cold house for food storage, two dining rooms, one power plant and a cottage for insane patients which could hold 200 people.
The hospital closed in 1976, and the only remnants of the hospital are the stone water towers. The Ohio Historical Marker located near the towers reads as follows:
These three stone water towers were erected by the local craftsman in 1892 and serviced the Ohio Hospital for Epileptics until 1950. The sandstone of the uncoursed masonry wall was quarried from the surrounding hills. The hospital facility, a former Union Hospital site during the Civil War, was the first of its kind in the United States. The towers were restored 1981-1982.
Following the addition of the towers, the next landmark, added to the Register on Jan. 8, 1980, is the Gallipolis Historic District. According to the Register, the historic district was originally added as the “Gallipolis Public Square and Garden Lots Historic District.” This original listing included 1st and 2nd Avenues and Court and State Streets as the boundaries. The historic district was then updated on Aug. 22, 2001, and boundaries were extended to 3rd Avenue and Vine and Spruce Streets and the Ohio River.
After the historic district, the next addition to the Register is the Davis Mill, also known as the Cora Mill, located northeast of Patriot on Cora Mill Road, which was added on Nov. 28, 1980. As previously reported, due to disrepair and weathering the elements, the mill collapsed on May 5, 2011, after 176 years and was the last of 13 mills left standing along the banks of Raccoon Creek. At the time of the collapse, the mill was owned by Helen and Cedric Lewis, who had purchased it in 1974.
The mill was reportedly built by Charles Giles in 1835, and was called the Falls of Raccoon Mill. His son, Aaron Davis, then overtook operation of the mill in 1850. The mill was then purchased by Alfred Massie and family in the early 1900s, who operated it until 1928. Flood waters in 1937 washed away the dam and turbine at the mill, which ended the mill’s function as a gristmill.
The fifth addition to the Register on Sept. 30, 1982, was Ewington Academy, located on Ewington Road in Ewington. The Ohio Historical Marker near the grounds of the former school reads as follows:
The Ewington Citizens’ Literary Institute purchased this site and sponsored the construction of Ewington Academy which opened in 1859. The building, designed by George Ewing, was financed by popular subscription with much labor and materials donated. It provided high school level education to approximately 60 students each year. It ceased operation as an academy in 1901 and then served as an elementary school until about 1947. Ewington Academy was listed on the National Register of Historic Places September, 1982.
Next up on the Register was the Evans House, which was added on July 19, 1984. Located on Coal Valley Road in Vinton, the earliest known owner of this house is Evan Evans, a Welsh immigrant who owned the house in 1854, although the home may have been built prior to that year. The house is a two-story, half-dovetailed notch log structure which is reportedly and example of a traditional folk house form once common to the Ohio Appalachian region.
The seventh addition to the Register was Gatewood, located at 76 State Street in Gallipolis, and was added on Oct. 16, 1986. Built in 1847, this brick Colonial structure was the dream home of syndicated columnist O.O. McIntyre. The home was purchased for his wife, Maybelle Hope Small McIntyre as a 25th wedding anniversary present and was named for Mrs. McIntyre’s mother. It was reported McIntyre did not retire to the home, but was laid in state at Gatewood before his burial on Mound Hill.
Last but not least, the eighth addition to the Register is Old Wood Homestead, also known as Bob Evan Farm, added on Dec. 12, 1987, and located on State Route 588 just off U.S. Route 35 in Rio Grande. Built in 1820 by Nehemiah Wood, the homestead served as a stagecoach stop and an inn. It was then purchased by Bob Evans in 1953, who lived there for 17 years. The farm was also the location of The Sausage Shoppe, which later became the first Bob Evans restaurant and is still in operation today. The Homestead is now a museum, which will open again in April.