Submitted by Kezia & Cornelia Vanmeter Sproat

Vanmeter Church Street House

On List Of National Register Of Historic Places.

Location: 178 Church Street, Chillicothe, Ohio. Topo Map

Description: The Vanmeter Church Street House is a two story and one-half Greek Revival residence.  It is brick stretcher bond built in 1848 by Wm. H. Thompson, a farmer.

Web Site - owners Web site with information on house.

The original stone stoop in front has been extended with wood across the facade and an elaborate open wrought iron porch has been added, probably not long after the house was built.  The front door has sidelights and a transom.  The two side entrances, on the north and south sides of the house, have Ionic columns supporting a three-part entablature and roof to form a small open porch, sheltering a six-panel door with side lights and transoms.  A stone water table extends around the front and both sides of the house.  Windows are 6/6 double hung sash with plain stone lug sills and lintels, except in the front of the house where the stone lintels have a small raised lip across the top forming a very simple entablature.

A one and two story brick wing with shed roofs and parapets, extend from the back of the main block.  An irregular one story gabled wing, probably a later addition, reputed to have been a milk house, extends beyond that.

To the rear of the house is a double brick privy and a carriage house which is large enough to stable sic horses.  An iron fence set in a stone base runs the length of the property in front.  Stone walkways surround the house.

The plan shape of the Vanmeter Church Street House is irregular Wings mentioned above have been added onto the center block.  The roof is metal hip.  There are three front bays and six side bays.  There is a partial basement, originally a fruit cellar.

This house is shown in a lithograph of 1856.  The house depicted in that lithograph is almost the same as it appears today, except a white lean-to in the rear has been removed.

The parlor furniture in the house today, is the same furniture which the Vanmeters purchased for the house when they moved in in 1856.  There are two Early Regency type chairs in the ballroom which pre-date the American Revolution, and were brought by the Vanmeters from Virginia.  These are the same dining room chairs in Clinden house, Philadelphia, which have been described as Early French Regency.

Statement of Significance: The Vanmeter Church Street House is significant as an excellent example of Greek Revival architecture set within a fine grouping of 19th century residential properties.  The Vanmeters were important lawyers in the 19th century in Ross County and the State of Ohio.

The Vanmeter Church Street House was built in 1848 by William H. Thompson, a farmer.  It was purchased by John I. Van Meter in 1856 and has remained in the Vanmeter family ever since.  John I. Vanmeter was born in Hardy County, Virginia, in 1798.  He was educated at Princeton, and at the law school of Judge Gould, at Litchfield, Connecticut.  He practiced law at Moorefield, Virginia, and was shortly elected to the legislature of Virginia.  After coming to what was to become Ross County, he married Mary Harness in 1826.  Mary Harness was the daughter of Jospeh and Mary Harness, who were among the earliest settlers of the Scioto Valley, Ohio.  In 1854, Mary Harness Vanmeter died and John I. Vanmeter moved to Chillicothe.  He was elected to the lower house of the Ohio Legislature in 1836 and to the Ohio Senate in 1840, and in 1842, he was elected to Congress.

John Marshall Vanmeter, John I. Vanmeter's son, inherited the property from his father.  He was graduated from Harvard Law School and began practice in Chillicothe in 1857.  He was appointed Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Ross County in 1881.  The house still remains in the Vanmeter family.


Chillicothe City Directory, 1858-9, P. 92; Auditor's Tax Duplicates 1847-5.

"Portrait and Biographical Record of the Scioto Valley, Ohio", Chicago: The Lewis Company, 1894, pp. 165, 287.

"Genealogies and Sketches of Old Families" by Benjamin F. Vanmeter, John P. Morton & Co., Louisville, KY. 1901

"History of Hardy County of the Borderland" by Commander Alvin Edward Moore, McLaine Printing Co., Parsons, WV, 1963.

Copy of the National Register Of Historic Places Registration Form. Prepared by:
Deborah Douglas Barrington, dated March 22, 1978.

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