On Friday May 29, 2015 Gary Brown from The Canton Repository visited the Ramsayer Research Library to interview history docent, Larry Snyder. Larry is also the Vice President of the Plain Township Historical Society. The point of the meeting was to inform the community of the Peter Pontius House. The Plain Township Historical Society is working on preserving this 1835 farm house located on the West side of North Market Avenue between 55th (East Hill) and Schneider Road.
The spark came from the widening of North Market Avenue. You may recall Larry inviting me to tour this house on May 14th of this year. Read more of that tour in my blog post: Lands Transformed…
The Plain Township Historical Society is successful in getting this house on the endangered list.
Read the press release from this accomplishment:
Press Release: Plain Township Historical Society
Thursday, May 21, 2015
Plain Township Historic Home Named to 2015 List of Ohio’s Most Endangered Historic Sites
Preservation Ohio, the state’s oldest statewide non-profit preservation organization released the 2015 List of Ohio’s Most Endangered Historic Sites at the Ohio Statehouse during a Press Conference.
Plain Township Historical Society Trustees Phyllis Rustifo and Larry Snyder wrote the nomination for the Peter Pontius House located at 5901 Market Avenue.
The house was built in the Federal Style popular between the 1820’s and 1840’s. It is constructed of brick painted white. Currently the house is all that is standing with a small outbuilding, a springhouse. A large bank barn was located to the rear of the property, but was torn down several years ago. The house has gone through some changes. Two additions have been added to the house. In 2004 Bethel Temple Church came into possession the 13.61 acres and buildings. The church used the house as a rental property for eight years. The house has stood empty for the past year and a half.
The original site consisted of a quarter section that Peter and his brother Jacob settled on in 1831. When Peter married Catherine Essig Pontius he bought the quarter section near his wife’s family, the Simon Essig’s. The house was built in 1835. Peter lived in the house until his death in 1860 at the age of 86 years old. Peter himself was a farmer and is mentioned frequently in history accounts that he was a Plain Township Supervisor, Trustee, and a school director. It was Peter Pontius that insisted that Ohio needed to have a picture of all schools in the state. It was first completed in 1880 and again in 1980. Peter was voted President of the County Agricultural Society and he saw to it during his presidency all the debt was paid and he reorganized the board. He was also elected to the Justice of the Peace in 1885, and served for 15 years.
Recently the state of Ohio has proposed widening Market Avenue to a four-lane highway from 55th Street to Applegrove. That project will remove 20 feet of land from in front of this historic home. Market Avenue itself contains many of the oldest and grandest homes in Plain Township known to be standing. We have seen too many of our historical buildings destroyed in the Stark County area. We of the Plain Township Historical Society have come to a place in its existence where we are identifying all of our older, historic structures so as too allow us to attempt to preserve and protect as many as we can. We need the support of Ohio and the people of our township to let people know that, “this place matters.”
Some might ask why do these places matter? Historic preservation champions and protects places that tell the stories of our past. It enhances our sense of community and brings us closer together. The Plain Township Historical Society is thankful for this opportunity by chronicling the relevance to locality, region and the state. We hope that this raises awareness for these endangered properties and encourages people to continue to preserve history, that our past matters and these places matter.
Submitted by: Larry Snyder
Vice-President Plain Township Historical Society
*Too see pictures of the interior of the Pontius House go to Mark Holland’s Blog site for the McKinley Museum. https://archivistsattic.wordpress.com/2015/05
Peter Pontius and his wife Catherine (Essig) are pioneers of Plain Township. Catherine is a direct descendant of Simon and Julian Essig.
We have the Essig Family Tree in the Ramsayer Research Library within the McKinley Presidential Library & Museum. It may be viewed Monday – Friday 9:00 am – 4:00 pm.