Ashley Village Offices are located at 101 East High Street, Ashley OH 43003; phone: 740-747-7117.
The Village of Ashley was platted in 1849 when the first railroad between Cincinnati and Cleveland passed through the county. According to several Delaware County histories, the community prospered by the presence of the railroad and its close proximity to fertile farmland. In the 1880's, High Street (State Rt. 229) became the fashionable residential street where prosperous bankers and merchants built their homes.
The village of Ashley was bypassed by the Interstate highway and has remained isolated and nearly unchanged from its 1920's appearance.
The four village houses, constructed between 1891 and 1901, display striking similarities in design and stand out as unusually ornate buildings in this small town.
The Opel House was the earliest and simplest of the four followed by the Wilson and Lynn Houses which are similar and were constructed the same year. The Bartha House is the latest and most elaborate of the four buildings. It was undoubtedly influenced by the earlier houses but its combination of materials, forms and outstanding craftsmanship make it the culmination of the Eastlake influence in Ashley. It is believed that all four Eastlake houses were built by Toddy Porterfield, an important local woodworker who was responsible for a number of Ashley buildings around the turn-of-the-century.
Opel House — This house, constructed in 1891, is the earliest of the four. It is constructed of wood frame on a stone foundation with a gable roof. The building was originally one room deep. The three bay facade features a gabled projection with a projecting bay window with colored glass insets and a pent roof. An angled window with Eastlake brackets and pendants is located at the northeast corner of the house. The decorative porch is two bays wide. The other elevations are fairly plain. A projecting bay window is located on the west elevation. Decorative siding — dado of diagonal siding and an undulant pattern shingles on the upper story — add interest to the exterior design. A large frame was added to the rear of the house. The interior has been altered and modernized.
Wilson House — This two story wood frame residence on a stone foundation with a hipped roof was constructed in 1892. The facade is symmetrical with a central, double hung 1 over 1 window on each story. On the first story it is flanked by angled windows with decorative brackets and pendants. Identical Eastlake porches are located midway on the east and west elevations and face south toward the street. Horizontal siding is used on the first story and undulant pattern siding on the second. The rear elevation is quite plain. A one story addition extends the length of the rear of the house. Double hung 1 over 1 windows are used throughout. The plan is "T" shaped and that form is maintained today. Interior window and door frames are intact.
Lynn House — This house, which was also constructed in 1892, is very similar to the Wilson House. It is constructed of wood frame on a stone foundation and has an intersecting gable roof with composition shingles. The house is shaped in plan with a projecting central section flanked by identical Eastlake porches. The simple horizontal siding is accented with panels of imbricated and wavy siding beneath the windows. The windows are all double hung 1 over 1 lights. A one story frame addition has been constructed across this rear of the house. This building has been vacant for some time.
Bartha House — This house, constructed in 1901, is the latest and most ornate of the four. It is constructed of wood frame on a stone foundation. The steeply pitched gabled dormers and hipped roof are covered with green and gray diamond patterned composition shingles. The house is irregular in plan. The variety of window shapes and sizes, materials and decorative elements contribute to its lively appearance.
The facade is dominated by a projecting bay with a central stained glass window and angled windows decorated with pendants with Eastlake brackets. A large roof dormer features a sunburst design above the window. The double hung 1 over 1 windows have glass inset borders on the upper sash. A handsome Eastlake porch is located in the easternmost bay of the facade.
The west elevation also features a projecting bay with brackets and pendants and panels of imbricated shingles below. The east and north elevations are similar and less ornate than the other elevations. They also features multi-color windows, and steeply pitched gable dormers. A simple porch, probably later, is located at the rear of this elevation. The northeast porch is now enclosed.
The interior has survived relatively unchanged. Interior details include a parquet floor in the hallway, finials on downstairs baseboard and detailed carving on the stairway and window frames. The house is located on a corner landscaped lot on a residential street in Ashley.
Oaks Joanne. "The Bartha House: Eastlake and Eastern-Stick Styles," Unpublished paper.
Blumensony Jon J. G. Identifying American Architecture. Nashville: American Association for State and Local History, 1977.
Campen, Richard N. Ohio — An Architectural Portrait, Chagrin Falls Ohio: The West Summit Press&Richard N. Campen, 1973.