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Fairmont Avenue Historic District

Zanesville City, Muskingum County, OH

Failrmont Avenue Historic District

Photo: Homes in the Falrmont Avenue, looking east in the Historic District, Zanesville. The District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. Photographed by username: Bwsmith84, own work, 2010, [cc-3.0], accessed via wikimedia, October, 2022.

The Fairmont Avenue Historic District [†] is notable for its architecture as well as for its association with individuals significant to the connnercial and industrial life of Zanesville during the first quarter of the twentieth century. It is also an extremely well-maintained, cohesive neighborhood which mirrors the architectural taste of many of Zanesville's elite for a period of more than thirty years. After the turn of the century, the area north of the city in Falls Township, emerged as prime residential land. Several land developers began to lay out new neighborhoods, but by far the most active was W. Hunter Atha, and the most prestigious street of his North Terrace Addition was Fairmont Avenue.

Atha (1867-1961) was a Fairmont, West Virginia, native who crune to Zanesville in the late 1890s to enter the real estate business. He eventually owned more tha 1,000 acres on the north side of the city, all of which he laid out in housing lots. His North Terrace neighborhood, including Fairmont Avenue, was platted in 1904. He named Fairmont Avenue after his West Virginia home town, and this one street soon became the most desired one in the project with homes being built there as early as 1905. Atha set up building restrictions—a novel idea at that time—to insure compatible siting and construction. A 30' setback restriction, was imposed for houses and a 20' setback for porches or verandas. Also, all homes were to be two stories in height and contain a minimum of six rooms. A sales campaign was carried out and advertised in local newspapers in 1907; in 1908, all unsold lots were held by Atha's Freehold Realty Company. In 1909 the addition was annexed to the city.

Building began innnediately. By 1905, there were six homes listed in the city directory, built by physicians, industrialists, and leaders in local connnerical enterprises. Atha himself lived on the street for a time. Building activity continued at a fairly steady pace until 1939, when the last home was built here.

Architecturally, the district reflects the current taste of a rather conservative group of businessmen in Zanesville during the first 30 years on the twentieth century. The stylistic revivals of this period never really caught on to a great degree in this city, but Fairmont Avenue does represent a cohesive mix of these styles, executed in elite as well as vernacular modes. The Colonial Revival is mirrored in the Weber, Devol, and Fletcher Houses; the Neo Classical Revival in the Helmick-Gonder House; and the locally rare Tudor Revival in the Pollock and Peach Houses. Further, the area is distinctive for its representation of the work of locally significant architects and builders such as architects Harry C. Meyer and Joyn Schooley and master builders such as Alva Vinsel, Mark Moore, and the Dunzweiler Brothers.

Adapted from: David L. Taylor, Regional Historic Preservation Officer, Ohio University-Zanesville, Fairmont Historic District, nomination document, 1980, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.

Street Names
Fairmont Avenue