The Gingerbread House, Weymouth

In 1850’s Weymouth, a small rural town where “in town” was over an hour away and everybody knew everybody, almost every house looks alike. But one prominent wealthy family that lived in the town decided to change that. A victorian and gothic style house set among the other barns and plain houses soon emerged. Many influential families lived in the remarkable house throughout its history. One noteworthy person was Norton Wright Welton, a man who continued west to Colorado and became one of the founders of Denver. This house was the Gingerbread House, named for its ornate trim. It was built in 1851 by William Harrison Seymour who was one of the first settlers to arrive in Medina. Seymour’s family came to the United States in 1817 to search for more economic opportunities and freedom. Seymour’s parents, Lathrop and Betsy, plus their seven children, moved from Connecticut to Medina, Ohio because of the national trend of moving west. Expansionism was spreading across the country as more and more people packed up all of their belongings and relocated. A neighbor from down the street from the Seymour’s new house, Ruth O. Chaffe and William became friends and later fell in love. When they married, they decided to build a house in between both of their houses which became too small and led to the creation of the Gingerbread house. William drew from Victorian England and gothic styles when designing the house which were inspired by his time spent in New England while attending Yale. The family lived in the small two room house until the birth of their third child in 1862 when they moved to Michigan for more land and money. This house lays on a straight line from the East coast to the west, a trail that thousands followed in hopes of striking it rich in the unknown West. Almost every family that lived in the house followed the same path to create their future.

Images

The Gingerbread House

The Gingerbread House

The Gingerbread House sits facing the corner of Old Weymouth Road and Remsen Road. The iron fence surrounding the house, which later had been fixed because of a tornado in 1936, had been added onto the house by Norton Wright Welton, who had purchased the house in 1870. He also added a kitchen and a bay onto the house. Welton moved to Kansas, after his years of living in the Gingerbread House, and there became good friends with a government official Governor Denver. The governor then sent Welton as a land surveyor for the sake of developing land in Colorado. After Welton and his group had finished developing the land, he named the city Denver after his friend, Governor Denver. (Image Courtesy of Susan McKiernan) View File Details Page

Ruth Chaffe House, Main St. Weymouth, OH

Ruth Chaffe House, Main St. Weymouth, OH

This house on Main Street say only three houses away from William Harrison Seymour's original housing in Weymouth. Ruth Chaffe, later to become William Seymour's wife, lived and grew up here. William and Ruth met on Main Street and fell in love. Later on they built a house that they lived in for a few years, and in 1851, built the Gingerbread house in between the two houses that they grew up in and around the corner from the first house they built. Image Courtesy of Susan McKiernan View File Details Page

William and Ruth's first house in Weymouth

William and Ruth's first house in Weymouth

Before the creation of the Gingerbread House, Ruth and William Seymour lived in this plain, old farm house that fit in with the rest of the town. They lived there until the birth of their first child and then started the construction of their modern and more aesthetically unique home. They also purchased the field across the street in order to have the room to plant crops and make a living. Unfortunately once they had their third it became too small of quarters as it only had a couple of rooms and moved on to a tree farm in Michigan. (Image Courtesy of Susan McKiernan) View File Details Page

The Gay Family, 1918

The Gay Family, 1918

The Gay family lived in the Gingerbread House during the early 1900's. Neither of the adults, Suzie and Charlie Edwards, worked, but they did have a benefactress, an aunt. They had the first gas lighting system in Weymouth, paid for by the benefactress paid to have it in the Gingerbread House. Almost any other modern advancements had also been paid for by the benefactress and then added to the Gingerbread House because the Gay family wanted only the most modern amenities during 1949, even though the town of Weymouth existed fairly far from any other larger cities. Charlie also had the first car in Weymouth, a model A. (Image Courtesy of Susan McKiernan) View File Details Page

The Gingerbread House, 2015

The Gingerbread House, 2015

The Gingerbread House, while decorated in the practical gothic style, remains simply for aesthetic purposes. The pointed windows, designed to make the family closer to God and aerate the room, do nothing in the stuffy and unused attic. Drip door frames are intended to keep water off the door. On this house the door frame rests under a porch, not exposed to water, therefore the drip frame does not have an actual purpose. It can be seen that some windows consist of six panes of glass while others had only two. This resulted from the change in production of glass during World War II; workers no longer had to blow the glass into panes, making it easier to create larger panes of glass. (Image Courtesy of Nina Sayyarpour) View File Details Page

Audio

Architectural analysis of the Gingerbread House

The current resident of the Gingerbread House and expert on Weymouth history, Susan McKiernan, speaks of the processes that made the Gothic design of the house possible. View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Haley LeBlanc, Nina Sayyarpour, Ellissa Chambliss, “The Gingerbread House, Weymouth,” Discover Medina, accessed April 26, 2017, http://discovermedina.org/items/show/226.

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