Kauffman-Prentice House

Set on the historic Wooster Pike, 529 South Court Street stands the test of time due to its geographical importance. Built in 1838, this house is the oldest standing home on South Court Street and one of the oldest in Medina. Throughout the 1800s, the Wooster Pike was the main vein connecting Cleveland to southern suburbs. The solitary nature of the street made it an extended hub of commerce. With American expansionism just beginning, it was the perfect time to strike out and live along this road. Barney Prentice (or Prentiss), one of the very first pioneers of Wooster Pike, realized that it was a spot with substantial potential for a small business operation within prosperous Medina. In the spirit of economic proliferation, Prentice sought to enrich both his wallet and family through business ventures on the Square. Unfortunately, his attempts in acquiring a portion of the legendary American prosperity ended in catastrophic failure. Despite this failure, 529 South Court Street, or the Prentice-Kauffman House, can be seen as an example of the entrepreneurial spirit of Medina. It was in this spirit that many people after him took the same risky step toward business. Alan Wainwright seized the entrepreneurial opportunity and converted the building into an antique shop in the 1970s. "Alan H. Wainwright Antiques" exemplified the lucrative potential of the Prentice-Kauffman house, successfully running for almost a decade. Beyond business, the house also became an example for other historic homes within Medina. These other houses made Medina their city, populating Medina with families and diversifying the town with their unique styles and architecture in the process. The Prentice-Kauffman house is an integral part of this illustrious history. This Federal style home fits in with the other historic homes on South Court Street as well as the Gazebo fits in with Medina's beloved Square. The Prentice-Kaufman house is a monument to the character and unique history of a prosperous Medina. Its value and beauty have drawn families into its historical walls for generations, and it will continue to flourish in the hands of our posterity.

Images

The Kauffman-Prentice House

The Kauffman-Prentice House

Barney Prentice built his home in Medina in 1838. Although often cited in the Greek Revival style, the house was actually constructed using the Five-Bay Federal style. During the early 19th Century, this architectural style was very popular in the United States. Luckily, when the house was moved back in the 1930s it was not altered. In fact, the only alterations have been a few additions such as its glazed front doors. Image Courtesy of 'Building a Firm Foundation: Medina County Architecture 1811-1900' by Joann King and Susan McKiernan View File Details Page

Medina Before the 1848 Fire

Medina Before the 1848 Fire

As pictured, most of the homes built in Medina during the 1848 fire were not built of sturdy brick. The wooden structures of the Medina square contributed heavily to the outbreak of the fire which originated in Prentice's shoe store on the Western side of the Square. This was a common architectural style at the time, and the fire contributed to changing practices regarding building policies in Medina. Image Courtesty of 'Historical Collections' by Howard Howe View File Details Page

Barney Prentice, 1850 Census

Barney Prentice, 1850 Census

Barney Prentice was born in Massachusetts and actually moved to Medina later in his life. His shoe store on the Medina Square was Prentice's primary contribution to the Medina community. Unfortunately, the Great Fire of 1848 originated in Prentice's shoe store. This fire was incredibly destructive to many Medina buildings. The two young men supposedly responsible for starting the fire in Prentice's shop later fled Medina. A later census detailed that Prentice had left Medina within the next decade proceeding the fire. The relevance of the fire on Prentice's departure is unknown. Image Courtesy of ancestry.com 1850 Census View File Details Page

The American Hotel

The American Hotel

Wooster Pike connected suburban areas with Cleveland and was vital to thriving business such as the American Hotel in Medina. Built on Wooster Pike, the Prentice-Kauffman house was destined for business. Living on such an economically important road might have been Prentice's reasoning for wanting to build a gas station in front of his house. The large amount of traffic passing along the road would have guaranteed a profitable business in an age of expansion. Image Courtesy of the Medina Historical Society View File Details Page

The Kauffman-Prentice Home Property

The Kauffman-Prentice Home Property

The Prentice-Kauffman house sits away from the road, a unique difference from the surrounding homes. This is due to a gas station planned by the owner in the 1930s along Wooster Pike where the house stood. The gas station, however, was never built as result of improper zoning. The lot was instead used as a family shop (the incorrectly zoned lot is bounded in red). Image Courtesy of Google Earth View File Details Page

Audio

A Gas Station in Historic Medina

Susan Piero, a resident of Medina, gives her opinion on the issue surrounding Barney Prentice's failed attempt at building a gas station. View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Katherine Lloyd, Ryan McMullen, Daniel Piero, and Ryan Rose, “Kauffman-Prentice House,” Discover Medina, accessed May 27, 2017, http://discovermedina.org/items/show/31.

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