With a $1,400 donation last night from pupils at Fall-Meyer Elementary School, the Friends of the Lathrop House said they have close to $30,000 toward their goal of moving the house that has been threatened with destruction.
The 1830s-vintage building on Sylvania's Main Street is said to be the oldest in the city and reportedly was a stop for runaway slaves on the Underground Railroad.
Kim Kozbial-Hess, a teacher at Fall-Meyer, said the children walked, read stories, and took part in other activities for 12 hours at the school to collect pledges for the project.
It is estimated that it will take about $130,000 for site preparation and moving the house which is across from St. Joseph Catholic Church, which owns the property.
Church officials last year bought the house and its four acres to allow for expansion of the parish. They had received a demolition permit, but agreed to not raze the structure while the citizens' group worked toward moving the building.
Sylvania City Council has voted to supply $50,000, but only if a site is found for the building and the group accumulates a sufficient amount for the move.
The group also asked for a pledge from the Sylvania Township Trustees. Dennis Boyle, a trustee who attended last night's meeting of Lathrop supporters, said the township's attorney is looking into the legality of making a pledge of financial support.
A spaghetti dinner to raise money for the project is set for April 13, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. It will be sponsored by the Pyramid Lodge of the Sylvania Masonic Temple, 3510 Holland-Sylvania Rd. Tickets will be $6.
Jim Smythe, a member of the group, said he has an assurance that Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell will speak at an event scheduled for May 22, at the Sylvania Historic Village to raise money for the move.
Mr. Smythe said there will be volunteers to explain aspects of the Underground Railroad, entertainment, food and refreshments at the event. He said tickets will be $25 per family.