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Published: Thursday, 3/4/2004

Maumee: Visitors fingers do the walking in high-tech historic-home tour

BY JANET ROMAKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Care to take a tour of some historic Maumee homes? Kick off your shoes, settle into a comfy chair, and click away.

Through its Web site, Maumee has introduced a high-tech trek, or, officially, a virtual walking tour of historic homes.

Local author and historian Marilyn Wendler, whose book Cottages and Castles of Maumee came out last fall, suggested to city officials that a virtual walking tour might tie in nicely with the city s Web site.

Mrs. Wendler was “advocating the virtual tour since the city has so much historic fiber with its housing, buildings, and architectural items,” said Kirk Kern, Maumee s commissioner of community development.

City officials decided that “it would be neat to do something on the Web” with the virtual walking tour, showcasing historic homes in the community, he said.

Barbara Knisely, the city s administrative assistant, put together the pages to the Web site. She worked with Mrs. Wendler and Janet Russ, executive director of the Maumee Senior Center. Each fall the senior center sponsors a walking tour of historic homes in the city.

About 20 historic homes, featured in Mrs. Wendler s book, were selected for the first group on the virtual tour, Ms. Knisely said. Letters were sent to owners of the homes, seeking permission to use photographs and historical information. About 10 homeowners responded yes, with one declining the invitation to participate. “We hope the others will agree,” she said. To keep the tour fresh, changes will be added every three to six months, she said.

The tour s goal is to showcase the preservation of historic homes in Maumee and to promote the city s heritage. Buildings chosen for the tour were built between 1825 and 1840 and depict the pride the owners have shown in maintaining the beauty and craftsmanship.

The first group of historic homes, introduced on the Web site a few days ago, includes the Richardson-Day-Stein House, circa 1840s, described as an excellent example of a less pretentious adaptation of the Greek Revival style.

An early owner was Mark Richardson, a Methodist minister, entrepreneur, civic leader, and owner of a tannery. Mr. Richardson came from Ireland and settled in Maumee in 1849. Current owners Dan and Claudia Stein continue to preserve the home s integrity.

Information from the virtual tour explains architectural details as well as historical connections to the community, such as the James Wolcott House, a Federal-style home built in 1830 overlooking the Maumee River. It began as a 11/2 story log cabin, built by James Wolcott, a Connecticut emigrant, and Mary Wells Wolcott, the granddaughter of Chief Little Turtle.

Mrs. Wendler provided much of the information that is included on the Web tour.

She learned about virtual walking tours of historic homes while researching her husband s ancestors.



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