Abandoned house in Ohio

Morgan-Hueston House, Fairfield Ohio
Date added: August 02, 2023 Categories: Ohio House
North elevation (1989)

The Morgan-Hueston house represents an extant example of Federal and Greek Revival architecture in Fairfield township. Vacant since 1982, the house still retains much of the original fabric. The Morgan-Hueston house along with the Symmes House on Niles Road and the 6089 John Gray Road residence are the three remaining Fairfield Township houses built at this time.

The Morgan-Hueston House was constructed in two phases: the front section was built in 1817 and the rear addition dating from 1858. The different sections enable the structure to evidence the two predominant architectural styles of the early 19th century in southwest Ohio. The Federal style architectural features seen in the 1817 structure include the use of Flemish bond brick construction, three bay fenestration pattern, 6/6 windows with radiating voussoirs and a simple yet graceful Interior stairway. Greek Revival elements of the 1858 rear addition include squared Doric columns, flat stone window lintels and sills, and interior fireplace mantels with pilasters and entablatures. The recessed two-story porch is an unusual element for Greek Revival architecture in this area and makes this building a distinctive local example of the style.

One of Butler County's original townships, Fairfield was established in 1803. Although adjacent to the City of Hamilton, Fairfield Township developed slowly. Hamilton, due to its proximity, was easily accessed by almost all of Fairfield township, preventing the need for any urban commercial development except in outlying areas. The City of Fairfield borders Hamilton and thus maintained its agricultural character throughout much of its history. Recent suburban development has transformed it into a residential bedroom community of Hamilton.

Jeremiah Brading (also spelled Breading) purchased the land on which the house was built on February 14, 1817 and sold it to Elisha Morgan on August 16, 1817, for the sum of $1650.00 for 48 and 68/100 acres. John Cleves Symmes had originally sold the land in 1795 for $1 per acre and the government was selling land for $2 per acre in 1817. The 1820 census and the 1822 tax records indicate that Elisha Morgan, his wife, Elizabeth Monford LaBolteaux Morgan, and six children lived at that location. Both had been married before.

Elisha Morgan died Intestate September 5, 1827. The property (48.68 acres) was appraised by John Trim at $15 per acre. There had been a land depression in the ten years Morgan owned the property reducing the value of land. On October 28, 1828, the property was listed for sheriff's sale in the Hamilton Intelligencer, ". . . and to be sold at the instance of the heirs of Elisha Morgan, deceased. John Hall, Sheriff." The children requested the sheriff set aside 20 acres and the mansion house as dower for the widow. The dower for Mrs. Morgan was appraised at $9 per acre. The sheriff's sale took place on May 18, 1829 and Nathan Tolbert (also spelled Talbott), the highest bidder paid a total of $673,96. The children, Marcy (who was married to David Farmer from College Hill in Hamillton County), John, Nataniel, Samuel, Eliza and Andrew J. Morgan each received one-sixth of the estate after the dower was deducted.

The property was purchased by John Hay In 1831. The 1837 auditor's records list the house and land separately for the first time. In 1849 John Hay sold this property as a portion of 166 acres to David Hueston for $10,750. 1858 records indicate a new structure valued at $1,000. had been added. April 3, 1865, David Hueston sold 100 acres to John Mack and then bought it back on March 13, 1871. Joseph and Alonzo Ross purchased the land on March 17, 1871. The land was included in 80 acres the Rosses sold to Charles C. Murdock on July 21, 1880. On July 3, 1883, Jenny Ross purchased 59.97 acres from Murdock. The land and house remained in the Ross family until 1916 when it was purchased by the Gilberts for whom the park is named. In 1979 the City of Fairfield purchased 16 acres and the house.

Building Description

The Morgan-Hueston House (c. 1817) is a two-story brick house facing Ross Road in the 16 acre Gilbert Farms Park. It is in a rural setting of relatively flat land with mature trees. The city has removed all out buildings and installed a blacktop parking lot to the rear. The park Is surrounded by single-family houses. Condominium construction is encroaching up Mack Road from the west.

The original structure (1817) is a 1/1 side passage three bay eave oriented Federal style house (19' x 30'6"). The foundation is built of cut stone laid in courses. The exterior walls are of Flemish bond brick construction. The entrance door is recessed into the thickness of the facade wall. Molded wood panels line the wall opening. Hinges and paint scars indicate that shutters once flanked the entrance. A Butler County Illustrated atlas shows a portico attached to the front entrance. Above the front door is a molded transom bar supporting a three-light transom. There is a small concrete porch at the entrance. The front facade windows are 6/6 double-hung windows (mostly broken or missing) with flat arch lintels, made of radiating brick voussoirs, and cut stone sills. The shutters are broken. The south elevation has an interior chimney with one window on each floor to the west of the chimney. The north elevation is a blind wall, except for a bulkhead cellar door. The slightly projecting eave extends beyond a wide (16") fascia board.

In 1858, David Houston added a $1,000 Greek Revival addition to the rear of the Morgan House. The two-story portion is 28'6" x 32'0" with a gable roof. The one-story portion across the rear is 12'0" x 28'0" with a shed roof. The brick walls are common bond.

The two-story wing has four bays with two doors and two windows on the first floor on the north and south facades. The second floor consists of three windows and one door to the porch on the north elevation and four windows on the south. The one-story addition to the rear has one window and one door on the north, two windows and one door to the rear (west), and one window on the south.

The second-story windows across the rear are stationary with stone lintels and no sills. They are lower than other windows on the second floor. All other windows have stone lintels and lug sills. Fascia trim boards match Federal trim on the south. There is a two-story recessed porch on the north facade supported by square wooden columns consisting of plain bases, shafts, and squared capitals. The porch is in deteriorated condition and needs to be rebuilt. There is a canopy with turned columns over the door toward the rear on the north elevation, which appears to be 20th-century construction.

Both Interior chimneys are on the ridge of the roof. The roof on the 1858 addition is a moderate-pitch gable roof with a shed roof on the rear appendage.

The stairs in the entrance hall are on the right exterior wall (north). They turn left at the landing and left against the interior wall with three more risers. Newel posts are round and slightly conical with square bases. Spindles are plain (3/4" x 1" rectangular). Most of the hand rail is missing. There are decorative brackets on the stairs with different but similar trim across the flat landing and area across the hall at the top of the stairs. Below the stairs, the wall is wood with raised panels. Where the stairs to the basement have been removed, the opening is covered with pine flooring.

Baseboards, in the original structure, are 15" high and ornate. Trim around windows and doors has bullseye corner blocks and molded sides and lintels. There are wood apron panels below the first-floor windows in the 1817 structure.

The mantels and trim are the same on the first and second floor in the original house. Some damage from a fire has charred the first-floor mantel and floor in front of the fireplace. The walls are black from smoke and the paint used to create a haunted house when the city first owned the property.

A six-foot opening connects the early house with the rear wing. In the 1858 addition, mantels and wood trim are Greek Revival in style. Shallow closets are to the left of the fireplaces except on the second-floor rear where there is a "half window" to the left.

Floors throughout are random-width pine planks. Interior doors that remain are single-tier five-panel or two-tier four-panel doors. The plaster ceilings are in surprisingly good condition in the front. Rooms in the back have more water damage to the plaster. The 20th-century kitchen, heating system, plumbing, and electric are non-operable. There are no light fixtures or historic hardware remaining. The basement has stone walls, poplar floor joists and a brick floor. The ceiling is seven feet high. There is no basement under the one-story back portion of the 1858 wing.

Morgan-Hueston House, Fairfield Ohio East elevation, original structure (1989)
East elevation, original structure (1989)

Morgan-Hueston House, Fairfield Ohio Basement window, east elevation (1989)
Basement window, east elevation (1989)

Morgan-Hueston House, Fairfield Ohio Detail of brick wall, and radiation voussoir east elevation (1989)
Detail of brick wall, and radiation voussoir east elevation (1989)

Morgan-Hueston House, Fairfield Ohio Front entrance door recess, east elevation (1989)
Front entrance door recess, east elevation (1989)

Morgan-Hueston House, Fairfield Ohio Front entrance and porch, east elevation (1989)
Front entrance and porch, east elevation (1989)

Morgan-Hueston House, Fairfield Ohio North and east elevations (1989)
North and east elevations (1989)

Morgan-Hueston House, Fairfield Ohio Kitchen, showing door and window to porch on north side (1989)
Kitchen, showing door and window to porch on north side (1989)

Morgan-Hueston House, Fairfield Ohio Detail of window with stone sill, east elevation (1989)
Detail of window with stone sill, east elevation (1989)

Morgan-Hueston House, Fairfield Ohio South elevation (1989)
South elevation (1989)

Morgan-Hueston House, Fairfield Ohio Joint between original structure and 1858 addition, south elevation (1989)
Joint between original structure and 1858 addition, south elevation (1989)

Morgan-Hueston House, Fairfield Ohio North elevation (1989)
North elevation (1989)

Morgan-Hueston House, Fairfield Ohio North elevation showing rox gutter repairs and turned spindles second floor (1981)
North elevation showing rox gutter repairs and turned spindles second floor (1981)

Morgan-Hueston House, Fairfield Ohio West elevation (1989)
West elevation (1989)

Morgan-Hueston House, Fairfield Ohio Porch detail, north elevation (1989)
Porch detail, north elevation (1989)

Morgan-Hueston House, Fairfield Ohio Stairs in front hall (1989)
Stairs in front hall (1989)