Historic Holiday Tour homes; JW Brown House

PIQUA — The JW Brown House, located at 714 N. Wayne St. in downtown Piqua will be featured on the 2022 Piqua-Caldwell Historic District Associationa’s (PCHDA) Historic Holiday Tour on Dec. 10 from 5 to 8 p.m. Owned by Rosemary and Paul Gutmann since 1964, this Queen Anne Style home is rich in history and architectural interest.

Muted yellow brick is used in this stately but comfortable home which borrows design elements from several styles. The home has been described as “Piqua’s version of the late Queen Anne Style.” It features half timbering in the third-floor gables and high multiple roofs. Other classical features include bay windows and the porte-cochere (the covered driveway) leading to the classic two-story carriage house.

The home was constructed in 1902 by AM Fry for JW Brown, founder of the popular turn of the century JW Brown Store located on Main Street in Piqua. The First Presbyterian Church bought the home to serve as its ‘manse’ in 1924. It was occupied by Dr. John Inglis and his family until 1958 when sold to Ralph & Celia Momberg (associated with the Stolle Company of Sidney).

Paul Gutmann, a local attorney, and his wife, Rosemary, read a newspaper advertisement offering a home with five bedrooms and five fireplaces. “We just had to see it”, recalls Paul prior to purchasing the home in 1964. The couple raised their four children there and used every space in the home.

The Mombergs had lightened the dark oak woodwork which dominated the first floor. The Gutmanns commenced a room by room redecorating, first in the early American style and later in the Colonial Williamsburg colors and furnishings. Paul spent numerous hours polishing the brass door handles and plates and other fixtures. Rosemary added her decorating touch to each of the rooms, including the small powder room located under the main stairway. Walnut and white pine English cupboards, purchased from shops in England, now grace the dining room and family room. The basement, instead of becoming a “rec room”, was transformed into an early 1900’s general store complete with one of the first NCR cash registers produced. In a side room is the Colonial Williamsburg kitchen, complete with hearth and period utensils.

Tickets to see this home along with four more historic properties during PCHDA’s Historic Holiday Tour are available online at www.piquacaldwellhistoricdistrict.org and Readmore’s Hallmark in Piqua for $25 per person.

Also happening the evening of December 10, between 5-8 p.m., PCHDA is hosting Illuminate the Night. Luminaries will line the streets in the historic district and churches there will open their doors to offer music and refreshments. Illuminate the Night is open to the public at no charge and those participating are encouraged to walk or drive through the area and are sure to feel the holiday spirit.