Leavell home featured on holiday tour

PIQUA — The Benjamin Leavell house, located at 615 N. Wayne St., Piqua, will be featured on the Piqua-Caldwell Historic District’s 2022 Historic Holiday Home Tour.

The house is 4500 square feet and has 13 rooms, eight of which were originally bedrooms. The Koon family turned three of the bedrooms into laundry, home office and library. The home also includes four full baths, two half baths, pantry, Butler’s pantry, three stairways, five working fireplaces and 13 closets. The 3,000 square foot Carriage House has a carriage room, three horse stalls and tack room on the first floor. On the second floor is a haymow, oats bin, and two grooms bedrooms.

In 1805 Benjamin Leavell and seven others settled what is now Piqua. Mr. Leavell was a carpenter by trade and did most of the building of the log cabins in the new town. In the fall of 1807, he married Martha McCorkle in the first recorded marriage in Miami County. In 1825 he moved to Williams County and became an Associate Judge. In 1831 he came back to Piqua and built a tavern on the east side of Main Street between North Street and Greene Street. In 1845 Mr. Leavell retired and purchased this lot after the Cumberland Presbyterian Church building was moved to Wood Street and then built this house.

In 1872 Dr. and Mrs. W.S. Parker purchased the home. Mrs. Parker was the daughter of Dr. G.V. Dorsey who lived next door to the south. Dr. Parker had his office in the south side of the house. It is believed the Parkers changed the style from Federal to Greek Revival by adding the front portico.

In 1906 Mr. and Mrs. A.W. French Sr. purchased the home and moved their family here from New York after founding The French Oil Machinery Company. Mr. A.W. French Jr. told me the company’s early business was conducted from the “sunroom” (now Dining Room). The Frenchs’ did extensive remodeling in 1919 adding the third-floor staff quarters and the extended bays on the south side. Although Mr. French Sr. died in 1925, Mrs. French continued with the company serving as Chairman for many years and living here until her death in 1972 at the age of 101.

Jan and Steve Koon bought the house from Mrs. French’s estate in 1972 and soon after Steve and his father installed Steve’s Optometry office in the Salon where he saw patients for 46 years until 2018. “Jan, Tim (our son) and I have enjoyed living, working and growing up in this house for the last 49 years”, shared Steve Koon.

The 2022 Historic Holiday Home Tour is set for Dec. 10 from 5 to 8 p.m. Tickets are available online at www.piquacaldwellhistoricdistrict.org and at Readmore’s Hallmark in downtown Piqua. Tickets aare $25 per person.