Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Uncovering the History of Wick Avenue

Though it’s no longer recognizable as the house shown in the 19th century photograph below, this structure is still very much part of the historic and cultural fabric of Youngstown’s Wick District. It was built by the widow of a local business leader who died of disease while serving in the Union Army during the Civil War. It was then occupied between 1866 and 1959 by three generations of the same family.

Emeline Warner Arms was a 35-year-old widow with six children when she began construction of her new home in 1865. Her husband, Myron Israel Arms (uncle of the Historical Society’s benefactor, Olive F. A. Arms), died on September 10, 1864, after contracting Typhoid Fever in his regiment’s camp in Virginia. The family moved into the house the following year, and there Mrs. Arms spent the rest of her days. Her youngest daughter and son-in-law, Harriet A. and Charles H. Booth, remained in the house after Mrs. Arms’ death, and completely remodeled it early in the 20th century, transforming its exterior design from Italianate to an Italian-style villa, as shown below.


Harriet Arms Booth lived in the house until her death in 1952 at the age of 91. Her daughter and son-in-law, Jane A. B. and Philip H. Schaff, Sr., moved in afterward with their two youngest children. In 1959 the Schaffs sold the house to First Christian Church, located across Spring Street since 1934. The church renamed the building Disciple House, and used it for a variety of functions until 1966, when they sold the property to Youngstown State University. YSU officially changed its name from Disciple House to Alumni House in 1983.

Though the name and function of the property changed over the years, it remains at 606 Wick Avenue as the oldest surviving of the grand houses to be built in this neighborhood in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Join us on Sunday afternoon, September 13, at 1:00 p.m., for free walking tours along Wick Avenue as part of the Founders Day Open House at the Arms Family Museum of Local History. There is diverse historic and modern architecture to see, and many more interesting stories to be told!

2 comments:

Defend Youngstown said...

Excellent. I will be there.

Ralph said...

This is fantastic!