clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Save This Old House: Ohio Brick Greek Revival

A bequeathed fortune allowed a widow to build this lavish home that has seen many lives

Filled With Fancy Millwork

Photo by Mike Morse

March 2015

Price: $34,900

Location: Galion, Ohio

Contact: Mike Morse, 567-455-4205

The History: When prominent businessman Jacob Ruhl passed away in 1858, he left quite a bequest for his wife, Sarah: Along with a cluster of furnishings and farm animals, he set aside a small fortune—and very precise instructions—to build her this sprawling 7,000-square-foot house, which she outfitted quite lavishly. The house was later purchased by Dr. C.D. Morgan, who briefly converted the building into a makeshift hospital for patients in town. In the years since, it was used as a rooming house as well as a private residence, and has sat vacant for several years.

Shown: The seven-bedroom, five-and-a-half-bath house sits on a third of an acre in a neighborhood of smaller houses.

Zillow, the real-estate marketplace, wants to see this home restored. As a Proud Preservation Partner of Save This Old House, Zillow is offering a $2,000 award to the buyer of this diamond in the rough. Contact for details. And to explore more homes for sale, visit Offer expires 3/31/2016.

Rich History and Details

Photo by Mike Morse

Why save it? The structure blends elements of Greek Revival and Italianate architecture, including a broad trim band beneath the cornice line and simple stone lintels above the windows. The interior has an elaborate quartersawn-oak staircase and matching paneling throughout the vestibule. It also retains carved mantels, built-in cabinetry, stained- and leaded-glass windows, and the original tin ceilings.

Shown: This circa-1910 photograph shows the stone porch, likely added after the house was purchased by Dr. C.D. Morgan.

Stunning Entry Spandrels

Photo by Mike Morse

What it needs: Structurally, the house is in good shape, with an intact brick facade and a sturdy stone foundation. A previous owner put on a new roof and installed a handful of new windows. The plumbing, electrical, and heating systems need a complete overhaul. Galion is a town of about 10,000 located 60 miles north of Columbus. The house was a sight to behold back when it was built, and that's no less true today; whoever tackles the renovation will own what is widely thought to be the grandest house around these parts.

Shown: The front entry has a series of intricate spandrels.

Leaded- and Stained-Glass Details

Photo by Mike Morse

The dining room has a detailed mahogany mantel, built-in cabinetry with leaded-glass doors, and stained-glass windows.

Echoes of Italianate Style

Photo by Mike Morse

The head casings above interior doors resemble window pediments often found on houses in the Italianate style.

Remnants of a Working Hospital

Photo by Mike Morse

This interior window on the second floor probably dates to Dr. Morgan's use of the house as a hospital.