Pre-Civil War house moved for historical purposes


The Stein Movers company moves the Wells Sherman house down Haymaker Parkway on the morning of August 11. The house is now sitting at the west end of College Ave. while construction on the Esplanande extension is underway. Photo by Matt Hafley

Alice Dunaway

The Architectural Review Board approved the plan to move the Kent Wells Sherman House, the last surviving full two-story, pre-Civil War Greek Revival house in Kent, to 247 N. Water Street in a vacant lot next to Scribbles Coffee Company.

The house was originally built on Kent land for a member of the Kent family, and has important history behind it.

“The house is an important type of architecture, showing what Kent looked like before the Civil War when the town was a hotbed of abolitionism,” Roger Thurman, vice-chairman of the board for the Kent Wells Sherman House Inc., said. “The house is integral to the history of the community.”

The move of the Kent Wells Sherman house would leave behind and create green space.

“The whole thing would take up less than half of the green space on North Water,” Thurman said. “We’re not bulldozing anything. We’re just saving an old house.”

Thurman feels the Greek Revival style of the house accurately captures Kent’s history.

“The style was a conscious break from Georgian architecture, which was typical of the British. It spoke to democracy,” Thurman said. “When looking at a Greek revival, you are looking at the birth of democracy in our nation.”

The Kent Well-Sherman House Inc. hopes to use the house as an educational tool.

“The purpose of the house is to educate,” Thurman said. “Someone on The Patch asked, ‘why preserve the memory of dead, rich white guys?’ and like it or not, they brought us where we are today. Without them, Kent wouldn’t be here.”

The Kent Planning Commission will review the project’s site plan Sept. 4 and decide where exactly on the lot the house will be placed.

Contact Alice Dunaway at [email protected].