One of Medina's most distinctive historic homes may soon be on the market and an effort is underway to convert it into a museum.

The Medina County Historical Society announced Monday that it is launching an effort to preserve what it considers to be one of Medina County’s most “architecturally significant” historic homes.

The society is planning to coordinate a fundraising effort to acquire the McDowell-Phillips Home at 205 S. Prospect St. in Medina.

It is a Queen Anne shingle-style home located where West Washington Street meets South Prospect Street not far from the A.I. Root candle factory.

With five bedrooms and three baths, the 2,238-square-foot home has a tax assessment of $130,750 and an estimated market value of $350,000, according to the real estate website Zillow.

The home dates back to 1890, when it was built by R.M. McDowell at a cost of $10,900 and has remained in the family for some 130 years.

McDowell was the president of the Old Phoenix Bank, later FirstMerit and now part of Huntington Bank. His wife, Elizabeth, was the daughter of H.G. Blake, who was a state representative, U.S. congressman and a staunch abolitionist.

The family notified the historical society about plans to sell the property and offered the group first dibs if it can raise the money.

“The society is concerned that a normal real estate sale of this home could easily lead to its demolition as the property’s size might lend itself to new construction,” historical society President Brian Feron said. “The beauty and historic nature of the home make it well worth an intense preservation effort.”

Feron said the society hopes to raise $500,000 in two phases over the next two years.

About $300,000 would be set aside to purchase the home and its contents. Another $200,000 would be used to restore the home and property.

In addition to private donations, Feron said they hope to secure state, federal and foundation grants to help cover the costs.

Some of the repairs include the siding and window sills.

"Inside there are upgrades to the electrical system that are not critical, but would need to be addressed eventually," Feron said. "Some plaster repair and painting will be needed eventually.

"The barns need extensive work to fix up and ultimately will be used to display the McDowell sleigh and carriage that were donated by the [family] a few years ago and we had restored."

Since its founding in 1922, the historical society has accumulated many items. The acquisition would allow more room for displays beyond the space now provided by the John Smart House built in 1886.

"The home and surrounding grounds will also eventually serve as a new and unique venue for cultural and educational events as well as for community and private usage, ” local historian Joann King said.

To donate to the “Preserving the Past, Embracing the Future” campaign, send contributions to MCHS, 206 N. Elmwood, Medina, 44256.

For more information, call 330-722-1341 or email


Craig Webb can be reached at