HUDSON — The Baldwin-Buss House Foundation has received a $10,000 grant from the Priscilla Graham Fund of the Akron Community Foundation to help purchase, restore and preserve the historic 1825 home on the city's Village Green.
The house is widely known as the Merino house because it was owned for more than 100 years by several generations of the Merino family. Until his death in 2016, lifelong resident Richard Merino, a well-known beverage store proprietor, owned it.
The foundation is seeking to raise $1.7 million by an Aug. 10 deadline to complete the purchase of the property, which also includes the former Merino beverage store and a commercial building housing a beauty shop and home building company.
The Priscilla Graham Fund of the Akron Community Foundation was started in 2008 by Hudson businesswoman Katie Coulton, who raised the money by sponsoring a Christmas stocking contest at her women’s fashion store on Main Street. Graham, a historic preservationist, devoted years to researching Hudson’s historic buildings and working to ensure their preservation. She died in October 2008.
“The Merino house was her favorite building in Hudson,” Graham’s daughter Leslie Graham said in a prepared statement. “She believed that the architectural detail of that house, built by Lemuel Porter using the Asher Benjamin pattern book, made it the town’s most architecturally important building.”
It was one of only two Hudson buildings originally included in the Historic American Buildings Survey conducted by the federal government in the 1930s. Eventually eight were included, five of them on the Western Reserve Academy campus. The drawings are on file in the Library of Congress.
Graham said that her mother and Rich Merino often expressed the wish that an historic preservation group would someday own the house.
“With the formation of the Baldwin-Buss House Foundation, that dream may now come true if the money can be raised,” she said.
Three longtime Hudson residents established the foundation earlier this year: co-Presidents Inga Walker and Donovan, and Kathleen Russell, vice president and treasurer.
The owner has agreed to hold the property from the market through Aug. 10 for the foundatio. All donations will be tax-deductible and made through the Hudson Community Foundation. Letters of commitment may be sent to The Baldwin-Buss House Foundation, P.O. Box 1401, Hudson, Ohio 44236. For more details, visit www.bbhfoundation.org or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.