Chambers enthusiastic for landmark properties

By Rhonda Bletner - [email protected]

Correction: Wrong photo attached to newpaper print article. To be corrected.

GALION — Linda Chambers recently talked about her work with Galion’s Design Review Board, which includes the Landmarks and Historic Districts. Currently, the board is reviewing specifications for historic landmark designation. Chambers is helpful and knowledgeable —- and when it comes to talking about historic homes and businesses, she is also very interesting.

It started with a chat about historic landmark signs.

“There are 13 properties on the landmark district,” Linda Chambers said. “I don’t think that people really know about it because we haven’t promoted it. Some of the houses listed are the Gill House, the hotel up on the square, the Lee house on Church Street, the Howard House, the log cabin in Heise Park, Craig Clinger’s house, Rick Maddox’s house, the public library, and of course, Brownella Cottage, the Firestone house. and tje Big Four Depot. The Galion Community Theatre is listed too,

She said there is no criteria, except that the structure be over 60 years old. If a structural property owner would like to obtain a historical landmark sign, they will need to fill out an application. The form is submitted to the Galion Design Review Board.

This designation is not for the National Register of Historic Places. In order to be considered for the national registry, criteria including age and integrity of the building(s), architectural features, and significant association with historical events and persons must be met.

For a landmark sign in Galion, a local application must be submitted but there are no restrictions on preservation. Landmark designees will receive a plaque to display. Chambers indicated the landmark sign process and funding for the plaques are still items of discussion.

The board will have training this week from OHPO, the Ohio Historic Preservation Office. Design Review is largely concerned with the exterior presentation of the building to keep them historically appealing, Chambers said.

“I’ve been in this job for about 25 years and I was the grant administrator for the Uptowne and then I was Main Street director for a while,” she said. And she has a lengthy list of historic homes that she would suggest be recognized as landmark homes or businesses.

She says she has been around a long time; and she has a long list of her own recommendations. Her grandparents’ home on Boyd Blvd. is one she would like to see with a landmark plaque.

“That’s where I grew up,” she said. “My family owned from Cherry Street to Maple Drive and they built several homes here. The Boyd family (her maiden name) owned a lot of big English Tudor homes and my grandfather and grandmother lived on Portland Way South just down from Boyd Blvd. It’s that big two story Colonial with the long drive. And there’s a stable back there.”

Chambers’ grandparents were John “Jack” and Gladys Boyd. Their home was built in 1925.

“My grandfather died in 1948,” she said, “My grandmother was a widow and she sold it in 1958. Then she moved next door to a double house. She lived there and my aunt lived there on the other side.”

“There was a tennis court there, and my aunt had two horses. It’s on 10 acres and all of the grounds had a formal garden and all kinds of flower gardens. My grandmother had a gardener and there was an arbor house and two orchards: one was an apple orchard and the one close to the tennis courts had peach trees.

Her great grandfather, David Charles Boyd, founded Galion Iron Works Company, producing graders and rollers and hydraulic cranes, in 1907. He built a house on Grove Avenue, but it was torn down, she said. Two of her uncles also lived on Grove Avenue, one of them is directly across from the hospital. Her parents were given a house on Boyd Boulevard, located at the split, as a wedding present.

She noted: “I’m the oldest great grandchild; and I’m the oldest grandchild.”

“My whole family worked at the Iron Works, and my husband worked there,” Chambers noted. “And most of the people that lived on Boyd Boulevard were employed by Galion Manufacturing.

About the Design Review Board

Galion has three Design Review Districts: Uptowne, Historic West Main, and Harding Way West. Residential or commercial building owners of property within a Design Review District must acquire prior approval before making improvements, repairs or other changes to the exterior of their buildings. This includes paving, landscaping, signage, window and door replacement and more.

By Rhonda Bletner

[email protected]