How Does the Howson Look?

The Howson Building – Part of the Rebirth of an Iconic Landmark at Chillicothe’s “100% Corner”

Second in the Series

Here’s a pre-renovation view of the Carlisle Building (and neighbors), at Paint and Main streets.


To  the Carlisle’s left, at 12 to 18 East Main, is the Howson Building, built by the same family in 1894 as both an addition to the Carlisle and a separate building. It’s a slightly darker color but with almost the same architectural detailing.

The end part of this three-and-a-half-story composition is the Hellmuth Building, built at the same time as the Howson but by a different owner (and still remaining a separate property), but using the same architect.

The Carlisle was designed in the commercial version of the Queen Anne style by local brother architects, John F. and Charles B. Cook. John continued the same styling for the Howson and Hellmuth buildings in 1894.

It looks like the Howson will not be open for tours in this year’s Ghost Walk, so here’s some glimpses into it.

2014_0816_16224-CALLunBuried Treasure

But first, an excavated remnant reused in the Carlisle: This foundation was exposed during demolition and construction work in back of the Carlisle.

It’s a remnant of an isolated, small square pre-1885 building that was demolished when the Carlisle replaced several buildings on the site.

The other side of it, now inside

I was surprised to realize it’s now incorporated into the rear wall of the easternmost basement room of the renovated Carlisle.

You can read more on it in my earlier blog, at “Carlisle Curiosity.”

2015_0709_27797-AALLHaving a Ball

The “ballroom” of the Howson Building occupies most of the third floor, with three triple windows overlooking Main Street. The cove ceiling extends upwards into the attic.

2015_1005_30133This was the home of the Elks Lodge when built in from 1894, until they moved to their current quarters on Second Street in 1911.

A chandelier with 30 gas lights and 25 incandescent lights hung in the center of the Howson ballroom, now gone.

The mirrored casing above it ventilated the room.2015_1005_30142-CA


The modern Howson Building was both piped for gas and wired for electricity.

This rare survivor of early wiring channels survives in the corner of the ballroom. Wires ran in covered wooden moulding channels from the fuse box that is now missing.

Ceramic insulators above the fuse box secured and directed the electrical wires in the attic over the coved ballroom ceiling. The wires could have been bare, or were covered in paper or cloth. They’re missing now, as is the fuse box…probably for good reason!



Inside-Outside Advertising 

2015_0709_27786 A painted sign advertising the “Tower Pharmacy” located in the Carlisle at the corner of Paint and Main had been painted on the east wall of the Carlisle Building before the Howson Building covered it over in 1894.

It’s now visible from inside the third floor…and attic…of the Howson.

The Carlisle has been stabilized, the facade restored, and the inside reocculpied.  The Howson lacks occupation…so let’s see it put to good use soon!

Many Thanks to the Chesler Group, Adena Health System, and the Chillicothe-Ross County League of Women Voters’ Ghost Walk committee for being able to take several of these photos.  

Published by:

Kevin B. Coleman

Pre/historian, architectural historian, re-enactor, guide, reporter, speaker, writer, gardener, craftsperson, husbandman, et al., who can work in stone (flint knapping, flintlock, silicon chip) among other things and who is determined to use my knowledge, wisdom, and personal survival to help the greater good. At least, my cats and dog here in semi-rural Ohio tell me that.

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