Wolcott Keeper's House Virtual Tour

This video is approximately 33 minutes and includes information on the Wolcott Keeper’s House and cemetery. You’ll learn the history of Benajah Wolcott, the first keeper of the Marblehead Lighthouse, a bit on hearth cooking, and see the Annex display of frontier farming equipment.

Once known as the “Old Stone Fort” we now know that the Keeper’s House never served as a fortress. The 4” x 4” openings at the four corners of this house were not musket portals as legend would have it, but rather evidence of a building technique first brought to Europe from the Middle East by the Crusaders in the 11th century. These indentations serve as a convenient starting place for wooden scaffolding used in early times to make repairs to the exterior of the structure and to the roof.

The house itself is an example of early vernacular architecture at its best and is a rare intact example of colonial hall and parlor design. The limestone building material was quarried on site, the heavy timber support beams both in the foundation and above are hand-hewn chestnut, oak and walnut and were no doubt harvested on site or nearby. The principal support beam under the house measures 13” x 9” x 43’, and is one solid piece of white oak of over 38 cubic feet mass. The “ridge pole” above the ceiling is 12” x 12” x 43’ of solid black walnut. The subsidiary supports in the roof and below are local cedar with the bark still on them. The new cedar shingled roof was installed over original existing wooden plates of immense width which are clearly visible today from the loft area. Original interior woodwork, window seats, six over six window configuration and fireplace and mantle all evidence Federal design. The generations that lived in the house after Wolcott’s death in 1832 apparently had an appreciation for the significance of the structure for few changes have been made.

The home and surrounding land was purchased by the Ottawa County Historical Society October 31, 1989 and restoration is near completion. Happily, the beginnings of this project coincided with Ottawa County’s 1990 Sesquicentennial celebration and completion was hoped to coincide with the 2003 Bicentennial of the State of Ohio, yet completion continues. The Keeper’s House is the oldest residence in Ottawa County and perhaps Northwestern Ohio and, according to the Ohio Historical Society, “few buildings remain from Northwest Ohio’s early 19th Century settlement period. Even fewer provide us with the degree of historic and architectural significance present in the Benajah Wolcott house, located in Danbury Township, Ottawa County.” The Keeper’s House, home of Benajah Wolcott, has been placed on the National Register of Historical Places by the United States Department of Interior and has received an Ohio Historical Society roadside marker in conjunction with Ohio’s Bicentennial Celebration. It is now owned by Danbury Township and is operated by The Ottawa County Historical Society.