Saturday, January 8, 2011

Croll mansion

and by Bob Croll

Around 1872 Levi Croll, a wealthy Franklin, Ohio business man began to build a Victorian mansion on 129 acres he had purchased from the Barkalow farm. The house is located at 843 Dayton-Oxford Road in Franklin in Warren County.

Croll made his fortune as a miller during the Civil War.

Born in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania on September 24, 1830 he was seven years old when his family moved to Clark County, Ohio. He later relocated to Warren County, Ohio and resided there until his death in 1885.

Croll married Hannah Vanderver in March 1852. They had three children. He later married Eleanor Chamberlain. They had six children. One of their great grandsons is Bob Croll who now lives in Moreno Valley, California.

Although Bob and I have never personally met, we have communicated via e-mail for several years. We have a shared interest in history and genealogy.

The following information was written by Bob.

"The mansion was one of the first in the Ohio Territory to have indoor plumbing, air conditioning, and a walk in cooler. Levi let the foundation "settle" for two years before he allowed construction to continue. The building is now 138 years old, and shows no signs of faulty construction. It should be noted it was one of the few structures to survive the 1913 flood without damage.

INDOOR PLUMBING: All rain water was caught from the roofs and stored in a large lead lined cistern, located in the attic, until needed. (In 1918 the lead was donated to the war effort to make bullets) Each bedroom had a marble topped vanity, which was filled by gravity, and no pump or electricity was required. There was also a full sized tin bathtub in the downstairs bathroom with cold and hot running water. (cold in the winter & hot in the summer). Flush toilets came later.

AIR CONDITIONING: The brick walls were hollow, and cool air entered in basement level louvers, pushing the rising hot air out of vents located under the eaves. All doors had transoms to let air circulate when the doors were closed, and all windows were equipped with full length indoor shutters, which were closed to keep hot air out during the summer days, and opened in the evenings to let cool air in. Additionally there was a 3 story open circular stairwell that naturally let hot air rise to the attic, inside the house.

WALK IN COOLER: The kitchen pantry was built over a large basement room, filled with river ice during the winter, and covered with sawdust for insulation. The pantry was air tight, except for the air vents that allowed the cold air to enter the pantry from the ice storage room below.

HEATING: Each room was independently heated by a French import fireplace, with common ash dumps in the basement.

My Grandfather, George Croll used to paint the roof during the World Series. Sometimes he forgot the paint, but he NEVER forgot his radio."