|Address:||203 East Wiggin Street|
|Architectural Style:||Queen Anne - Shingle Style|
|Architect/Builder:||Architect: Granger & Meade; Builder: Haggerty|
|Original Owner:||Mrs. Levi Buttles|
The Buttles family stretches far back into history, although the current spelling was not adopted until the late-1700s. Prior to that, the family name was Buttolph. John Buttolph, patriarch of the American branch, was born in 1724. He served as a captain in the Colonial Army during the Revolutionary War. Buttolph's grandson Elihu became a member of the Massachusetts legislature, and it was under him that the family name was officially changed to Buttles, very likely because of a corruption in pronunciation that occurred over the years. Levi Buttolph, John's youngest son, moved to Worthington, Ohio in 1803 immediately following the state's admission to the Union. Levi's son Roderick, who went by the nickname "Rory," was baptized later that autumn. Rory added an "A" to the beginning of his name at the time of his baptism, and from then on was known as Arora. In addition to changing his first name, Arora chose to follow the example set by his cousin Elihu and adopted "Buttles" as his family name. Arora was the father of Levi Buttles, who lends his name to this house, and who is the great-grandson of John Buttolph.
Levi graduated from Kenyon in 1847, and joined his father in Cleveland in the business of providing wholesale lumber. Buttles became a proprietor of the Cleveland Female Seminary in 1858 alongside S. N. Sanford. On August 18 of that same year, Buttles married Jane E. Wright, a cousin of Massachusetts Senator Ashmun, who is known for nominating Abraham Lincoln for United States President at the Chicago convention. Buttles maintained his position at the Female Seminary until 1880. Shortly after in 1883, he became the vice-president of the Cleveland Window Glass Company, the largest supplier in the city. He later moved to Gambier and became a trustee of Kenyon College from 1873 to 1881, and oversaw the construction of Delano Hall. Buttles died on June 11, 1891. It is interested to note that all four of his sons, before his death, chose to restore the family name back to its original "Buttolph" with the full blessings of their parents. They regretted how the "Buttles" spelling weakened their connection to the antiquity of the family line back in England, but more importantly their connection to their patriotic great-great-grandfather John Buttolph. Even though Levi's name is attached to this house, it was actually his wife who built it.
Plans for this house were provided by the architectural firm Granger and Meade. H. Granger was born in Zanesville, Ohio, and attended Kenyon College in 1887 before spending two years in Paris studying architecture at the École des Beaux Arts, one of the leading and most influential fine arts schools of the time. Granger worled for several different architectural firms upon his return to the United States, many in Chicago. He moved to Cleveland in 1893, where he established his own architectural firm. He was joined by Frank Meade in 1895 to form Granger & Meade. One year later they developed the plans of this house for Mrs. Levi Buttles. The final house matches the original plans, except for the placement of a large bay window on the front facade, supporting the a shallow second story gabled extension. This bay window was originally to be placed on the east elevation. It is not k nown who made the final decision for this change, whether it was Mrs. Buttles, Granger & Meade, or the contractor only known as Hagerty. In all, Mrs. Buttles reportedly spent $3,711 in its design and construction. A large enclosed porch extends 2/3 the length of the main facade. This porch was originally open, but was enclosed within the past few years. The large size of the home allowed Mrs. Buttles to utilize it as a boarding house for students attending Kenyon College. Meals were provided to the boarders, as well as to the teachers of nearby Wiggin Street School. Sometime between 1949 and 1961, the house was divded to serve as a multiple-family apartment building.
The house is rather plain architecturally, but its immense size and subtelties command attention. The assymmetrical composition suggests Queen Anne influence, but the exterior of the house shows very little ornamentation usually associated with this style. It is possible that the home was inspired by some of the shingle style Colonial homes located in New England. Historic photographs show that it was once clad in shingles instead of the horizontal siding it has today. The main section of the home is defined by a clipped gable, while the other extensions are standard gables. The roofline, the paired and tripled windows, and the bay windows all lend to the simplistic shingle-style of Queen Anne architecture.