Twinsburg's Moses Roach home now a national landmark
A third structure in the historic Twinsburg Square has recently been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Moses Roach House, which today serves as the office for the Twinsburg Chamber of Commerce, joins the First Congregational Church of Twinsburg and the Grange Building (where the Twinsburg Historical Society is housed) on the national registry. The Roach House, at 9044 Church St., officially was placed on the register on March 22. The First Congregational Church, which is next door to the Roach House, was the first building in Twinsburg registered, in 1974. The Grange building, nearby on Darrow Road, first known as the Twinsburg Institute, followed two years later.
The process has taken about three years, said Laurie Sasala Facsina, a member of the Twinsburg Historical Society who was involved in getting the Moses Roach House on the register. Those in Ohio who wish to get a property registered first need to go through the Ohio History Trust.
"They spend months and months and months picking apart your submission," Facsina said. "Once that finalizes, after several rough drafts, they meet quarterly. At these meetings, they decide which properties to send to National."
The pandemic did not help, Facsina added.
"COVID made this so much more tedious," she said. "The board was meeting virtually like everyone else."
Bonnie Williams, the president of the Twinsburg Historical Society, said the organization is planning to have a ceremony commemorating the event; the date and time will be determined in the future.
The society's efforts also received help from two students taking an Ohio History class from Leslie Heaphy, a professor at Kent State University's Stark Campus.
"Andy [Tomko, with the Twinsburg Historical Society] reached out to me," Heaphy said. "He always has recommendations for projects my students can get involved in. It's great practical, hands-on experience. They can see history in a real fashion."
Alex Kiel and David Ziegler met with Tomko, took photos and collected information on the Roach House, Heaphy said.
According to information from the Twinsburg Historical Society, Moses Roach first came to Twinsburg with his parents in 1836 when he was 4. He was known as a blacksmith and carpenter and because the third postmaster of Macedonia in 1854.
Roach constructed his home in 1873, at age 41, and lived there with his wife, Minerva. Moses Roach died at 53 in 1886. Minerva, who had lived in Aurora, died in 1895 at 64. Both are buried in Locust Grove Cemetery in Twinsburg, as is their daughter Hattie, who died when she was 3.
Facsina said the home had several interesting features.
"It was built in 1873, but it does not have a fireplace," Facsina said. "He had a coal-burning stove. If you go outside of the house, the entrance to the basement is reached by a set of exterior stairs. There is also a coal chute. This man was very forward-thinking. That coal chute he probably forged himself since he was a blacksmith."
The home was constructed "a few years after the Civil War," when the materials for building such a home would have been available again.
"During the Civil War, you kind of had to stop building homes," she said. "All materials were sent to the front lines. Prosperity was coming back to the area."
Facsina said Twinsburg had three quarries where the materials to build the home could have come from, as well as a mill.
The home's Italianate-style architecture can be seen in other area homes, including a couple of other homes in Twinsburg, two in Aurora "and two or three in Hudson," Facsina said. She added that she wants to track down the architect of the house. "He had a lot of commissions in this area at that time."
The bedrooms in the house "are very generous" compared to other homes built around that time, Facsina said. There is a little room off the living room, which she said she was pretty sure had been Roach's study.
"It's easier to own a home now," Facsina said. "It was not so easy in the 1800s. He probably waited to build it until he was prosperous."
20th century and present
In the ensuing years, the Moses Roach House had seen life as a residence, boarding home, apartments and commercial rental, according to information from the Twinsburg Historical Society.
In 1998, the city purchased the home and restored it. The city turned the building over to the historical society in 2019, with the condition that a list of repairs were completed within two years. The Twinsburg Historical Society sought donations and had a fundraiser to raise $100,000 for critical repairs around the historic home. Williams said the repairs were largely done now.
"It's basically finished," Williams said. "There may be some minor touchups inside, but the major work is done now."
Facsina said the society is working to set aside a budget for any future repairs needed.
"I live in a historic home, and the repairs never end," she said. "It's ongoing."
The renovations included constructing a wheelchair ramp to the back porch, repairing the north foundation and wall, repairing a hole in the kitchen ceiling, installing a new fire alarm and putting in new exit signs.
"Twinsburg has such a rich history, and I thought this building was just so important to save," Facsina said. "It was really close to the wrecking ball."
Reporter April Helms can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org