Traci Strahler Chichester

"It's not my hobby, it's my passion"

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520 and 536 Millgate
Marietta, OH 45750

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5 bedrooms 3.5 bathrooms
Built in 1915   6080 square feet
MLS number: 4109512
Listed at: $1,200,000.00

Sitting back from Ohio 60 just outside Marietta, shrouded amongst the trees sits a 20th century home built by William W. Mills for his wife, Betsey. The house sits on the edge of what used to be hundreds of acres of land, but has since been broken down into lots with many homes, according to Councilman Harley Noland, whose parents purchased the home nearly 50 years ago. “It was designed by Donald P. Hart,” said Noland. “He was from New York City, but his family was from Marietta. He also designed the Betsey Mills Club buildings, which were done after Betsey died.” The home’s architecture stands out amid the countryside. “It’s an English Tudor style cottage house,” said Noland. The home was built from 1910 to 1915, with the Mills family moving in soon after its completion. It was one of the first homes in the area to have electricity. From a large entryway, bright living room and glassed-in solarium, the house has upwards of 20 rooms. There are 13 rooms downstairs which included canning rooms and space for a chauffeur, and five good-sized bedrooms upstairs, all for guests. “When someone important came to town, they stayed with the Mills,'” said Noland. The home the Mills’ lived in was part of the old Dawes family farm. “There were multiple houses,” Noland said. “They built the main house, had a gardener/groundskeeper’s house, a carriage house. At the foot of the hill was some farmhands’ houses and greenhouses.” The land used to be plentiful with one particular crop: tomatoes. “It was a big tomato farm,” Noland said. “It was huge (in the area)…all the crops became riper early…They would pack the tomatoes in (rail) cars and ship them all over the place.” William W. Mills was an owner of the Marietta Chair Company at one time, which is where most of the interior of the home came from. “The doors are two-faced,” said Noland. “There’s one kind of wood on one side to match (one room) then another kind of wood on the next side (to match the woodwork in that room).” The woods range from quarter-sawn oak to red gum and many other kinds. After working at the chair company, Mills became involved with banking, especially into the Great Depression era. “When the oil boom hit, he made a huge fortune,” said Noland. “He had the money to build the Betsey Mills Club with his own cash. During the Depression, that all changed; he paid salaries and bills with his own money…In his bank, no one lost a penny; he helped Marietta get through the Depression better than some cities.” The Betsey Mills Club in downtown Marietta was Mills’ tribute to his wife. “Betsey Mills had no children, but she started the Girl’s Monday Club at her childhood home on the corner,” Noland said. “They would teach girls the finer things in life, like sewing, cooking, music and dance. When she passed away in 1920, W.W. inherited the house. He decided to build a memorial to the love of his life and bought the neighbor’s house and hired Donald P. Hart to build the Betsey Mills Club as a club for young women.” Noland’s parents purchased the large cottage home in the mid-1960s, and the home hasn’t undergone any drastic changes; many of the original gas lights are still installed in the home. “My parents are the fourth owners and have owned it longer than anybody else,” said Noland. “It was abandoned for three years (before they bought it); it amazingly didn’t burn down…The electric lines were all (torn) out and over 150 panes of glass were broken out.” Noland said the project of fixing the home was always ongoing. “It was a constant project because of its size,” he said. “It was a family project; my parents taught us how to do stuff-painting and with the windows, how to glaze.” Repair work is also something Noland’s sister Cara Noland, 56, enjoyed. “Before we moved, we started a bunch of work (on the house),” she said. “At age 8, I would repair window panes and glaze them. I learned basic plumbing…I learned a lot of basic, and not so basic, home maintenance skills. It was a lot of hard work.” Many fond memories of the home abound for Cara. “I loved running over the hillside and getting to know the woods, claiming and retaining the house inside and out,” she said. “It was big enough and I was small enough there were many places to hide. Harley would jump out and surprise me as I would walk by.” One sight while sitting in the wide open living room still sticks with her. “Two storms were coming from different directions, and connected,” she said. “It was like being in the center of a huge battle. It was a very special place to grow up.” One of the best things for Cara was having her grandmother live in the home for some time. “She was born in 1887,” she said. “It was really nice and I learned to appreciate older things; both people and other things. I appreciated what they had to offer.” Noland said he had no greater pleasure than growing up in the home. “It’s always full of light and good, fresh air in the summertime,” he said. “So many houses don’t get good views or good light and this one does…It was a pleasure living here.” While the house hasn’t changed much, Noland said he’s restored a few things to make it stand out. “I restored the rose trellis,” he said. “We still have one of the original rose bushes that grows up the trellis…It’s a rose-covered cottage.” Noland said his one big campaign fundraiser as he runs in the Marietta mayoral race will be at the home and then it might make it onto the market to be sold. “I just hope somebody gets it that enjoys it the way we did,” he said #1234

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