1884 – Ravenna, OH

Added to OHD on 2/9/12   -   Last OHD Update: 4/12/20   -   52 Comments
SOLD / Archived Post
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4655 Hayes Rd, Ravenna, OH 44266

  • $78,000
  • Sold for $40,000
  • 4 Bed
  • 2.5 Bath
  • 3087 Sq Ft
  • 1.76 Ac.
Once known as the Thomas House or the Crystal Lake Stock Farm this 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath home is on the National Registry of Historical Places in Ohio. It sits on 1.76 acres and has 6 fireplaces, lovely wood floors and 3087 sq ft of living space. There is an antique bowling alley in the barns upstairs level. Home is older than County Record reflects and is a must see! It is strongly encouraged that an offer includes proof of funds (if cash offer) or pre-approval (if financing) and is a requirement for seller's final acceptance. Buyer or Buyer's agent to verify all information contained herein.
Contact Information
Philip March, Ohio Realty Group,

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48 Comments on 1884 – Ravenna, OH

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  1. Cathy B. of IL says: 6 comments

    MINE!!!! What a wonderful home!!!!! Orginial – built-ins – that kitchen….I want it!!! Ok, and a bowling alley? Love it!!

  2. Nick F says: 11 comments

    Ravenna isn’t a half bad place. I certainly wouldn’t call it the greatest being a suburb of Cleveland and Akron, but it’s not in some crime ridden area. I’m rather surprised it’s going so low…almost too curious. The barn alone is worth some money in how old it is and having that bowling alley.

  3. Robt. W. says: 359 comments

    Very interesting place with some great details — even very rare ones in the bowling alley. The facade is quite unusual and appealing; I would, though, probably dismantle the weird carport/porch affair at the back.

  4. John C says: 434 comments

    At one point this was on Loopnet as a commercial property with a view of becoming a B & B. From the description then posted:

    Here’s an opportunity to own a piece of history! Original house was built in 1803 and then added onto in 1887. Situated on almost 2 acres and registered as a Historical Place, this 3,000sqft home would make a great bed & breakfast! The zoning department is willing to approve a variance for a bed & breakfast. The appeal must be made by the new owner. The 6 fireplaces are surrounded by tiles imported from Europe. The large parlor has a stunning bay window. The dining room has a 10′ built-in unit to display your fine items. The kitchen has ample cabinet and counter space and then connects to the breakfast room through another set of doors. The library, between the family room & parlor, was part of the house built in 1803 and is where the entrance into the Underground RR is. The signature bedroom is the 2nd bedroom up the stairs. It has a window seat like no other, stairs up to the closet & its own bath! The largest two bedrooms share a bathroom. The barn has a bowling alley upstairs!

    Route 44/5 South of Rt 14, East on Hayes Rd, First house on the left
    Source: http://www.loopnet.com/Listing/17001623/4655-Hayes-Rd-Ravenna-OH/

    Certainly an Underground Railroad Connection and a build date of 1803 add to the mystique.

  5. John C says: 434 comments

    This was added to the national register in 1986 — no mention was made of the Underground RR, however.
    Crystal Lake Stock Farm (added 1986 – – #86000698)
    Also known as Thomas House
    4655 Hayes Rd. , Ravena
    Historic Significance: Event, Architecture/Engineering
    Architect, builder, or engineer: Unknown
    Architectural Style: Queen Anne
    Area of Significance: Agriculture, Architecture
    Period of Significance: 1875-1899
    Owner: Private
    Historic Function: Agriculture/Subsistence, Domestic
    Historic Sub-function: Agricultural Outbuildings, Secondary Structure, Single Dwelling
    Current Function: Domestic
    Current Sub-function: Single Dwelling


  6. Jen M. says: 17 comments

    I’m not big on the house, but the barn is gorgeous.

  7. Vickie says: 25 comments

    I’m wild about that toile sink! 😀

  8. John C says: 434 comments

    One of Ravenna’s claims to fame and charm is that passage in U. S. Grant’s autobiography, where he wrote the following about his father wooing his mother:

    My father left the Brown house in 1818 and moved to Ravenna, Ohio, where he opened a tannery of his own. He began making money in ample quantities. There he learned of a farming family from Pennsylvania that had moved nearby, and went calling upon them to look for marriageable prospects. The Simpson family had a daughter named Hannah who fit the bill. She was plain and hard in both her features and attitude quiet, disciplined, a devout Methodist, and, at twenty-three, an old maid. She had a pebble for a heart and a belief that God had a plan in which man played a passive role at best.

    My father was uninterested in affection having received none, he was unfamiliar with it. Instead, he wanted a wife who shared his approach all business. He now had found one. As for my mother, the fact that Jesse Grant rode a horse out to her father’s farm to find her was proof enough he was the man God intended for [her. She] was all business as well, even if her business was the Lord. Grandfather Simpson didn’t take to my father at first, but he soon mastered the algebra of my father’s burgeoning tannery bank balance and relented. My parents were married in 1821, moved to the town of Georgetown, and ten respectable months later my mother bore me into the world. I was born Hiram Ulysses Grant my real name, though that is not how I came to be known on April 27, 1822, the first of six children. My consumptive brother Simpson followed two years later, then my sister Clara, and then Jennie, who escaped her spinsterhood in 1869 only to trigger the near-downfall of capitalism. My conniving brother Orvil was then born twelve years junior to me, and finally little Mary Frances.

    Dickens could not have written that passage better, and I have always suspected Mark Twain, who backed and published the book, had a hand in its style.

  9. Barbara says: 63 comments

    Thanks John C. for the autobiography except. The barn is huge for a property of 1.76 acres. I wonder how much farm land was actually part of this property.

  10. Mark says: 145 comments

    I agree with Robt.
    Dismantle the carport addition. Park your fleet of vehicles in the barn!

    Too bad there aren’t more photos(especially of the barn).
    Seems like it must need major work for that price, although they don’t mention any particular troubles. Ravenna isn’t a bad area although you would probably have to drive a 1.5 hrs to get to a good job.

    • Noreen B says: 10 comments

      Actually as the third owner of this estate I can assure you that whatever you may call that flowered sink in the signature room bathroom is an original import from Europe and has the seal and stamp of Queen Anne, they are all set in imported marble. The back splash is also marble. Some are very intricate as the flowered one but the simple one with no designs is found in the nursery. Aka the second story of the original 1803/ 1806 log cabin. I say 1806 because thats when the log cabin was rolled to that site.
      I use to have an original photo of the cabin prior to its customization.
      As for the two rooms of the back. I added the fold down stained glass wall and hidden door to blick out that NE wind . I used period Windows from a church. I used them because they were amethyst and yellow and are much prettier in person. However,
      This home had a service quarters home attached to it . the homes were split prior to the Thomas family owning it. The second smaller home is across st rt 45 one block away.
      The entire estate was comprising of hundreds of acres were part of the original Hayes property. Its called Crystal Lake stock farm because across 45 is a large glacier lake that the Thomas family still own a pc of the rights to that lake. And the oroperty raised Angus cattle.
      As for the barn, its actually a coach house. The barn was four times the size of this 30×80 coach house.
      The coach house does have a magnificent treasure of the finest purest tongue and groove walls and ceilings, not only does it have a second story duck pin bowling alley it also has colored glass panels of pink, greens, reds , blues and yellows that flood it with even lighting most of the day. The original gas lamps were removed, but that bowling alley had many famous family affairs. Even a story of a murder….she does have her secrets im sure.
      The home is built inside like a sea shell , you easily climb the stairs reaching many levels. The space and designs kept me awake , looking at walls by moon light wondering whats in that dropped down ceiling. An entire area could not truly be explained. Perhaps another part of the UGR . the home is infested with centuries of small brown bats. My guess based on my experience is that they consistently find that the bats are those little important creatures that are protected. I think they were an Indiana bat. Nun the less , the bats do not fly away to warmer climate, they snuggle down the balloon walls , and hybernate . around February. Although the bats are still toasty warm they are now having babies . so come may, june they actually start to fly out of the tiniest of holes like chocolate drops . if you look at the front lawn , you can see that to the right of the photo its much greener, yeah, thats because its the flight pattern and bats drop guano every time the fly.
      The attic and balloon walls at one point were at least four ft high of guano and an estimation of ten thousand bats living in that attic and walls.
      I know so much.more but ill leave you with this last tid bit. A very nice gent named Bill S. And myself solely straightened the falling over coach house. We used vintage lumber that was on site. We built a cross beam with huge bolts and nuts , we pulled cables through it , rached the barn straight, then x braces and wire around a semi young maple tree. We protected the tree and some day just like braces on teeth the wire can be removed and she will be perfect again. Poor thing got hit by a tornado, tilted her 18 degrees, which was not totally at her woods elasticity breaking point because we were able to pull her easy and securely. Great job trust me, or this coach house was going to be sold off board by board to napa valley wine country. Thanks Bill if you ever stumble in this post.
      If anyone needs any other information, email me at vqs376@gmail.com
      Thanks for reading all that.
      Btw, the property is, or was very majical..in some of the wildest true stories.
      If i ever could own her again, i would.

  11. John Shiflet says: 5450 comments

    This house has something to offer almost everyone. I thought the layout and configuration looked a little odd even for a Queen Anne style house which is well known for eccentricities. That barn hardware, if old, is phenomenal. I’m not a big fan of white interior paint on woodwork so I’d have to break out my heat stripping gun on this one. Phenomenal history, phenomenal house, and outstanding price…one of the best I’ve seen on OHD at that price level.

    • Noreen B says: 10 comments

      The wood work t/o was a real treat . the interior doors were hand feathered for grain effects. Evidently its a lost art, we had several guest over the few years come just to see the wood work in the spindles and doors.
      The cuboards in the blue dining room were added to close up the hole when the service quarters were moved away.
      The huge parlor door in the room with the blue fireplace is plenty large for huge ball dresses or coffin.
      The beveled glass which im guessing were a 3×3 square in panels had a way of casting blues and green light in the early morning.
      The huge white room with key stone fireplace and red wall, sorry. I had to freshen it up, but in my favor , it had hideous wallpaper the kind youd find in a nursing home , terrible pattern . but the key stone was already painted red and white.
      Every fireplace had its own charm, the keystone was from the area but all the mint condition fireboxes and tiles were intricate works of art from Europe. I have tons of photographs.
      Lastly the exterior colors are all off the historical registry and mostly are presidential colors. The house was terrible peeling yellow and white washex and red barn, so i painted her like a painted lady.
      My Dad was Dr Galvin, he was very proud to have spent his last years at a beautiful site befitting a Dr.

  12. John C says: 434 comments

    The nearest I have come to a street-view is to google map Hayes Rd and Ohio Rt 5. The property appears to be one “acerage” away from the intersection On the other side of the intersection, away from this property, there is a house and barn and a house trailer, etc., as well as a high voltage powerline. None of that is close enough to impact, to my mind, on this property.

    However, if one does do a google satellite view of this property’ s address, I cannot figure out what the oval structure might be. Someone else might be better at interpreting the area from satellite view.

    A nearby home (as these things go in acerage-lot areas) sold for !98,000, the house being a 2400 sq. ft 1995 Colonial on over 5 acres. http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/5151-Hayes-Rd-Ravenna-OH-44266/35166898_zpid/

    • Noreen B says: 10 comments

      Its actually 1.79acres of land . with the corner post right on easment then Hwy. And I do.t remember anything about a trailer so i cant comment.
      Id like to see that Google view myself and see what oval thing thing the person was talking about.

  13. Pam Bates says: 14 comments

    Love it 🙂

  14. toscar says: 46 comments


    It would be hard not to want to restore that barn as a living area for myself and then rent out the house….

    ………LOVE the barn!


    • Noreen B says: 10 comments

      My thoughts exactly for my son when we were there. But the boy said nope..
      The barn interior shown golden. It was a very well maintained coach house.
      The main doors, then small milk house door is to the bowling alley, next to that is like lean to attached but not finished, it leeds you to the basement where they had milk cows. Stantions were still in place.
      That lean to has the most intricate building style that you can see because it was never finished, like a huge mud room. I so loved that part of the building. It would have made a dream kitchen.

  15. Jack says: 3 comments

    The price of this house is a puzzle. It is located near the intersection of Co Hwy 138 and Rte 44/5 and across the road to the south is some sort of commercial operation, perhaps a factory. But I don’t see how these factors would knock the price down to $78k (unless it’s a Fannie Mae Homepath sale, which I didn’t check). As others have noted, the barn is a jewel and in other locations worth the selling price on its own!

  16. shelly says: 84 comments

    The build in cabinets with shelves has a scalloped design is this from the 1890’s does it have a specific name for it’s design?

    • John Shiflet says: 5450 comments

      The built-in cabinets (bookcase nook, kitchen cabinets) appear to be modern with the scalloped pattern trim being vaguely “Colonial” and the same with the Colonial style “H” hinges. (home improvement magazines from the mid-20th century often showed makeovers with this kind of inexpensive painted scalloped trim.) There seems to have been some conscious stylistic acknowledgement that elements of the house dated back to Ohio’s pioneer days. The area’s earliest eastern settlers were mainly discharged Revolutionary War veterans (many from Connecticut) who were given land in the “Western Reserve” of Ohio. The unpainted mantel with the teal tiles also has Federal era style scalloped fan carvings similar to those found in high-end houses of the East in the 1870’s and later.

      • shelly says: 84 comments

        Thank You for the information. There was a 1870 Italiante house in Kansas that had the same build ins with scalloped fan carvings and it looked very modern and to me out of place (but that is just my taste).

  17. Natalia says: 2 comments

    OMG! THE BARN!!!

  18. Roy Richards says: 1 comments

    I grew up right behind this home. There use to be a tunnel from the field to the barn. It,s all caved in. When we were kids we use to bowl in the barn. I would love to own it.

    • John C says: 434 comments

      Mr. Richards, do you recall if that tunnel was connected to a rumor or fact that the house and barn were on the pre-Civil War Underground Railroad? Such a connection or rumored connection might explain a puzzling statement about the Underground Railroad. (Of course, someone else may have by now already traced that reference to its basis.)

  19. John C says: 434 comments

    The history of this place becomes curiouser and curiouser. A Peter M Harwood is listed in the University of Massachussets at Amherst yearbook as “Superintendent” of “Crystal Lake Farm” http://www.e-yearbook.com/yearbooks/University_of…/Page_35.htmlCached . This is also at http://www.archive.org/stream/index1893univ/index1893univ_djvu.txt That would indicate that someone at the time (1893) owned the farm and was pursuing advanced agronomic practices at that time being promoted at UofM Amherst as well as at Wisconsin under Dean Bailey. This is thus more than a very interesting house and a well-nigh unique bowling-barn; this place may, if carefully researched, reveal itself to be a part of the national history of agriculture in this country. Very, very interesting.

    • John C says: 434 comments

      I have been racking my brain about this Crystal Lake Farm. Certainly one man might have had such a gentleman’s farm, HENRY PARSONS CROWELL. Crowell was the owner of the famous 55,000 acre Wyoming Hereford Ranch, Cheyenne, WY and head of the Quaker Oats Co. He was best known for his development of the commercial animal feed business. Born Cleveland, OH in 1855, he contracted tuberculosis when 17 years old and spent the next 8 years ‘outdoors’, riding range and in winter sports. Crossed Mohave Desert and up the San Joaquin and Sacramento valleys on horseback, and farmed and ranched near Fargo, ND and in South Dakota. In 1880 the Quaker Mill in Ravenna became available. He built it into a US giant though his name was never strongly promoted. A deeply religious man, he died on the way home from his Chicago office in 1944 at age 89. Portrait hung 1940. Source: The Saddle and Sirloin
      Portrait Collection
      A Biographical Catalogue
      2009 Revised Edition
      By Dale F. Runnion

      Crowell gave away most of his wealth, being a great benefactor of the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. I could see Crowell, or some business associate in the animal feed/breeding business, having this place in Ravenna, near the original Quaker Mill. However, some local historian would have to sort all that out, and, of course, there may have been someone else with wealth pursuing scientific agriculture.

  20. Mark says: 145 comments

    I noticed on the realtor website that the house has been listed as “contingent” rather than “active” since it was first posted on OHD.

  21. John C says: 434 comments

    One explanation for the price appears on Zillow: the house last sold for $42,000 in 2010. “July 02 2010 for $42,000”.

  22. John C says: 434 comments

    A long time friend of mine out there in Portage County commented as follows:

    “The house you mention is one that I have visited. The family that presently resides in the property, the family member who is our age [approximately 60], is the second generation of that family to own the house. I do not recall the history of previous owners. They had a political fundraiser on the grounds last August, for U. S, Senator Sherrod Brown. I had the opportunity to see most of the first floor of the house, but not the barn and bowling alley. It is not quite two miles south of the center of Ravenna, set well back from the state highway, and immediately next to railroad tracks which the owners say they “don’t even notice” any more. Two trains came through during the Sherrod Brown fundraiser. The interior looked every bit as well-maintained as the photographs on the link you provided.”

    I suspect in light of this that the “sale” in 2010 for $42,000 was an inter-family bit of transfer.

  23. TheGrayLady says: 1 comments

    That is not the same house as this one. This house is on Hayes Rd. The one the fundraiser was at, is not.

  24. Noreen B says: 10 comments

    Thats an easy thing to verify. But i want to state firmly, that the cowboy art in the bowling alley and my furniture are still in my possession today, and even my ebay id which use to be RavennaBigRedBarn has my old barn pic. And now it can be seen in my profile under willow.by.water i made my mark on ebay selling guano with doc from all the bat crap. In the attic. One thing i found interesting as an owner who always showed the public the bowling alley and coach house that many people have stories about a family member ir friend who knew the owners or partied at the estate. Its a historical site and the Thomas Family was very well off and respected in many important circles. Doc and I simply were the third owners but it was more like a caretake feeling because Doc was old and i knew it wouldn’t last forever.
    I have many photos documenting so much at that estate.
    Were rge iwners that painted it and restored it. We gad turkeys, goats and a horse, we had it so that Doc , a retired veterinarian would be at home . and in appreciation for all our efforts people cane by or honked , thumbs up and yelling I love your place. We made everyone happy in our stewardship

  25. Noreen B says: 10 comments

    It’s ironic to me, i simply came on line to look up the zip code so i can send the owners a note. And instead i got to relive some great times. I have to tell you briefly how i got this home.
    It was that glorious barn, and the sign that read Estate Sale. I use to go out of my way to see the property on my way to work. I’d. Say Hi House , Love you , be home soon. It only took 4 months of saying that several times per week. And so it was declared and let it be so. Power of manifesting 101

  26. Noreen says: 10 comments

    By the way, to the best of my knowledge,
    Mr Bonesteel was related to the Hays family by marriage. He was a wealthy banker in Cleveland.
    I only know this from personal letters that we’re found in the library. As well as Mr Bonesteels travel trunk with his Cleveland address on it.

    • LilyJune says: 2 comments

      Thank you so much, for your quick response and providing even more information.
      The missing piece to the order of ownership to me was Mr.Bonesteel. It seemed to me that he, and specifically his son, played a significant role in the history of the coach house, but I couldn’t place him in the list of owners. If I’m correct now, he was a relative, and a visitor of the Hayes family, and never had any ownership. I think it’s funny that you mentioned him, and his place in this, when he’s the one that I couldn’t quite figure out, yet I never mentioned him specifically, in my response to you.

      It sounds to me like you put a lot of blood, sweat, tears, and most of all love in this house, and you tried to keep it alive in the time that you lived there. It’s a real shame that you couldn’t hold onto it, but I get the feeling that your heart, and soul will always be part of it, and it must be wonderful to be part of the history of such an amazing home. As well as, it will always be a big part of you. Once again, thank you for all of the amazing information that you so generously shared. God Bless You!

      • Noreen says: 10 comments

        Thank you for recognizing my place with this Old house.
        Sure did love it.
        And honestly, Im drawn to it still.
        Mr Bonesteel most definitely had some control over that property.
        My guess he was also the bank who lent the money on it.
        He was a prominent Cleveland banker.
        Good luck in your research.
        I’ve been curious as to his exact position.
        Thanks so much .
        I’ve enjoyed walking this memory lane.

  27. Noreen says: 10 comments

    We , as in myself and Bill straightened the coach house .
    We built a pulling system with period barn wood that had been onsite.
    We pulled it with a come a long and anchored it to the maple tree .
    We then x braced the coach house t/o .
    A super fantastic professional job.
    It cost me about $340 to do that incredible task. However, the average est was over $25 k dollars to do the same thing.
    Bill S. Who lives north of Ravenna must still be very proud of what we accomplished that day.

  28. Beverly T says: 1 comments

    What Great photos!

    In the early 1970’s we were in the area on vacation with my grandmother and she took us to see this house that she lived in as a small girl. My grandmother went up, knocked on the door and explained to the lady living there who she was. And we got a grand tour of this house. I was only about 10 or 11 at the time but I remember the bowling alley. My grandmother talked about this gracious tour for years!

    My grandmother’s maiden name was Burwell. Her mother died when she was little and she went to live with her Uncle who was the Mr Hayes that owned this house.

  29. RosewaterRosewater says: 6676 comments
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