On October 24, Joan Robertson, Chairperson of the Landmark Committee of the Wayne County Historical Society, presented a plaque to David Wiesenberg and Carol Rueger, owners of the Wooster Book Building on West Liberty Street in Wooster. Their building has been declared a County Historical Landmark.
The building, now housing The Wooster Book Company, its publishing offices, and the headquarters of the Buckeye Book Fair, was constructed in 1898 and has been in continual commercial use since then. The first occupant of the street level of the building was the harness shop of William A. Stevens. For almost fifty years, the second floor housed Dr. William Winger’s dental office. Another long-term tenant (1948-1983) was the Montgomery Ward catalog store.
Of particular interest today are the unique 1-1/2 inch by 12 inch blonde bricks on the street-facing facade of the building.
Rough-hewn stones are evident in the unusual basement that slopes decidedly toward the street. The College of Wooster Tree Ring Lab studied cores from three of the wood pocket joists in the basement and determined that they were prepared in the spring of 1898.
The ground floor of the building (part of the Wooster Book Company retail space) has a sloping floor as well, but it far less definite than in the basement.
The upper floor, reached by a steep, narrow staircase, has deep window sills, walnut woodwork and original doors, one of which has elaborate textured glass in the upper half.
The second property recently honored is the home of William Robinson at 7701 Deerfield Avenue NW in Baughman Township. Built in 1840, it now bears a Pioneer House plaque. According to some long-time area residents, the building was called Woody’s Inn in the 1920s and 30s. Prostitutes may have used the tiny upstairs rooms with only one heat source in the hall, and some people believe John Dillinger may have stopped here during his gun-running days.
Properties such as these two may qualify for plaques through the Landmark Committee of the Wayne County Historical Society. The committee was born in preparation for the U.S. Bicentennial celebration. By 1976, 256 historic houses and buildings in Wayne County had been registered with the Society. Many proudly display a plaque designating them as a Pioneer House, a Century House, or a County Historical Landmark. Since then, many other properties in Wayne County have been honored with plaques. Recently, a fourth category of plaque was established: 100-Year-Old-House (built in 1900 or later and 100 years old or more).
Property owners must apply for recognition. The registry, information about the program, and all application materials are available on the Wayne County Historical Society website under the Research menu tab.