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Howland Historical Society starts fund to buy historic house

HOWLAND — The Howland Historical Society has established a GoFundMe account to raise $20,000 to purchase the historic “Yellow House” off state Route 46, which must be moved for the planned diverging diamond highway interchange project.

Cindee Mines, a historical society board member, said the society is seeking the public’s help to get ownership of the house and move it near Howland Middle School and the Giant Eagle grocery store.

She said people can access the fund with a Google search on “GoFundMe Yellow House.” Information also is available on the Howland Historical Society and the Everything Howland Facebook pages.

The house was built in the 1830s and is the oldest house in Howland. It is used as headquarters and museum for the Howland Historical Society.

Mines said the group has been in talks with Redstone Investments, which has donated a lot by Giant Eagle for the 1 1/2-story house.

She said society members have been in talks with Ohio Department of Transportation officials about relocating the house if the society obtains ownership. While the road project — which will revamp the high-traffic interchange where state Routes 46 and 82 intersect — isn’t scheduled to begin until 2023, the society needs to present its plans to ODOT by Aug. 17.

There have been concerns of moving the house north of the present location, which would require the house be taken up and down state Route 82 entrance and exit ramps.

Mines said while tractor-trailers of 15 feet high get under the Route 82 underpass, the house is 20 feet tall, so the roof would have to be removed, she said.

Mines said members have had many conversations with ODOT officials and with Niles Realtor Jason Altobelli, who is owner of the house.

“Both have been very cooperative with us during discussion we have had about the house,” Mines said.

ODOT officials have indicated if the house isn’t moved, it will need to be demolished as the diverging diamond will come to the front of the house. ODOT offered to move it within a mile south of the current site, but the society was offered land north of there that members said would be ideal.

ODOT’s Ray Marsch has said ODOT understands how important the house — officially, the E.N. Brown House, after one of its past owners — is for Howland, but the interchange project needs to proceed for traffic safety.

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