CANFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) – On the south side of what is referred to as the Judson Canfield house, there is a hill that Paul Kosling remembers well from his days growing up there.
“The minute everybody jumped off the bus and ran home and put on their snow clothes, we were sled riding down that hill and ice skating at the pond at the bottom,” said Kosling.
The 60-year-old now lives in Granville, Ohio, because he says it is the only place he could find near Columbus that resembled Canfield.
Kosling’s childhood memories of the house contrasted with he called “the potential destruction” of the house.
“I’m very distressed about the fact it could be destroyed,” he said.
Developer Sam Pitzulo wants to build 20 new houses on the seven acres where the Judson Canfield house now stands at 275 N. Broad St. in Canfield, right across from St. Michael Church. Pitzulo has a contract to buy the property, though Kosling says they have not yet closed.
“I’m heartsick about having the house potentially razed,” said Kosling, who does not fault Pitzulo for his plans.
Kosling was always told the house was built in the early 1800s by Judson Canfield himself, and not the mid-1800s and by Canfield’s grandson as some have said.
In 1952, his parents, Henry and Blanche Kosling, had the house moved from 88 N. Broad St., where the Park Royal apartments are now located.
“The house was very dilapidated,” said Kosling. “It had been abandoned for years. There were squatters living in it.”
The Koslings were not descendants of the Canfields. Henry and Blanche just liked the house and its historical significance. They had it fully restored.
“It has bread ovens in the fireplace in the kitchen,” he said of the house, which Kosling claims is mostly original. “They maintained all the plaster walls.”
Paul’s parents later divorced, but he and his mother remained in the house.
Blanche Kosling was a master bridge player and an art teacher at Youngstown’s West Junior High School. Blanche liked to entertain, and Paul described his mother as a “Katharine Hepburn type.”
“It was a house that was always very vibrant, with respect to a lot of different input and different types of conversation,” he said.
Blanche Kosling is now 98. She lived in the house up until seven years ago. She is now in assisted living near Columbus.
Paul needs the money for her care. He tried saving the house, but to his total amazement, no one was interested.
“I said, ‘You can have the house for a dollar. Take it someplace where it can be restored and cared for and display it for what it is – a wonderful historic landmark.'”
Kosling originally was asking $499,000 for the land and house and wanted a clause in the contract to save the house. He wouldn’t divulge the price Pitzulo is paying, but after seven years of trying to save the house with no takers, the deal with Pitzulo does not include language to save it.
“If my mother knew anything about this, it would probably kill her,” said Kosling. “It was the love of her life to restore that home and to make it a showplace and a historic landmark. It was her greatest accomplishment.”
Canfield’s Design Review Committee has denied Pitzulo’s request to have the house demolished, citing its historical significance to Canfield. Pitzulo says he plans to have Canfield’s Planning Commission Board of Appeals hear his case.