YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Last week, Youngstown City Council approved spending $3,000 on a historical marker for the oldest continuously-inhabited residence still on its original site.
It’s the Kyle-McCollum house on the west side — the last home on the east end of McCollum Road, adjacent to Mill Creek Park.
On Tuesday, WKBN toured the house, where construction started in 1797 one year after John Young arrived.
“Joshua Kyle married a McCollum — Hannah McCollum — and they were the ones that built the house,” Sylvia Imler said.
The stone facade on the house is over 200 years old. The holes on the side is where the original wooden scaffolding went. In some places, the wood’s still there.
For 24 years, the house has been owned by Phil and Sylvia Imler.
The fireplace where meals were once cooked is now the center point of a sitting area. The windows show walls that are two feet thick.
Historical Youngstown home on McCollum Road
The basement walls show a foundation that’s six feet thick, while the beams holding up are original.
The historical designation began eight years ago when students of Youngstown’s Sojourn to the Past asked to research the house.
“She inquired if they could do research to try to verify the lore that we heard about the house — that it was a stop on the underground railroad,” Phil said.
There’s no proof the house was part of the Underground Railroad.
But when it was discovered that additions and renovations made in the late 1930s were designed by legendary Youngstown architect Charles Owsely, the Ohio History Connection designated a historical site.
“The reason why it’s been eight years since they did the work was because we just didn’t have the money to buy the marker,” Phil said.
Youngstown Councilwoman Lauren McNally recently learned about the designation and helped find the money for the marker.
Out front, you can look down 40 feet into the original hand-dug, stone-lined water well. Not far from it is where the marker will go — a marker the Imler’s credit to those students of Sojourn to the Past.
“We felt that the important thing was that the work of the students, who had worked so hard, would be recognized,” Phil said.
Though construction of the house started in 1797, it wasn’t finished until 1813 — perhaps because Joshua Kyle went off to fight in the War of 1812.
In those 204 years, the Imler’s are only the fifth family to live there.