Bailey-Gager House

145 West Lorain, 1862

This picturesque home, built in 1862 for a young Massachusetts-born shoemaker named William Bailey, sheltered Bailey and his wife and nine children for a decade before he left for Cleveland in 1873. Twelve years later the Gager family from Norwalk moved in, and one or more of the Gagers lived here through the next 60 years. After the college bought the house in 1948, it became the home of librarian Dorothy Daub.

It is a nice study in the cumulative home improvement widely practiced among nineteenth-century villagers. The exact history of its various side and rear additions remains in the realm of speculation. Most intriguing are the geometrically patterned bargeboards over the north and east gables and the matching front and side porches. These decorative features were clearly a later addition (in a style once called "Eastlake") to what was originally a pretty plain brick house. In fact the bargeboard on the front gable obscures a small round-headed window in the apex of the gable. Taste trends suggest that the porches and bargeboards were added in the late 1880s, when Eastlake gingerbread was much in vogue. Once painted to accentuate their intricacy, they have been more recently covered with white paint, as have the stone windowsills and lintels.

Beginning with the construction of Men's Building (now Wilder Hall) next door in 1910, the expanding college began to change the neighborhood. The house came close to demolition for a parking lot when Mudd Learning Center went up in the early 1970s. But preservation instincts surface to save it for a while longer.

(Blodgett 91-92)

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