A house fire is always devasting for its inhabitants. A fire that consumes a structure dating back 140 years with a storied history and deep connections to a community’s past presents challenges to the owner that are almost beyond comprehension. Those are the challenges audience members will learn about when they attend the upcoming meeting of Hudson Heritage Association, to be held at Barlow Community Center on Sept. 14.
The September meeting will feature John and DeeDee Bedell, whose home at 3007 Hudson-Aurora Rd. was struck by a catastrophic fire in June 2020. Most of the 1880 structure was lost, forcing the couple to determine how to rebuild in a way that would honor the home’s architectural past, including finding the partners to help them recreate an 1880s home in the 2020s.
Known as the Elisha M. Ellsworth House, the home was built and then occupied by members of the Ellsworth family for more than 80 years. Elisha and his wife, Emma, were related to some of Hudson’s earliest residents. Elisha’s father was the uncle of James Ellsworth, who was responsible for Hudson’s revitalization in the early 20th century.
John Bedell will describe the aftermath of the fire and assessment of the damage, as well as the process the couple undertook to salvage as much as possible from the house in order to incorporate it into a new structure. He will describe the team they assembled to design and build the new home, as well as the countless decisions they made with the 1880 home in mind as the work progressed.
Diccon Ong, co-president of Hudson Heritage Association noted, “The story the Bedells will tell underscores how fragile the historical structures of Hudson are. John and DeeDee Bedell are to be commended for the extraordinary efforts they took to replicate something our community lost when they easily could have opted to replace it with a 21st century design instead.”
The Sept. 14 meeting, which begins at 7 p.m., marks the beginning of HHA’s 2023-2024 programming season. The meeting is free and open to the public; refreshments will be served following the presentation.
Founded in 1962, Hudson Heritage Association works to protect Hudson’s historic buildings, the village streetscape and the city’s Western Reserve architectural aesthetic. HHA encourages the preservation of historic buildings by providing research, resources and education to homeowners who wish to maintain their historic homes. HHA also works with building owners to help them meet historic marker requirements and identifies those buildings with the HHA historic marker. The association celebrates the history of Northeast Ohio by publishing books and newsletters, conducting workshops and field trips and hosting monthly meetings that feature preservationists, historians and craftsmen.
For more information, visit hudsonheritage.org or search “Hudson Heritage Association” on Facebook and Instagram. ∞