The Gilbert-Flanigan House

Gilbert - Flanigan House (circa 1841)

The Gilbert-Flanigan House is an Ohio derivative of the traditional New England saltbox house. The name evolvedfrom the likeness of the sloped roof, one and a half story structure to the early salt containers of the Colonial and Federal architectural styles popular in the period in which they were built. They usually incorporated such features as the central chimney and entrance. Our Ohio farmhouse was built during the "Greek Revival" period and reflects those architectural elements. The sloping roof, often referred to by westerners a "cat slide," is retained but a wide frieze board runs under the roof on the front facade. Often, the windows are flanked by two matching doorways on the front facade. This provides separate access to the working area by members of 'the family going about their everyday tasks." This was particularly helpful in farmhouses where all members of the family were engaged in productive activities.


The floor plan of the saltbox differs slightly from the typical house of the period. There is no central entrance hall and the stairway, located at the rear of the "family room" is enclosed. The family room is entered through the door on the left and is adjacent to the kitchen. The door on the right provides entrance to the parlor. Behind the parlor is the "parlor bedroom" where the best bed or "company II" bed could be found. Early diaries, letters and journals of the period emphasize the importance of the parlor bedroom, as frequent visitors often stayed for several days or event weeks. The double doors allowed the bedroom to be closed off when not in use. Only the living areas were heated and during the winter months the furniture was changed accordingly to take advantage of the fireplace heat. The arrangement of the rooms in the Gilbert-Flanigan house is similar to many Ohio farmhouses.


The interiors of the Greek Revival homes were simple but cheerful. Wallpaper was available in this area but white painted walls with brightly colored woodwork were popular. Floors were usually painted gray or brown, grained to resemble wood or left natural. Carpeting was sold locally and most families of means carpeted at least one room. Curtains were simple, almost always white, with perhaps a hand knitted fringe along the edges. Often they were hung on a string between two nails and simply draped to one side.


The "Ohio Saltbox" style Gilbert - Flanigan Farmhouse was originally located on the outskirts of Maumee. Donated to the University of Toledo in 1965, the house was later sold to the Maumee Valley Historical Society. Never modernized, it had no electricity, plumbing or heating when it was saved from demolition by volunteers after a fire. With the help of the Quester's Organization, the "Saltbox" has been restored and furnished so guests can get a real glimpse into early farm life in Ohio.

Contact us at:

Email: mvhs@wolcotthouse.org

Phone: (419) 893-9602

Administrative Hours:

Tuesday - Friday

9 am - 2 pm