After realtor saves historic Howland home, historical society faces deadline

Local News

HOWLAND, Ohio (WKBN) – There are new developments in the effort to save the oldest house in Howland from being demolished.  

The Ohio Department of Transportation has given the Howland Historical Society a deadline of November, 2022, to get it moved.

The Yellow House, as it’s known, needs moved so a new interchange can be built at Routes 82 and 46.  

The Howland Historical Society is in the process of hiring a general contractor to dismantle the house, move it and rebuild it.

If the cost is reasonable, ODOT will pay for it all, though an ODOT spokesperson could not say what reasonable is. A spokesperson for the Howland Historical Society said she hopes to get it done for under $150,000.

When First News first reported on Howland’s historic Yellow House in May, there was a good possibility it would be demolished. Three months late, there’s a good possibility it’ll be saved.

A change of heart from the realtor who owned the house was the difference.

On August 27, papers were signed to save it from the wrecking ball.

At a small table inside Howland’s historic Yellow House, realtor Jason Altobelli that Tuesday afternoon signed the contracts turning the house over to the Howland Historical Society — at the cost of one dollar.

“I went to the bank and got you a shiny new crispy one,” said Mary Jane Vennitti of the Howland Historical Society.

“It really hit me with the outpouring from the community how important this property was, the house. So, you know, sometimes you have to be part of the solution and not the problem,” Altobelli said.

The Yellow House as it’s called, is Howland’s oldest house. It needs moved as part of the Ohio Department of Transportation’s plan to redo the interchange at Routes 82 and 46, which is where the house is located.

At a meeting Monday, August 26, the Howland Historical Society thought they were going to buy the house from Altobelli.

“And he had the paper work and he handed it to us and said it’ll cost a dollar. He was donating the house. We were in absolute shock,” said Cindee Mines of the Howland Historical Society.

Altobelli says his grandmother has long been involved with the Niles Historical Society — and influenced his decision.

“She dropped a lot of hints here and there. You got to listen to grandma every once in a while. Yeah, she liked to give me her input,” Altobelli said.

ODOT still needs to approve the plan, but the historical society has already contacted a company about moving the house across from Howland Middle School.

Moving it will be $30,000 to $40,000, and then there’s the cost to rebuild it. Is that money there?

“We’re working on it. We’ve had so many people offer to help and so much support from the community, from different businesses and organizations. It’s just been amazing,” Mines said.

Because of the traffic in that area, the house will likely have to be moved on a Sunday morning, and the Howland Historical Society hopes to have it done next spring.

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