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Benjamin Leavell House
615 N Wayne Street, Piqua, OH 45356
In 1805 Benjamin Leavell and seven others settled what is now Piqua. Mr. Leavell was a carpenter by trade and did most of the building of the log cabins in the new town. In the fall of 1807 he married Martha McCorkle in the first recorded marriage in Miami County. In 1825 he moved to Williams County and became an Associate Judge. In 1831 he came back to Piqua and built a tavern on the east side of Main Street between North Street and Greene Street. In 1845 Mr. Leavell retired and purchased this lot after the Cumberland Presbyterian Church building was removed to Wood Street and then built this house.
In 1872 Dr. and Mrs. W.S. Parker purchased the home. Mrs. Parker was the daughter of Dr. G.V. Dorsey who lived next door to the south. Dr. Parker had his office in the south side of the house. I believe the Parkers changed the style from Federal to Greek Revival by adding the front portico. In 1906 Mr. and Mrs A.W. French Sr. purchased the home and moved their family here from New York after founding The French Oil Machinery Company. Mr. A.W. French Jr. told me the company’s early business was conducted from the “sun room” (now Dining Room). The Frenchs' did extensive remodeling in 1919 adding the third floor staff quarters and the extended bays on the south side.
Although Mr. French Sr. died in 1925, Mrs. French continued with the company serving as Chairman for many years and living here until her death in 1972 at the age of 101.
Jan and I bought the house from her estate in 1972. My father and I installed my Optometry office in the Salon and I saw patients there for 46 years until 2018. Jan, Tim and I have enjoyed living, working, and growing up here for the last 49 years. The house is 4500 square feet, 13 rooms, 8 of which were bedrooms. We have turned 3 of the bedrooms into laundry, home office and library. Added to them are 4 full and 2 half baths, pantry, Butler’s pantry, 3 stairways, 5 working fireplaces and 13 closets.
The 3000 square foot Carriage House has a carriage room, 3 horse stalls and tack room on the first floor, and haymow, oats bin, and two grooms bedrooms on the second floor.