They are called “I Houses,” and while Delaware County has many of them, there is reputedly only one located in Scioto Township.
The house at 9716 Fontanelle Road dates from 1858, and was built by William Hall Felkner, replacing a log home dating from twenty years earlier built by his father Jacob. The Felkners were early settlers in western Delaware County, coming from Tennessee.
The phrase “I House” is not an official term, but it is a widely accepted way to describe houses from the early to mid 19th century across the Midwest and South that follow a particular pattern.
I House construction is symmetrical with a central front door and often, as with the Felkner-Anderson House, featuring two rooms over two rooms and with a central staircase. A southern historian named them “I Houses” because of the multitude built in the states of Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana. Ohio, of course, had its share as well.
The 1860 census of Scioto Township lists farmer William Felkner as living at the property, which was worth $3200, with his second wife and three children — two boys and a daughter, Jane, who went by “Jennie.” Jane Felkner married Isaac Anderson, and the Andersons lived in the house after William Felkner’s death in 1903. In recent years it has been used as a cafe and antique store.
The house has a three bay facade, six over six windows, two story brick interior end chimneys, and a carved staircase.
And, as a treat, this is one Landmark of Delaware County where you can view interior photos (January 2021) of the interior, as the property is or has been recently listed for sale. This might not be true if you are viewing this post at a future date. NOTE — Click on the icon next to 53 on the bottom right).
The Felkner-Anderson House was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on February 11, 1988.
Sources: Wikipedia, Ancestry.com, Ohio Historic Places Dictionary; Photo: Creative Commons License