The 2022 season brought many updates to JAH, including new sidewalks and resetting of the large limestone front steps. Much of this year has been a “shoring up of the bones” to prepare for coming additions. Our 142-year-old original limestone foundation was renewed and the entire basement cleaned up and rehabbed for future plans. Winter 2023-24 will see more bathroom updates as well as radiator, ceiling, and floor rehabs. Can’t wait for you to see the changes!
John Allen House will be open during the 2023-2024 holiday season. Check back often for updates on special events!
NOTE: Please excuse our landscaping as the giant lifts needed to do the roof and tree maintenance this year will tear up anything we do with the yard. So landscaping will wait for now…
And yes, the iron fence is coming back – better than before!
About the John Allen House
John Allen House was built in 1881 by as a wedding dowry to John Allen and his wife Sarah Ann (Nunnemaker) Allen. John Allen was one of the first bankers of Xenia. When first built, the John Allen House was a place for the Allens to entertain dignitaries attracted to Xenia as a potential investment. The Hivling Family (of Eden Hall) brought the railroads to Xenia which comprise our excellent bike paths of today. Edward Bryant of Ford Motor fame was a resident of John Allen House from 1918-1926. Bryant was the brother in law of Henry Ford’s wife, Clara Bryant Ford and Henry Ford was a regular visitor to the house.
Later, the Allens would buy Eden Hall next door from the Hivlings. In 1927 John Allen House underwent an extensive renovation, and was given to Mary’s unmarried sister, Clara. They gave Eden Hall to their married daughter, Mary Catherine Kinney. This new floor plan included four separate suites (similar to the present layout). Since Clara was a lady of a certain standing, a boarding house was an acceptable means of self-support; a job would have been scandalous!
Mary had three daughters, one named for her sister Clara. The Kinny daughters, Myra, Lestra, and Clara spent their youth travelling the world but eventually returned to Xenia to live in Eden Hall and oversee John Allen House. .
We believe Helen Hoover Santmyer used some literary license and combined the John Allen and Eden houses to make up the “house” featured in her best-selling book, …”And Ladies of The Club“
The Kinney sisters were quite active in Xenia Women’s Club. Clara Kinney Shields, wife of the beloved doctor Lawrence Shields, remained active until her passing in the early 1970s.
More about the house
The house is an Eastlake Victorian with elaborate porches, corbelled chimneys, imported Italian hardwoods, and painted slate fireplaces. Most features of the home have been preserved by previous owners and are present in the home today.
Unlike many homes of the age, the John Allen House had indoor plumbing, electricity and communication devices. The house features spacious suites with high ceilings, carved hardwood wood trim and 10-foot doors. The house has 5 levels (basement-8 feet high, 1st floor – 12 feet, 2nd floor – 11 feet, 3rd floor – 9 feet and a 12-foot attic). There are 25 rooms, 15 chandeliers, and 9 fireplace mantles. The original cisterns that collected rainwater at the top of the house to flush toilets below by gravity are still present. So too the grand staircase and original chimney stacks of the home
- Original fireplace mantles, corbelled chimney stacks and cast-iron radiators.
- 19th-Century stones and hand-carved Italian hardwoods.
- Handmade bricks crafted onsite during construction of the home.
- Many original chandeliers and wavy-glassed windows, as well as stained and etched glass.
- Extensive walking gardens and 130-plus-year old maple trees
- 5 private suites with sitting areas and ensuite baths
- Music Room, Formal Parlor, Formal Dining and Guest Sitting Areas
- Four ornately-carved porches and one balcony
Dating back to 1881, the John Allen House has many hidden mysteries and so many more stories to tell, including that it is…
- Listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the East Second Street District
- The home has been a single-family home, a boarding house and a bed & breakfast.
Why We Love It
The John Allen House is a place of peace; the house lends a sense of calm and respite the minute you arrive.
Enjoy the bird song and rustling leaves as you drift through your afternoon with a glass of iced tea on the porch.
Take a nap. We won’t tell!
Much of the house is in original condition.
Having only a handful of owners, the house has been well-preserved.
Built eight years before Biltmore, the house is a Gilded Age mansion you can enjoy with beautiful features you can see and touch. Our public spaces are completely available for your enjoyment.
Live like you have no where to be and nothing to do for a few days!