Sylvania–Then and Now–5650 & 5654 Summit St.

by Gayleen Gindy

County records show the date of construction as 1897 for this house, but old maps, early property records and family records show that Charles Dolph purchased this property in 1853, and there is a house shown on this parcel as early as the 1861 map. Dolph married Elizabeth Wiggins in 1852, and while living there they had two children: Mary Dolph in 1854; and Dimmis Dolph in 1858. This family is found still living here in the 1860, 1870 and 1880 census. The 1890 census was destroyed by a fire and is not available. Dolph worked as an engineer on the railroad. In 1897, their daughter Mary Dolph-Lowe died. As of the 1900 census the Dolphs were still living on Summit Street and Charles was listed as 72 years old and married for 47 years. Elizabeth was listed as 66 years old. Charles died in 1905, and, according to family records, Elizabeth was living in the Toledo State Hospital for the Insane by 1908. She died there in 1910. 

The owners of this house are recorded as follows: 

  • 1853 – Charles Orrin Dolph
  • 1908 – Elizabeth Dolph
  • 1908 – Maynard S. Lowe and Dimmis Barker, heirs of C.O. Dolph
  • 1916 – Barney Clark
  • 1917 – John S. and Rachel F. Saxton
  • 1919 – John A. Counter
  • 1962 – Charles E. and Ila R. Degner
  • 1966 – Toledo Home Federal Savings
  • 1966 – John W. Smith, Dorothy M. Smith, Lee R. Bull and Patricia A. Bull
  • 1968 – Amelia D. Inc.
  • 1973 to current – James M. Irons

After Elizabeth was moved to the state hospital in 1908 the house was transferred to her son-in-law, Maynard Lowe and her daughter Dimmis Dolph Barker. They owned it until 1916. 

The next two owners only had the home for a couple of years. John Counter purchased the home in 1919. He was an early dentist in Sylvania and had his home and office in the building to the north, which was originally a one-story building. At the time of the 1920 census Dr. Counter and his wife, Helen, were living in the home to the north with their daughter Dorothy. Living in this home was his father and mother, George J. and Margaret Counter. This census indicated that they came to the U.S. in 1907 from Canada. George was 70 years old and worked delivering milk, and Margaret was 64 years old. 

A Sylvania postmaster address listing prepared in 1925 shows that George Counter was living at 5654 Summit and Fred Krueger was living at 5650 Summit (No, not Freddy Krueger from A Nightmare on Elm Street). 

The 1930 census shows William J. Adams – 32 years old – employed as the office manager of the fertilizer plant, renting 5750 Summit for $45 per month, with his wife Faye Adams – 32 years old – and their daughter Kathleen Adams – 9 years old. Living at 5654 Summit St. was George Counter – 81 years old – widowed – born in Canada – came to the U.S. in 1907. 

When the 1940 census was taken the unit at 5750 Summit St. was being rented to Walter and Hazel Doley. He was 37 years old and employed as an apprentice lineman for the electric company and she was 32 years old and employed as a sales lady for a retail dry goods store. The unit at 5754 Summit St. was being rented by James and Geraldine Ferguson. He was 26 years old and employed as an inspector at a machine shop, and she was 22 years old. Also living at home was their daughter, Carolyn Ferguson, who was under 1 year old. 

The rest of the time that Dr. Counter owned this home, through 1962, he rented the two units out to various families. Clarence and Rita Degner were renting in 1954 when Rita passed away at age 36 years. Her obituary notice said that she had been living at 5650 Summit St. In 1962 Charles and Ila Degner purchased the home, and a 1962-1963 Sylvania Directory shows that Charles Degner was living at 5654 Summit St. The bank seems to have taken possession of the home in 1966, and then sold it that same year to the Smith and Bull families, who only owned it for two years. 

Over the rest of the years, from 1968 until now, the owners of this double house have rented the two units out to so many different individuals that the list was just too long to include here.

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