One of Hamilton’s most active couples when it comes to improving their surroundings, Troy and Kathy Schwable have launched another project: Restoring the house that some call the Lindenwald Mansion.
The couple recently bought the run-down 1860s-era building at 3534 Pleasant Ave. for $50,000 and expect to be spending the next two to three years transforming it into their dream home.
After they toured the Italianate-style building, Kathy Schwable fell in love with it, Troy Schwable said.
“Kathy had always wanted one of the big houses on Pleasant Avenue in Lindenwald,” he said. “We bought it, and so the work begins.”
The Schwables have made significant improvements to their Lindenwald neighborhood. They have transformed a former Ohio Environmental Protection Agency cleanup site into the Riverside Natural Area — about 200 acres — into prairies, bird habitats and a place for people to relax. They have been spending just about every day working there or on other projects involving city parks.
The couple, helped by a number of volunteers, also have been rehabbing a deteriorated building in Joyce Park, converting it into a nature center and meeting space. That work is continuing.
The first step of the mansion restoration will be to stop water from flowing into the building. A construction firm already has been hired to install a historically appropriate black metal roof.
There were so many leaks, Troy said, that large containers were filled with water. He estimates some 4,000 pounds of ice were thrown out through the windows.
Meanwhile, “We got the boiler working in the house,” he said.
The house really was a mansion: It even has a grand ballroom.
He and Kathy, who last year were named Hamilton’s volunteers of the year, already have been taking down honeysuckle and rotted trees on the property.
They plan to paint the house, which now is a dull white because of the bad shape of the paint, a historically accurate bright white, likely an ivory hue, he said.
He expects to be doing most of the work on the restoration: “If it’s at all possible for Kathy and I to do the work, we’re going to do the work.”
“We want this grand old lady to be something that Lindenwald and all of Hamilton can be proud to have in the city again,” he said.
Already, the Riverside Natural Area is a point of Hamilton pride. The Schwables also plan a canoe/kayak launch from there into the Great Miami River. Proponents of tourism along 99 miles of the river envision a time when people will canoe or kayak the river from Sidney to Hamilton and perhaps beyond, staying in hotels or camping along the way.