The Baldwin-Buss House Foundation will restore the historic home to its original footprint by removing insensitive additions and adhering to the Department of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation of Historic Properties. Upon completion it will be a model preservation project that reflects the aesthetic of the Western Reserve and will become a community asset while promoting awareness and passion for our history, culture, and architectural heritage.
“There was a very present danger that the house could be demolished for downtown further development and we were concerned because it’s one of the oldest houses here in Hudson.”
DON HUSAT, THE BALDWIN-BUSS HOUSE FOUNDATION
The Greek Revival Home was built in 1825 by Lemuel Porter, a highly respected master builder/architect in the Western Reserve. Lemuel is the same builder whose skill and ingenuity produced the Congregational Church in Tallmadge, Presidents House on Western Reserve Academy's campus, and the Whedon Farwell House located at 30 Aurora Street. All are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and are regarded as fine examples of early Western Reserve architecture.
Inclusion in the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) in 1934 documents the architectural, historic and cultural significance of the Baldwin-Buss House. Drawings and photographs are on file at the Library of Congress. It is also listed as a contributing building in the 1973 National Register nomination of the Hudson Historic District. A contributing building by definition adds to the historical integrity or architectural qualities that make the historic district significant. Western Reserve Architect in 1929 described the house as follows: "The Ionic pilasters, the pedimented gable and the classical moldings have been executed in such delicate and refined lines that it presents a pleasing appearance . . ." I.T. Frary in his book Early Homes of Ohio (1936) went further and described it as "one of the finest houses of Hudson".
“There have been many insensitive additions that obscure the true beauty of this Greek revival home. In the restoration process, the home will be returned to its original 1825 footprint.”
KATHY RUSSELL, THE BALDWIN-BUSS HOUSE FOUNDATION
Only three families have held ownership in the home’s almost 200-year history.
THE BALDWIN FAMILY: 1825–1856
After moving to Hudson in 1812, Augustus Baldwin, a successful merchant, hired Lemuel Porter to build the beautiful Greek Revival home. He died in 1838 but his wife, Ann, remained in the home until 1856 when it was sold to John C. Buss.
THE BUSS FAMILY: 1856–1907
John Buss was also a merchant. Active in the Hudson community he was elected mayor for two terms, held the office of Corporation Treasurer for four terms, was a member of Council, and served as Justice of the Peace for twelve years.
CARANO AND MERINO FAMILIES: 1907–2020
Michael Carano and his wife, Domenico, bought the house with their son-in-law, Gaetano (Charles) Maiarano (Merino), and their daughter, Grace, in 1907. Each owned one half of the house. The families had come to the United States from the Naples area of Italy and both men worked on the Pennsylvania Railroad, conveniently located near the house. When Michael and Domenico Carano died in 1930 and 1931, respectively, their shares of the house passed to the Merino family.
More recently, the house is best known as that of Rich Merino—a beloved Hudson man. Rich and his wife, Louise, raised their family in the house, owning it solely since 1972. Merino was a lifelong resident of Hudson and lived in the home where he was born the majority of his life. He was a Hudson High School star athlete, WWII Navy veteran, and a local beverage store proprietor.
Today many homes are individually listed on the National Register, and Hudson can boast three National Register Historic Districts with additional expansions contemplated. Restoration of the Baldwin-Buss House will serve as a very public reminder of Hudson's rich past.
When restored, the house and surround will be available to the community for events, educational initiatives, and to promote awareness and passion for the history, culture and architectural heritage of Hudson and the Western Reserve.
“Some people may not be able to verbalize what they feel when they enter the city of Hudson, but to me they're feeling a sense of place; they’re feeling something familiar...”
KATHY RUSSELL, THE BALDWIN BUSS HOUSE FOUNDATIONN
Situated at the corner of First Street and Park Lane, the Park Lane Square project will create accessible public spaces including gardens, an outdoor gallery, a children's walking path, access to the Baldwin-Buss House, and the Peg's Foundation home and gallery—all between First and Main, the Village Green, and the historic downtown business district on North Main Street.