The Italianate Victorian house at 102 North Main Street in Waynesville, Ohio was built in 1880 by John A. and Clara Funkey.
The substantial brick residence features pressed tin windows lintels and sandstone lugsills, a French Second Empire tower with slate roof and circular windows, circular gable end windows and an outstanding pressed metal doorway.
The lot was purchased by Clara Funkey in 1879. John afforded the home after making his initial wealth in the mercantile business. In partnership with John F Missildine in 1873, he purchased the store stock of John F. Hadden. Missildine and Funkey opened their store, the "Cincinnati Cash Store" in Cadwallader Hall September 23, 1874. In 1881, the two mutually dissolved the partnership and Funkey moved his share of the business up Main Street to the brick building that in 1990 is Waynesville Antiques Mall. Funkey renamed the business "The Trade Palace" and by 1906 had the largest warehouse in Warren County.
The brick for the residence was manufactured by the Darbyshire Brickyards in Clinton County. Billy Casperson, a former village blacksmith and town character, was one of the construction crew. Casperson was quite a drinker and local tradition has it that he sealed a bottle of whisky somewhere in the walls of the house during construction.
Actual construction was begun with great ceremony on May 24, 1880 when Judge John Keys sealed a half gallon canning jar full of Warren County papers and Waynesville mementos in the house's cornerstone.
Waynesville's newspaper, The Miami Gazette, followed the house's construction progress. The June 20, 1880 edition of the Gazette reported that:
"Mr. J.A. Funkey's new home on Main Street is fast progressing. It will be a beautiful and spacious Mansion, with bay windows, tower and all modern conveniences. The walls will be of brick, and the front door frame is of cast iron richly ornamented. Mr. Funkey exercises excellent taste in architecture."
Few changes were made in the house until the 1930's. A brick porch was added across the front in 1939 by the owner, Frank Elbon. Elbon leased the north first floor rooms to Dr. J.T. Ellis, M.D. for offices in the 1920s and early 1930s. The Stubbs Funeral Home, owned and operated by Albert and Opal Stubbs moved into the south side in 1932. The business was the predecessor of the Stubbs-Conner Funeral Home.
John and Clara Funkey sold the house to Joel Evans in 1894. Joel Evans was the son of David and Rachel Burnett Evans, early Waynesville Quaker settlers. He was also the brother of John Evans, noted American physician and philanthropist and first Territorial Governor of Colorado.
Evans was a surveyor by profession. He began his career in 1844. From 1851 to 1861 after a stint in Indiana, he also worked as a Waynesville carpenter and builder. He was elected Surveyor of Warren County in 1866 and held that office for six years. In 1867 he was elected Secretary of the newly organized Miami Cemetery Association and also served as the cemetery's first Superintendent until 1870. From the fall of 1871 to the Fall of 1874, he served as Warren County Commissioner. During his Commissioner-ship, he drew the plans and specifications for the Warren County Orphan Asylum and Children's Home (in 1990 Mary Haven Home for Boys) and was appointed Superintendent of Construction for the home. After the completion of the Home, Evans was appointed a Trustee for six years by the Warren County Common Pleas Court. He was also appointed to a second term.
Evans also held local political office. In 1873, he was appointed to the Waynesville Board of Education and elected Clerk. He was Cashier of the Waynesville National Bank (in 1990 Society Bank) upon its opening February 01, 1875. He was also a Director of the new bank.
It was Evan's Stylish third wife, Cynthia, who opened the mansion to the social classes of the community. Cynthia Evans became well known for her lavish dinner parties at the Main Street mansion by the turn of the century. She often served elaborate meals of 13 courses or more in the residence's dining room.
Cynthia Evans was Waynesville's foremost fashion plate of her era. she held that position in the village until well into the 1920's. She was quite a dignified lady and often walked from her home downtown dressed entirely in white satin.
Joel and Cynthia Evans were the last of the truly elegant Victorians to live in the Funkey mansion. Cynthia lived alone in the house after Joel died September 17, 1907. In 1920, she built the stucco cottage (in 1990 Spencer's Antique Shop)on the south side of the residence when the mansion became too large for her to manage.
Frank Elbon converted the home into apartments during his tenure in the 1930's. The house, which was originally eight rooms, was revamped into four apartments.
The apartments remained basically the same through the ownership of the Harkin family in the late 1940's and 1950's. The apartments were renovated again around 1960 by the next owner, Walter Frasure.
The house became both business ans home with the ownership of James and Barbara McKeever. The McKeevers renovated the North side of the first floor for their Tower House Restaurant in 1981. They utilized the remainder as residence.
The tower House Restaurant business was eventually sold to Nora Gross of Harveysburg, Ohio and moved to the South side of the building. With the move came a name change to the G. and G. Restaurant. The G. and G. was moved around 1984 to the remodeled former Christian Church (the then First Church of Christ) on East High Street and the house returned to the McKeever residence.
The Funkey house was restored to its former grace and charm with complete renovation including the cottage addition by new owners, Richard and Lee Philpot, in 1988-89.
The residence was returned to the opulence of its former life with a major face lift. Both exterior and interior were restored, reworked and improved. As much of the building's originality was carefully retained as possible restoring a certain grandeur of a glorious Victorian architectural era.
Researched and Written
by Dennis E. Dalton
January 10, 1990
Funkey - Evans House