Whenever I travel West New England Avenue to treat myself to a La Chatelaine lunette, a dip at Graeter’s or some vintage finds from the Worthington Historical Society’s gift shop, I study the slanted windows and front door of a brick house on the south side of the street and wonder if it’s slanted inside.
My question was answered the other day, when I stepped inside 41 West New England Avenue and checked out the first floor of the historic Worthington landmark known as the Snow House.
Years ago, I turned to page 78 of Bill Arter’s Columbus Vignettes II to find out more about this intriguing Federal-style structure. The house was built circa 1817 by John Snow (1780-1852).
A native of Providence, Rhode Island, Snow began a seven-year apprenticeship to a jewelry maker when he was 14. In 1817, he came to Worthington and operated the community’s first drug store in the circa-1834 building still standing on the southwest corner of New England Avenue and High Street, now known as the home of the shop called Fritzy Jacobs.
However, the successful merchant was best known as a master Mason. He was elected grand master of the Grand Lodge of Ohio, a position which he held for five years; he also presided over the Worthington Masonic temple twice. Before Worthington’s New England Lodge No. 4 was built between 1820 and 1827, Snow held lodge meetings in his parlor. Royal Arch Masonry in Ohio began in this house, as did the first commandery of the Knights Templar in the Northwest Territory.
Snow’s descendants occupied the house until 1939; later, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Then, the Worthington Inn used it for suite-style guest quarters. Most recently, Igloo Letterpress acquired it for its gift shop.
This letterpress printing and bookbinding shop sells cards, prints, posters, calendars, coasters and other unique items, all printed by hand at its workshop next door, using vintage woodcuts and metal type. It offers classes on letterpress printing and design, bookbinding, hand-setting type, and creating holiday cards and personalized stationery. I’m partial to these Columbus-themed bingo cards…
You can even pick up some handmade paper notecards made by my friend Bill Mahon.
The home’s wide doors are made of single walnut boards.
Snow’s parlor, located to the right of the entrance hall, features two deep alcoves flanking the fireplace. The alcoves are framed by delicate pilasters supporting arches; the keystone of masonry is supposedly in each arch, but my Igloo friends and I couldn’t spot them.
Click here to see a circa-1900 photograph of the parlor in the John Snow House. To read more about the Snow House and its owner, see The Ohio Masonic Historical Society and the John Snow Homestead, by Charles S. Plumb. Both are from Worthington Memory, an online scrapbook that’s a terrific resource for learning about Worthington history.