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The Chesler Group, Inc. and Dimit Architects

Listed on the National Register in 1975, the 15,000 square foot Andrew Jackson House was built in 1868 as the home of lumber entrepreneur Andrew Jackson, and his family. A symbol of Akronís productive industrial era, the house later became the local chapter of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows in the early 20th century. After 70 years, the Odd Fellows sold the house to an individual with development plans that never materialized. The house sat empty and neglected for 20 years and was condemned by the city after the first floor was set on fire by homeless squatters in 2006.

The Chesler Group saved the house from demolition by purchasing it in 2007 and as the developer, was successful in securing both State and Federal Historic Preservation Tax Credits to facilitate the rehabilitation.

Historic features were preserved throughout the home and expert craftsmanship was used to restore fireplaces, hardwood floors, walnut doors, moldings, casings, and bronze hardware. In places where trim deteriorated or was missing, new pieces were carefully milled to match the mid-nineteenth century woodwork. Rehabilitation work on the second floor retained and improved upon changes made by the Odd Fellows, who used the space as a meeting hall, to create a large community gathering space.

The rehabilitation took advantage of generous ceiling heights, original stone and brick walls, and structural elements such as wooden trusses to highlight original materials while making room for offices, ADA-compliant stairs and elevator, and a state-of-the-art HVAC system. The architects also worked closely with the Akron fire department to incorporate fire safety solutions, including a fully automated sprinkler system that minimally impacted historic features.

Post-rehabilitation, the building is home to major philanthropic organizations and the meeting spaces are rented to other groups. Christine Mayer, Chief Operating Officer and Legal Counsel for the G.A.R. Foundation, said ďthe house is a powerful tool that G.A.R. can and does use to advance its charitable mission; the project captures and re-energizes a glorious chapter in Akronís past, and it also signifies opportunity for Akronís future.Ē

This project is a tribute to The Andrew Jackson House itself, its continuing role in the community, and The Chesler Groupís holistic approach to historic preservation.

The Chesler Groupís success in rehabilitating this historic building stems from its respect for historic craftsmanship and its commitment to exceed present day code requirements in their projects. The finished product provides an efficient, modernized building that attracted long-term tenants who continue to invest in its future. This project demonstrates that with vision, commitment to, and passion for the past, the revival of old structures helps strengthen neighborhoods. It is also an excellent example of how historic preservation tax incentives make possible appropriate rehabilitation of distressed historic gems. The Andrew Jackson House is once again an important asset to Akron and its citizens.

2011 Awards 
Presentation Image. Click to view slides of the awards presentation.

Click here to return to the list of 2011 Ohio Historic Preservation Office Award recipients.

Click here for a list of past Ohio Historic Preservation Office Award recipients.

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