Home named on 'Historic Places' list
PLYMOUTH — Andrew Sporner, a Plymouth native, grew up passing by the Hoham-Klinghammer-Weckerle house at 1715 Lake Avenue often, and he always dreamed of buying it someday.
“I fell in love with it when I was five years old,” said Sporner, who did purchase the home in 2010. “Something about the way it looked kind of grabbed me.”
After he purchased the house, which has a unique history as being part of a brewery and also a possible stop on the Underground Railroad, Sporner was contacted by Kurt Garner of the Wythougan Valley Preservation Council to apply for listing in the National Historic Register of Historic Places. Sporner agreed, and the home was added to the list June 15.
“The listing is reserved for the ‘best of the best’ in architecture and historical significance,” explained Garner, adding that the Hoham-Klinghammer-Weckerle house is an eclectic example of late 19th century architecture.
The historical factor that got the house on the list was the association with the brewery. The house has two underground rooms, both 20 by 70 feet, that were used to ferment beer from a nearby brewery. They are unaccessible now, but could be opened with the use of heavy machinery. The brewery burned to the ground in 1900, leaving only the house and a few other buildings that were destroyed in a tornado in the 1960s.
The Underground Railroad connection cannot be fully proven, explained Garner — it’s more of a folklore element. The house is also rumored as being a stop in the 1920s for John Dillinger, a notorious gangster.
Sporner currently lives in Germany and runs a computer software business, but he plans to move back to Marshall County and continue renovating the house next summer.
“There is a lot of internal damage caused by the roof damage, but I already completely renovated the front porch,” said Sporner. “What I will probably do is put my business in the bottom and make the upstairs and attic into apartments. I might open up the underground rooms in the future too.”
“(The house) is probably one of the more ‘landmark’ houses in the county, and I think the listing (in the National Register) is justified,” said Garner.