Hidden Hollow: A Charming Federal Style Country Home
It is not often we have the pleasure of having a real estate listing that has a name. The charming country home at 2088 Lindale-Nicholsville Road, Monroe Township, Ohio–along with its 40-plus acres–does though.
Tucked back off the road, at the end of a long driveway through a tall stand of pines, in a setting both landscaped and natural, Hidden Hollow has had its name name since at least the 1940s, and maybe even longer.
The property has a lengthy history starting in 1804 when an 18-year-old land speculator named Jesse Hunt bought a 1,000-acre tract in newly established Clermont County, Ohio. Cleared and improved land was a moneymaker, so Hunt first leased the land to a Clermont County man for five years. At the end of the lease term, in exchange for improvements to the land, the tenant received 110 acres and the rest reverted to Hunt. Additional settlers also made improvements to the land–for set amounts of time–allowing them to make money without the added cost of buying land while Hunt received a percentage of their profits. By the 1820s, Hunt began selling tracts of lands to other investors, and then eventually began to sell tracts of land less than 200 acres for four-to-six dollars per acre. A man named Aaron Fagin was one of these purchasers.
In August 1831, Fagin paid Hunt $1,100 for 191 acres. The same day of the purchase agreement, Hunt made a mortgage to Fagin for $715 to be repaid with interest over three years. The deed of mortgage was recorded in 1835, after the mortgage was already paid in full. Aaron Fagin was a prosperous farmer in Monroe Township, adding another 97 acres to his original 191 acres.
In 1832, Aaron Fagin began building the charming home now known as Hidden Hollow and he and his wife, Minerva Fagin, lived at the house until their deaths in 1876.
Over the years, the property was reduced to its current 41.85 acres, which includes the Fagin farmstead, several outbuildings, a cistern, a well, a 3/4-acre pond (previously stocked with bass), about 17 acres of woods, and 22 acres of tillable land. The small fieldstone springhouse on the property is contemporary with the house.
The original Federal Vernacular-style brick house–which actually has a very “cottage-ish” feel to it–was begun circa 1832. The front of the home has six irregular bays consisting of two doors and four windows, while the backside of the house has a one-room brick portion in the center flanked by 1940s-era wood-frame additions. The one-room brick portion is currently the dining room and is probably the oldest portion of the home. The three front rooms were likely added to the home shortly after the one-room brick portion. The brick walls are 12 inches thick, which is evident in the doorways to the 1940s additions. Under the dining room there was originally an earthen cellar with a fireplace. The cellar was finished with concrete in the 1940s. The roof is a standing-seam metal roof, painted dark green. Two chimneys flank the ends of the house and a third is centered in the back. Hidden Hollow lends itself easily to modern living as a very functional two-bedroom, two-full-bath residence.
The Aaron Fagin house was added to the National Register of Historic Places on February 9, 2006. It is considered a distinctive example of an early-nineteenth century, rural vernacular dwelling with Federal style influences and is actually very rare at the local level (Clermont County). Although there are 1940s additions to the house, the original portions are very apparent while the integrity of their design and workmanship remain. Likewise, the property has retained its setting as a rural farmstead. A charming county home indeed!
Sources: Aaron Fagin House,National Register of Historic Places Registration Form, 2/2006.