Historical Downing House


Relaxing by the Ohio River

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The Downing House was built in 1859 and is located in down town Middleport’s business district just a block from the Ohio River. Major John B. Downing lived in the house from 1899 until 1914. Major Downing was a riverboat captain who be friended Mark Twain born “Samuel Clemens”. In 1868 Major Downing opened an Insurance Agency in the building that is adjacent to the family home. Which now holds the “by Hearth and Candlelight” antique shop. Major Dowing’s grandson Rodney Downing joined the insurance company in 1916. Rodney Downing was the last of the family to occupy the home before passing in 1993.

In late 1998 this home was purchased by three entrepreneurs, Ron and Linda Carpenter and Mary Lou Naftzger. Linda and Mary Lou became friends while working at Children’s Hospital in Columbus and Ron operates a contracting firm which specializes in restoration of homes. The three have done all the restoration themselves. First to open in 1999 was the antique shop “by Hearth and Candlelight” This name came to light when a sign was bought at an antique shop which use to hang in one of their own homes. In late 2003 the Bed & Breakfast had its Grand Opening with Rodney Downing’s daughter and family being the first to stay. If you come to stay you can read there thoughts in the Mark Twain Guest room.