The Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center purchased the Dillon House in 1962 because of its historical link to President Rutherford B. Hayes. Several years of restoration and renovation followed. The home temporarily was used as a storage facility when the Hayes Museum underwent a major addition in 1967. Since 1968, the Center has continued to develop the home as a revenue-generating outlet.
The story of the Dillon House begins in 1873 when Fremont architect John C. Johnson began construction of an elegant home for Charles M. Dillon. Dillon had achieved much wealth through operation of his drug store business Dillon & Son (precursor of today's Grund Drug Co.). He sought to display that success by building a grand house. His selection of a site for the structure also was meant to demonstrate his status. The 164x330-foot lot was located directly across from the home of 19th U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes.
Mrs. Anne Dillons family claimed acquaintance with the retired President. Her father Ralph P. Buckland shared a legal practice with Hayes beginning in 1845. The fact that the street in front of the Dillon House bears the Buckland name is no accident. In addition to his status as a lawyer, Ralph gained acclaim for his leadership of the 72nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry during the Battle of Shiloh. He was promoted to Brigadier General for his actions and eventually earned the rank of Brevet Major General. Buckland also served as a Congressman and mayor of the City of Fremont.
The Dillon House represents one of Fremonts finest Victorian-era homes. It was constructed over the course of two years and is of a Towered Second Empire design. Elaborate pediments surmount the windows. Dental molding and cornices accentuate the first floor roofline. The double front doors and paneled foyer were fashioned from black walnut, while the rest of the homes woodwork is of butternut. Interior rooms feature elaborate plasterwork and ornate stenciling. A profusion of walk-in closets is further testament to the familys wealth, since such closets were considered luxury items and subject to additional taxation.
Charles and Anne Dillon raised eight children. Their beloved home remained in the familys ownership until the death of Charlotte (Dillon) Ickes in 1960. Two years later, the Hayes Presidential Center, Inc. purchased the property
Today, the Dillon House is used by the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center for special programming. The home is filled with Victorian-era furnishings, some original to the Dillon family. The home is experiencing a renewal of its former prestige thanks public events such as Victorian Teas, conducted annually from April to November.
Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center
Attn: Dillon House
Fremont, OH 43420-2796
1329 Buckland Avenue
(directly across the street from the Hayes Presidential Center)
419-334-2763 (direct line)
419-332-2081 (via the Hayes Presidential Center)