My son Tyson, his girlfriend Christina and I drove around Lodi and took pictures of 35 homes of historical value. It was a lot of fun. The homes ran from our founding fathers, to promenade business men to a house that once housed a livery stable.
The Waite-Harris house is one of my favorites. The current owners Greg and Sandy Dean were kind enough to give Larry and me a tour. It was lovely. Unsure of the history of the home, I spoke with Ross Ferguson. Ross was kind enough to write the history to share.
Dr. James Waite came to Lodi in 1882 and built the house at 111 Harris Street. He married Rachel Harris the great granddaughter of Judge Harris. Their son Harris Waite continued to live in the house until his death in 1973.
The original house was much plainer then it is today. Sometime in the 1920’s the house was remodeled adding a master bedroom and an art studio for Harris’ wife who was an artist. Also added was the front porch as well as the formal rooms down stairs. The house has custom wood work and a built in china cabinet in the formal dining room. The home has an entry way that’s enclosed with beautiful doors with custom beveled glass. There is a large room with built in book cases and a beautiful staircase. As well as a big fireplace. (The Deans have a picture of Dr. Waite placed on the fireplace) There is a back stairway in the kitchen that goes upstairs as well. Off the front room is a pocket door that leads into a pantry and the kitchen. The home is still heated by steam through cast iron registers.
The Ferguson family move in in 1974. He said when they were kids they would sneak into each other’s room in the winter and turn down a register so that their particular room would get more steam and stay warmer.
Harris Waite worked for Frank Seiberling the founder of Goodyear Tire and Rubber as well as Seiberling Rubber Company. Harris traveled all over the world, seeking rubber sources. Most of this was before air travel, so he traveled by ships. The Harris Waite wedding was held in the house and attended by Frank Seiberling.
Dr. James Waite was the first to have an interest in establishing a community hospital and worked toward that until his death in 1928. It’s my understanding, his funeral was held in the family home.
When the Fergusons moved into the house in 1974 a lot of the Waites’possessions including a Ford model A was still in the barn. There were five kids in their family and the house has only one full bathroom with a tub only. It was always in use. He says Lodi in the 1970’s was a great place to grow up.
The Waite-Harris house will receive a plague from the Lodi-Harrisville Historical Society.