Martin and Margaret Prechtel were German immigrants who came with their children to America in the 1870’s. The house which bears their name was built by Adam Poe about the time of the nation’s centennial. A few months later, Poe sold his home and farm to the Prechtels. Martin Prechtel was both a farmer and cobbler. His shop was located at Kamm’s Corners. James Ruple was one of the Prechtel’s neighbors. Ruple’s house stood at the foot of Fort Hill. Today the site is a parking lot.
William Prechtel, a son, inherited the house and property in 1901, and rented it to several families including the Dvoraks, immigrants from Bohemia. John and Ethel Barker, parents of Olmsted Historical Society member Mrs. Evelyn Franks, were married in the parlor in 1905. During most of 1917, William Prechtel and his wife, Alice Burrington Prechtel, lived in the house with Alice’s mother, Jane Spafford Burrington. Alice Prechtel and Jane Burrington are the great-great-aunt and great-great-grandmother of Olmsted Historical Society member Deborah Pabetz. Her grandfather, former Historical Society member Walter Holzworth, wrote several books about the region.
Irving Geist bought the house and farm at the end of 1917. He sold the property to the Cleveland Metropolitan Park Board on October 5, 1925, but the house continued to be occupied into the 1950’s. After installing electricity in 1962, the Historical Society opened the house as a museum. The Prechtel House has never had indoor plumbing facilities. It is typical of a country dwelling of the late nineteenth century.
Entering the house from the back porch, the pantry is on the left side of the hall. The family mostly gathered in the kitchen. Next to the kitchen, the sink room was for activities requiring water. Water had to be carried in from the well until a pump was later installed. The parlor was used mainly for company. The bedroom off the parlor was sometimes used as a birthing room or a sick room. The second floor has one large room where most of the family slept. The root cellar is accessible either by an outside door or through the pantry.