The Jacob and Catherine Shupe Homestead, like some serene elder statesman, full of years and confidence, sits well back from the road that was just a narrow trail cut by Jacob Shupe through the woods, more than two hundred years ago. The previous statement was adapted from an article written about another early Lorain County house, but it fits perfectly here with the Shupe Homestead. It is further an excerpt from, “The Founding of Early Amherst,” which Col. Nahorn compiled in 2014. This document, with historically accurate stories, anecdotes, and other researched information describing the early days of Amherst’s founding, is the first of its kind to aggregate such information focusing precisely on the Shupe family; their important contributions to the early years; and the creation of their homestead. It is available for viewing as a pdf on this website here: http://newindianridgemuseum.org/about/research-documents-studies/.
On Sunday, September 25th, at 2pm, while standing on the original sandstone steps of the Shupe Homestead, Col. Nahorn delivered a speech to a group of local historians and other interested individuals gathered directly in front of the house. The weather was beautiful and perfect for a dedication. The group was gathered to dedicate and officially unveil the cast aluminum historical marker that has been erected at the base of the Shupe Homestead driveway.
The Nahorn family took possession of and moved into the Shupe House in 1992. Most people did not know or appreciate the history behind this important site. Beginning in 1998, spending years of historical research while sifting through tax records, detailed histories, and maps, Col. Nahorn along with his core group of researchers from the New Indian Ridge Museum, including Diane Nahorn and Jeff Sigsworth, determined the Shupe House is the first frame house to have been constructed in Amherst and is likely the oldest frame house in Lorain County, being inhabited for over 200 years. The Shupe House was built between 1812-1814 – a time before Lorain County was formed, and this location was rather Huron County. Giant bark-covered logs serve as floor joists supported by a hand-cut sandstone foundation. Many original aspects of the house remain today and have been carefully restored and maintained.
The early post-and-beam frame structure was built with the help of Shupe’s early up-and-down sash style thundershower sawmill operated by an undershot waterwheel powered by Beaver Creek. The sawmill, started in 1811, was expanded with a gristmill operation in 1813 (we maintain one of the original granite gristmill stones or mill buhrs here at the Homestead). Jacob Shupe was responsible for starting industry and spurring development in this northern Lorain County area and ought to be recognized for such. Previous to this, area settlers would have to travel great distances to get their grain ground or lumber sawn. Mr. Shupe shortened these settlers’ trips and allowed the log house to give way to a more modern frame house. Mrs. Shupe was quite a pioneer woman herself, raising a family of 11 children, making many items for the family homestead, and helping her husband operate the mills. Jacob Shupe was killed in an accident while making an extension to his mill when a piece of lumber fell on him in 1832. He was 54.
After the address by Col. Nahorn to unveil and dedicate the historical marker, visitors were welcomed to stand within the walls of the oldest area house; tasty refreshments were enjoyed by those in attendance; and an open house at the New Indian Ridge Museum ensued. The Museum’s collection of antique tractors and hit-and-miss engines was also displayed, and some engines were demonstrated. It is an honor and pleasure to live at this historic homestead.
“Chronicle-Telegram” reporter Steve Fogarty captured well the reasons for the historical marker and dedication ceremony: