108 North High Street.
Art & Culture

Ainsworth – Steele – Beery – Fairfield County: 108 North High Street


In 1837 Richard H. Ainsworth, a merchant, bought this lot from Thomas Ewing. He built a small home on the north section.

In 1859 John S. Snider, known as “The Great Wine King,” purchased the home. He lived there with his wife and six children. Snider was a carpenter by trade, a winemaker, merchant, farmer and an inventor. He obtained several patents, including ones for a seed planter, fencing posts and a sawmill head block.

In 1871 Col. C.F. Steele purchased the home, and in 1873 the south section was added on, doubling the size of the home. Most of the original windows, doors, and hardware, interior and exterior woodwork, and trim from Steele’s addition remain largely intact today. Col. Steele was a veteran of the Mexican and Civil War. He married Maria, the daughter of Thomas Ewing, and became wealthy managing his father-in-law’s salt works.

W.B. Maccracken purchased this home in 1895. Mary, the daughter of W.B. Maccracken recalls a kindergarten teacher that lived and taught in the back room on the home’s High St. side. She remembers the teacher leaving with a pony and cart to pick up children who did not live nearby.

Dr. George Beery, a prominent Lancaster physician, purchased the home in 1901. He was a leader in the movement to construct the first Lancaster City hospital in 1916.

In the 1940s the home was turned into apartments and offices. The Red Cross operated there for more than a decade. In the 1960s the Fairfield County Board of Commissioners purchased the building. The Fairfield County Sheriff’s detective bureau used the building until 2017. In 2018 the Fairfield County Auditor began a 2 million dollar renovation. Renovations included adding to the back and remodeling the outside and inside to accommodate their needs.

The Victorian-style red brick building features a hip and valley-type roof, overhanging eaves supported by fancy cornices, and lintels above the windows.

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