The Home at 63 West Main Street first shows on the Newark Maps in 1850.
Built by Mr. Matthew Newkirk, it was home to his second wife, Mary E. Fleek, and his 3 sons Edward, Charles, and William.
Mr. Newkirk was a prominent businessman in Newark, owning a dry goods store on the square -- M. Newkirk and Company. The dry goods store is just two blocks from the home. Still standing, the original building has been turned into a modern recording studio. While the home was built in 1850, Newark's prominent county courthouse was not begun until 1870. Matthew Newkirk walked to his store on the square each day, watching the construction of the imposing Licking County Courthouse -- what a sight that must have been!
Among other things, The Newkirk Dry Goods store sold dresses, patterns, linens & fabrics -- how appropriate that Mr. Newkirk's home now hosts events for fabric lovers! We were able find hundreds of advertisements in archived Newark Advocate newspapers describing the sales and special events at the Newkirk Dry Goods store.
Matthew Newkirk was revered and loved in the town as a founding and dedicated member of the Second Presbyterian Church on Church Street. He served as the original Grand Master of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, a fraternal organization that exists still in Newark today. You can see the original lodge building directly across the street from the Guest House with I.O.O.F carved into the stone. Mr. Newkirk was also a founding member of the First National Bank of Newark, started to help fund the Civil War which has grown to become BancOhio.
On June 28, 1861, Edward Newkirk was recruited into service as a non-commissioned officer in Company E, Twelfth Regiment of the Ohio Volunteer Infantry to fight in the Civil War. He returned to Newark to become an optician on the square, although it was reported in his obituary that he was 'very physically effected' by the war. Edward was also an original stockholder in the Consolidated Coupler Company, manufacturer of the Dowling Coupler, a device used to automate the coupling process on trains, saving many lives each year.
After Matthew's death in 1888, the home was purchased by W B Sargent, a prosperous business man who owned valuable mining property in Colorado. Mr. Sargent was an avid traveler and fisherman -- he and his wife hosted many lovely social events - it is fun to imagine the reported 'tiddledey winks competitions' going late into the evening - even before electricity! And the laughter that must have filled the house -
The home was purchased in 1901 by J. M. McGonagle, the local undertaker, and it served proudly and faithfully for approximately 50 years. Mr McGonagle and his heirs were highly respected members of the Newark community providing comfort to grieving families through the ensuing years and World Wars that passed.
As with so many homes, the Newkirk House then passed through stages as various offices and apartments, until it was purchased by Dave and Karen Patterson in 2011. Dave maintains an office as an independent financial advisor in the side building, and the main house is being lovingly restored to the best of our ability to bring the vibrant life back into the home. We were so excited to find original hardwood under the dated carpets, and although the woodwork has long been painted, it is stunning in its grandeur! Original double-thick brick walls peek out through the plaster that overlays them, and the Lower Mississippi type balustrade that adorns the front porch reminds us of a simple time, a peaceful time, where houses were made beautiful for the shear pleasure of doing so.
We hope you enjoy your stay at the Newkirk Guest House and are so glad to have you help add to its rich history!