105 East Ave
In early October 2011, Karl Laurer, head of the Webster Village Historic Preservation Commission, along with Jude Lancy, Maryjean Yengo; former historian and member of the commission, Dick Batzing and I (Carol Klem) visited the of home of the late Dr. John Dunning on the corner of Dunning Avenue and Main Street.
They presented the present owner of this historic home, Terry Maxim, with the Site of the Month distinction; a special designation for homes that are rich in time and history.
You have probably driven by this old home many times and maybe noticed the old cherry tree in the front yard, especially in the spring when it is blossoming.
Maybe you observed the unusual front entrance/porch with twin doors in an Italianate style of architecture which was a distinct 19th-century phase in the history of Classical architecture.
Also in the front, a second cottage -type porch invites people to sit down on the swing and enjoy a lemonade. An old plant called Dutchman’s Pipe, popular for centuries, provides privacy.
The house is rich in history because its original owner, Dr. John Dunning, was one of our first village doctors whose family dates back to Colonial Days. He was born in Webster 1826, and was an impressive and involved public figure, a Baptist and a staunch Democrat. He died in 1901, the oldest member of the Masons. According to Karl Laurer, he married Hattie Curtice and the couple had two children.
The home is currently owned by Terry Maxim, an expert woodworker and lover of old homes, who owns a number of Webster’s oldest gems. He purchased the house in 1982, and lived in it for eight months while restoring this old Classic Revival Home. For years now the home has been converted into three apartments.
It was built by Dr. Dunning’s uncle, John Hicks probably in the early 1860s. The property was part of the Hicks farm that was located on the west side of Dunning Avenue
A number of years ago, a fire almost totaled an addition that Dr. Dunning had built, that was totally separate from his house. It was located along Dunning Avenue and the east side of the house. A kerosene heater caused the fire and a windy night added to the flames. Terry’s job was a big one and he stepped up to the plate, reconstructing the structure according to its original structure. During reconstruction he discovered that there had been another fire earlier in its history in approximately 1910.
Terry sided the old home but never removed the original clapboards which keeps the home historically significant.
“The foundation is perfectly square for a house of this time”, Terry said, “the walls are feet thick – it’s when Masons were men,” he joked.
“This home is one of the cornerstones of our village,” said Karl Laurer.