The Woman's Town Club of Springfield receives donation of original historic furniture

Along the stretch of Springfield’s East High Street Historical District – “Mansion Row” – sits the Woman’s Town Club (WTC).

Formerly 359 E. High St., the WTC was purchased by Capt. Edward Lyon Buchwalter and Clementine Berry Buchwalter in 1893.

Today, the historical home – renumbered as 805 E. High St. in 1908 – continues to be maintained by the members of the Woman’s Town Club, who have worked to restore the local landmark.

While Capt. Buchwalter – who was a Union Captain in the Civil War, was a farmer, and served as the president of Citizens National Bank – and Clementine did not have children, Edward’s brother Morris Buchwalter.

Morris' oldest son - Luther Buchwalter - lived with Capt. Buchwalter and eventually named his first-born some Edward Buchwalter II. Today, fourth generation Ed Buchwalter – a name passed on in honor of Capt. Edward Buchwalter – and his wife Kim still reside in Clark County.

Not only was the name Edward Buchwalter passed on for generations, so was the antique furniture and china housed at 805 E. High St. when the he and Clementine resided there.

The china settings and several pieces of ornate wood furniture, including a four-poster bed, a table, a china cabinet, a set of twin beds, dressers and the captain’s desk from when Buchwalter was president of the bank were all donated back to the Woman’s Town Club by Ed and Kim.

“I always knew it was Captain Ed’s desk, and we didn’t want to sell things off because what happens is ‘that table’ ends up on someone’s bonfire,” says Ed Buchwalter. “We didn’t want that. Why try to get money out of it when you can send it someplace it’s going to be taken care of.”

The captain’s desk was a centerpiece in Ed and Kim’s home. Ed says all of the furniture was in use in their home but didn’t quite fit.

“This is where (Capt.) Ed lived and to me that’s where it belongs,” says Buchwalter. “The furniture has come back to a Buchwalter home.”

Buchwalter says researching his uncle and aunt has proven to be challenging and despite their prominence and success in the community, Ed and Clementine remained humble.

“They didn’t want their name on everything that they contributed to the community,” he says.

Clementine Buchwalter graduated from Ohio Wesleyan Female College, in Delaware, with a liberal arts degree. She became involved in many issues at the local level, such as industrial and child labor laws.

She later opened her home as a meeting place for women’s club members not only in Springfield but also statewide and nationally. From these gatherings, the Ohio Federation of Women’s Clubs was established.

Following Clementine’s death in 1912, her husband donated $6,000 toward an endowment fund in her memory to the Ohio Federation of Women’s Clubs. The Captain remarried and later sold the East High Street home to the Woman’s Town Club for $25,000, and he donated $5,000 toward the purchase price.

The Woman’s Town Club will celebrate its 100th anniversary in December of 2022.

Christine Zechman, president of the WTC Board of Directors, says the historical value of the furniture and china is priceless.

“We are very grateful and appreciative for the donation,” says Zechman. “We’ve been working to restore the two front rooms for many years. This was a great gift for us to have pieces that belong to the Buchwalter family. We want to display it in a way that would make (the family) proud.”

Ed says he believes his late uncle and aunt would be pleased the furniture had been donated back to its original home.

“That would be something they would do. It’s part of their legacy,” he says. “It’s part of the history of the home, and I know (the Woman's Town Club) will take care of it.”

Read more articles by Darci Jordan.

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