Old Towne West Restoration Society

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The Old Towne West Restoration Society was formed in 1978 by a group of residents of the 25-block neighborhood with hopes of preserving and restoring the historic area. The neighborhood included Italianate, Gothic Revival, Queen Anne, and Stick style architecture. [1] The Old Towne West neighborhood encompassed the area immediately west of downtown Newark, bounded by OH-16 to the north, West Main Street to the south, Fifth Street to the east, and 11th Street to the west. [2]

Upon formation of the group, Byron Smith was elected president. Officers were Winifield Cartwright, vice president; Cathy Smith, secretary; and Carlos Brezina, treasurer. Other members of the board were Judge Robert Moore, Michael Radabaugh, George Brezina, John A. Burger, Philip Coehlo, Dr. O.P. Cook, Dorothy Cramer, John L. Eshelman Jr., Loren French, Jeff and Dalene Maddocks, and John E. Price.[3] The group worked to maintain the neighborhood by planting trees and gardens, helping elderly or disabled neighbors with painting, and other improvement projects. [4]

In 1988, portions of the neighborhood were designated as an historic-district, and the Old Towne West Architectural Review Commission was formed. The purpose of the Commission was to preserve historic aspects of the neighborhood and required residents to obtain approval before making changes to features such as siding, windows, and doors.[5] The Society, along with the Commission, continued actively working in the community throughout the 1990s.

By 2000, some residents of Old Towne West were upset with the Architectural Review Commission, claiming its members unfairly abused their authority. One opponent stated citizens were being “harassed for minor changes, while the commission members are allowed to have property that’s falling apart.” The property in reference was owned by Commission president Lee Crayton, who admitted that he was unable to maintain his rental property on Locust. The city was divided on the issue, with the argument extending to City Council members.[6]

Newark Mayor Frank Stare announced the creation of a 12-member task force to study the concerns of the neighborhood’s residents in August of 2000, with Cheri Hottinger as chairwoman. The task force included opponents and supporters of the Commission, as well as neutral observers.[7] In September 13, 2004, a rezoning application was read by the city’s planning commission that proposed to do away with the historic-district status of the neighborhood and rezone the properties as R-1, or single-family residential, instead of the existing HD-1 historic-district status. This would allow homeowners to make changes to their homes without approval. A public hearing was scheduled for September 28 at City Hall.[8] On December 6, 2004, Newark City Council voted to remove the historic-district status of the neighborhood. The Architectural Review Commission was eliminated. [9]



  1. “Old Towne West Tour of Homes,” September 10, 1993.
  2. Kent Mallett, “Old Towne West Residents Defend District, Aim to Protect Architecture Story,” The Advocate, June 15, 2004
  3. Jim Underwood, “Citizens Group Formed for Building Preservation,” The Advocate, February 17, 1978
  4. Sue Sheets, “Old Towne West Society Helps Revive History,” The Advocate, March 20, 1993.
  5. Kevin Jones, “Letter,” The Advocate, July 15, 2000.
  6. Kent Mallett, “Casting the First Stone,” The Advocate, June 20, 2000.
  7. “Mayor Names Old Towne West Task Force,” The Advocate, August 8, 2000.
  8. Scott Hummel, “Public Hearing Slated on Old Towne West,” The Advocate, September 19, 2004
  9. Kent Mallett, “Council Annuls Historic District,” The Advocate, December 7, 2004