Home News Loss of Chillicothe’s Fox Farm Inn Leads to Chamber’s Request for Balance

Loss of Chillicothe’s Fox Farm Inn Leads to Chamber’s Request for Balance

A popular postcard photo of the Fox Farm Inn probably dating to about 1960 that is floating around the internet.

Chillicothe — As proponents of a Chillicothe with historical character mourn the loss of the former “Fox Farm Inn,” the leader of the local business organization has requested the city’s architectural commission to help better balance between new development and historic preservation.

Mike Throne, the president and CEO of the Chillicothe Ross Chamber of Commerce, has sent a letter to the Design Review Board of the City of Chillicothe. “In a city as historically rich as Chillicothe, there can be a better balance between further economic development and retaining historic structures,” he wrote.

The building at 1334 North Bridge Street was a large brick house built in 1843 by Dr. Jonathan Miesse. It was best known as a restaurant from 1935 to 1993 named the “Fox Farm Inn” after a fur farm there in the 1920s.

It was essentially the last and most significant home remaining in the Bridge Street commercial district. It became E.M. Smith Jewelers until 2020, when it was bought by the Nourse car dealership – who has a pattern of buying strategic properties, using each one short-term as a used car lot, and then eventually reselling each property. Nourse transferred the Fox Farm Inn to Columbus-based Schiff Properties, who secured a demolition permit in March apparently before having title.

A diesel excavator is parked behind the “Fox Farm Inn” on North Bridge Street on April 6th, 2024.

Throne wrote “the loss of the North Bridge Street building is a harsh blow to absorb. Still, the last-ditch effort to save it proves that many in the city want to keep the community’s historical and cultural fabric while allowing growth and development to continue.

“This is a perfect opportunity to consider ways to avoid unnecessary demolition of historic and/or architecturally significant public and commercial structures in the future.”

Though the Design Review Board is focused on regulating external changes to buildings and properties in the downtown and nearby residential neighborhood, its ordinance allows an expansion of its duties. The city-owned Pump House Center for the Arts in Yoctangee Park is one property it also oversees.

Throne wrote “the Advocacy Committee of the Chillicothe Ross Chamber of Commerce encourages the Design Review Board to use the process outlined in Ordinance 1167.10…to protect similar structures. This section allows the DRB to explore whether other historically significant buildings outside the historic district can be added to the review board’s purview.”

Read the entire letter from the chamber, provided by Mike Throne, below.

The Design Review Board usually meets every third Thursday at 4:30pm in the city’s meeting room at 35 South Paint Street. Find more information on the city website: under “Forms and Links” for the Design Review Board application and guidelines and relevant ordinance chapter; and current members under “Boards & Commissions.”

Also learn more in previous Scioto Post stories:

Letter from Mike Throne, president and CEO of the Chillicothe Ross Chamber of Commerce, to the Design Review Board of the City of Chillicothe April 15th, 2024 after demolition of the Fox Farm Inn.
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Raised in Ross County, Bearcat class of '87 at Paint Valley. Wrote a column on history and historic preservation for the Chillicothe Gazette right out of high school, then a bachelors in Journalism in the OU class of '91. After starting my one-man company "Intrepid Heritage Services" in Columbus in 1997 to offer historical research, tours, and talks, I retuned to Ross County in 2003. Have been working as a radio programmer and reporter at Clear Channel / iHeart Media Southern Ohio. Started working with the Scioto Post June 27th, 2023.