One House’s Story: Philip G. Lanning

2019 520 N Water Street Uhrichsville Philip G Lanning

I decided to take a look into a house outside of my own immediate community. There is no shortage of historic homes to choose from, so I decided to look for a house that was depicted in the 1875 Atlas of Tuscarawas County. This is one of the stories from that house’s history.


As you head south into Uhrichsville, and just before you proceed onto the Water Street overpass, there sits a home on your right that is hard to miss. It is not the largest or most ornate home that one can find in Uhrichsville, but it has architectural details that speak to the intentions and aspirations of some of the house’s previous owners. Thankfully the current owners seem to appreciate those elements as well, as evidenced by the current care they have taken of the home.

The house was built on Uhrichsville lot number 23 in the 1870s by John Hover, a prominent merchant who operated groceries and general stores in Dennison and Uhrichsville. Like so many Tuscarawas homes of this period, it was constructed in the Italianate style of architecture. The house’s original appearance can be gleaned from an illustration in the 1875 Atlas of Tuscarawas County. The house has the hipped-roof, corbeled and decorative eaves, side porch and entrance, and tall, narrow windows consistent with the Italianate style. A porch was added to the facade of the house sometime before 1895. While John Hover may have built the home, it is the story of a later occupant that will be the focus of this narrative.

  • The Lanning House, "Res. of John Hover", as depicted in the 1875 Atlas of Tuscarawas County. (Source: familysearch.org)
  • Comparison images of the Lanning House from 1875 (L) and 2019 (R).
  • Detail of the eaves found on the Lanning House in the 1875 Atlas of Tuscarawas County (top) and today (bottom).

Philip Gamble Lanning (1868-1937) was born in Perry Township, Tuscarawas County in June 1868, the son of farmer Issac W. Lanning (1833-1903) and Leah Mears (1837-1922). The Lanning household was a large one, ultimately including eleven children. Naturally, not all of these children were going to be able to inherit sufficient land to become farmers themselves. Philip G. Lanning learned the trade of house painter, as well as being appointed in 1887 to the position of postmaster for Gilmore. He married Emma Reiser (1873-1935) in 1891 and the couple moved to the town of Tuscarawas where they welcomed two sons and Phillip advertised his services as a painter.

Philip Lanning’s business in Tuscarawas prospered and he opened a small store selling hardware and groceries in the first decade of the 1900s. When the Tuscarawas County court house offices were in need of a fresh coat of paint in 1914, Philip Lanning was granted the contract for the work. Around the same time he moved his family and business from Tuscarawas to Uhrichsville, buying a home on the 400 block of North Water Street and opening a store on the 200 block of East Third Street. His sons, Karl and Ralph (nicknamed Ted), started working for their father by the time they both registered for the World War One draft in 1917. One has to wonder if Philip G. Lanning already had his eye on the house built by John Hover almost fifty years earlier.

  • Newspaper article reporting Philip Lanning receiving the contract for painting offices at the county court house, December 1914.
  • Advertisement for Philip G. Lanning's wall paper and paint store on Third Street in Uhrichsville, April 1919.
  • The Lanning House depicted in the 1923 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map. (Source: loc.gov)
  • Advertisement for the P.G. Lanning & Sons paint and wall paper store on Third Street in Uhrichsville, August 1924.

Determining the exact date that Philip G. Lanning acquired the home built by John Hover would require searching the deed records, but based on other available evidence he likely acquired the home around the time of John Hover’s death in June 1926. Hover had relocated from Uhrichsville to New Philadelphia twenty-years before his death, and likely rented out the house in Uhrichsville. Regardless, by the time the census was taken in 1930 Lanning had moved a block farther north on Water Street. Karl and his wife were living in the home with Philip and Emma, while Ralph had purchased a home with his wife less than a block away on Sixth Street.

Philip G. Lanning continued to operate his store in the 200 block of East Third Street during the 1920s and 1930s, employing both of his sons in the family business. They lived in the house for about a decade when Philip’s wife Emma died in the spring of 1935 and Philip passed away two years later in 1937. The Lanning brothers continued to operate the family business on Third Street; meanwhile, Ralph moved into his late parents’ home on Water Street and Karl and his wife moved into a home in Dover. Ralph sold the Lanning’s Third Street store property after the death of his brother in 1959 and he himself passed away ten years later. The house passed out of the Lanning family after Ralph Lanning’s death in 1969.

Philip G. Lanning may not have built the home on Water Street that he came to own, but he was a successful businessperson just like the house’s builder John Hover. Through Philip’s business abilities and hard work he came to own the fine home once pictured in the 1875 Tuscarawas County atlas. The story of his life, and his family’s, is integrally tied to the home just as much as is John Hover’s.

  • Newspaper report of the death of Philip G. Lanning, May 1937.
  • The Lanning Family headstone in Union Cemetery, Uhrichsville. (Source: findagrave.com)
  • The Lanning House, North Water Street, Uhrichsville, 2019. (Source: google.com)

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© Noel B. Poirier, 2022.

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