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BEYOND THE LISTING: Ottawa house plays role in chapter of 20th century history

TB sanitarium founder lived in South Side home

How many houses for sale are part of a colony?

There’s one on the South Side of Ottawa, at 823 E. Center St. Owned by the United Auto Workers Pat Greathouse Education Center, the two-story, three-bedroom house was built in 1925 and used to be part of the Ottawa Tent Colony, founded in 1904 for people with pulmonary tuberculosis.

Later used as a guest home for UAW members attending training sessions at the education center, the home features top-notch wood flooring and paneling as well as a separate, two-story coach house-style garage on a half acre.

After the hotel at the education center was enlarged and remodeled two years ago, there was no need for the house, said Brad Dutcher, UAW Region 4 assistant director.

“We just don’t use it. Now we have 20 extra rooms. We feel it would be a good house for a family. It’s got a lot of charm,” he said.

Tuberculosis patients, however, did not live in the house. It was the home to J.W. Pettit, a physician and founder of the Ottawa Tent Colony.

After the tent colony closed, the home became a private residence. It was purchased three years ago by the adjoining UAW, which is across the street and east of the structure.

“It was convenient, and the interior matched part of the Greathouse Center. It was a good addition to our campus,” Dutcher said.

Set back from Center Street, the home has a wraparound driveway with entrances on Center Street and Seventh Avenue. The attractive two-car garage is detached from the main house.

An enclosed, heated, wraparound porch faces both streets, with French doors opening on one side into the rest of the house. Full baths are located in the basement and upstairs, with a smaller bathroom on the first floor.

Well-maintained wood paneling and hardwood flooring make the interior stand out.

“I’m a carpenter by trade. The woodwork and hardwood floors make it a great home,” Dutcher said.

The bright kitchen includes space for a table and easy access to the outside, while the adjacent dining room has space for a large table.

Not many houses are part of history, but the Center Street home is a reminder of when the neighborhood was filled with tents as well as homes.

THE HOME at 823 E. Center St., Ottawa, is listed for $215,000 by broker Danielle Jackson, of Windsor Realty, Ottawa. For more information, contact her at 815-712-4351 or 815-434-2122.

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