Built circa 1830, by Benjamin O. Greene and Salmon Hoisington, it was rented by the Perkins family as the Stone House was being built. Colonel Simon Perkins purchased the home in late 1843 or early 1844 when John Brown and his family rented the property.
Recovering from bankruptcy in 1844, John Brown signed an agreement with Colonel Simon Perkins to establish a wool partnership. The arrangement required Perkins to furnish food and shelter for the sheep with Brown providing care by washing the sheep, shearing the wool and preparing the products for market. Also included in the contract were provisions for the Brown family, “Said Perkins agrees to let said Brown the frame dwelling house on his farm (south of the house in which he now lives) door-yard, garden grounds, and the privilege of getting wood for fuel, for the rent of thirty dollars a year . .” John Brown and his family lived in the house from 1844 – 1854. In 1846, the partnership of Perkins and Brown prospered to the point of an expansion office in Springfield, Massachusetts, to establish better trade relations with wool dealers in the area. Brown had his sons stay in Akron to continue working on the Perkins land and tending the sheep. Unfortunately, this venture ended in various lawsuits that cost the partnership approximately $40,000 (over a million dollars in today's economy). John Brown left Akron after fulfilling the rest of his contract, but he continued to petition the people of Summit County for anti-slavery support.
Due to renovations in the home by the Home Builders Association in 1999, you may again walk in the footsteps of John Brown. The front two rooms of the current structure contain the original floors when the Brown family resided here in Akron. The house was expanded to accommodate its occupants, including being known as the first home of the Portage Country Club. John Brown was a man that some called a madman while others cheered him as a hero; the residents of Summit County just called him neighbor.
House owners after the occupancy of John Brown:
1858 - Joseph Perkins (son of Simon and Grace Perkins)
1870 - Thomas K. and Charles E. Perkins (sons of Simon and Grace Perkins)
1883 - Charles E. Perkins (son of Simon and Grace Perkins)
1905 – William B. Miller
1907 – Charles E. Perkins (son of Simon and Grace Perkins)
1925 – executors of a trust for Charles Perkins’ widow, May Adams Perkins
1942/1943 – SCHS by will of May Adams Perkins
(from the Portage Country Club website)
Portage Country Club is one of a handful of clubs that is a hundred or more years old.
The growth of the Club paralleled the rise of the rubber industry in Akron, and it became the place for the athletic and social activities of the city’s most prominent families. Today, Portage Country Club is recognized as one of the country’s elite private clubs, a tribute to the success and prosperity of the City of Akron and a memorial to those who contributed to its evolution.
There were few golf courses in the world when golf was introduced to Akron in 1894 at the original site of the Portage Golf Club, a rural area then known as the “West Hill Residential District.” Charles C. Goodrich, son of company founder Dr. Benjamin F. Goodrich, and Charles G. Raymond, a young executive at BF Goodrich, persuaded Raymond's father-in-law, Colonel George T. Perkins, to allow them to lay out the golf course on their farm. C.C. Goodrich, C.G. Raymond and Bertram G. Work, friend and co-worker at Goodrich, were the founding members. They rented a structure known as the "Old John Brown House," once the home of the Harpers Ferry Abolitionist, and constructed a crude nine-hole golf course around it. The balls were handmade and the clubs, if not exactly primitive, were little more than tree limbs by today’s standards.
Equally primitive were the locker room facilities, located on the second story of a nearby stable. Despite such handicaps, interest and membership in the Club grew until, on January 5, 1905, it incorporated under the name, “The Portage Country Club Company.” According to The Official Golf Guide For 1900 by Joseph Newman the nine-hole course was "fairly good though somewhat short." The Club became affiliated with the United States Golf Association in 1904.
In 1905, with membership growing, the Club moved to its present location at the corner of Twin Oaks and Portage Path.
(note that George Tod Perkins is the oldest brother of Joseph, Thomas and Charles Perkins – owners of the home).
The large gallery was added onto the home by the golf club as their meeting room, and the small building behind the house has been said to be the area to store materials for the course and users.
Charles and May Adams Perkins moved back to Akron in 1907 and made major changes to the home including adding the butler’s pantry, kitchen and second floor (not open to the public) and all the windows.