Historic Somerton residence damaged by fire

Bruce Yarnall

Somerton and Barnesville fire departments battled a house fire at 55586 Washington Street, Somerton, on Sunday, June 27. According to a Somerton spokesperson, the fire damaged a pantry and the kitchen of the structure. A cause for the fire is still under investigation. Other areas of the home experienced smoke damage. The occupants of the residence were away at the time.

This is the second fire at this residence. On August 18, 1958, the house was gutted in a fire that was battled by Somerton, Barnesville and Beallsville departments. It was the home of Somerton VFD member Dick Steele and his family. It was also one of the first major fires for Somerton volunteers following the department’s formation late in 1955.

The Steele family remodeled the 1.5-story Prairie-style residence into the ranch-style house of today. The house was built about 1900 by Irving and Nettie Crane Hodgin. He was president of the First National Bank of Somerton and served one term in the Ohio House of Representatives. A Republican, when party candidates would visit the Somerton community, they often addressed those assembled from the front porch of the Hodgin home.