Isn’t it interesting how houses take on the names of their owners? It is no different with the Jodon House, except that, as the oldest house still standing in Little Falls, it has had many prominent names associated with it. The Jodon House is located at 213 Northeast 2nd Street, right across from the Central Office Building. It was built in the Greek Revival Style in 1858 by Dr. Zachariah Jodon. Greek Revival Style houses are extremely rare in this area. Dr. Jodon was a pretty rare character, too! He was both a doctor and a carpenter. During the Little Falls War of 1858, he ran from his house to the ravine across the street (behind Community Animal Hospital and the Law Office) and shot one of the ruffians who was involved with robberies and general lawlessness in Little Falls at the time.
Dr. Jodon bought the property for his house from the Little Falls Manufacturing Company for $275.00 on April 30, 1858. The same day, he bought materials to the tune of $377.52 to build the house. By July, 1858, the plasterer, Dan Sullivan, had finished his work. Judging by the fact that Jodon was living in the house by August, the house was constructed rather quickly. By November, 1858, Dr. Jodon sold his house for $1,700.00 to Miles Brown and moved out of town. In 1859, when Little Falls Manufacturing Company was failing, the mortgage was defaulted and Ezra Picotte bought the house at a sheriff’s sale. Picotte sold the house to Alfred Tanner in 1864 for $525.00. Alfred Tanner was an influential business man in the city of Little Falls. He owned the Little Falls Milling Company and built a couple of business blocks in downtown Little Falls. Tanner also ran a general merchandise store and served as mayor of Little Falls. He sold his house to his mother, Catherine Tanner, in 1867 for $1,000.00. (Notice that he made a profit!) Catherine lived in the house until she died in 1889. Her son, James, sold the house to Dr. and Mrs. Lemuel Roberts in 1897.
Dr. Roberts and his wife owned the house for over 50 years. Dr. Roberts was a physician and surgeon who also practiced homeopathic medicine. He died in 1940, and his second wife, Ida, continued to live in the house until her death in 1950. With her passing, the Jodon/Tanner/Roberts House became a rental property.
Barb Abrahamson rescued the house in 1989. She painstakingly restored her “Majestic Old Lady” and carefully documented her efforts with photographs. She also kept pieces of the many layers of wallpaper she found on the walls, a hunk of tar paper insulation, and a pane of glass with the name “Taylor” or “Gaylor” etched on it. When she finished making the home liveable again, Barb ran her Suzuki Studio out of the home, teaching cello and other stringed instruments to her students. Barb appreciated the house’s rich past to such an extent that she decided to try to get it on the National Register of Historic Places. She has written a history of the house, which includes the renovation she has done. (Did you know that the house was rotated? It used to face north toward Second Avenue. Now it faces east toward Second Street.) She also compiled two photo albums of her restoration work, one with photos, the other with all those bits of wallpaper. A draft of her history, along with the photo albums are on file at the Morrison County Historical Society. In fact, this article was written using her history as a reference. In 1999, Barb moved out of the Jodon/Tanner/Roberts (and, might we add, Abrahamson) House to Nobleboro, Maine, in order to be closer to her children. She is still working on applying to the National Register (they are very particular about their requirements), and we will keep everyone posted on the status of the house.
By Mary Warner
Copyright 2000, Morrison County Historical Society