Front View of Thomas House

Ward-Thomas Museum

Ohio Association of Historical Societies and Museums

Five images of buildings and grounds

This Old House

Ward — Thomas Museum
Home of the Niles Historical Society
503 Brown Street Niles, Ohio 44446

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Mail: PO Box 368 Niles, Ohio 44446

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The Little House, photographed in 2019 with Louie Pela’s Kodak 1A Autographic camera, circa 1917.

The Little House, photographed in 2019 with Louie Pela’s Kodak 1A Autographic camera, circa 1917. Photo: Robrt Pela, https://www.facebook.com/notthecakeeaters

Mamie and Nick Pela, Jr. in 1937.

Photo: Robrt Pela, https://www.facebook.com/notthecakeeaters

The Little House.

Many Italian immigrants who came to Niles in the early 1900s lived in houses such as this home in the East End on Fulton.

The homes had a garden in the back for fresh vegetables, fruit trees for apples, peaches, or cherries and were usually two story construction with a front porch.

The interior rooms were a parlor, dining room, kitchen and possibly a small bathroom on the first floor. The second floor had two or three bedrooms and a full bathroom. In the earlier years, there was an outhouse in the distant backyard and a water pump near the back porch for drinking and cooking water and sometimes an outdoor pizza oven.

The house was a wooden framed building with lapped wooden siding and a slate shingled roof. A coal furnace provided heat to the rooms inside with coal stored in the basement which came in through a coal scuttle opening in the basement block.

Usually there was a side door to exit the house and enter the basement from the outside. Almost every house would have front steps that led up to the front porch. Each house would have a foundation of either quarried stone or later cement blocks that would keep the structure away from the ground.

The following images are from a home in Niles that has rooms that have been furnished as in the 1930s-1940s with furniture, lamps, dishes, curtains, and everyday items.

 

Mamie and Nick Pela, Jr. in 1937.

Mamie, a former midwife, delivered Nick in January of 1922 in an upstairs bedroom of The Little House. Behind them at right, the shed that housed Mamie's pizza oven, just steps from the kitchen door. She baked pizzas in empty film canisters that her eldest son, Louis, brought home from his job at the Warner Brothers theater in downtown Niles.

To view a comprehensive listing of photographs and descriptions, visit this Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/notthecakeeaters

To schedule a private tour of this home, please contact Robrt Pela on Facebook.:

Search Face book and leave a message-Robrt Pela

Text Robrt Pela-6023208445

The Niles Historical Society would like to thank Robrt Pela for allowing us to share his photographs and memories on this web page.


It is the birth home of his father and originally the home of his great-grandparents who came to this country in 1912.

Photo: Robrt Pela, https://www.facebook.com/notthecakeeaters

The home is shown in the before and after photographs.

This is not Robrt Pela's birth home. It is the birth home of his father and originally the home of his great-grandparents who came to this country in 1912.

His grandparents lived here when they were first married, as did his own parents and all of his siblings. Four generations of his family have lived in this home.

 

His grandparents lived here when they were first married, as did his own parents and all of his siblings. Four generations of his family have lived in this home.

Photo: Robrt Pela, https://www.facebook.com/notthecakeeaters


Red Cross cast iron well pump, capping a well used before the Little House had indoor plumbing.

Exterior detail: Red Cross cast iron well pump, capping a well used before the Little House had indoor plumbing.
Photo: Robrt Pela, https://www.facebook.com/notthecakeeaters

Kitchen detail: Vernonware “Organdie” dishware, circa 1940s.

Kitchen detail: Vernonware “Organdie” dishware, circa 1940s.
Photo: Robrt Pela, https://www.facebook.com/notthecakeeaters

Bathroom detail: Giant pile of vintage medicine

Bathroom detail: Giant pile of vintage medicine
and toiletries, some of them fake.
Photo: Robrt Pela, https://www.facebook.com/notthecakeeaters


Kitchen sink detail: Crosley radio (upper left corner), just like the one Nick and Mary Pela listened to here in the 1940s.

Kitchen sink detail: Crosley radio (upper left corner), just like the one Nick and Mary Pela listened to here in the 1940s.

Little House, dining room.

Little House, dining room.

Little House, dining room, east wall 2019.

Little House, dining room, east wall 2019.
Photo: Robrt Pela, https://www.facebook.com/notthecakeeaters


Details of first floor bathroom.

Details of first floor bathroom.

Details of first floor bathroom.

Typical items found in 1930-40s bathroom.


Nursery detail: Auburn Rubber Co. toy cars; silver-plated rosary cases (from the estate of Gay Krok); Ideal Toy “Saucy Walker” doll. The portrait of two former Little House residents was taken by Louis Pela, Sr. in 1934.

Nursery detail: Auburn Rubber Co. toy cars; silver-plated rosary cases (from the estate of Gay Krok); Ideal Toy “Saucy Walker” doll. The portrait of two former Little House residents was taken by Louis Pela, Sr. in 1934.

Upstairs bedroom.

Upstairs bedroom.

The nursery, where Nick Pela was born in 1922.

The nursery, where Nick Pela was born in 1922.


View of bedroom showing wooden wardrobe, sitting bench and typical lighting fixtures.

View of bedroom showing wooden wardrobe with drop-down desk shelf, sitting bench and typical lighting fixtures.

Front bedroom vanity detail illustrating
wood inlay and curved front of dresser.

Items on dresser are typical of era.

Vanity table, this one in the front bedroom.

Vanity table, this one in the front bedroom.
Photo: Robrt Pela, https://www.facebook.com/notthecakeeaters


Detail of wooden cabinet and lamp.

Detail of wooden cabinet and lamp.

This bed is in the nursery and shows

This bed is in the nursery and shows
family photographs on walls.

The Little House is crazy for vanity tables.

The Little House is crazy for vanity tables.
This one is in the nursery. Photo: Robrt Pela, https://www.facebook.com/notthecakeeaters


refinished wooden floors, ornate floor register, wainscoting, plate display, and typical trestle wooden table.

Detail showing kitchen area with stove, storage cabinet and back doorway with typical curtains.

Left: Detail showing refinished wooden floors, ornate floor register, wainscoting, plate display, and typical trestle wooden table.

Center: Detail showing kitchen area with stove, storage cabinet and back doorway with typical curtains.

Right: Detail of first floor bathroom showing porcelain sink and commode and wainscoting.

Downstairs floors were usually of better quality than second story floors which were often painted to conceal wood imperfections.

Detail of first floor bathroom showing porcelain sink and commode and wainscoting.

Before Nicola Pilla’s death in 1932, his wife Mamie rented rooms in The Little House to local mill workers.“My grandmother ran the place as a boarding house,”

The Little House originally had no indoor plumbing; an outhouse and outdoor water pump were used. The kitchen and bathroom were added on sometime in the 1920s.



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