Around 1914, Col. George P. Greenhalgh, an artillery officer in WWI and his wife Marie, the niece of Edward Drummond Libby, built a small farm and country estate on their twelve-acre property in Perrysburg, Ohio.
Known as a “gentleman’s farm” or “hobby farm,” 577 was for the Greenhalgh’s leisure and fun, to escape the pressures of the business world. It was designed for the accommodation of horses for playing polo and a small cow dairy, not a a farm for producing large amounts of food or livestock for major markets.
During this time period, many owners of hobby farms found it satisfying to see plants growing, visit and train their livestock, and taste fresh milk and butter. It’s not unlike people who now come to 577 to enjoy the peaceful surroundings, tend a garden, make something with their hands, and play.
In 1935, Duane and Virginia purchased the property and built the house they named Needmor, where Virginia lived until her death in 1997. The architect for the Colonial Revival style house was Toledo’s Mills, Rhines, Bellman & Nordhoff. The house is Colonial Revival in style, built of fieldstone and clapboard with the cornice running the full length of the building. Chimneys are on the ends for visual balance. Wings on the right side are clapboard while the main section is stone.
Landscaping was created by Ellen Biddle Shipman, a remarkable landscape architect from New York whose artistic, harmonious-with-nature, hospitable designs influenced the field of American landscape architecture for years to come. When she designed over 650 gardens between 1914-1946 (including 577, Wildwood Metropark in Toledo, and Stan Hywet Hall in Akron), it was alongside the all-woman colleagues she employed at her firm.
The former stables and guest houses are examples of the Federal style. The original dairy (now the pottery studio) and horse barns were built around 1916. The former V-shaped stables housed the show and polo horses of Col. Greenhalgh, an avid horseman. When Perysburg’s Carranor Hunt and Polo Club won the Midwest Circuit of the National Polo Association championship in the 1920s, ponies were brought into this open area for accolades and goodies during an outdoor dinner celebration.
Speculated to be the oldest structure in Lucas and Wood counties, the cabin was built in 1803 or 1804 by a pioneer named Woolfert. The ground it rested on was part of the late George and Eleanor Roose estate, and with the exception of some 20 years, it was in the same family for several generations. The several-acre riverside strip was acquired in 1873 by the Rev. George A. Adams, long-time pastor of the Presbyterian Church.
The cabin was gifted to 577 in 1997 by Gayla Owen and restored on the 577 property. Now known as the Wolfort House, the building was moved on a semi-truck, escorted by the State Highway Patrol. Virginia led the procession down OH State Route 65 in her golf cart.