History of Sandusky. Part 5: The Adkinsons
After more than 100 years, Sandusky was sold out of the Hutter family, in 1952. At this point Sandusky had been owned by Janie C. Hutter, the widow of Ferdinand Lee Hutter. Their children had all married and moved away. For most of the 19th century the property consisted of 600 acres; by the mid 20th century is was but 3.84 acres. The surrounding meadows and fields had been sold to a developer who proceeded to build the Sandusky subdivision which now consists of about 700 homes. The developer was aware of Sandusky’s history, particularly Charles Johnston’s captivity at the hands of Native-American Indians in 1790, so he proceed to name most of the streets after Indian tribes, e.g. Apache, Mohawk, Chinook, etc.
The next owners and residents of Sandusky were Mr. & Mrs. Neville Adkinson who bought Sandusky in 1952. Neville. a retired Colonel in the Air Force, was commonly called "Nip" while his wife, Louise, was called "Bit." They had one son, Neville Jr., who was called "Kip." For some years they owned and operated a furniture store in Downtown Lynchburg. Mrs. Adkinson was very keen on history and enamored with the Federal era. She set about collecting antiques and furnishings in order to decorate the house in the Federal style. She even procured Federal fireplace mantels and replaced the existing 20th century mantels. She also added dentil moldings around the interior of several rooms. Fortunately, the Adkinsons did not alter the house in any significant manner which greatly aided later restoration.
For nearly 50 years the Adkinsons lived in and cared for Sandusky. On special occasions they opened the house to the public for tours during events such as Garden Day and the 125th anniversary commemoration of the Battle of Lynchburg in 1989.
In 2000, Mrs. Adkinson, now a widow, decided to sell Sandusky. She expressed to many she wanted to see it placed in the “proper” hands, preferably to an organization that might turn it into a historical attraction. She was approached by local physician and historian Peter Houck who wanted to buy the house and preserve it. For a short while he entertained the idea of buying it and living in it, but decided instead to form a nonprofit foundation to buy the house and restore it. To help facilitate the deal Mrs. Adkinson dropped the selling price by one third.
In 2001, the Historic Sandusky Foundation was formed and took ownership of Sandusky and its 3.84 acres. After nearly 200 years of ownership by private citizens Sandusky was in the hands of an organization determined to restore it and open it to the public.