Gatewood (The McIntyre House)
The Gatewood house was built in 1847 and owned by some of Gallipolis’s most prominent residents, including Andrew W. Allemong and Fred M. Bovie, both successful grocers. The most famous owner of the house was writer O. O. McIntyre, who was the most widely-read columnnist of his time. McIntyre grew up in Gallipolis before moving to New York and writing a columnn about the city and its celebrities. He bought Gatewood for his wife in 1933 and spent $50,000 renovating it. The name “Gatewood” came from Mrs. McIntyre’s mother. Unfortunately, O. O. McIntyre died five years later before he could even set foot in the house.
Backstory and Context
Oscar Odd McIntyre was born February 18, 1884 in Plattsburg, Missouri, but he grew up under his grandmother’s care in Gallipolis, Ohio. There, he got his first newspaper job at the Gallipolis Journal. When he dropped out of high school, he began to work for newspapers exclusively. He quickly began to realize the power of print by seeing how excited residents would be anytime their names appeared in the paper. He also noticed the love people had for performers at the local Ariel Theatre. These two observations would shape his future career as a columnnist.
After moving to find higher-paying jobs in some of Ohio’s cities, McIntyre and his wife, Maybelle Hope Small, left Cincinnati for New York in 1911 or 1912 (sources differ). Eventually, McIntyre became the most-read and one of the highest-paid columnnists of his time. His daily columnn New York Day by Day and his short stories captivated small town America with its pop-culture references and vivid descriptions of a glamorous New York. He approached writing about celebrities and entertainment with a sense of wonder and good-nature that he never lost, no matter how many stars he met. And he met plenty. Some of his friends included actors Charlie Chaplin and Will Rogers and writers Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Despite being so well-known across the country, few knew that McIntyre struggled with mental illness most of his life. He suffered from depression, had phobias that included being patted on the back, and dreaded seeing the doctor. Today, it is thought that many of his health problems were caused by pernicious anemia. Whatever caused his anxieties, they only got worse as he aged. Toward the end of his life, he could only write if his wife was in the room, and he only left the house at night. O. O. McIntyre died of an apparent heart attack on February 14, 1938, four days before his 54th birthday. His remains were brought to Gatewood, the house he planned to retire in but never visited. He was buried on Mound Hill overlooking the Ohio River.
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