The house was returned to Sally Baldwin in 1847, upon which time she deeded the original 24 ½ acres along with an additional 38 acres she purchased that year to her nephew, William Reynolds. Reynolds, a graduate of Allegheny College and Pittsburgh attorney moved his wife Julia and one year old daughter Frances to Meadville that year and was quickly enveloped in the community.
Reynolds was a pillar in the community, serving as one of the most influential business men in town. One time President of the Meadville Gas and Water Company, his was the first house in Meadville to receive natural gas lighting. Reynolds also served as the first President of the Atlantic and Great Western Railroad and one of its founders. He was the last burgess of Meadville and the city’s first mayor.
William and Julia spent many of their early years in the house remodeling the southern style plantation into their dream Victorian home. Pine woodwork was removed and replaced with black walnut, parquet floors were added over the existing pine, and new fireplaces, a library, and solarium were added. The most extensive renovation was the addition of a full third floor for both children’s’ bedrooms and servants’ quarters.
William and Julia were revered as members of the community and had a total of four children. The couple passed away in early 1911 a week apart, living in their home for over 60 years.
Upon their death, William and Julia Reynolds left their home and most of its contents to John Earle Reynolds, the youngest of their four children. A bachelor in his 50s, John married his longtime love, Katherine Shryock in May 1911, just months after his parents’ death. The couple took a year long honeymoon to Europe and Asia, visible from the 1912 Belgian wallpaper in the dining room, as well as other artifacts throughout the museum.
John Earle did his best to follow in his father’s footsteps. A three term mayor of Meadville, as well as the President and Chairman of Merchant’s Bank of Meadville, he did his best to keep busy. Katherine was very active in the American Red Cross and was a charter member of the Meadville Garden Club.
John and Katherine were the ideal socialites in Meadville and examples of true elegance. After John’s death in 1947, Katherine remained in the house until her death in 1963, willing a public sale and the house put on market.
The Crawford County Historical Society purchased the property in 1963 through the generous support of both Talon Zipper Company and the community at large. It was transformed into a house museum, displaying much of the Baldwin and Reynolds family furnishings as well as domestic artifacts from the people of Crawford County.