J. P. Whitla Mansion
The J. P. Whitla Mansion is a Queen Anne beauty that sits atop Sharon's East Hill. James Whitla was a well-known attorney in the City of Sharon. His wife, Isabella, was the younger sister of Mrs. Frank (Julia Forker) Buhl. Buhl was a multimillionaire industrialist and philanthropist. In March 1909, their 8-year-old son Billy was kidnapped from school by a local couple and held in Cleveland. A ransom note demanding $10,000 read, "Dead boys, like dead men, tell no tales." The ransom was paid, Billy was released, the kidnappers were caught and most of the money was recovered. Thousands greeted Billy's arrival back to Sharon. Kidnapper Thomas Boyle got life in prison and died there, while his wife served 10 years of a 25 year sentence. Billy went on to become a lawyer, joining the bar in 1926 the day his father died. Billy died at age 31 in 1932 of pneumonia. The Mansion still stands today and was restored to its Queen Anne-style beauty in 1996-97 by Jim and Donna Winner. The Winner also have restored the Buhl Mansion and Billy's Mansion which he built next door to his parent's home.