|Address:||110 East High Street|
|Year Built:||c. 1875|
|Original Owner:||Knox Mutual Insurance Company|
The Knox Mutual Insurance Company, one of the first firms of its kind in the State of Ohio, was incorporated by a special act of legislature on March 14, 1838, and began issuing policies as early as August, 1839. Early fire insurance companies had their own plaques, known as fire marks, which they would attach to the buildings that they insured, much like the home security placards found on many homes today. These fire marks served as a form of advertisement, but more importantly, it indicated that the building was insured in the event of fire damage. In the United States, fire marks reached their heydey from the 1850s to the 1870s. The first board members of the Knox Mutual Insurance Company included such prominent businessmen as C. P. Buckingham (president), Samuel J. Updegraff (secretary), Ebenezer G. Woodward (treasurer), Henry B. Curtis, George Browning, J. E. Davidson, Columbus Delano, B. S. Brown, Else Miller, and Isaac Hadley. By 1958, this company was forced to merge with the Richland Mutual Insurance Company under the new name Richland-Knox Mutual Insurance Company. It was likely at this time when the First Baptist Church, formerly next to the Knox Mutual Building but now razed for a parking lot, purchased the property to use as classrooms. The building was sold to the County Commissioners in 1973, and after extensive remodeling housed offices or both the Commissioners and the Regional Planning Commission.
The Knox Mutual Building is a fine example of small-scale Richardsonian-Romanesque construction, which is defined by heavy masonry and thick, heavy arches. Primarily constructed with brick, the building is accented by white stone detailing, including three joined arches surrounding the entrance. The central arch is slightly taller than the other two, and is further defined by a large fanlight and sidelights surrounding the door. The two flanking arches also have fanlights above the rectangular windows. Located in the gable is a set of three rectangular windows, separated by heavy stone mullions, and above these is a large stone nameplate reading "KNOX MUTUAL." The roof is covered with slate shingles.