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Built by German immigrant, Ada family takes care of former Cisler home

It was the brick and the wood that pulled at the hearts of the Adas.

The Victorian home of the former Cisler brickmakers sits atop the hill between Seventh Street and Giant Eagle and is one that many pass by on their way to get groceries, work out or send a package.

The home was built by first-generation immigrant Thomas Cisler, who was from Germany. In the expanse where the grocery and Marietta Family YMCA now sit he started the brickworks in 1856, and it spread onto more than 25 acres by 1900.

“They had the first indoor bathroom in town, the house was built in 1886,” explained current owner Laurie Ada. “Their family did very well in the Industrial Revolution and it showed in the heart and detail they put into the house.”

Laurie and Jesse Ada are only the second family outside of the Cislers to own the hilltop’s proud view.

“Historic houses I think are the most interesting things here, we’ve lived in Marietta 26 years and restored a house on Fourth Street before moving here 21 years ago,” she said. “I believe in restoration not what I call ‘remuddling’…trying to keep the home in the most original state possible.”

When the Adas purchased the home it had been boarded up and children that would pass by on their way home from school called it haunted.

“But there wasn’t too much damage or destruction,” she noted, though work to update plumbing, add a new roof to the carriage house, restore chimneys and floors was needed. “But the front of the house is just beautiful.”

Jesse made sure to jump in with comments about his favorite part of the house– his study.

“I have the nicest library in Marietta thanks to my wife,” he said.

And with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves filled with old books, it’s not hard to imagine the business the Cislers managed, with foremen living at the bottom of the hill on Seventh and making their way up the driveway to have invoices and orders approved. Though the bookshelves are new to the property, courtesy of Laurie’s design eye, they match the character of the home.

“This house has a very good flow and they seemed to be ahead of their time in some respects,” said Laurie. “Old houses didn’t traditionally have large kitchens but this one does. But of course, if you have to change something, like adding a bathroom, you need to look at both function and are you keeping with the integrity and character of the home.”

But the restoration process is more about a labor of love than an open checkbook, she added.

“People always make the argument that it costs more to restore but that’s not true,” Laurie said. “There’s no match to the quality of 100 to 150 years of character in the wood.

Old homes are more solid than any new ones built now. Plus they have more character.”

At a glance:

¯ The Thomas Cisler home was built in 1886 in the Victorian style.

¯ It was made out of bricks, fitting of the profession of Cisler himself.

¯ Laurie and Jesse Ada are only the second family to own the historic Marietta home.

¯ Cisler bricks were used at the Marietta Post Office, Middle School, and several Marietta College buildings.

¯ The house survived a tornado in 1903.

Source: Times research.

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