A frame building that will be in keeping with Mr. Wooden’s usual enterprising spirit…” stated the published announcement of the letting of the contract to build the lovely home at 107 E. Washington St. in Centerville, now known as The Columns. Built in 1895, the house was a model of modern architecture, and its interior arrangement for comfort and convenience made it one of the most handsome homes of the time in the city. It contains a beautiful open staircase, wide, carved woodwork, large, airy rooms, pocket doors, several fireplaces, thick, brick walls, a quaint attic, a full basement, and a back stairway into the kitchen. Outside, two-story ionic columns connect the second-floor balcony and the welcoming front porch. A portico extends over the driveway. In the early years, there were fish ponds and elegant willow trees.
Through the years, the house was not only a private home but also a nursing home. It is said that the small divots in the stone floor of the sun room were created by the legs of the patients’ beds. At one point, the home was a dormitory for Centerville Community College football players. Two separate enterprising owners created craft/painting studio/gift shop and bed and breakfast businesses in the home.Drake is a duck billboard which recognizes the historical relationship between former Governor Francis Drake and Centerville. Francis Drake, a Centerville native, had a successful career as a lieutenant colonel, governor, businessman, banker, lawyer, railroad builder and founder of Drake University. The Drake billboards highlight interesting places to visit and display local history that connect the community to world events. At each Drake location, there are maps pointing out all of the places Drake can be found.