It’s hard to know which is more impressive at the top of Two Mile Hill – the magnificent home that sits gracefully at the highest elevation of 1,000 feet or the gorgeous, panoramic views of Portsmouth and the surrounding southern Ohio countryside.
The two seem destined to be together, and their union creates one of the most unique and breathtaking homes in the area.
The estate encompasses more than 65 acres that was called Two Mile Hill State Park when it was owned by the state of Ohio in the 1800s and early 1900s. For many years, the park, so named because it was two miles from the old post office by horseback, was a favorite picnic and hiking spot. The current owners, or caretakers as they call themselves, point out carvings dating back to 1803 in the rocks near the home.
“We are homeowners and caretakers. We care for this property. The preservation of the estate is the most important thing,” said Barb Lodwick, who has cared for Two Mile Hill for the past decade alongside her husband, David.
Originally from Scioto County – David from New Boston, Barb from Wheelersburg – the Lodwicks lived in other magnificent locations as David moved around during his work for Tropicana and Seagram’s International, including homes in London and Paris and one in Bradenton, Fla., which they still own. But nothing compares to Two Mile Hill, Barb said. “When we first came to see it, we were just awed by the view. Like so many people who come here, we just walked straight to the front deck and stared.”
The decks – 2,350 square feet of them with teak outdoor furniture throughout – surround the 5,300 square foot home on three sides. The one on the south side is also home to an inground pool, jacuzzi and large cabana with a huge antique wooden table that can seat up to 24 people.
The set up is perfect for entertaining, which is something the Lodwicks greatly enjoy. They open their home frequently for local charities, including the Red Cross, Portsmouth Children’s Theater, and events for Shawnee State University. They also have hosted many weddings, Easter sunrise services, Fourth of July parties (great views of the Portsmouth fireworks), wine tastings and teas.
“They love the home and they really treat it like it’s Portsmouth’s house,” said Debbie Gambill, a realtor at Century 21 in Portsmouth. Two Mile Hill is currently on the market (asking price $869,000), though the owners say they aren’t in a big hurry to leave their scenic property and return to living full-time in Florida.
“We just want to downsize. We are older and we get tired at night now,” Barb joked. “We are going to have to find the perfect people for this home – people who are like us and want to share it.”
The Frank Lloyd Wright inspired “Prairie Style” home features open-concept living, with leaded glass doors and redwood in many areas. “The thing I really love about the house is that it’s very comfortable to be in,” Barb said. “I am a decorator, and it’s all useable. There are places to sit everywhere.
“This house is a blessing. You just feel good being in it,” she added.
The first floor has three bedrooms, a formal living and dining room, kitchen and breakfast area, and Florida room with Mexican tile. The lower level features a media room, mini kitchen (currently home to an ice cream bar), billiard room and bath. It also features walk-out access to the pool area.
The home was constructed in 1965 for Dr. Joe Babcock and purchased two years later by another doctor, John Lawyer. At the time, it was the largest residential transaction ever in Scioto County. Lawyer expanded the residence and added the pool. In 1993, he and his wife completed a $500,000 renovation, which added a third floor penthouse, accessible only by elevator. That’s currently home to the master bedroom, his and her dressing areas and a bath which features a glass block center shower, sunken tub and, of course, magificent views from every angle.
The Lodwicks also have done major renovations, including a completely remodeled and updated kitchen with sub-zero appliances, heating and cooling upgrades, color changes throughout the home, and exterior painting of the main house and five-car garage/guest house.
The guest house includes a two-bedroom apartment and a studio apartment, both of which are used by family members and friends, as well as visiting state government officials, missionaries, or prospective new doctors at Southern Ohio Medical Center.
The Lodwicks’ two children, Aimee, 39, and David, 42, grew up in Florida, but have spent time as adults at Two Mile Hill. Aimee lived in one of the guest apartments for a while and is happy to house-sit in the big home when her parents are gone. “I was born in Florida and have been all over the world, but this is one of the most beautiful places I’ve been.”
Word of Two Mile Hill’s uniqueness has even reached Hollywood, which filmed a movie, Scorned there last year (no release date yet). The thriller/slasher, starring Billy Zane, is described as “a romantic weekend which turns horrific and sadistic when Sadie discovers her boyfriend is having an affair with her best friend.” It’s not the type of film the Lodwicks would enjoy seeing, but it’s nice that their home and the Portsmouth area had a role.
The property has a massive automatically controlled gate and advanced security system. A half-mile long and 10-foot wide paved driveway stretches from the gate to the home. “We maintain the road and have it coated. If you live somewhere like this, you have to have the equipment to take care of it.”
The Lodwicks also own the gatehouse just outside the property and think they might hold onto that after the property sells. “We’d love to still be able to come back to this area.”
Photos by Ashley Gallaher Quinn