By 1860, Spring Valley had a hotel, tannery, two blacksmiths, two cabinetmakers, two physicians, two grocers, and a shoemaker, along with a wool mill and flour mill, started by prominent citizen, George Barrett. Moses Walton also partnered with George Barrett’s son, Isaac, to produce and distribute smoked meats, wool, and flax products nationally.
Today, at 4 East Main Street in Spring Valley, you can find the George Barrett Concrete House, which was built in 1853, and was one of the very first concrete homes built in the Midwest. Barrett was the victim of several fires in his home and, seeking a building material that wouldn’t catch fire, he built a two-story concrete wing using river rock and concrete mortar, and reinforced the mixture with animal hair. Barrett even wrote a book, Home for the Millions: The Poor Man’s Home, and Rich Man’s Palace, or, the Application of the Gravel Wall Cement to the Purpose of Building, detailing his design and construction. The house was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1986, and a historic marker was placed in 2003. Barrett also built a wool mill of the same materials by the Little Miami Railroad (now the Little Miami Scenic Trail). The mill still stands today, behind Bledsoe Park.
Today, the Concrete House serves as a museum and public meeting space.