1876 Italianate – Harrisburg, PA

Added to OHD on 1/13/11   -   Last OHD Update: 9/30/19   -   64 Comments
SOLD / Archived Post
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2101 Bellevue Rd, Harrisburg, PA 17104

Map: Aerial

  • $129,900
  • 7 Bed
  • 4.5 Bath
  • 4602 Sq Ft
  • 0.73 Ac.
"One of kind" Totally unique Italianate design with a commanding presence on a.72 acre corner lot. 11ft ceilings, hexagon shaped rooms, observation tower, tin roof, servants suite, front and rear staircase to 3rd floor. Wine cellar, original kelvinator ice box, oversize period moldings & oak flooring thruout-see assoc docs for multi page history of this exceptional home.
OHD Notes
Known as "Breeze Hill", it is the oldest house in the Bellevue Park neighborhood. It was built by Jacob Haehnlen as a summer residence. Owners over the years have been restoring and maintaining the home and have kept the original light fixtures, hardware, woodwork, plumbing and other features intact (as of 2008.)
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62 Comments on 1876 Italianate – Harrisburg, PA

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  1. Tamara says: 8 comments

    Awesome! Those windows knock me out, love the arch shutters/inserts. And it’s got the icebox!!! Great find!

  2. Michael a neighbor says: 6 comments

    The builder went belly up. House is bank owned, and no interested buyers. Needs some tlc. Any takers up for it? It is listed for 243,000.00 now. Hate seeing it sit empty. Basement has 20 ft ceilings with gothic arches. Was a wine cellar. Be a cool pool if you dumped big money into it.

  3. Cindie says: 14 comments

    I live in Melrose Gardens…..I ride by this house often. I love it. If I EVER win the lottery, this house is MINE!

  4. Lewis Grandstaff 11 says: 2 comments

    I explored the house yesterday and found the house to be very charming. However, the amount of money it would take to get it back up to code will be insane. This was built as a summer home. I currently live in a 203 year old civil war home and know just what it takes to heat it. I have 3500 sq feet and takes an arm and a leg to heat it. This beautiful home listed is more then 1000 more sq feet and has no storm windows. In fact, all windows are single pane. Now having said that, would I buy it? Perhaps but the electrical needs up dated as I looked into areas where I can see the old wiring and its way out of code. The house need serious scraping and painting on the exterior, the paint is already a mess. That alone will run about 100K.
    Someone with the cash will love this place. Hopefully I will win the lottery and bring this beauty back to life. No one builds homes like this anymore……..

  5. Cindie says: 14 comments

    Ah….I’ll just keep on driving past and DREAMING…..

  6. Jessie says: 1 comments

    Here’s a question… what if someone was crazy enough to buy this place and take on the responsibility of bringing it back to its former glory but didn’t have the money to restore it… do you think enough people do/could care about this place that fundraising and donations of labor/materials could help the crazy “idealist” owner?

    After all, I think anyone who takes on this house would be partly insane, but maybe just insane enough to pull it off and make it not only a gem for themselves but also for the community.

    • cameron lewis says: 2 comments

      That’s exactly what my dad, Jeremy Scott lewis did, and yes he is crazy, but in a good way, also he has the money to restore the place

  7. John says: 9 comments

    Nice house, great price. It’s a shame it needs so much work and the city/area has a significant violent crime issue.

  8. Cindie says: 14 comments

    I’ll just keep on buying lottery tickets…if I win, I’ll restore the house and live in it, and rent part of it out for social events…..just dreaming again…..what is life if you can’t dream???

  9. Curiouser George says: 161 comments

    Gotta agree about those rounded windows. It’s this sort of feature that makes such homes more completely unique.

    And I wonder if there would have been exterior doors behind the ice box for the delivery to be made without coming inside. I’ve seen such an arrangement in at least one other home.

  10. Cindie says: 14 comments

    I don’t think your idea would work, Jessie. Simply because there enough people residing in Bellevue Park to have made the restoration happen years ago….before Harrisburg got into this horrible financial mess and property taxes soared. I think now, people are more concerned about paying ever-rising taxes to live in “the park”, or about how they can get out of “the park.” So many houses for sale there.

  11. Natalia says: 2 comments

    Ohhh this is my dream home too! I can’t stop thinking about it. Trying to convince my husband to venture…but he is not insane like me….Too much to bring it to is formal glory. But I cant stop thinking about raising my kids in this beautiful mansion. The vecinity is not great though….

  12. Cindie says: 14 comments

    If I could restore that house and had the $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$to live there, I’d hire “security” — neighborhood guys — and pay them VERY WELL. That way I believe I would have no problems.

  13. John says: 20 comments

    Perhaps more important than the house itself is its most notable resident, Horace J. MacFarland. Here is what Wikipedia says about him.

    “J. Horace McFarland (1859–1948) from McAlisterville, Pennsylvania was a leading proponent of the “City Beautiful Movement” in the United States.

    McFarland was the son of Union Civil War colonel George F. McFarland. He lived and worked most of his adult life in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the state capital. McFarland served as president of the American Civic Association (ACA) from 1904 to 1924. McFarland and the ACA were a major force promoting civic improvement, environmental conservation, and beautification in the USA.[1] McFarland helped organize the defense of Niagara Falls from development efforts by power companies, worked to protect Yosemite National Park with the famous environmental preservationist John Muir, who has been hailed as the father of the National Park Service.[2]

    He is remembered for a statement at the first Conference of Governors held at the White House, Washington D.C., in 1908:

    β€œIt is the love of country that has lighted and that keeps glowing the holy fire of patriotism.”[

    Also, see http://www.heritagerosefoundation.org/4resources/Rosa%20Mundi/11/RM11_Horace%20McFarland.pdf

  14. Cindie says: 14 comments

    I am quite the history buff, especially for local history, and read all about Mr. MacFarland some time ago.

  15. J. Scott Lewis says: 1 comments

    I must be insane, but I just bought this house! Seriously!

    1
    • CJ Kitty says: 2 comments

      This was my Great Aunt Helen’s home until she died at age 95. My Great Grand Parents lived there before and she inherited it from them, though I never knew them as they died way before I was born. I loved that house and Aunt Helen would fuss whenever we children came because we always liked to “snoop” in all the cool places. The neatest place was the belfry. There was an original light bulb there for the longest time, hanging by wire. Always fascinated us. The home was a decorator’s showcase home for the Harrisburg Art or Historical Society several years after Aunt Helen died. Their decorating was over the top, but they maintained the woodwork, where someone went through and painted the molding and door frames with paint to “look” like wood, even though they are wood. It has a name, but I can’t remember what that technique is called. Good luck with this house. Some of the pictures make me hopeful that it can be renovated and maintained, but some of the pictures show how run down it is. It is worth saving and wish “This Old House” would come to Harrisburg and take this gem on. My Great grandfather owned the entire block and had wonderful rose gardens where he grew hybrids for Jackson-Perkins. After J.Horace and Nanan died, the block was subdivided and sold for Aunt Helen to live on the proceeds.

      1
      • Cindie says: 14 comments

        How blessed your family members were to own and live in this home! I always said if I could ever buy it…..I would house one of my “crazy” relatives in the belfry…..as in “bats in the belfry.” Seriously, though….I could see myself dressed in a beautiful gown, sitting in the “drawing room”, playing a harp, and having wine served to my guests.

    • cameron lewis says: 2 comments

      I literally just left a comment on someone else’s post saying that you did dad, by the way, if you can’t tell it is Cameron, hope you get this message.

  16. Curiouser George says: 161 comments

    To live in? Single-family residence?

    I suspect that there are a lot of disappointed lottery buyers in Harrisburg these days!

    As for me, well done, and I look forward to visiting some day! πŸ™‚

    Finally, it may be inappropriate to ask, but did you pay the listing price?

  17. Michael a neighbor says: 6 comments

    Congrats Mr. Lewis! I live 3 doors away in the park. Let me know if you need additional history. The house has a lot of it! I’m in Thornwood house.

    Sincerely
    Michael and Scott

  18. Michael a neighbor says: 6 comments

    Congrats! I also wrote that I live in Thornwood house on the map. Hope to meet you soon!

    Sincerely,
    Michael & Scott

  19. Michael a neighbor says: 6 comments

    Oh one more thing. If you need a contractor your neighbor in the stone house across the street is highly recommended!

    Mike

  20. Cindie says: 14 comments

    CONGRATULATIONS! If you see a little old black lady walking around the property, I’m not a robber or a stalker…..I just love the house!

    • Hi Cindie,
      Once the house is habitable and we are living in it, instead of walking around the house we would love for you to come inside and visit over a cup of coffee. It may take us a year or so, but the offer stands.
      Gail

  21. Jessie says: 1 comments

    Congratulations on buying the home! As an architect, it literally broke my heart to see such a marvelous home with so much potential just rotting away. I wish you the best of luck and have a few contacts in the historic preservation/restoration field if you are feeling lost.

    If you are looking for a contractor, I know a very reputable one, with many return clients, who specializes in the remodeling and restoration of old buildings. He has restored several homes and the Civic Club of Harrisburg as well as large portions of the PA Bar Association on Front Street. I recommend him for three major reasons – 1) He can handle the restoration of a large scale home like the one you have, 2) He is known for his rigor of correct methods of practice, he does not cut corners and I’ve seen some of his past projects that are 10+ years old and they are still as solid as the day he built them and 3) he can do everything including carpentry, electrical, plumbing, custom railings, interior and exterior, etc. There are few who can do it all these days. He also gives free estimates and at the very least will do a through analysis of your new property and the extent of restoration needed.

    His contact information –
    Company: Susquehanna Craftsmen
    Name: David Harder
    Phone: (717) 540-9696

  22. I see my son, J. Scott spilled the beans and blogged that he is in the process of buying Breeze Hill. My husband, Dan & I (Gail) just returned from a visit, saw Breeze Hill, and fell in love with the place and the neighborhood. We plan on living there in the house as well, although it may take us a year or so to join Scott, our daughter in law, Beth, and our grandchildren. We now live in Arkansas. So we anticipate becoming one big, happy family in the not so distant future. I think it will take all of us to turn this big place into ‘home’.
    Scott and I love to garden. We are looking forward to planting a large vegetable garden on that wonderful soil. We are also talking about adding some roses.
    We appreciate the friendliness and support we feel from reading your blogs. This is a huge undertaking for us—-either the best thing or the most insane thing we have ever done.
    Gail Lewis
    Mountain View, AR

    • CJ Kitty says: 2 comments

      Gail, I am a descendant of J. Horace McFarland and would love to get updates about a wonderful house that I visited many times when my Aunt Helen lived there. She was quite the character! Good for you to preserve this jewel of a house. My mother was the niece of Helen McFarland. Blessings, Claudia

      • Gail Lewis says: 15 comments

        Hi Claudia,
        I was hoping to find McFarland’s decendent(s). I would like to talk to you. There are seven of us–extended family–living here, and we love this old house and it’s history. I have the biography, “A Thorn for Beauty” and the book, “Memoirs of a Rose Man”, so I have learned some history of the house and McFarland. Slowly, we are working on repairing and restoring. I don’t want to publish my email address or phone # here, but I want to contact you. Do you live in Harrisburg? Can you send a note to the house with your contact info? I am looking forward to being in touch with you. Thanks, Gail Lewis

  23. Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 11864 comments
    Admin

    1901 Folk Victorian
    Chestatee, GA

    Very happy to hear the house is being sold to people who will love and take care of it. πŸ™‚

  24. Cindie says: 14 comments

    CONGRATULATIONS!

  25. Cindie says: 14 comments

    Thank you! I’ll bring the scones!

  26. michael shafer says: 6 comments

    We are very excited to meet you! Bellevue is a wonderful place to live!

  27. Just got the news that the contractor and the inspector went through the house. Much work needed, but all systems GO!

  28. Linda Brumfield says: 1 comments

    Hi,
    The Italianate has been on my favorites bar since last year when my husband, a realtor, showed it to me, and I fell in love with it. It finally went down to a decent price, but the taxes and the monumental amount of work scared him and me. I was thinking it would be a great bed and breakfast or great orphanage or foster home. I wish you the best. I considered talking with the township/city to see if the crazy taxes could be lowered. If it was an orphanage or some non-profit organization…. God bless you in your endeavors and for your gutsiness! Many of us want to see the beautiful house restored and are glad you are doing it. I lived in Springdale, Arkansas, when I was a teen and worked in the cafeteria at the University of Fayettville. Arkansas is a lot like here. Welcome to Pennsylvania.

  29. With 2 generations (plus the kids) living in it, we hope to be able to afford the taxes and insurance. We will just have to work hard to make the money we need. The house has been completely checked by an inspector and our contractor, and we know what repairs need to be done. We have a priority list–patch the roof and fix the broken windows first. Radon test came back very good. Everything can be repaired or replaced—-in time. We want to make this a home that we can enjoy living in.

  30. Ms123321@me.com says: 6 comments

    We were hoping to see Scott and Beth today at Sillybration. The stepettes even dedicated a song! Dinner will be at 5pm today at The Marshall home on Bellevue Rd. We are hoping the Lewis Family is able to join us! Normally it’s burgers and dogs plus sides. Swimming and beverages. If your in need of community help with anything just give us a holler!

    Sincerely,
    Michael

  31. Gail Lewis says: 15 comments

    Closing is Friday morning. Then the work begins!!!

  32. Gail Lewis says: 15 comments

    It is now official. J. Scott and Elizabeth Lewis are the new owners of Breeze Hill. Dan and Gail Lewis will be there as soon as possible!!

  33. Gail Lewis says: 15 comments

    The original tin roof from 1876 is still on it (no new roof). The guy bought it to ‘flip’, and did a little patching and painted the roof to make it look good. It leaks! We will have someone who knows what they are doing patch the roof and repaint so it doesn’t leak. We will be living there, so we want to be sure all repairs and renovations are expertly done.

  34. Gail,

    God bless and good fortune for you and your family in that amazing house. Our lives are all the richer for having had an opportunity to walk through and experience how beautiful it truly is. I love old architecture and that house blew me away when I walked through it for the first time. I wish you all the best there. I hope you love it and are able to do all the things you want to do to it.

    Much happiness!

  35. Cindie says: 14 comments

    So sorry to hear that the roof leaks! Water can do so much damage, resulting in even more repairs. You will love the house when all is completed to your satisfaction. And Bellevue Park is the most beautiful area in Harrisburg.

  36. Lewis Grandstaff 11 says: 2 comments

    This past spring I visited this house and was on top of the roof. The roof was a concern since I already live in a house built in 1810, which has a tin roof. With the coating on this roof raised major concern with the damages done to the interior. None the less it truly is a once in a lifetime beauty to have stepped inside and see its incredible detail.

    I’ve been wanting to ask about your plans on heating and cooling. I too have radiators throughout my home but used an exterior wood boiler to heat my water. There are other options besides using gas or oil, both would be out of this world expensive and in no way could I justify heating with them. There is, however, a coal boiler that burns hard coal and is fed through a large hopper. If you noticed that huge boiler in your basement, I believe it was used to burn coal, although I am not 100% correct on that. It certainly is HUGE! The reason I think coal was used was the room close to the boiler certainly looks like one that was built to hold the coal and has a large opening from outside for transporting it inside.

    I as well as many people would love to see the house once it is completed. It truly is inspiring to see someone saving it. Your family are truly blessed with this unique opportunity and Barbara and I wish you all the very best. As a photographer, your home calls me to photograph it….

  37. Gail Lewis says: 15 comments

    Renovations are scheduled to begin next week on a small scale, then in a week or two the major renovations should be commencing. Special glass has to be poured to replace the broken windows with period correct windows.
    We will be heating with a large gas furnace. We will also line the fireplace and use it.
    Area heaters may also be used if needed.
    The roof may be the most costly item to be restored. We are keeping the original tin roof. It has to be correctly done, not just patched and painted to look nice.
    We will keep the old time ambiance of the house as much as possible, but we will also modernize some of the house, especially the kitchen. We are keeping the ice box, pantry, and the old cupboards & beadboard, though. We are going to live there, a large (7-8 people) active family: son, daughter-in law, 2 young children, 1 or 2 older children (college students), my husband and myself, 6 cats and a dog. Our first consideration is making the house work for us as a family, rather than keep it as a museum of the early 1900’s. However, we love the old time features of the house, so we want to preserve as much as possible. We also are making plans for the yard, gardens, play area for the young children, etc.

  38. Natali says: 2 comments

    Hello, I wish the best for you all. This house was my dream home. My husband and I took so many pictures in front of it… dreaming it was our future home. We were a little afraid of venturing in this project. It would have been a second home, therefore we were not ready to jump in. But i did fall in love with the idea of owning this beatiful house. Therefore, I wish the best for you and your family.

  39. Barbara Acevedo & Lewis Grandstaff says: 3 comments

    That sounds like a good plan. Live in it and enjoy it with your family. It is a wonderful home for a big family. God bless!

  40. Cindie says: 14 comments

    It sounds like a “real, close-knit family” will be living in this beautiful home. Bellevue Park residents can be quite “stuffy” — nice people, but “stuffy” if they don’t think you are “in their league.”.

  41. Gail Lewis says: 15 comments

    In reply to your comment, Cindie, My husband Dan and I are looking forward to meeting the neighbors. Our son, Scott, has met a few of the neighbors and said a lot of good things about those he met. I like the idea of a tight knit neighborhood where people know and care for each other. I hope to find some wonderful friends when I move there—the door of opportunity will open.
    I will be working from home. I do sewing, reinactment costume making, mending, and alterations. I sewed for the Ozark Folk Center for many years, and I currently have my own alterations shop. I hope to meet many nice people when they bring me their sewing.
    I walked the neighborhood with Beth (my daughter-in -law) and my 2 granddaughters during the ‘yard sale’. We talked to may of the neighbors to get the feel for the neighborhood. Everyone we met was very nice and helpful. They certainly take pride in their homes and neighborhood. I am looking forward to the next ‘Sillybration’ —sounds like so much fun.
    Right now, I am trying to get things done on this end (in Arkansas) selling things I won’t be taking, selling our house here, closing out my business, etc. My son keeps us updated almost every day on the progress of Breeze Hill. New windows have been put in and other work has begun. Very exciting.

  42. Gail Lewis says: 15 comments

    Work on Breeze Hill will begin in earnest very shortly. The kitchen and bathrooms are being planned and work on them will start very soon. First priority is to redo all the plumbing. Then we will have the kitchen and baths put in. We also have to put in water heaters, furnace, etc. very soon. Roof and doors are being fixed.

    My husband Dan, and I will be there mid October. We will have to come back to Arkansas for a few weeks, then our final move will be mid November.

    Our son, Scott and grandson, Teo are working not only inside the house but on the grounds. They are enjoying starting on the landscaping and gardens. They planted a little peach tree, and cleared some area for our spring gardens. We plan on growing some of our own food, both fruit and vegetables.

  43. Kat and Pat says: 1 comments

    In May of 2013, the Harrisburg Historic Association sponsored a walking tour of the homes in beautiful Bellevue Park. We met on the grounds of Breeze Hill; everyone marveled at its size and beauty and we all commented on how sad it was to see it in such condition. Congrats to the Lewis for taking on this project of love. We hope to meet your family someday, and Gail, in particular, as we would enjoy discussing Civil War period costumes for re-enacting. Please keep posting more on the renovation adventures of the Lewis Family!

  44. Gail Lewis says: 15 comments

    Finally! We were told that the permits have been issued and work will begin in earnest tomorrow (Tuesday). First priority is the plumbing. We think the entire house has to be plumbed. We decided to have the roof patched, rather than replaced at this time, so that the money we have can be put to use on other renovations. The roof has been patched, so we shouldn’t have any more leaks for awhile, anyway.
    The renovations have been much slower going than I anticipated, but with patience we will eventually have a beautiful home.
    Meanwhile, I have closed my alterations and sewing business here. I still have to clean out the store this week. We had a yard sale to get rid of some of our stuff here. Now I have to start packing for the move.
    To the Civil War reinactors: Here in Arkansas I have worked as a seamstress in the craft village of the Ozark Folk Center for 6+ years (before opening my alterations shop) making costumes for the crafters and performers there. Most of my costumes were of the 1880’s through 1910 period. I intend to study civil war clothing so that I can make clothing from that era when I move to Harrisburg. My main focus, however, will be doing alterations, mending, and general sewing. I will use the ‘formal dining room’ in Breeze Hill as my sewing studio. It may be spring before I can get set up my sewing area in the house, as there is a lot of work to do before we can get everything moved in. I will miss my sewing machines during the time they are packed away—but I am making quilts.
    My son, Scott and grandson, Teo have been digging up areas of the yard to get ready for spring gardens. We will be putting in vegetable gardens as well as berry bushes and fruit trees. One of the features of the house we loved was the rich soil, as we are all avid gardeners.
    I was told that the famous Sycamore tree is still standing and doing well. We plan to put a picnic table under it and use that area for a family relaxing area.
    We will be there in 3 weeks! Can’t wait to meet some of you that live in the area.

  45. Gail Lewis says: 15 comments

    Plumbing is being done. We should have a working downstairs powder room (sink & toilet) very soon. The furnace will be installed soon, as well.

    My husband, Dan, and I will be leaving next Saturday for the move, and should get there Monday. The house won’t be ready to live in, yet. We will start figuring out what to do with our living area. Really excited.

  46. Barbara Acevedo & Lewis Grandstaff says: 3 comments

    I would love to see pictures of your progress. God bless you and your family. How is the plumbing coming along?

  47. Cindie says: 14 comments

    Please contact hbgnext@pennlive.com about the purchase and rehabilitation of this historic property. They are searching for stories about all the good being done in the city, and your purchase of this beautiful property certainly rates “up there” with the “good.”

  48. Gail Lewis says: 15 comments

    Things are moving along very quickly. Saturday Dan & I (Gail) will leave Arkansas for our final move to Harrisburg. Breeze Hill isn’t quite finished, so we will live in our son & daughter-in-laws current home for the time being. I will be getting some cleaning, painting, etc. done at Breeze Hill. Dan will be busy working, as he did get a full time job.

    We all discussed the notoriety of Breeze Hill and decided that Breeze Hill is our private family home. We decided not to publicize what we are doing. Of course, we will enjoy having friends over and entertaining. We made the decision that our home will not be a ‘Museum of McFarland’, although we respect, honor, and very much appreciate the man, his life, and his accomplishments.

    Dan & I are very much looking forward to making new friends in Harrisburg.

  49. says: 19 comments

    Love, love, love when I stumble upon an old listing that has comments from family descendants or new owners. Makes for a great read! Hope this house has turned into the wonderful family home they were hoping it to be.

  50. So glad this home found a loving new owner! It gives me hope that someday, I too will find and buy my dream. I look foreword to updates, I may just have to drive up for a look!

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