1834 – Lockport, NY

Added to OHD on 9/21/12   -   Last OHD Update: 4/12/20   -   52 Comments
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325 Summit St, Lockport, NY 14094

  • $89,900
  • 8 Bed
  • 5400 Sq Ft
  • 14 Ac.
MT.Providence Mansion- Built by Local Abolitionish Francis Hitchens,Owner of the Lockport Glass Factory. 5400 sq.feet of antebellum grandeur Awaits Total Restoration!! This 5/6-bedroom federal-style home is built entirely of limestione blocks quarried on site. It has long been believed to have been a refuge for escaped slaves on the "Underground Railway" with a secret tunnel going from the cellar to the Erie Canal. More land may be available.Assessment of $192,000 includes the total 55 acres. Call for details.
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51 Comments on 1834 – Lockport, NY

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  1. sbailey says: 58 comments

    this doesn’t scare me as much as others have. I am amazed at how much is left…would like to see more…

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  2. Robt. W.Robt. W. says: 359 comments

    Beautiful place. I hope the right buyers find it. The exterior is very handsome and the classical revival interiors are likewise quite fine; and it comes with a nice buffer of land (with the potential of more, at least at one point.)

    The linked article from four years ago suggests it’s been a long-haul finding a buyer. Too bad that loopy “ghost hunters” unafraid of wild assertions and publicity seem to be on the ascendant while deep-pocketed restorers unafraid of big projects seem on the decline. At some point historical literalism took over and “Underground Railroad” became a series of tunnels and underground trains and stations running from the Gulf of Mexico to Lake Erie and beyond.

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    • Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 11827 comments
      Admin

      1901 Folk Victorian
      Chestatee, GA

      I admit, when I was in elementary school, I thought “underground railroad” meant an underground railroad. I pictured slaves on trains, underground.

      But, I did find a lot more silly ghost stories than actual facts when doing a search of the place.

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      • Maria says: 1 comments

        I think, as children, we all thought it was a real train on a railroad. Gorgeous home. I particularly like the mouse nest. At least the home hasn’t been totally empty.

      • AmyBeeAmyBee says: 497 comments

        Kelly
        I live in Lockport and can assure you and everyone here the ghost stories promulgated to the gullible are absolute balderdash!

  3. says: 472 comments

    LOL, yep, that’s the place abounding with the crazy ghost stories. I actually kinda like ghost stories, too, but only the ones that could kinda sorta make sense. To think that an abolitionist would own lots of slaves and treat them brutally at a time when slavery didn’t even exist in the state….well, that’s just too dopey for me to enjoy:)

    It’s a great house otherwise. Very elegant and lots of nice simple federal details. The price seems awfully high to me considering how much work is needed, but I’m not all that familiar with real estate trends in the Niagara Falls area, so maybe it’s actually reasonable. I LOVE the birdsnest on the staircase. That’s a first!

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  4. Sue S. says: 277 comments

    Is it just me, or does the latest selling point for any antebellum house north of the Mason-Dixon Line seem to be the assertion that it was a stop on the Underground Railroad? Really seems to be a fad lately. How can you disprove it?

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    • says: 472 comments

      Yeah, I noticed that, too. It could be said about almost any house that’s old enough, whether there’s evidence or not. I think it’s actually kind of weird that realtors have started using the term “antebellum” so much in the northeast as well. It seems to me that was always a southern term until very recently….which kinda makes sense because the Civil War had so much more of an effect on the south than the north. I mean, housebuilding techniques and styles in the north were never really especially affected by that war.

    • Karen says: 1141 comments

      Hi. I’m just going through old postings, and this one caught my eye as I live in Lockport, and am well aware of this grand old lady. There waas a lot of abolitionist work done in Lockport,as there were a lot of Quakers in the area at the time. The current YWCA building was once the home of a prominant abolitionist in Lockport, who did act as a conductor on the Underground Railroad. That building looks to be built out of blocks cut from the rubble of the canal digging also, like this one. In fact lots of older homes were built of these blocks, and stonemasonry must’ve been a booming business back in the 1820’s.

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    • AmyBeeAmyBee says: 497 comments

      Research.

  5. John C. Shiflet says: 5471 comments

    “Time capsule” house. It needs a purist restorer with deep pockets but those are probably rarer than houses this intact from the Federal period. Amazing details and elegant stonework-looks like it had a double-galleried side porch at one time. This house fits into the “if I won the lottery category” but nonetheless is certainly worthy of a proper restoration. Hope that rare restorer shows up soon because even very well built houses seldom last a century in a vacant condition. I really like this one.

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  6. cindy kurk-gerspach says: 11 comments

    i am looking forward to the restoration of this landmark home.we have gathered a team of experts and restoration craftsmen to put this building back to as close to original as possible. we embrace its past and are looking forward to sharing it with positive historically minded people.

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    • John Shiflet says: 5471 comments

      Cindy, that is wonderful news. This house is just calling out to be saved. The aura of history is seen everywhere in it and on the surrounding grounds. As for the quaint Underground Railroad attribution, all I can say is larger antebellum homes north of the Mason-Dixon line frequently come with such stories. However, unless the pre-civil war owners were noted abolitionists there’s no reason to assume their homes actually were used in the underground railroad. Some historical research would be needed to substantiate these claims as well as evidence of tunnels or other hiding places. Thanks for being stewards of our history and I wish you great success with this endeavor.

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    • Dave says: 11 comments

      Cindy – I live in the Lockport area. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to assist in your endeavorsw. What a privilege it would be to help revive this amazing home!

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    • Monica Hedges says: 1 comments

      I am SO glad to know that this house has been purchased and will be restored to the beautiful home it once was! I have driven by recently and can’t wait to see the finished product! 🙂

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    • Darcy says: 1 comments

      Hi Cindy,
      I just was trying to get a hold of you to address some of your concerns with the stuff we’re working on for your husband. Can you please e-mail me at gerspachDarcy@gmail.com?
      Thanks
      Darcy

    • Karen says: 1141 comments

      I live in Lockport, and I just wanted to let you know, you bought MY house!!! That is, I was going to buy it when I won the lottery. But, since I always forget to buy lotto tickets, i guess my chances of buying it were slim to none, unless Mr Ruhlman would have given it to me-LOL!!!
      I think you have done a splendid job of restoring this gem. I am SO glad it wasn’t allowed to go to rack and ruin like so many other formerly great houses in the area. Thank you so much for restoring this bit of history to Lockport!

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  7. Scott says: 58 comments

    This is excellent news!! I know I for one would love to see more pictures and the progress that is made on this house… I am wondering if there are any sort of grants available from the state?

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  8. the facts on MT PROVIDENCE are this Francis Hitchens came with his family from England to work on the canal expansion.His Irish servants came with the family and stayed for years ..When the eldest daughter went to Wisconsin with a Douglas she married from Lockport,She took servants with her. Her broach is in Colorado and has been passed down thru the generations of the family. Family portraits of Francis and Libby with the broach can be seen on the coldspring cemetary website. The 4x grandson lives in Virginia and his wife HEIDI is a geneloogist. my info comes from Heidi who is very excited about the house and has never seen it in person, We have invited them to come hopefully next year. Much real info is on the internet if you do the research. cindy

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  9. joelle says: 1 comments

    @ Cindy – Congrats on the purchase of this wonderful home. I wish I possessed the money and/or the skill to restore this home to it’s original beauty. I can feel the it’s history every time I drive by it. My husband thinks I’m crazy!! I would give anything to be able to see inside or walk around its perimeter.

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  10. Cheryl says: 1 comments

    My father was raised in north end of Lockport, born in 1907. He was friends with a lad whose family lived in that house. Was in numerous times and would tell us about the boarded up tunnel in the basement that led to the canal. And the stories of the Underground Railroad run through there. Ironically, years later my Dad worked at the Glass Factory! Too bad I didn’t learn more from him before he passed away in 1990. Good luck on the restoration. Will love to see it!

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  11. cindy kurk -gerspach says: 11 comments

    We just uncovered the beehive oven that was bricked up in the kitchen wing. Behind the bricks was the stone opening to the brick interior.This will be restored to bake in.There is a room under the kitchen ,which we will build a staircase to.It was possibly a root cellar as it is made of brick.Could have been a hiding place for UGRR.Except for this room the kitchen sits on solid rock.The basement had a concrete floor poured at some point ,with its fireplace below grade .This will be dug out for a proper floor next year.We however do have a water line and sewer connection that no one knew about,Thank you to the City of Lockport for helping us test these. I just finished repairing the glass in the original windows and my husband put them back in. Removing old wallpaper is also done.This house is in amazing original condition and is on its way to being listed. It was described by our architect as a GEM and the NY parks dept rep as a JEWEL .Alot of people were sleeping when this house was for sale. Thanks for all the stories that kept other buyers away. We are blessed and proud to own this historic landmark.

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    • Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 11827 comments
      Admin

      1901 Folk Victorian
      Chestatee, GA

      Thanks for the update! Glad to hear how things are going and the discoveries you are making. I look forward to seeing the pics of the progress. 🙂

  12. Austin McFall says: 2 comments

    Dear Cindy,
    My name is Austin McFall, I am 16 and I have lived in Lockport for my whole life. I really would like to ask you a few questions about the house, and the history. I hope that we can talk. Please e-mail me at —(admit edit out)— and maybe we can have a chat. Have a Happy New Year.
    -Austin McFall

    *Admin edit: I edited out your email address but I can email you/her email address to one another if Cindy will let me know it’s okay. Sorry, there’s a lot of weirdos out there and I don’t feel comfortable showing your email address. 🙂

  13. cindy kurk -gerspach says: 11 comments

    I will reply to Austin s email

  14. Austin McFall says: 2 comments

    Thanks!!!

  15. Stephen says: 2 comments

    Cindy I have many pictures of the inside of that house from years and years ago. Mr and Mrs Ruhlmann were very good people and allowed me to photograph metal detect and search all of that property and surrounding area. It has some interesting history and was explored in detail by the late Bill Tolhurst. I would be honored to keep searching the land with my metal detector photographic document and give you any items found so you could display with the house. Keep up the effort also the bees in the wall north east basement make amazing honey

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  16. Stephen says: 2 comments

    Cindy also Mr Tolhurst and his group never found any tunnels and they searched well before the old bridge was removed and the by pass was built. The cement and remains behind the house was a corn storage bin that decayed over the years

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  17. cindy kurk-gerspach says: 11 comments

    Thank you for your continued interest in the history of Mount Providence. Our construction insurance only allows insured contractors on the property at this time.We do not believe in the tunnels as part of the house sits on solid rock,just inches under the floor boards. The restoration is ongoing and we are in contact with family members in Virginia. The Hitchins family was dedicated to helping others as our research has provided us with some amazing examples of thier service and sacrifices.

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  18. ddraffin says: 1 comments

    I grew up on Summit St in Lockport and I have been in that house. We kids used to play around it and the canal. I am very glad to see the house being restored. I wish you all the best.

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  19. Kerry says: 1 comments

    Cindy, since I have moved to Lockport I have been intrigued by this home. I am so happy someone was able to purchase and restore it! As a history buff it always saddens me to see old beautiful homes fall into disrepair. I live in a farm house from the 1880’s and love it! I wish you the best of luck and can’t wait to see the house finished!

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  20. Amy says: 4 comments

    Are you going to live in the home? Or will it be open to the public when it is finished? Bed and breakfast or historical site for toura? I have been in here a few times when the paranormal group was giving tours. I have been in love with the house forever and would love to see the finished product.

  21. Houston1234 says: 1 comments

    So happy to have read this reticle and comments. Would love to see progress pictures.

  22. cindy kurk-gerspach says: 11 comments

    I am sorry for not posting more info on the restoration of Mt Providence. It has consumed all our time 24/7 for one year now. Today was installing a bathroom window. The main section of the house has now been dated by the state to have been built in 1833. Every day brings a new adventure and trip to the hardware store. Funny that the Spalding ACE that we go to was started by the brother inlaw of our homes original builder “Joseph Pound “. With the help of Craig Bacon and the Parks Dept. the history of our house has been rewritten for its register listing. Quaker Addison Comstock sold the property to Pound in 1832. Francis Hitchins was the 5th owner in 1841 and likely adding the kitchen/servant wing and greenhouse/garage. We are the 10th owner,3 times it sold in the 1800’s for 30,000.00. Thank you for all your wishes.

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  23. jenk says: 1 comments

    I actually live by this house my friend has pictures from the basement and in the one you can vaguely see the apparition of a little girl who seems to be dressed in colonial time clothing.

    • cindy kurk-gerspach says: 11 comments

      Well I haven’t seen or heard anyone there , It’s not the dead people you need to worry about it’s the live ones. I am quite sure spirits weren’t the ones who carried out the fireplace mantel or broke the windows and staircase. Thanks for the info.

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  24. Amy says: 4 comments

    Are you going to ultimately live there? I would say most of the people that have ever been there were out of xuriosity rather than to steal, though I know there have probobly been both. Would love to see pictures of progres.

    • cindy kurk-gerspach says: 11 comments

      Mt PROVIDENCE is our home and Wedding Venue in 2015. Downton Abbey is the best way to describe the decor. We will be on Wedding Wire.

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  25. ENP says: 1 comments

    Hi Cindy, I work for http://www.EastNiagaraPost.com, and HG Design Studios. I’d like to do a feature/news story on this house, could you get ahold of me?

    Heather.Grimmer@eastniagarapost.com
    -ENP

  26. einsteinerstud says: 1 comments

    I think this is a beautiful house and I can see that the people that bought it have been working this beautiful house!! I would love to be able to go inside and see how things are coming along with the work the new owners have put into it.

  27. Dr. O says: 36 comments

    I fell in love with this house when I noticed it for sale. Living in Texas, I knew I couldn’t buy it and be a responsible owner, so I contented myself with saving all the photos on my computer. It’s kind-of my virtual Collinwood. Best wishes on preserving its character as well as the material objects.

  28. Erin oconnell says: 1 comments

    Hey Cindy I know everyone is in love with your property as am I. It’s a beautiful place that was desperately crying for new life. I am from buffalo and have a love for history and all of our antiquated structures. I was just curious on when it would be opening as a wedding venue if that is still in the works. I talked to a man last summer (2014) who said he had purchased it to renovate it and I couldn’t be more excited. Just curious on if that is still happening and if you have more details on the history of it, if you could email me that would be amazing! 🙂 thank you!!

  29. Heather says: 1 comments

    Hello! Love this house. Wondering how the restorations are coming along. I bought a very similar, very large stone house built in 1832 about half hour away from this one. Love restoration in these historic homes, not renovation 😉

    • cindy kurk-gerspach says: 11 comments

      There is nothing like a stone house to make you appreciate early builders ingenuity in lifting and placing large scale rock, without the use of machines. The restoration is difficult, but long term in a home that is more durable in the long run. We are almost done making our home livable,but we will be forever tweaking it. Enjoy your project and if you haven’t seen it watch the restoration of Mt. Airy on American rehab DIY channel. These people have great ideas.

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  30. Amy says: 4 comments

    My aunt had a very large antique mirror she was wondering if you may want for the house. She just sold her old house….

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