1885 Queen Anne – Delphi, IN

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Added to OHD on 8/13/13   -   Last OHD Update: 12/15/20   -   139 Comments

404 E Main St, Delphi, IN 46923

  • $154,900
  • 5 Bed
  • 2 Bath
  • 3666 Sq Ft
  • 1.58 Ac.
New description: This is a Fannie Mae Homepath Property. This amazing older home features natural woodwork and turn of the century styling throughout. Located on 4 Key numbers with over 1.5 Acres it includes water frontage on Deer Creek. Included with the main house is a large, two story carriage house with walkout basement and a storage barn. Main house two finished stories, a partially finished attic, and a full unfinished basement. Old description: Historic Brick Victorian with carriage house and shed. Lovely woodwork; antique light fixtures; pocket doors; open staircase; multiple fireplaces; full basement; and corner lot with large acreage in city limits.
Contact Information
Mary Holtz & Kent Brewer, Coldwell Banker
(765) 742-1400

State: | Region: | Associated Styles or Type:
Period & Associated Styles: , | Misc:

139 Comments on 1885 Queen Anne – Delphi, IN

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  1. John Shiflet says: 5917 comments

    Old houses at the mansion level are seeing some steep price increases in the Midwest. Just a couple of years ago one could occasionally find a (foreclosed) house of this quality for around $100k but this mansion does have a large one and half acre lot and with the nice interior finishes should entice a buyer without too much trouble. The heavy ceramic tiled roof should last centuries unless a big hailstorm comes by which is less common in Indiana. As for the date, looks to be a bit later than 1885, maybe as much as a decade later, but still stylish for its time. Bet it has quite a history…

  2. says: 349 comments

    Handsome house with some fine quality woodwork inside. The square footage is surprising: either modestly estimated, or a testament to an imposing exterior created from a not huge house. The rooms don’t look large (and the few rooms with stated dimensions bear this out), though the exterior –at least at first glance– suggests an altogether larger house.)

  3. says: 452 comments

    Not toally my cup of tea, but I always like those gables on a brick house. I’m not sure what they’re called…Jacobean maybe?

  4. Cody Hanna says: 133 comments

    Well then, its about time this house was listed here! I actually live in Delphi, and have been inside this house, actually about a month ago. Its absolutely gorgeous, but unfortunately needs an extremely substantial amount of work. The tile roof leaks, bad. and there is a lot that needs to be done inside. There are a lot of “plusses” to this house though. It was actually built in 1896, and it has been virtually untouched since then, except for the kitchen. Even the original light fixtures and plumbing fixtures are still there. There is actually a “ballroom” on the third floor, but it has no functional use except as a loft anymore. this house is deserving of a museum quality restoration, but I would estimate that you would still need an extra $500,000 to do it right. This house is just simply amazing. I cant find the words to describe it really. The millwork is fantastic, especially the coffered ceilings… OhI don’t know, but Im rambling. This is my dream house. I truly hope somebody buys this house and does it right. Im only 17, and if it sits until I could one day afford a house this size, it’ll be gone. Somebody buy this one!

    • Barbara says: 1 comments

      You have a great taste in homes for such a young age. I tell you, If I win the lottery, I WILL buy this home and have it completely restored. It is a dream of mine to own a Victorian. I am amazed the light fixtures and such are still there. That is not the case usually in homes of this age. How could it have been left uncared for, for so long, I wonder?

      • Jim says: 5769 comments

        Barbara, the wonder of this home is that it WAS cared for and maintained, unaltered, for over a hundred years. The damage has all occurred in the last few years because owners were unwilling to make needed repairs. Unfortunately, we live in a society that doesn’t save for rainy days.

      • Cody H says: 133 comments

        Yeah I’m a bit of a rare bird, or so I’ve been told anyway. Yeah the light fixtures and plumbing fixtures are really something aren’t they? They are all original to the house, but the previous owner flip flopped them around from what I understand. For example, the fixture in the tower room of the foyer. It doesnt belong there. If you look at the ceiling closely, you can see the (larger) outline of a different cap from a different fixture. The crystal chandelier in the living room (parlor?) isn’t supposed to be where it is either. The ceiling cap on that fixture covers up a good portion of that wonderful plaster ceiling medallion. The owner told me at the first open house I went to back in July that she did it to improve the lighting. It was supposedly pretty dark in there. The part I don’t understand though is why she didn’t just buy led light bulbs…

    • Diane says: 1 comments

      Dear Jeff,
      I am originally from Delphi and now live in Savannah. I am so thrilled that y’all are
      preserving this house. I always loved it as a child–we had a family friend who lived across the street and always passed it on the way to my aunt’s house. I was only in the house once that I can remember but I remember being so excited about being able to see the interior of this home. I have been intrigued by Cody and his interest in the house.
      This just sounds like such a happy ending for a wonderful showpiece mansion!
      for your consideration–you can always make money doing tours and luncheons for ladies groups. The house where I docent in Savannah is no finer than your house!!
      Best wishes for much happiness in Delphi–a lovely little historic town.

      • Jeff N says: 23 comments

        Thanks so much Diane. We appreciate the encouragement! Cody stayed in one of our spare rooms for a few months while he was between schools. So he can always say he lived there. We enjoyed his company and having his help around the house.

  5. echo says: 7 comments

    Beautiful home..I could live here for the rest of my life. 🙂

  6. Cody H says: 133 comments

    Ok, so although this house could be considered a Queen Anne, couldn’t it also be considered Romanesque? I see more Romanesque characteristics than I do Queen Anne architecturally.

  7. Cody H says: 133 comments

    Thank you for that.. you know, as inspiring as this website is, its also an education, and I want to thank you for that Kelley. I’ve been with the site now for about a year and I’ve learned so much from all you guys here, and I cant even begin to explain how much it means to me. I may be only 18, but one of my biggest goals in life is to restore a house, and I’ve learned so much about everything old house related since I found your site. Really, keep it up!

  8. ROBERT BLUMAN says: 5 comments




  9. Cody H. says: 133 comments

    I’ll be interested to see how much it really goes for. They tried to auction it off back in June, but the reserve wasn’t met so its been sitting until now. More than likely its been sitting this long because of the roof. Most people freak out when they figure out how much it would be to redo that particular roof, because it leaks. Bad. Only in one spot, and they have tubs and buckets to catch the water, but that’s only going to work for so long, ya know? I really hope somebody doesn’t buy it and screw it up before I get my chance to do it right. I went to the open house the owner threw before she moved out. This house is amazing. I’m not even kidding when I tell you I’ve already got everything priced and picked out; light fixtures, wallpapers, kitchen cabinets, the repointing estimate, everything, even the piano that’s going to go in the living room. The bar is set here for me. Going through the restoration of the house my family lives in now inspired me to do it again myself. I just hope that it goes back on the market when I get out of school four years from now. It would break my heart if somebody screwed this one up. This level of preservation is rare, and anyone that would ruin it with a tract kitchen and can lighting doesn’t deserve this to own this amazing work of art.

  10. Cody H. says: 133 comments

    And you know, the funny thing is, is I don’t really care much for Queen Anne’s all that much. Generally I find them to be too frilly and too ‘ over the top’ for my taste. I usually prefer the more romantic styles of architecture like Greek Revivals Italianates, and Gothic Revivals, but for some reason this one really gets me. I’ll always be stuck on this one.

    • says: 83 comments

      Yet another Dear Cody —- It is wonderful to learn that there are young people who are so passionate about old houses and saving them. Even if this turns out to be “the one that got away”, please keep pursuing your dream of restoring old houses and inspiring others to do the same!

  11. Debbie says: 7 comments

    Dear Cody,

    I’m truly impressed with you! We always need passionate preservationists like you. Too many people buy these old beauties and ruin them just like you said. I love how you call these old homes works of art! They certainly are!

    When my kids are both in college (son is 18 next month, daughter 16 in May) I’m going to volunteer with someone who restores old homes. It would be someone like you who is passionate about saving these beautiful works of art. Keep going for your dreams, you will make a great impact!

    This home is incredible! I wish I could explore every nook and cranny!

  12. Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 12815 comments

    1901 Folk Victorian
    Chestatee, GA

    New photos added!

  13. Tony says: 73 comments

    Amazing home…..just awesome…I am loving those ceilings!

  14. says: 10 comments

    Amazing just doesn’t do this house justice…The woodwork inside is jaw dropping!! I would love to own this wonderful piece of history….I so hope whomever gets her will realize what a gem she truly is!! I’m hoping Cody gets her someday!! 🙂

  15. Cody H says: 133 comments

    Yeah I hope I get the chance to own her too! This is a double edged sword that I’m dealing with here. Now that this home is somewhat reasonably priced for a higher end starter home, I could probably afford it. Buuuut, and its a HUGE but, if this house sits on the market until I get out of college four years from now, chances are that much, much more damage will be done before I can get the chance to save her. So my thought process is a tad bipolar here; some days I hope that somebody buys this place and fixes it up before it slips too far into its decay, but then I think to myself, “wait, but then YOU won’t get to enjoy it”. I plan on majoring in nursing and I’m going to minor in interior design. I have HUGE plans for this house someday!

  16. Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 12815 comments

    1901 Folk Victorian
    Chestatee, GA

    Reduced to $154,900.

  17. John Shiflet says: 5917 comments

    I may have to go check this one out in coming weeks. Still working on a sale of our property but this is a very nice place for the price.

  18. Cody H says: 133 comments

    Open house tomorrow guys! Loads of pictures to come! Any requests from anybody?

  19. Jim says: 5769 comments

    Must have missed this one last year. Some found info: The Bowen House house was built in 1896 for Nathaniel W. Bowen (1850-1914), a prominent Delphi merchant and banker. Originally part of a family compound; Bowen’s mother, an Englishwoman born in Calcutta, lived next door. It was later the childhood home of Dick the Bruiser, aka William Fritz Afflis, a professional wrestler famous in the Midwest. A book about Delphi mentions a third-floor ballroom, Italian frescoes, and goatskin wall coverings.

    I don’t know the local market, but I’m surprised this house hasn’t sold. Delphi is rated one of the best small towns in the state, the house was in excellent livable condition recently (see the newspaper photos), and the roof repairs may be expensive but aren’t prohibitive – at most the tiles must be removed, a new membrane installed and the tiles re-laid. Nothing else suggests major structural repairs, so add $50K max to the sale price for a magnificent livable house. Obviously you could spend a lot more bringing the house back to like new condition and decor, but that’s optional. For me, some serious cleaning and polishing, a little kitchen work, removing some wallpaper and some painting would be enough.

    Agent: Including a photo showing crime scene tape in your listing isn’t a great idea unless you’re trying to scare buyers off.

  20. Cody H says: 133 comments

    Yes, everything Jim alluded to is very much true. The problem with the market in our area is that there aren’t many people that can afford to restore a house like this. The money simply put is not to be had. I took loads of pictures of the (decaying) ballroom and the leather wall coverings. I also got good shots of the fixtures throughout the house. I cant even begin to express how high end everything in this house is. Only the highest of the high end art nouveau styling was used throughout the entire home. Even the ceilings of the front porch and of the port o cochere are finished in coffered(?) beadboard. Its amazing. The dumbwaiter and laundry chute are still operable, as well as the surprisingly intact bell/intercom system . In every bedroom and in the kitchen and dining room downstairs next to the light switches are a buttons resembling doorbells and when pushed, ring a bell in the kitchen and in the room pushed as well as the attic and carriage house. Its quite amazing that it still works. It sound like one of those antique phones or alarm clocks. It kind of creepy when you’re alone in a room and it goes off when somebody on the other side of the house pushes a button but cool nonetheless. I must say though, that this past winter took quite a toll on the house overall. Especially in the carriage house. As much as I hate to say this, you would be better off to just gut the whole carriage house and start from scratch. Its really really bad. I saw structural issues that need to be addressed very soon. You’ll also have to kick out the bats and the wild dogs. On the house proper, the membrane on the roof is falling apart fast. The leaks have done extensive damage to the ballroom and most of the second floor as well. The ceiling plaster is falling in in most rooms on the second floor. Thank god the water hasnt penetrated the first floor finishes yet. The bathrooms, although original, need help bad. The wall tile is held in place only by gravity. Everything needs to be taken off and remortared. Various cracks in the walls need patched as well. I was surprised I didn’t notice this before, but there are a multitude of built in closets in this house. Quite uncommon. If anybody has any questions, just ask! I can probably answer them! The photos I took are on their way to Kelly as we speak so hopefully they will be up later today!

    • Jim says: 5769 comments

      Thanks Cody. It’s looks a bit worse than “leaking in just one spot”, but I won’t take back my optimism. It’s in far better condition than many fixers on the site, much higher quality than most, and in a better location. Presumably a local buyer would have turned up by now, but there’s money and expertise available. It only takes one person tired of dealing with all the traffic and nonsense in Indianapolis or Chicago to swoop in on this one, esp. if it can be bought for $100K or less. The agent needs to work on Fannie Mae to get that price down fast to avoid another winter unprotected.

      • Cody H says: 133 comments

        Well, last July there WAS only one (visible) leak. As you can see from the pictures, the state of disrepair has progressed quite rapidly due to to all the snow we received this past winter.

  21. Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 12815 comments

    1901 Folk Victorian
    Chestatee, GA

    74 new images added, thanks to Cody! I just saved and uploaded them, so they are not in a coherent order (my fault!) Some are from inside the carriage house, which I believe are the photos that you see much of the interior damage in.

  22. says: 349 comments

    The new photos are further evidence of what a great house it is. Though plaster damage and cracks likely scare off many people, a couple of plasterers can make a world of difference in no time at all and inexpensively — once any underlying problems are resolved. Aside from an expensive but not not disastrously expensive roof job, the cornices and exterior painted surfaces (aside from doors, windows, and porch elements) are metal and look in good shape.

    I’d agree on viewing the carriage house as something to be stabilized externally and then the interior put on mothballs or regarded as a blank slate for reworking the space. For potential buyers who don’t need a large garage and and a huge workshop or studio or are willing to invest in making the space a source of possible rental income, the space is likely as much a headache as an asset — but in a market where a property of this sort wants for buyers at this low price, the opportunity for recouping investment in the carriage house is probably very limited.

    Is the “ballroom” shown in the photos? I see a third floor room in the main house under the eaves, with wooden posts and a beaded board ceiling (with terrific reflector lights), but it looks like a very nicely fitted storage space, but not a lofty ballroom. (A lot of houses purported to have third floor ballrooms don’t, but maybe it’s a space I didn’t recognize.)

    No less intriguing are the “Italian frescoes and goatskin wall coverings” from the reference Jim found. (Maybe the dining room wall covering above the plate rail? Goatskin leather is still used by a couple of wallpaper manufacturers today though what I’ve seen doesn’t look terribly exotic.)

  23. Cody H says: 133 comments

    Yes, that is the goatskin wall covering. It’s quite remarkable actually. It was ran through a press to create a raised pattern and hand painted. That whole room is one of the most lavish in the entire house.

  24. Cody H says: 133 comments

    And yes, the ballroom is the room that is painted the ghastly yellow color. Supposedly at one point in time it was fitted in more decorative papers and trimmings, but all we have today is potential loft space. It would make for a great billiard/game room too I would imagine.

  25. Sue S. says: 274 comments

    I’m pretty sure that for many of us old house lovers, when we die and if we’ve been very, very good, heaven will look something like this, along with everything we’d want or need to restore the place. Love it.

  26. Jim says: 5769 comments

    This “comparable” of similar age and style on a small lot across the street is asking $289K, though it’s been on the market for years also.

  27. ROBERT BLUMAN says: 5 comments

    Did anyone follow the recent bidding on AUCTION.COM for this home and see what the highest bid was? Yes, I know that it did not sell at the auction…. just curious what they turned down. Cody, thank you for the many great pictures. You are correct, this house needs a tremendous amount of work and you can add $100,000+ to whatever your highest estimate is on the repairs. I also think there is going to have to be some huge $$$ compromise on the final sales price by the seller Fannie-Mae for the right buyer to take on this size of a project . Yes, someone from Chicago will maybe buy it and have it as a weekender ? home; Oprah where are you? Time to come back to Indiana! I predict it will sell for $100,000 to $115,000.

  28. Robin S. says: 1 comments

    I wish I had the money to buy this house and fix it up back to it’s original magnificence it once was. My dream is to live in an old house again. Lived in a Victorian Italianate house once and I will never forget it.

  29. Dana Curtis Kincaid says: 7 comments

    I’m in the process of making an offer on the house. FYI. Surprised no one did the smart thing and temp sealed the roof. Idiots. Any idea why no one has done anything with this place for two years? Seems inconceivable.

    Anyway, do you know of any tax breaks or restoration grants available?

  30. Dana Curtis Kincaid says: 7 comments

    Cody H – Appreciate your comments above. My sis will be up on Saturday this next weekend to take a look, along with, I hope, a contractor…

    If anyone has any opinions or knowledge of the overall current state of the property, please let me know. Also, knowledge of any GOOD contractors.

  31. ROBERT BLUMAN says: 5 comments

    There are VERY FEW if any local Indiana roofers who really know or understand how to repair old tile roofs in indiana. There is one in Chicago that’s outrageous $$$. I have been through this. Its very difficult to tarp cover any tile roof over one story, as you can not walk on the tiles. Best to have a tree cutting co. bring a scaffold/ bucket carrier truck and place the tarp on a house that way, however banks will not do that; its just not their way of doing things. Some of the tiles in the photos are NOT original so this has been a repair in the past. They break if a tree branch falls on it, someone heavy or clumsy walks on it the wrong way or if the wind dislodges the nailed down tile and it bangs up and down. Don’t choose the wrong roofer. Don’t forget to do your homework regarding roof bids! Ask for tile roof repair references from the roofers you like. Regarding an offer, PLEASE do the following. Make a low offer and go back and forth with the asset manager via your real estate agent 2-3 times to ensure you get the house for the lowest purchase price possible. They will not credit you for discoveries during inspections after you have negotiated the purchase through your real estate agent. Let me know if you need a good agent who has worked these deals before. Don’t be shy. Tell your agent what YOU want to pay for it. I would start at $$95,000 and go up from there. Let me know if you need advice! Good luck with your offer. P.S. Note that the State of Indiana is unfortunately notorious in having many poor contractors who are not very financially motivated or artistic. They will disappear off jobs, stop working due to having to go fishing, attend a street fair or some other reason and start on other jobs bypassing the work they have started on your home and certainly would rarely understand nor appreciate this type of mansion. Be sure to have the right contractor to work on it. Good luck!

  32. Cody H says: 133 comments

    Dana, I’m so glad you’ve taken the next step with the Bowen mansion. It desperately needs saved from itself. I’m both relieved and saddened at the same time! Keep us all updated! You’ll always have my interest if you ever need or want help from this teenager!

  33. Kevin O'Neill says: 160 comments

    I read John Shiflets comment about this house from the last sampler posted here so I thought I woild check it out. This has to be one of the best deals I have seen on this blog. The house is a time capsule although it needs work its all within reach at that price. The worst case scenario with the roof is you remove it and replace it with black architectural shingles at about a third of the price of removing and re installing the tile roof. I’m going to ask my wife what she would think of living in a small town in Indiana I already know the answer but it never hurts to ask. After doing some research on Delphi it really appears to be a rather pleasant small town with good schools and quality of life. For those of you who like to watch old houses being restored I highly recommend going to you tube and using the search “BBC Restoration Home” look for the full episodes about 54 minutes. You will be amazed at what some people go through to restore their homes . There are 20 plus episodes and I have watched all of them.

  34. Dana Curtis Kincaid says: 7 comments

    Sigh… I am told that the repair cost to the home proper would be in the $200,000 range. I can’t really afford that. 🙁

  35. Dana Curtis Kincaid says: 7 comments

    However… I am told that someone is flying in from New York this weekend to look at the place.

  36. John Shiflet says: 5917 comments

    In response to Kevin’s comments, Delphi is not exactly in the Alaskan wilderness. Lafayette, home to Purdue University and having a population of approx. 70,000 , is only 18.3 miles from this house measured from Lafayette’s Main Street. West Lafayette, population of approx. 30,000 is part of the same metropolis. So at a distance of under 20 miles and within a 25 minute driving time from Delphi you have a 100,000+ metropolis. Moreover, Lafayette, according to Wikipedia, has seen almost 20% population increase over the past decade so they must be doing something right. It would thus be fairly accurate to consider Delphi as a de facto bedroom community of Lafayette. Lafayette is itself 62 miles from Indianapolis and both it, Chicago, and Cincinnati, are within a day’s easy drive of Delphi.

    Despite obvious roofing problems, I don’t think anyone could make a convincing argument about the rest of the house not having value. These New York folks if they’ve looked at mansion grade historical houses around the Empire State will immediately recognize what a bargain and beautiful specimen this home is. I’m sure it was considered a Delphi residential Landmark from day one and will continue to be in the future. Most Indiana communities, even fairly small ones (like tiny Earl Park with the beautiful Sumner mansion) still have one or more mansion grade Victorian homes which once housed their leading citizens over a century ago.

  37. Jeff N says: 23 comments

    Well I guess that we’re the aforementioned New York folks…

    I’ve been lurking on this site since I found this house on Zillow a few weeks ago, and I appreciate the observations I’ve read. Cody’s local take on things have been especially helpful.

    This is an amazing house! Maybe the house of my dreams. John S. is correct that this house anywhere near NYC would sell for several million in it’s current condition. We did see a Dutch Gothic mansion in upstate New York in the same price range, but the neighborhood was iffy and it needed all new mechanicals. (It’s listed on this site in Amsterdam NY if you want to look it up.)

    I think the biggest unknown on the Delphi house is the roof. I’m disappointed to hear there are no local contractors who could repair it. Cody, do you think there are leaks all over, or just in the valleys as the agent told me? I think it would be almost a sin to take the tile roof off, but would have to consider it if the cost is unmanageable. Just because we’re flying in from (and currently work in) NYC, that doesn’t mean we have an indefinite stash of money to invest.

    From what I’ve seen and heard, I would rank the immediate repairs as:
    1) Roof on main house
    2) Electrical update
    3) Bathroom floor and tile-work
    4) Replace curved window on the turret
    5) Roof on carriage house to stop the damage
    6) Possibly HVAC upgrades
    7) Clean and paint exterior surfaces

    Am I missing anything? Are the fireplaces in working order?

    Kitchen upgrade and interior finishes will have to come later as we have time to work on it. Long term, we’d consider opening a bed and breakfast (maybe extra rooms in the carriage house), what do you think? At the least, we’d have to have a Christmas open house once we had the old lady shining again.

  38. John Shiflet says: 5917 comments

    Slate and Spanish clay tile roofs like this one require special equipment (can’t be walked on) and one HGTV figure quoted was $100 per shingle to replace. Let’s assume for the moment you were willing to replace the roof with an alternative material. A raised seam Terne metal roof (in verdigris color) would still come in cheaper than a new tile roof, I would think. Even less costly would be to carefully remove (and re-sell the intact old tiles which supply a market used by repair firms) deck the spaced lath with plywood, 30 lb. felt, and then either apply architectural profile shingles (Timberlines come to mind) or something more Victorian looking like CertainTeed’s “Carriage House Shangle” (their word) which has 3-tab scalloped ends and when combined with different colors can reproduce the old Victorian patterned shingle designs. There are also synthetic slates which cost less than real slates and are supposed to be quite durable. In summation, if the roofing costs are the main sticking point, perhaps seek less costly alternatives which still maintain the period look. I don’t think this problem is insurmountable but it might require creativity and a willingness to compromise.

  39. Kevin O'Neill says: 160 comments

    There is a certain reality that must be confronted when doing vintage homes and that is if economically makes sense. It doesn’t make much sense to pay more your roof than the purchase price of the home. Having said that this roof may simply need repairs. I will be starting my fourteenth home shortly. In the spirit of ” Stay Calm were British” I say ” Stay Calm it can be Fixed” to Jeff N, all I can say is its the journey that means the most. I like old houses so much I turned it into a business. I have also followed the city of Newburgh NY which has a great community of preservationists. But the taxes there are beyond comprehension.’

  40. says: 349 comments

    With regard to locating a roofing contractor experienced in historic tile roofs, the preservation architect or restoration grants staff at the state historic preservation office (http://www.in.gov/dnr/historic/) may be able to recommend some names – at least as a starting point.

  41. Cody H says: 133 comments

    Jeff, I don’t know if you noticed or not, but the last picture in the set that I took is a pile of all original tiles from the roof of the carriage house. That’s a hell of a find if you ask me. You wouldn’t have to go to the trouble of finding replacement tiles granted that you could find a contractor to do it. Keep in mind that just because you can’t find anybody LOCAL, that does not mean that you can’t reach out towards areas like Indianapolis or Chicago, both only a few hours away to find a more experienced roofer who has dealt with historic tile roofs in the past. I couldn’t be certain in telling you whether or not the leaks are restricted to the valleys or not without a closer inspection. I would hope that is the case but the ballroom ceiling tells another tale, unless the water damage is just spreading. An electrical update is almost a must right off the bat as well. I’m not kidding when I say that the existing electrical panel still has Thomas Edison’s name and patent stenciled in decorative filigree on the door. That’s a scary thought to me that all the work on restorations could be lost in a fire due to 100 year old faulty wiring. The fireplaces are non functional at this point in time. Correct me if I’m wrong John, but it appears as if all the fireplaces are missing their decorative nouveau covers. Tha=e as hook-ups are are still in place but the grilles/covers are nowhere to be found. There is no A/C to speak of. The windows are functional though. You should get a nice breeze through there up on the third floor! From what I understand though the radiators do still work. That could be a huge help. The carriage house just needs a bandaid emergency roof for now; you would have to do that immediately if you don’t want to lose the whole structure altogether. The curved window in the turret is going to cost you a pretty penny to replace, I hope you know. I looked into it and couldn’t find a price under $900 or $1000, and nobody local for sure. The fascia boards need replaced for the most part, along with the dentil molding as well. You can find reproduction dentil molds in PVC and use those; they don’t deteriorate like wood. That is what my family did when we restored the cornice of our country Italianate. The bathrooms need professional help. I would not recommend undertaking them alone. The notion of a B&B is a nice one, but there is no tourism in Delphi. You would have public interest for a while, but it would die down. There also aren’t enough bathrooms and no good places to install more. You would be better off to seek another route to recoup some money. Perhaps gut the carriage house and rent it out? I hope all of this is helpful to you Jeff! Best wishes, and please keep me updated!


  42. Cody H says: 133 comments

    And Jeff, just out of curiosity, are you currently looking at other properties as well?

  43. Jeff N says: 23 comments

    Thank you all for your comments / observations / suggestions / encouragement!

    I figured a bed and breakfast in Delphi would be low volume; not really a business, just a way to share the home and make a little money on the side. Although between the Purdue commencement and a Big 10 track and field event in Lafayette, we couldn’t find a hotel room any closer than Logansport this weekend!

    We are going to look at a few more houses in Anderson and Middletown while we’re in the area, but the Delphi house is the reason we’re making the trip. Are there any other houses in the area we should look into?

  44. Cody H says: 133 comments

    Ok, that makes more sense now that you put it that way with the B&B. Believe me, this weekend will be a madhouse with everything going on in Lafayette. Be thankful that you’re going to be in Logansport. You might find more foreclosures there anyway. Its kind of a run down version of Lafayette. There are more high end victorians in Logansport. It was a beautiful city during its heyday. Don’t be worried about the drive, its only 25 minutes, probably shorter with the new highway too. There aren’t any other houses IN Delphi of architectural significance like the Bowen house at the moment, per se’, bu there IS another similar Queen Anne for sale across the street with the iconic flat topped turret. Its a little pricey at 289k, but its almost totally restored, well, thats not a good word..its UNPROFESSIONALLY restored. There are a TON of houses from Indiana on this site actually, have you looked around at all? I would highly recommend it. Kelly does a good job at finding some real gems in the Hoosier State. My recommendations would largely depend on your price point and preference as far as architectural styling is concerned. Queen Anne or Italianate? Brick or frame structure? Acreage? Etc.

  45. Cody H says: 133 comments

    Try these on for size..Are you particular on the area? I mean I guess if you would be willing to go to small town delphi, the low volume of people isn’t an issue, but it would help to narrow the search.
    No interior shots, but similar price and assumedly condition of the Bowen House:
    A little pricey, yes, but fantastic house:
    This one is fantastic as well:

  46. Cody H says: 133 comments

    I tried to weed out the run of the mill houses for the most part. I kind of gathered that you are probably a fan of large-scale, “over-the-top”, imposing structures with a masculine presence such as the mansion in New York and the Bowen Mansion. Jacobean gables are the common factor that the two houses share, but they are a rarity, especially in the midwest.

  47. Dana Curtis Kincaid says: 7 comments

    “Slate and Spanish clay tile roofs like this one require special equipment (can’t be walked on) and one HGTV figure quoted was $100 per shingle to replace.” I think people are too caught up on this… Here in Arizona, tile roofs are the norm. And insofar as someone saying, “It’ll take me a hunnert dollar a tile to fix this old thing”, well, that’s just a ripoff. As far as HGTV is concerned, do you really, REALLY want to get your information from a reality-TV home repair show? No. Did not think so. This company has three suppliers of tiles in Indianapolis alone: http://mca-tile.com/contact.htm

  48. Cody H says: 133 comments

    Let me repeat myself, AGAIN. Look at the very last picture of the set, it is a pile of original roof tiles salvaged from the carriage house that can be used to restore the roof of the house proper. There are MORE than enough. The pile is like 10’x10′ wide by 4’tall/deep. Let me also say that the problem with the roof at this point is not broken tiles for the most part. Yes, there are a few broken tiles here and there. That is to be expected, but it is not the main issue. The problem with this roof is that the membrane UNDER the tiles is falling apart, causing leaks. You would have to have the tiles taken off, replace the plywood sub-roof and install a new membrane of either felt or tar paper, whichever you prefer, and reinstall the tiles over the virtually brand new roof.

  49. John Shiflet says: 5917 comments

    Since I had no hard figures for Spanish Tile (Ludowici?) replacement I offered one I heard on an HGTV program; obviously, that was merely a “ballpark” figure at best and anyone’s true results may vary. I did find someone selling 66 (?) squares of Spanish clay tiles on e-Bay: http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/380794049960?lpid=82. I agree the extra tiles in the basement might be sufficient to replace all of the broken ones. To my eyes, Spanish clay tiles are nearly an antithesis of Victorian styles roofs. I would usually expect to see these on a California 1920’s Spanish Revival house or its Mediterranean/Spanish equivalent on the Florida coast.

    • says: 349 comments


      It’s easy to think of red clay tile roofs as “Spanish”, even in parts of the U.S. where the evidence leans heavily to the contrary. Though solidly entrenched in our minds as “Spanish”, I think the association of terracotta roof tiles as “Spanish” is very much a 20thC development. In the last half of the 19thC they were more likely associated with Italian- or Flemish-influenced styles, or referenced English pantiles, or central and northern European tile roofs at least as much as the Mediterranean countries. Ludovici is the famous name, but there were other, earlier manufacturers. The Celadon Terra Cotta Co. was formed in 1889 by engineer/inventor George H. Babcock and sold to Ludovici (which had formed five years later) in 1906 as Ludovici-Celadon. The style of tile on the Indiana house was fairly popular in Romanesque Revival houses in D.C., for instance — as seen in this National Park Service pamphlet on clay tile roof preservation:
      http://www.nps.gov/tps/how-to-preserve/briefs/30-clay-tile-roofs.htm From the early 1870s, H.H. Richardson used terra cotta tiles that were, if you will, Spanish-red in color but more often flat in profile (not the distinctive c-profile of what would become popularly known as Spanish tiles). Richardson’s red tile roofs do feature cresting and sometimes acroteria and other elaboration at the roof ridges and have no purely specific geographic inspiration.

      I agree, though, it’s a pervasive description that’s tough to shake. To describe the roof tiles of the Indiana house in a nutshell, I’d probably call them Spanish profile or Spanish-type tile.

  50. Jim says: 5769 comments

    I notice that the house already has at least 2 different types of tile on the roof, best seen in photos 36 and 57. I think it’s unlikely that either are original to the house. Although tile is attractive I’d replace it if the cost differential was large, in part because the replacement cost next time may scare away buyers when it’s time to sell. It’s almost certain that replacement tiles are readily available either new or salvaged if those in the garage don’t match. Ludowici of New Lexington, OH was the largest manufacturer of tile a hundred years ago, and still makes the old types. The tile on the lower roof (closeup photos) looks like their standard Spanish product; the upper tile is a different more modern type. In any event, the cost of replacement tiles is the least expensive part of the job.

    Dana and Jeff, please do your own research on costs and get real estimates from specialists rather than relying on hearsay. Brokers generally know very little about construction, and it’s a standard ploy of General Contractors to eyeball a job and throw out a big number intended to measure the depth of your pockets.

  51. Cody H says: 133 comments

    Although uncommon for a victorian home to have a red tile roof, this one is original. The majority of the following pictures were taken right around the turn of the century. You can clearly see the distinct tiles in the photos. Today, the tiles on the little side porch, and on the rear elevation of the house are the replacements, done sometime mid twentieth-century. The tiles on the front and side elevations are the originals. The photos show that the front porch and the port o’ cochere used to have tiled roofs as well, but now have architectural shingles





    • Jim says: 5769 comments

      Cody, nobody said the house didn’t have a tile roof originally, but we have no idea if the same tiles are on it today. It doesn’t really matter because the original look has already been compromised with a mash-up of different tile types, and some shingles as well. The house needs to be saved with emergency roof repair immediately and if most of the tiles have to come off for repair, it makes little sense to put mismatched tiles back, or to invest in a large quantity of new matching tile for the whole house. It all depends on how extensive a repair is required and the integrity of the rest of the roof.

  52. Dana Curtis Kincaid says: 7 comments

    I was wondering if the family from New York had visited the house this weekend?

    • Jeff N says: 23 comments

      We did, and are going to make an offer. Just waiting on more details from an estimate that the city had.

      The house is just as impressive in person as it looks in the photos. It needs a lot of work, but I think we can handle it. We’ll hire a contractor for the big stuff up front (roof, electrical, maybe plumbing and HVAC) and do the rest over time, most of it ourselves.

      I did figure out why the downstairs bathroom floor was so “soft”; while in the basement I looked up and noticed that someone had completely cut a section out of the floor joist to position the bathtub drain when they added it sometime in the past 5 years. Should be an easy fix to marry another joist.

      By the way, we’ve just lived in New York for the past 2 years. I’m from Alabama and my partner is from Portland, Oregon.

  53. Kevin O'Neill says: 160 comments

    That’s fantastic Jeff. What a great feeling it must be to get involved in this great house,:-):-)’ I know the feeling please keep us posted. Having Cody H in the neighborhood would of been enough to make me write an offer.

  54. Kevin O'Neill says: 160 comments

    That’s fantastic Jeff. What a great feeling it must be to get involved in this great house, I know the feeling please keep us posted. Having Cody H in the neighborhood would of been enough to make me write an offer.

  55. John Shiflet says: 5917 comments

    Congratulations, Jeff. This is an opportunity to preserve a community historic landmark and secure your preservation legacy for the ages. As for the bathtub plumbing atrocity, I’m amazed at how frequently this support weakening problem occurs; it appears many plumbers do not even have the most rudimentary understanding of basic carpentry and framing. I’ve heard anecdotal stories of heavy bathtubs crashing through second story floors because of such mistakes. At least its a fairly easy and straightforward repair. You and your partner will have your work cut out but the rewards after the restoration is completed will last a lifetime.

  56. Jeff N says: 23 comments

    We had hoped to meet Cody at lunch the day we were there; unfortunately we were running late for our next appointment.

    We hope to get Cody’s help in the planning and logistics departments this summer if everything goes well with the offer.

  57. Jeff N says: 23 comments

    Well, our offer is in! I’ll let you know how it goes.

  58. Jeff N says: 23 comments

    We got the house! ..assuming there are no hitches with the loan.

    • says: 349 comments

      Congratulations, and fingers crossed for an easy settlement. It’s a terrific house.

    • Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 12815 comments

      1901 Folk Victorian
      Chestatee, GA

      Woohoo! Hope the process goes smoothly with no major hiccups.

    • Karen says: 73 comments

      I spent hours yesterday reading all the comments and looking at all the wonderful pics of this treasure of a house!!!! We all just have to know, Jeff, what offer they ended up accepting!!!? Don’t leave us in suspense!!! You know everyone has been rooting for you to get the house, and we all can’t wait to see pics in the future of what you all have done with the place!!! I am green with envy over this house!!! I am a southern girl and would have even considered giving up my mild winters to bear the cold weather and snow to live it this beauty. Actually, Indiana has a smorgasbord of historic beauties at very reasonable prices. I have never been to Indiana and know very little about the state and the culture up there. I am not opposed to a change of scenery or people, but when the weather drops below forty degrees, hah!, this southern girl can only stand that for a short time. We have very mild winters down here, interspered with warm temps throughout wintertime. I’m in shorts and barefooted out in my flowerbeds the first week or two of March, and don’t put a sweater or jacket on until mid to late November. Lots of sunny warms days down here even during the short winters we have. I am still searching for my historical dream house, and would not be oppposed to moving to a different area of the United States, to experience something different. But six to seven months of cold and gloomy weather would put me in a funk for sure, even if I lived in the best historical house ever!!! Best wishes to you guys on your purchase and new adventure. I’m still pea green with envy! Congrats!

  59. Ross says: 2457 comments

    Ok Jeff, we are all DYING for an update!!!!!!!!!!!

    And, while redundant at this point, wow, what an extraordinary home.

    SMALL NOTE: the amazing lights in the attic? The mirrored shades were intended to sit ABOVE the many bulbs. And, I know this will be to imagine, but each of these sweet fixtures is worth about $1500 a piece.

  60. Ross says: 2457 comments

    I would, most strongly, urge caution with the gorgeous tile roof.

    In my experience, leaks with such roofs tend to be localized. Meaning that 90% of the roof may be in good shape.

    Leaks often develop along valleys, or at the built-in gutters. Indeed, the house may have more gutter issues than roofing. In my own Very Big House, ALL the leaks are from the built-in gutters (this will be resolved by the end of the year).

    Before removing this high-quality roof, which could well last another century, PLEASE find a person with an anal-compulsive quality to first see about doing local repairs. Such a person need not have any experience with roofing, they just need a certain attitude, and an eagerness to work on such a project.

    It will also HUGELY help to rent/buy/borrow scaffolding (at least one full-height tower).

    Hiring a big roofing company is the WORST repair option.

    Roofs are not rockets to the moon. They are pretty basic, and with easily understood “laws”. I once had a house with a chronic 50-year leak that had been “repaired” endlessly. One weekend, I just tore all the repairs off down to (rotted) wood sheathing. Then I vacuumed the whole mess. Then I sat down and stared and stared and stared at the mess. Then it hit me.

    A half a day later, and with about $40 spent, I fixed the roof. Fourteen years later it still did not leak. The problem was two-fold, and regarded an addition. Where the addition met in an inside corner of the original house, the flashing was too narrow. The second, more egregious problem, was that the flashing was nailed to both the original house and the addition. But each summer when the soil dried out, the slab foundation of the addition settled, whereby the basement under the original house did not move. Thus, the addition dropped, AND pulled away from the original house. The flashing was ripped apart, and leaks resulted. Every year this happened.

    What I did was to use VERY wide flashing, and I did not nail it to the addition.

    Problem solved.

    I have lots of such examples over the years.

    (There is a famous Frank Lloyd Wright house. Had chronic roof issues, all expensively “repaired” for decades. But the leaks returned. Finally, it was discovered that $10 worth of flashing had been left out during the original construction, and NOT ONE repair roofer ever noticed. Anyway, the flashing belatedly went in, and no more leaks. NOTE: the original owner was the construction supervisor. It was his son who at last found the cause of the leaks.)

  61. says: 34 comments

    This house is SUCH a knockout & I loved following the heartwarming story in the comments section. Congratulations to the buyers! Those totally original bathrooms are so cool. Every detail of this house is just dreamy (except for that kitchen). And the carriage house is adorable from outside! On one hand it’s a shame that its interior is so irreparably damaged, but on the other hand it didn’t look like it was that great/original inside to begin with, so in a way it will be pretty painless to just gut it and do whatever with it, even use it as a garage, or an enormous garden shed or something, because the exterior of it is so charming! Have fun! 😀

  62. Jeff N says: 23 comments

    OK, you’re right; time for an update. We accepted the bank’s second counter. And although it wasn’t the steal many thought we’d get it for, we feel we got a good deal at $147,000.

    We’ve been back twice; once for the inspection and again last weekend to meet with contractors. The inspection turned up a few minor surprises: one of the chimneys has deteriorated badly and another is leaning; and they couldn’t de-winterize the plumbing because the main supply line is broken in the basement (it couldn’t be tested, but we suspect there are more breaks in the plumbing. In the the carriage house the news was worse: both of the huge main timbers holding up the roof are rotting where they meet the northeast wall.

    The contractors assured us that everything could be fixed, but it won’t be cheap. We’ve applied for a renovation loan, so we have to get estimates for what we want fixed, then the bank will do a post-renovation appraisal to determine how much they will lend us. Despite the grandeur of this house, their rough conservative estimate is $200,000 – $225,000 based on the comps. So in addition to the mechanical and structural fixes we need, we’re throwing some lipstick into the mix to bump up the value; namely new kitchen appliances and two new bathrooms (more on that later). We’re still waiting on the estimates, but we ambitiously hope we can close on the house by July 18.

    Now some details:

    Total rewire rough estimate: $10,000 + $5000 if we decide do upgrade from 200 amps to 400 amps. I could use some advice on this one; we don’t plan to add a ton of electrical stuff, we’re switching to a gas range, is 200 amp enough?

    No estimate on this yet, but we’re considering removing the radiators from the top two floors and installing a high velocity heat pump for heat and A/C, and adding A/C on the ground floor. Don’t know how much of this can be gas powered, or how much ducting will cost, but I think we really need A/C.

    We’re looking at replacing all water supply lines with PEX. There is currently a mixture of galvanized steel and copper (bad combination). All the plumbing (including those two new baths) is in the back 1/4 of the house so we’re hoping this won’t break the bank. We’ll do the necessary demo ourselves so hopefully this will save some money. We also don’t know what shape the drain pipes are in.

    The leaks in the roof are all either in the valleys where somebody put tar many years ago, or in the flat roofs over the tower and bays. No estimate yet, but I’m encouraged by what the roof contractor’s said that we can save the tile roof.

    Now about those bathrooms: we plan to put one on the top floor and use the “ballroom as a casual living space. We’re also considering converting the bedroom over the dining room (the one with the fallen ceiling) into the master bath and an upstairs laundry. We would have to put up some new walls and remove the back of one closet to provide the entry from the master bedroom (the one with the fireplace). We would still have 4 bedrooms (including the small maid’s room in the back), plus the possibility of more bedrooms on the third floor. I realize this may upset some historic home purists, but we simply needed a new bathroom.

    Thanks for the tip on the lights. We’ll try to put the reflectors back in the right place. Anybody know where we can find a replacement for the one missing reflector?

    More later…

    • says: 349 comments

      I’ve used Unico high velocity a/c systems. SpacePak is similar, if I recall, employing small, flexible supply tubes that can be snaked easily through closets and ancillary spaces, or sometimes accommodated in minimally obtrusive vertical chases of about 3″ x 3″. These systems have many advantages and, while often more expensive than other –much more intrusive– options, are not extravagantly more expensive.

      The only minor complaints I’ve heard is that the air outlets can be a slightly loud — but these are from owners of small historic houses with rather small rooms and plaster walls replaced with non-noise-insulated gypsum board; the effect is a whoosing sound that’s noticeable but not loud. In average and larger sized rooms, and in accoustically “solid” rooms with proper plaster walls or sound insulated wallboard, it’s quiet.

      I, too, would keep the radiators. They’re part of the design and character (both visually and in the nature of their heat); they last forever with and are very unfussy in their demands; and it’s a lot of work patching and sanding and staining and making the absence of the radiators not look too very odd.

      Given the size of the house, I would solicit proposals for HVAC work from a few vendors, and probably employ an HVAC engineer just to advise on the range of options in design and equipment. You’re likely to get different approaches and suggestions from each contractor or expert. It’s worth investing time upfront to have some confidence in your choice, rather than ripping things apart and cobbling something together by the seat of your contractor’s pants.

      Besides eBay, you might check some of the better architectural salvage concerns (nationally.) If nothing turns up, there are reproduction lighting firms like authenticdesigns.com that produce designs with very similar components and could do a custom replacement (they are not inexpensive). There are also tinsmith shops that makes reproduction late 18th/early 19thC sconces with similar “mosaic” rounds of mirrored glass;they, too, might be able to do a custom repro to match your existing.

  63. Ross says: 2457 comments

    Jeff, OMG, I am SO excited for you!!!!!!!!!!! You both!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Recently, I also purchased a ridiculous huge old house, but NOTHING as compared to your exquisite pile.

    My baby:


    I am quite mad about the house. Really, it is silly my level of utter adoration and passion.

    Anyway, OHD is a great resource for people with a lot of expertise regarding great old houses.

    If there is anyway I can help please do not hesitate to ask. And this also means with regards to your lighting. I restore vintage lighting for a living. Your missing reflector? Your best bet is actually eBay, although I am uncertain how to keyword such a search. It will take a few months of daily searching, but one WILL show up (expect to pay at least $200, maybe $400).

    You have made my day. My night! My week!

    Humm, I am now inexplicably thinking of a trip to Indiana….

  64. Ross says: 2457 comments


    You wrote: “we’re considering removing the radiators from the top two floors and installing a high velocity heat pump for heat and A/C…”

    In the long run, you will find it more economical to KEEP the radiators, but with new high-effiency boilers (my Cross House has radiators in the basement, and first and second floors, but with four new high-efficiency boilers). Radiators, with high-efficiency boilers, are the most economical way to heat a huge old house. Plus, and this cannot be over emphasized, such heat is, well, an especially lovely kind of heat.

    In the Cross House, 3-zone AC has also been installed. I am a BIG believer in AC, and it has been a lot of work (well worth it) to snake the ducts through the house, and without any indication that they actually exist (it helps that I enjoy figuring out such challenges).

  65. Jim says: 5769 comments

    Jeff N – Congratulations on your contract. Obviously much to be done on the financing and paperwork – Good luck. A few comments:

    I’m surprised Fannie Mae played hardball on the price, but they rely heavily on their appraissals. In the end the last 10% probably won’t mean much.

    Roof – Get lots of estimates. Roofing firms routinely travel an hour or more for jobs, so Indianapolis and Lafayette firms should be called. As I said before, the roof problem is major, but manageable.

    Electric – 200 amps is adequate for most houses, and the upgrade estimate seems high – it’s only some wire and a new junction box.

    HVAC – Couldn’t agree more with Robt & Ross that radiator heat fed by a new gas furnace is the way to go. You’re only replacing what needs to be replaced. You might want to wait on the AC – a brick house, combined with smart air management (keeping windows and shades closed, exhaust fans, etc.) can be very comfortable for about 350 days a year.

  66. RossRoss says: 2457 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1894 QueenAnneFreeClassic
    Emporia, KS

    Jeff, we would all surely love an update!

    Cody, are you still out there? We would all surely like to know what you are up to!

  67. Jeff N says: 23 comments

    We’ve moved out of our Brooklyn Apartment at the end of our lease. Now we’re camped out at a hotel in Lafayette waiting for closing. After playing the waiting game with a general contractor, we’ve decided to go with the regular Homepath loan rather than the Homestyle renovation loan for now. We’ll do what repairs we can for now, then refinance with the Homestyle maybe next year. We really just want to get into the house already! We hope to close in less than two weeks.

    Cody came by the house while we were there Friday; he’s getting ready to move for college!

  68. RossRoss says: 2457 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1894 QueenAnneFreeClassic
    Emporia, KS

    Thanks SO much Jeff!!

    Please know that a bunch of crazy old house lovers will be eagerly awaiting semi-semi-regular updates!!!

    Also, it is very exciting to learn that Cody has not been kidnapped by aliens! He must very excited for you both!

    Oh, and the house will seem even MORE impressive after camping out in a hotel room!

  69. HarleysmomHarleysmom says: 116 comments
    OHD Supporter

    Windsor, CA

    In case you are still looking for help Indiana Landmarks is a great resource, as is the Ball State University Center for Historic Preservation. I was lucking enough to work on the Historic Site Intern Report for Tippecanoe County (though Indiana Landmarks) when I was getting my masters at BSU. You might find a graduate student in the Historic Preservation program looking to do a Historic Structures Report for their thesis. I would have done it!!!


  70. HarleysmomHarleysmom says: 116 comments
    OHD Supporter

    Windsor, CA

    I forgot to add that I visit Indiana every few years, so when the B&B is open I’ll be booking!

  71. Jeff N says: 23 comments

    Just finished closing; the house is ours! We start moving in this afternoon.

    • RossRoss says: 2457 comments
      OHD Supporter

      1894 QueenAnneFreeClassic
      Emporia, KS

      I will be right over to help you move!


      I am so excited for you both!

      INCREDIBLE house!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  72. says: 16 comments

    Jeff, CONGRATULATIONS to you both on your stunning acquisition!

    I cannot say enough of the wisdom others have shared here of retaining your radiator system. Updating components is likely your most economical choice. Do not underestimate the quality of radiant heat. It is superb, the most perfect heat for a large home and I speak from years of Prince Edward Island winters in a seven bedroom Queen Anne.

    I am originally from Indiana, and interested in your story as you and your partner progress there. My Canadian partner and I implemented a plan similar as yours to supplement the expenses of a large historic property. We’ve been pleasantly surprised. I’m happy to share experience; contact via BlackFoxManor. We are encouraged by the new wave of human rights in the U.S. and are considering relocation. I spent most my life in the San Francisco Bay Area but Indiana is on our radar.

    A note on ceramic tile roofs. Growing up in Indianapolis, I recall childhood memories of extraordinary fine old homes with terra cotta roofs. Not common, certainly memorable. I recall these from later than Victorian era homes. Most remarkable were tiles of a a high gloss jade green color. While durable, these must be extremely rare now. Other OHD contributors know much more than me.

    Best of luck to you!

  73. ROBERT BLUMAN says: 5 comments

    I think that you guys have the right idea with all that you are planning for this wonderful property. Indiana is an INCREDIBLE state to purchase properties in for very reasonable prices! My partner David and I purchased a seasonal home, a sprawling BOOMERANG shaped or CRESCENT-SHAPED mid 1950’s Bedford Stone ranch designed in the PRARIE STYLE in NORTH MANCHESTER, INDIANA as a bank foreclosure 2 years ago. An incredible town with probably the best Liberal Arts University in the state, MANCHESTER UNIVERSITY. We find NORTH MANCHESTER, INDIANA to be somewhat liberal in thinking…after all, Eleanor Roosevelt spoke there in 1957 and it was the last college Martin Luther King spoke at before his death. LOOKING FOR A STEAL..CHECK OUT THE $105,000 brick turret castle on Main St. On Realtor.com look under zip code 46962. Best of luck to everyone who takes on the love and dedication of saving a “special home”. Our main home is in Kinderhook, N.Y. in the Hudson River Valley- Columbia County area where our old Brick Dutch Colonial was built in 1758! I will take an old historical home needing work any day over a new tract house! BTW…if you want to live in an incredible area you MUST check out Columbia County, N.Y.!! TONS of 200+ year-old homes with land. 2 hours from NYC. The people here are kind and sweet and very LIBERAL. Intelligent, literate and many have left careers of high positions in NYC. Dinner parties weekly; people are into PRESERVATION, THEIR ANIMALS, COOKING, FRIENDS, AND DEEP DISCUSSIONS ABOUT LIFE! Thanks for letting me share!

  74. Jeff N says: 23 comments

    Thought it was time for a quick update…

    We are LOVING the house and the town of Delphi! Everyone we have met has been extremely nice and very happy that we are rescuing the house. Just finished repairs to the roof and hidden gutters today; this included new copper valleys and flashing and EPDM coating on the flat “porches” on the third floor. Total cost was below $25,000. So we will be dry this winter. We found out the tiles were porcelain and were stamped “1880” on the bottom. We had just enough of the standard tiles from the stash in the carriage house to replace the broken ones on the roof.

    After having a couple of plumbers look at the boiler piping and not giving us much hope, we had a local craftsman (recommended by the Preservation Society) come over and his response was “let’s fill it up and see what happens.” To my extreme surprise, all it took to get it running was freeing up one of the circulation motors and now the whole system works like a charm! Not even one leak. If only every system in the house were that easy… We haven’t had any extreme cold yet, but the system is keeping the house toasty hardly ever coming on. I’m a true believer in boiler systems now!

    All the plumbing had frozen and ruptured, so I’ve replaced most of the supply lines with PEX, and the only leaks I have had were when I had to tie in to the existing steel supply lines. We’ve used the plumber who worked on the boiler to replace the cast iron stack and are now planning the plumbing system for two new bathrooms (master and one on the third floor).

    If there is any interest, I’ll post more as work progresses.

    Thanks for all the well-wishes!

    • Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 12815 comments

      1901 Folk Victorian
      Chestatee, GA

      Thanks for the update! Glad things are working out and that the roof did not cost as much as feared.

      And of course there is interest! We love hearing (and eventually seeing) the progress you are making.

    • lara janelara jane says: 465 comments
      OHD Supporter

      I’d forgotten about this one until Ross mentioned it!

      I’m so happy to see this update. Glad things are going well with the house and that the community have embraced you.

  75. RossRoss says: 2457 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1894 QueenAnneFreeClassic
    Emporia, KS

    Yes Jeff!! More!!!! More!!!!

    And have you thought about a blog on the house?

  76. Robert Bluman says: 5 comments

    Hi Jeff.

    By this point, we ALL have a vested interest in your wonderful home. Please take pictures and we await all the wonderful things you will do with this home. Best regards. Robert Bluman.

  77. Karen Longo says: 73 comments

    I so enjoyed looking at the pics of this awesome home again!!! It is absolutely gorgeous to me!!! Hope to see some pics of renovations.

  78. says: 23 comments

    I don’t have much in the way of renovation photos (plumbing, electrical, and roofing repairs aren’t that sexy), but I do have some photos we took of the old girl in all her Christmas finery (we put 5 trees up this year). Can someone tell me how to post pictures here?

    • Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 12815 comments

      1901 Folk Victorian
      Chestatee, GA

      Just emailed you my email. 🙂

    • Susan D says: 3 comments

      Hello, I found this thread while doing some research on the Bowen family. Long story short, there are some Bowen family ancestor pics (1880s) for sale on Ebay (not by me, I was thinking about buying them as I like Indiana history and they are kind of cool). I thought you might be interested in having them because you own the house. There is a misspelling in the Ebay listing, so it is kind of confusing and hard to find, but I will be happy to send you the link if you would like to check them out. They are $20 and again, I have no financial gain to make, I am not selling them, I just think it would be awesome to connect the pics back to the family home. Cool house, hope it is going well for you.

      • JeffN says: 23 comments

        Yes! I’d like the link. Thanks for letting me know about this Susan. Good luck with your research and let me know if you find anything about the house.

      • Susan D says: 3 comments

        Hello, the pics are under the description “pair of antique photos W.H. Potter Indianapolis Indiana Nathaniel Bower 1880” in EBAY (I cannot transfer the link for some reason). The error is the “Bower.” if you zoom on the photos you see the handwritten “Nathaniel Washington Bowen.” The seller is ballstatebaseball. I googled his name and I believe he is the son of Abner Bowen. He is named for his uncle, also called Nathaniel Washington Bowen. The date of the photos, 1880, would make it right that this is the Nathaniel Washington Bowen who built your house in 1896. He cuts an impressive figure and the Caroline Bowen photo is also dramatic. There is a lot of fun stuff on the Bowens, including http://www.wabashanderiecanal.org/Canal_Village.html. Hope you get them, have fun!

        • JeffN says: 23 comments

          Thanks for the tip Susan, the man in the picture looks like the same man as another photo I’ve seen from the county museum. I placed a bid on the photos.

          • susan d says: 3 comments

            Did you get the photos? I think the auction ended, I hope they got back where they belong.

            • JeffN says: 23 comments

              Yes,got them for the initial bid last night. We plan to frame them and display in the house.

              How is the research going? If you’re ever in the area, please let me know so you can see the house and we can swap information.

  79. RossRoss says: 2457 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1894 QueenAnneFreeClassic
    Emporia, KS

    Jeff, you wrote: “plumbing, electrical, and roofing repair [images] aren’t that sexy.”

    What? I suspect quite a few of us on OHD would think that such images are VERY sexy!


  80. Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 12815 comments

    1901 Folk Victorian
    Chestatee, GA

    Added the photos from JeffN, the owner, of his Christmas decorations, very pretty!

  81. RossRoss says: 2457 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1894 QueenAnneFreeClassic
    Emporia, KS

    What a delight to see this gorgeous house lived in again and loved! It warms my heart! I am sure Santa was thrilled, too! Thank you Jeff! Thank you Kelly!

  82. Mike S. says: 1 comments

    Thanks for all the info Jeff! I love watching this play out.

    Please DO post any pictures you have of the old mechanical systems. I’m a total nerd for old building systems and I doubt I’m the only one. Electrical holds the most space in my heart but they’re all completely fascinating to me.

    So much of that stuff is long gone by the time we see old houses and I think it’s actually pretty important to document it as best we can. The mechanical systems of a house had a lot to do with living there!

  83. Troy says: 5 comments

    This is one of my favorite threads.

    I’m from Indiana and didn’t even know about Delphi, until I saw this one. We just had to drive down and check it out in person. I loved it and even put in a couple offers, not long before you guys got it.

    It’s great to see it’s in good hands and that some of the repairs were less than expected.

    We took our kids down by the creek and hung out for a while and that was pretty cool too.

    Do you have any plans for the carriage house yet? That thing is huge!

    If you ever decide to relocate or sell, please let me know! 🙂

  84. Dionysia says: 12 comments

    It’s been over 9 months. Any updates?

  85. JeffN says: 23 comments

    Wow, how time flies! We’ve been in the house just over a year. Not a whole lot has happened since my last post. I’ve been staying in New York with my job and only make it home about every other weekend.

    Lately we’ve been working on stripping and reglazing the windows, getting ready for winter. I had just finished one of the huge tower sashes (48 inches wide curved and 33 inches tall); everything was fine but I came out a few minutes later and there was a two foot crack from one side to the middle of the top. My heart just sank. Does anyone know if the epoxy used to fixed cracked windshields will work on windows? I did find a place that makes custom curved glass and one pane cost $325 plus $90 to build a custom crate. No idea how much to ship. The price goes down if you get multiple pieces; and three of the upstairs tower sashes have plexiglass in them now. I’m just not sure that I want to spend over a grand on windows right now.

    I’ve also started cleaning the basement – wrapping the boiler system pipes, taking up the old flooring. That keeps me busy when the weather is bad.

    I’m hoping to land a job working from home so we’ll be able to make more progress. Maybe then I’ll even be able to post some pictures of the work so far.

    • RossRoss says: 2457 comments
      OHD Supporter

      1894 QueenAnneFreeClassic
      Emporia, KS

      Thanks for the update, Jeff!

      In my 1894 house, one of my big curved windows got cracked! The price you got quoted is not bad, actually. Mine is $600 just for the glass!

      You have a FABULOUS house, and it is nice of you to keep us crazy old house nuts updated!

  86. RossRoss says: 2457 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1894 QueenAnneFreeClassic
    Emporia, KS

    Looking through all the images again.

    Yep, this is my all-time favorite ever house on OHD.

    • Cody H says: 133 comments

      Even more so than your own big baby, Ross?

      • RossRoss says: 2457 comments
        OHD Supporter

        1894 QueenAnneFreeClassic
        Emporia, KS

        Yes, even more!

        This house is brick on the exterior which I would MUCH prefer to my wood. I also love the clay roof. I could only dream!

        This house also retains its original lighting which makes me GREEN with envy.

        I am also insane for the original bathroom (my baths were gutted; sigh).

        Still, I adore my big baby. My very big baby.

  87. JimHJimH says: 5769 comments
    OHD Supporter

    It’s wonderful to follow this great house from a somewhat uncertain and neglected status back to stable condition. Jeff and partner gave the place the attention and investment that it needed immediately to become a living home again, preserving it for the future by making repairs and catching up on deferred maintenance. These are the things that save old houses, and the basis of Historic Preservation. With more of the same effort, it will continue to be a beautiful old place for a long time. It’s a better strategy for most houses and owners than a pricey “gild the lily” restoration, and I personally prefer the unrestored look. Great job so far!

  88. LUCINDA HOWARD says: 264 comments

    I just found this by accident and read everything. I have looked at all the pictures more than once. I can’t think of the correct words to describe this home. So happy you guys bought it. Please post more pictures and information when you have time.

  89. says: 14 comments

    Any updates?! Love reading all of the comments and information posted on this thread, its an amazing house!

  90. says: 23 comments

    OK, I’ve been promising to post pictures of the hidden parts of the house. So instead of bothering Kelly to add even more pictures to this thread I’ve put everything (with commentary) in a public album on my Facebook page:


    If anyone has insight or can clear up a mystery, please post here.

    • JimHJimH says: 5769 comments
      OHD Supporter

      Jeffery, thanks for the photo link. There are some very cool shots there, my favorite being the original electrical panel in the hallway with the great old casework. So much nicer than an ugly gray box in the darkest corner of the basement!
      It’s probably a good thing we don’t have acetylene generators in our backyards these days, but old tech stuff like that is really fascinating.

    • RossRoss says: 2457 comments
      OHD Supporter

      1894 QueenAnneFreeClassic
      Emporia, KS

      Jeff! I am just dying looking at all the images. Extraordinary!!!!!!!!!!!

      Thank you!

    • RosewaterRosewater says: 7677 comments
      OHD Supporter

      1875 Italianate cottage
      Noblesville, IN

      Guess I should have subscribed to this thread years ago – D’oh! So cool that you are posting updates here, (that RARELY ever happens). You are my hero for posting those pix and descriptions of some of the great 19th century tech details in your house. Rad! I’d love to see your cisterns. Are you going to use them? I would! Also, is the acetylene generator still on the property? Are any of your gas lighting fixtures still operable? Sorry for the pesky questions; just loving that you appreciate those great arcane systems in your so fab house. Thrilled you found someone who just fired up your hot water heating system before ripping it out. Your mystery chunnel in the basement may well be a fresh/cool air inlet, perhaps associated with the radiator boxes, (sooo Frickin rad!). I saw something very similar last summer at the J.J. Hill house in St. Paul. That place has some beyond fab, custom, 19th century tech details. Cheers bro! JH in Noblesville

      • RosewaterRosewater says: 7677 comments
        OHD Supporter

        1875 Italianate cottage
        Noblesville, IN

        Check out this detail pic. from the Hill house. The 1″ pipe to the left entering the drain pipes blasted high pressure steam up through the scupper into the guttering system to break up ice clogs. They lead to every scupper on the house. Imagine what that must have looked like on a frigid winter night – like a Frickin dragon hissing away up there high above the city. Heheheh. Right click the image for detail – https://flic.kr/p/xSou8b

        • says: 23 comments

          That’s an ingenious way to keep the scuppers from clogging with ice! Wish I had something like that on mine. The flat roofs have settled a little below the level of the scuppers so a little water tends to pool. The roofer I had working on it tried to build it up, but still having a problem.

      • says: 23 comments

        The cisterns were disconnected and aren’t seated in the frames. Not sure why they were moved, but thankfully they were too big to get out of the attic. I need to venture back up there to take some photos and to retrieve some treasures I saw up there like a piece of the lincrusta (unpainted) that was used in the parlor.

        The acetylene generator is gone. Water/mixture tanks are still buried outside, but we can’t figure out where the piping to the fixtures was hooked up. Several of the gas/electric fixtures are still there; and the gas lights have not been converted. So theoretically, they could be hooked up to a tank sometime in the future.

        I see what you’re saying about the chunnel, but it doesn’t seem to have an outside opening.

  91. MimiMimi says: 181 comments
    OHD Supporter

    Rochester, MN

    My favorite & in ecstasy! What a wondrous home & those lovely restorers are living there! Magnifique!

  92. says: 1 comments

    Beautiful, just beautiful!!

  93. OurPhillyRowOurPhillyRow says: 134 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1852 Greek Revival Rowhouse
    Philadelphia, PA

    Stumbled across this thread…. What an amazing house.
    It would be so awesome to explore the house for a few hours.

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