1869 Second Empire – New Philadelphia, OH

Added to OHD on 10/9/14   -   Last OHD Update: 4/12/20   -   93 Comments
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233 Ray Ave NW, New Philadelphia, OH 44663

  • $29,900
  • 4 Bed
  • 2 Bath
  • 1800 Sq Ft
  • 0.11 Ac.
Victorian home with tons of character. 5 fireplaces with beautiful mantels, original pocket doors, stained glass and huge rooms. 2 gas furnaces. Corner lot. Sells as is, seller will make no repairs.

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

93 Comments on 1869 Second Empire – New Philadelphia, OH

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  1. Cookie says: 13 comments

    That front door is incredible! I wish there were more photos. From the outside, it does look rather creepy to me though.

  2. RossRoss says: 2466 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1894 QueenAnneFreeClassic
    Emporia, KS

    I scare myself when I think: Hey! I would buy this place just for the front doors!

  3. Marion says: 69 comments

    This house is amazing, looks like straight out off a movie!
    I am a total sucker for Second Empire architecture

  4. Gypsywolf says: 10 comments

    really wish there were more photos of this house – really looks its got some neat personality.

  5. Paul WPaul W says: 468 comments

    I have seen a few of these Empire cottages scattered about in small town in Ohio. They are based loosely on Woodward National Architect back in the 1870’s. There just are not many left. The exterior clearly needs a lot of work but based on the very limited photos of the interior may be a gem on the inside, It has that “time capsule” appearance. Small towns in Ohio never disappoint me with the hidden gems out there.

    This house will really benefit with a preservation minded owner willing to spend the money and invest the time needed for this home. Its low enough priced that we could well see it swathed in vinyl siding too. So I’m hoping for the best here.

  6. says: 12 comments

    Really love that front door with the tear drop windows – never seen one like that before. And the woodwork!!!!! It is incredible. Why, oh why, don’t these realtors do more photos? So sad that they don’t understand the power of a photo. I bought my house based on photos, first time I saw it was the day I moved in.

    • Dale says: 12 comments

      Yes, Paul, everything you have written is true. But, at least this has been my experience, if one calls and shows a real interest in a house, the realtor will send photos via the email. When I recently purchased my Edwardian, the originally listing only had one small photo and I could only see the whole outside by using Street View, but when I called the realtor she was more than willing to send me interior photos. And did so the day I rang her up as well.

  7. Jon Adams says: 6 comments

    I just like the name of the style: 2nd Empire. Say it with a flourish.

  8. Trudy says: 26 comments

    Weird that the front photo seems to have been joined in photoshop or something. Wonder why? It is a great house. I could do Ohio. Oh, wait. I’m already committed to living in the kitchen of the mansion in CA….ha!

  9. Melissa says: 234 comments

    What if we asked her if she has more photos to email to us? would that be stalking? Kelly, would that fall outside of your rules for the site?

  10. Michael Timons says: 1 comments

    I love second empire and queen Ann ….that door one of a kind I have never seen anything like it and I have seen many many houses !!

  11. Kimberly says: 2 comments

    Beautiful home, I would love to live in it while doing the fix up. Just breath taking Beautiful. I also wish for more pictures!

  12. Kiana says: 5 comments

    The font door and the stained glass windows! Wow just beautiful!

  13. RosewaterRosewater says: 6335 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1875 Italianate cottage
    Noblesville, IN

    Great house! Tough location. Great price! Definitely a pity it’s lacking pictures of what must be some very fine details mentioned in the listing. Those tear drop window doors are really special, and a very rare detail. I’ve only seen them twice before, once last year on a really great house I thought was on OHD – but I guess not. I clipped it for my collection though, and just posted it here for anybody interested: https://www.flickr.com/photos/regulusalpha/sets/72157648199555809/

    Hope somebody does end up getting some more pix of this one…

  14. John Shiflet says: 5477 comments

    I’m blown away by this one and that’s after coming off a recent 10 day old house hunting trip to Indiana, Ohio, and Kansas. If the rest of the house is anything like the entry it gets my two thumbs up. The insanely low price is not that unusual for old houses in the smaller towns of Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, and Western Pennsylvania. My only request: more pictures, please!

    • AHodson says: 20 comments

      John, on your recent trip to Ohio, did you come see Findlay?

      • John Shiflet says: 5477 comments

        No, unfortunately we did not. We went as far as Galion and considered going on to Bucyrus but Findlay, Tiffin, and Fostoria would have been a real treat if we had somehow found the extra time. Almost every community in Northwest Ohio has a decent collection of historic homes-some have more than others. Early natural gas field discoveries in the area made these communities manufacturing centers especially of high quality glassware. We will have to put these communities on a future trip list. I’m amazed that we were able to stay on track over the course of ten days and see so many historic homes in Ohio, Indiana, and Kansas. At best, we saw maybe 1% or less of the historic homes in the Midwest. I’m not sure if any person could see most of them in a lifetime. Then again, the region is heavily biased towards Victorian era architecture and falls off sharply in the decades before 1840 and was not as robust in the 20th century as in the 19th, for the most part.

  15. John Shiflet says: 5477 comments

    A look at a map shows New Philadelphia is in the eastern region of Ohio not too distant from Wheeling, WV. This fairly large region has long been economically depressed despite its abundant natural beauty. In streetview, I found one can go up the alley and see the back of this house. A later kitchen might have been added at the back. Nicely kept yard with new looking sidewalks. A school is nearby which might be a negative for some. (but also a plus as street snow removal occurs sooner in most school zones) New Philadelphia seems to have some other quirky houses like one I found in steetview at 136 3rd St. S.W.(an Italianate with a Queen Anne tower) Some very inexpensively priced but great old homes can be found in this region like the recently posted Victorian in Barnesville, OH (in a sampler) not far away. If you have outside sources of income and don’t like the hustle and bustle of the big city, small town Midwest living might be ideal. I found in my travels that smaller communities in the Midwest are every bit as friendly and hospitable as down South so long as you act friendly yourself.

  16. John Shiflet says: 5477 comments

    Found another very similar house in New Philadelphia: https://www.flickr.com/photos/10707024@N04/3046018563/in/set-72157603767555669 most likely by the same builder as this one but the wonderful entry doors are missing there. A casual Flickr search using the term “New Philadelphia” turns up several additional larger Second Empire Style homes in the community including a towered example. Seems like a place with a good collection of old houses. Pity it wasn’t on the radar screen when we made our Midwest trip last month.

  17. Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 11783 comments

    1901 Folk Victorian
    Chestatee, GA

    Added a street view image of the back of the house.

  18. Paul W says: 468 comments

    The rear view of this house is very revealing as to the overall exterior condition and may explain the affordable price. This house has some serious deferred maintenance issues. The rear of the house has missing siding that looks to have been gone in places for some time, the overall condition of the siding on the rear and addition is fair at best. The lack of paint has allowed the siding to become deteriorated and cracked. The box guttering is in poor condition as well. These openings In the exterior allow water to get in to the cavities of the balloon framing. I suspect some major rotting of the exterior 2x4s and I suspect serious damage to the sill plate. Probably explained the lack of interior photos.

    The addition: The area with the two windows and short door was originally an open porch. They probably removed the old actual wall to expand this room at some point. The rear wall reveals window and door changes and I note the depression in the ground around what is a boarded window (or old coal shoot). This is directing all water coming off the house towards the foundation and basement (not good). The flashing between the addition and the main house is not properly installed also allowing water to get in that back main wall. There also looks to be insufficient pitch on the main house ‘flatter parts” of the roof to adequately move water off it and that is problematic in winter as it allows ice formation and ponding. This was a design flaw when the house was built to not allow enough pitch for drainage when you have snow. I suspect no insulation at all in this house and if there is it is probably soaked and moldy.

    The siding on the bay doesn’t look too bad and it looks like there is tin on top of the hooded part of the top of the windows. I suspect that will need replacement. The gutters on the one story part of the house are too small to basically carry all the roof water and need to be upgraded with a larger guttering system (disguised as a box gutter maybe) to carry the water off properly. One will probably spend about the asking price to properly redo the outside after you replace the bad siding, reflash, fix the roof deficiencies and insulate. Still though not a bad investment even with that. Of course, we don’t know what the inside will require but I suspect some plastering issues in those areas.

    The porch columns from this view seem to be later simple box columns. This house will really need a preservation focused buyer to do this work properly. I hope a “Billy Bob” contractor doesn’t get a hold of it or it will be swathed in white vinyl siding and bent aluminum.

    • RossRoss says: 2466 comments
      OHD Supporter

      1894 QueenAnneFreeClassic
      Emporia, KS

      Dear Paul,

      I must protest!!!!!!!

      Your post is full of words like suspect, and probably.

      To post an extreme arm-lengths Condition Analysis of this house (or any other house) from a few images does a disservice to this house and to all old houses across the land.

      I cannot tell you how many houses I have looked at (in person) which looked TERRIBLE from the exterior, and relatively OK inside. Conversely, I have experienced the opposite: houses which looked pretty good outside, yet inside there was catastrophic damage from external issues not readily obvious. With your long experience, I am confident that you, too, have experienced both surprises.

      OHD is being read by an ever-increasing number of people. Someone who might see this charmer on OHD, and fall in love, will quickly have this newly born love extinguished after reading a post like yours. Please, can we let such love grow and strengthen a bit instead of snuffing it out? A person IN LOVE with this house may be willing to undertake a full restoration which normal mortals would run from. But you need, critically, LOVE first. There is no way I would have undertaken the massive restoration of my Cross House had I not first fallen wildly and insanely in love. And even with all that I have been through already, my love has only grown stronger.

      And, once again, you toss out numbers which are as high as high can be! Does the rear exterior need work? Certainly! But if a person/couple buys this house, and has restoration skills, the points you noted can be corrected for vasty less than your quote.

      You also make statements such as : “They probably removed the old actual wall to expand this room at some point.”

      Again, you have no idea if this is true. In my experience I find that enclosed porches are usually NOT incorporated into adjacent rooms. Rather, they are still discreet spaces. Of course, with this house I cannot know as I HAVE NOT BEEN INSIDE! For all we both know, a bowling alley could be behind the former porch exterior wall!

      Where we agree is that this is an old house, that all old houses need work, and the price is likely reflective of condition.

      But it looks like a WAY cool house.

      Oh wait!!! Is that Cupid I see hovering overhead the house, pointing an arrow at…..?

  19. Paul WPaul W says: 468 comments

    Ross I am hoping there is a lot of interest in this house and someone buys it. Having just got back mid week from over in Illinois where I met with some people in year 4 of their 6 month restoration and spent 5 times what they thought they would and still only 1/2 way there. I feel compelled to point out what this house needs. Its significant architecturally and should be restored, however, it needs more than to slap some paint it. The rear view shows some serious issues that must be addressed if that house is preserved.

    It saddens me personally when people buy an old house on emotion thinking they will magically fix it and wind up broke and disillusioned. I don’t want to see this house back on here again in 3 years at a discounted priced. Spending 30-35K on ‘restoring’ the outside siding, fixing the box guttering, addressing the flat roof issues, replacing the guttering, replacing the columns on the porch and getting blown in done…assumed you wont have to open up that back wall of the house and restructure it if the balloon framing is rotted and have to yank out the sills plates and completely replace them is ‘hopeful’.

    You must assume you can find craftsmen all over the Midwest willing to work for 10-15 bucks and hour but the average person will not find that. Most tradespeople I know are charging 3-400 bucks to rebuild an original window, 15-20K to restore and reconstruct a new porch and 10K to put on an EPDM roof and resheath and properly flash it. Insulation is going to be 3-4K and getting original style profile siding is running about 1.75-2.15 a board foot around here. Sure you could Hardi-side cheaper but that isn’t restoration.

    I hate to be the bearer of reality to the many “dreamers” on here but this stuff isn’t cheap and a lot of this kind of work is beyond the scope for many people. Its almost winter here and this house will be in worse shape come spring, and there is no way to get it buttoned up before cold weather .

    • Not that anyone is asking me, but based on what’s apparent from the exterior, I’d say only a fool would look at this house and think it’s going to be a cheap or easy fix!

      We’re all “dreamers” to one degree or another on this forum, but at some point reality has to be the final arbiter and based on my own experience with owning a large 19th-century Scottish church (and having to sell it later because I got married and my wife could understand the challenge better than I could), I’d say Paul is spot on.

      Anyone buying this place will either have deep pockets, or some serious construction skills (or will have friends/family members with such things).

      Those doors are the essence of Temptation, though. My goodness…such skills our ancestors had!

    • RossRoss says: 2466 comments
      OHD Supporter

      1894 QueenAnneFreeClassic
      Emporia, KS

      Hi again Paul!

      You wrote: “I feel compelled to point out what this house needs.”

      Paul, you have not seen the house. You have no understanding of its ACTUAL condition, yet you feel “compelled” to throw out numbers!.

      THIS is what I protest.

      Obviously the house is going to need a lot of money to restore. Obviously. And we have previously debated at length the issue of just how much is how much. You default to THE MOST EXPENSIVE possible option (even though, curiously, you do just the opposite with your OWN projects, a classic case of Do As I Say and Not As I Do!). I certainly understand that old houses CAN cost a massive bundle, but you never acknowledge that a person/couple with restoration skills can restore a house for a not unreasonable amount.

      However, this, again, is not my concern. I think it is wrong to offer an extreme arms-length Condition Analysis. Only a careful ON SITE visit can determine condition.

      NOTE: I do not assume there are craftspersons all over the Midwest willing to work for 10-15 bucks an hour.

  20. Paul WPaul W says: 468 comments

    Ross I my work as a historic preservation consultant you would be amazed at how much of my work is done without an on site working from clients photos and video. It doesn’t take a “rocket scientist” to determine this house needs major siding eplacement, box gutter reconsruction, repitch of the main roof and seriours recobstruction of the wall between the hsoue and addition.

    • RossRoss says: 2466 comments
      OHD Supporter

      1894 QueenAnneFreeClassic
      Emporia, KS

      Hi again Paul!

      Please know that I am well aware of your credentials (impressive!), and much admire your many many years of dedication to restoring old houses.

      This is not, however, what I have been addressing.

      While I agree that somebody with your considerable background can look at exterior images and determine X issues which might need to be addressed, I do not agree that you can automatically assume what INTERIOR conditions might be without an on-site visit. As I wrote above, I cannot tell you how many houses I have looked at (in person) which looked TERRIBLE from the exterior, and were relatively OK inside. Conversely, I have experienced the opposite: houses which looked pretty good outside, yet inside there was catastrophic damage from external issues not readily obvious.

      In addition, I deeply protest your continued and insistent VERY HIGH estimates for every old house on OHD needing an apparent lot of work. I mean, you once stated that it would cost $500,000 just to make one house campable! Sorry, but this is just, well, crazy, man! Even $50,000 would be a crazy number!

      I have stated over and over: one CAN spend a lot of $$$ restoring an old house if, as somebody once stated, you plan to sit on the front porch drinking martinis while all the hired help slaves around you (I might only wish!!!). Or, and this is what you refuse to acknowledge (even though it is what you practice on your own properties), a person/couple with restoration skills CAN restore an old house (such as this way cool property) for a sum much more reasonable than you suggest.

      Paul, please know that although we disagree on a few issues, this does not diminish my admiration for all the fine work you have done (and will continue to do!). You seem a true kindred spirit.

      Have a great holiday weekend!

  21. Paul WPaul W says: 468 comments

    Sorry about the spelling but I’m actually onsite with a client and working with a tablet with no keyboard and a 7 inch screen today.

  22. LBBJr says: 49 comments

    I like what Ross says, this website is called OLD HOUSE DREAMS…..and love is a pre-requisite to really appreciate these houses, and the sort of indepth analysis that Paul gives is really useful, and I hope that Paul never stops making his thoughts on “reality” available to the Dreamers. But, could I suggest that Paul, you keep the real-reality for when a Dreamer asks someone for their assessment, otherwise, I agree with Ross, the love can be killed too soon.
    Its like telling a child that “your imaginary friend isn’t real and time to grow up”, this too is true, but it could destroy the child.
    A kind of Lashon Hara….

  23. G S says: 17 comments

    OMG–that door!!!

  24. Mia says: 4 comments

    What an awesome house! It reminds me of something out of a children’s fairytale book. I do hope someone restores her.

  25. lindsey renea says: 6 comments

    I live about a half hour from this house. I am going to do my best to go see it tomorrow. I’m intrigued! Will do my best to get some good pictures to share.

    • Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 11783 comments

      1901 Folk Victorian
      Chestatee, GA

      Cool! Let us know, we’d love to see more pics!

      • lindsey renea says: 6 comments

        Absolutely, thanks for sharing. My boyfriend I are in love with your site. It really is a great source of insight for us in the search for the perfect old house. Second empire is our very favorite. 🙂 I really appreciate the time you spend running the site, so thank you!

  26. Graham says: 146 comments

    Those doors are really super. I will chime in with the others about some more pictures of the inside(wonder if all the woodwork is as nice).
    As for the dreamer comments I will only say that since we bought our 1870’s house 20 years ago it still has the ability to “surprise” us with repair items. Although I would do it again in a heart beat.

  27. says: 38 comments

    Oh, how I wish there were more photos!! This house is a storybook jewel!! I hope someone can restore her to her true potential.

  28. Paul WPaul W says: 468 comments

    Found out Price reduced to 24,9. Some preservation friends of mine who live in Columbus OH looked at it. They liked it and got some bids, It was actually worse than I thought. Their low bid on a new roof and box gutter rebuild (in salvaged slate was over 40K , the high bid with repro slates was over 70). The valleys have extensive rot in the roof timbers from years of Ice damning and water infiltration and all the contractors said their bids could be more depending on how much valley restructure/reframing is needed.

    Back addition was toast they got bid of 40-50K to rebuild it , one contractor said he could demo and build a new kitchen shell with salvaged historic windows and new wood siding for 30K , which wasn’t a bad deal in my opinion. Lots of plaster repairs will be needed and the sill plates are rotted and have termite damage in the main part of the house so lower parts of first floor framing will need replacement which means you also have plaster repair inside.

    They loved the house, but figured best case scenario was 195-225K and that was with them doing a lot of work including a new porch. I might add they have restored 5 homes and are not newbies, to restoration so I would trust their bids and estimates were about right.

    They said it is doable, for the right person with a ton of skills who could do everything themselves, had lots of time, but they looked at some fully restored homes priced at 125-130 that were well restored and turnkey, so spending 225K possibly didn’t make economic sense to them, so they passed.

    But I suspect their experience explained the dramatic price drop.

    There is a lot of deferred maintenance and as they told me if they could have got to this house 5-7 years ago the restore cost would have been a lot less.

    • RossRoss says: 2466 comments
      OHD Supporter

      1894 QueenAnneFreeClassic
      Emporia, KS

      Hi Paul!

      So, some people you know have decided this house is not worth it.


      But I cannot help but think of another house on OHD, one of my Top Favorites:


      This INCREDIBLE house sat for a long time with no buyers because people were terrified of the roof condition, and were getting scary estimates.

      Then Jeff and his partner purchased the place recently. They wrote:

      “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.”

      Jeff also wrote:

      “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.”

      My point is that estimates are just that, estimates. One can get very high estimates, reasonable estimates, and low.

      You wrote: “low bid on a new roof and box gutter rebuild (in salvaged slate was over 40K , the high bid with repro slates was over 70).”

      Of course, there ARE options other than THE MOST EXPENSIVE (slate or repro slate).

      You wrote: “Back addition was toast they got bid of 40-50K to rebuild it.”

      Of course, one could just remove the addition. The house would also look better without it.

  29. Paul WPaul W says: 468 comments

    House is now listed as a “contingent sale” don’t know if that means contingent on the sale of another house or some inspection process.

    FYI: the people who looked at this house have taken on some very challenging restorations over the years. I was hoping they’d take it on.

    On another note: Several people have asked about those doors. I found out there was a local millwork company that made those doors back in the day and quite a few homes have them in that region.

    I just came across one on a house in DOVER (not faraway from this house) that has the same doors and I have found some others in the general area. I featured the Dover house on my RB Blog: http://rustbeltpreservationist.blogspot.com/2014/11/preservation-envy-606-n-wooster-dover.html
    Apparently this Millwork supplier made a lot of these doors and staircases and window parts. Local Millworkers tend to put their mark on a region and certainly the arched doors do that.

  30. Nancy S says: 1 comments

    I was by this house over the weekend. It is in worse shape than the pictures show. The seller’s niece was there hauling things out of the house. She said a contractor bought it and will be tearing it down. 🙁 Thankfully, they will be having someone salvage the good pieces. I hinted that I’d like to see inside, but she was not inclined to let me go in. She said the roof had leaked for so long the plaster walls are all falling down.

  31. Paul W says: 468 comments

    Saddened, but not surprised, The economics, and reality, of real word costs of restoration, probably meant this home was doomed.

    When you can buy a showcase level restoration for 125-150K in the general area , there are not that many who are going to go out on a financial limb to spend far more to restore a house like this.

    The housing bubble taught people that there was real financial consideration in owning a old house, at the end of the day it has to be worth what you put into it to someone else. The only “good thing” that run-up did was get some houses that were on their last legs then, put back together and in a more stable condition today. This house didn’t enjoy that and again, deferred maintenance can kill an old house.

    As my friends who looked at this one said, if we could have got it five years ago it would have been a different outcome. Timing, location and condition are critical with many homes in small towns.

  32. Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 11783 comments

    1901 Folk Victorian
    Chestatee, GA

    Thanks to Lindsey who rode by and took a few exterior photos. The last photo, right click and “View Image” if you want to see a bigger view of it, you can really see just how bad the back is.

    • RossRoss says: 2466 comments
      OHD Supporter

      1894 QueenAnneFreeClassic
      Emporia, KS

      Kelly, I agree it looks bad. But I have seen many houses in worse shape which were restored.

      The back addition could have been lopped off.

      I still think it is sad that this lovely home, so rich in character, and unusual, is being eradicated from the Earth.

  33. says: 6 comments

    I think it is very sad that they are demolishing this house. It is so unique and has so much character. Although the house is in deplorable condition, I don’t think it truly precedents it being destroyed. It clearly needs A LOT of money, time, and love put into it and these things happen all the time but I think it could be restored just enough at a reasonable cost that it wouldn’t have to be demolished. It hasn’t been on the market very long at all and it seems that with time someone may take a chance on this house because it is in a nice, safe town and the town isn’t really as small as most people may think. This area is rich in old houses and many do stand empty and are in similar condition, but most of them have been saved and/or taken care of throughout the years.
    All in all, I think the most unfortunate thing of all is that people who own houses like this do let them go so that they are not likely to be saved because they have been neglected for so long that repairable things become unrepairable which is sad because houses like this are irreplaceable. Each time one of these houses is demolished, it takes so much heart with it.

  34. Paul W says: 468 comments

    Often as people get older they just can’t keep up on maintenance or they lack the funds to take care of big issues like roofs. Clearly with this house water infiltration was the big issue. In spite of what some may say , there is no “magic wand”, and little bit of money, to fix this particular house cheaply.

    Too many years, too little maintenance, and rot is everywhere. Yes, it could have been prevented and were this a big city the house probably would have been cited by city inspection or health department and in the case of an elderly person their may have been some local resources to help.

    But in small towns that is not the case and now you are looking at spending far more than the house will ever be worth. In a bigger city perhaps a historical society might have bought it, done fundraising, and fixed it as museum house and operated it at a loss for few years and ultimately sold it to someone ( again at a loss), but it would be saved.

    The math on old house restoration I difficult at best in a good situation. In small towns there are a while different set of economic factors. I had hoped someone with deep pockets could have made this work. When some friends of mine looked at it who have done a lot of difficult restorations and came back with they couldn’t make it work I knew it was doomed. To the buyer, the land and location had more value than the house that is on it and probably in few years it will have trailerhome sitting on it or some modular home.

    If nothing else at least this house will survive on the internet.

    • RossRoss says: 2466 comments
      OHD Supporter

      1894 QueenAnneFreeClassic
      Emporia, KS

      Dear Paul,

      You wrote: “In spite of what some may say , there is no “magic wand”, and little bit of money, to fix this particular house cheaply.”

      I am unaware of anybody who thought such a thing. Nor did anybody state such a thing in the above comments.

      And if there IS a magic wand out there which can magically restore houses I sure would like to know where it is!

    • Curiouser George says: 142 comments

      And if Nancy S is correct (above), then many pieces will live on and perhaps be rechanneled and recycled into future residences, so that others may marvel at the age that created such art. And in much the same way that parts of medieval Europe were dismantled and brought to the U.S. to be incorporated into the homes and mansions of the 19th and 20th century nouveau riche.

  35. RossRoss says: 2466 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1894 QueenAnneFreeClassic
    Emporia, KS

    For a century (roughly 1850 to 1950) America created an extraordinary artistic heritage. The structures erected during this golden age cannot be matched today in terms of the quality of materials, the craftsmanship, and the perfection of design, yet we have allowed the senseless destruction of this heritage for too long. [Note: try and find an ugly structure built before WWII. You will be hard pressed to find one. Now, try and find an ugly structure built after WWII. You will be overwhelmed by the results.]

    Yet, America, so vastly wealthy and powerful, has been negligent about this architectural and cultural heritage. We have treated this heritage as if it did not matter.

    But is does.

    For many decades in the UK, knocking down great country houses happened all the time. In the 1970s and 1980s, the country belatedly awoke to this senseless loss, and today it would unthinkable, and illegal, to demolish a great country house. Why? Because it was finally understood that architectural and cultural heritage had real value, and just one aspect of this value is a booming tourism market. Today, the UK now has a grading system for all old structures. If you own a Grade I structure, demolition is simply not possible. I think the same is true for Grade II. I am uncertain how many other grades are in place, but believe that while demolition is possible with some lower grades, it sure ain’t easy.

    When a small house in a small town (such as in this post) is lost, I believe that not only is the town diminished, but the whole country is very slightly diminished. For, there cannot be any doubt that whatever replaces the lovely house in this post will NOT be as good or as attractive or built of old growth lumber. And because houses in countless towns and cities are lost daily, this causes a significant decline in our country.

    I understand that some people will respond that I am a dreamer, and there simply is not the money to save old buildings. I disagree. You see, since 2001, we have spent kazillions of dollars protecting ourselves against terrorism, all the while allowing our country to be harmed, diminished, and hollowed out by the casual destruction of our cultural heritage. I simply do not get it.

    America has the money to protect its cultural heritage. We simply do not care to (Old House Dreamers, excepted!).

    To be causal about the loss of this house, to accept The Reality of the numbers, etc., means to me that how America views its heritage is wrong and misguided.

    I deeply believe that a century from now the people of this county will look back at what has been lost with abject wonder. In 2114 they will say: WHAT were they thinking?

    • says: 6 comments

      Very well said. One other thing I meant to point out is that in Ohio, most of our historic homes are lost to bad areas where they truly probably aren’t worth saving because the neighborhood is too dangerous. (This isn’t true with the above home, another reason it is so sad.) There are a few houses near me that are amazing but surrounded by crime and neglect. In fact they just demolished one a month or is ago.

    • John Shiflet says: 5477 comments

      Ross, I appreciate your heartfelt words but unfortunately America, or the U.S. more specifically, has a history of not respecting our heritage.
      Way back in the early 1970’s historian Constance M. Greiff (who apparently saw things much as we do here today) came out with a thick two volume set of photo documentary books titled: LOST AMERICA Vols. I & II. Anyone who appreciates our built heritage cannot thumb through these “post-mortem” books of lost historic and cultural landmarks without feeling a sense of sadness and unnecessary loss.

      Perhaps a measure of the collective apathy much of the public shows towards old buildings and homes is the price for used copies of these LOST volumes-Amazon had copies starting at 38 cents: maybe about the same as a tattered copy of an arcane medical book about tropical fungal diseases. At least two additional thick volumes documenting lost American landmarks and entire historic neighborhoods could have been added since the early 1970’s.

      The bottom line is that American culture is geared towards the here and now-a phenomenon also known as instant gratification. I was shopping in a grocery store recently and it struck me as curious observing that most of the shoppers were talking on their cell phones while they were shopping-and that seems to be the state of our current dominant culture. Especially to many of our younger folks its as though the past never existed-there’s only the present and tommorow. The past and everything associated with it is like a fantasy or fairy tale. I don’t know how some intelligent people are able to personally connect to the past in this culture of consumerism where the ubiquitous cell phone or computer becomes obsolete after a few years requiring you to discard the obsolete and buy the newest version or risk the dire fate of “falling behind”. Thus, old houses are perceived as obsolete-a blight on the landscape for which such “modern” thinking people cannot fathom why anyone would care to preserve such obsolete relics from the distant past.

      At least the rudiments of historic preservation deserve to be part of the public school curriculum to change this attitude but a surprising large number of students cannot even name the first president of the U.S. or our nation’s capital city. Therefore see the public’s apathy towards historic preservation may be perceived as indicative of a superficial culture in decline. Ross, you may be right about the regrets of our losses in 2114 but that will hold true only if our culture understands and appreciates such values at that time. In the meantime, we can only voice our disappointment on sites like this where we are in the company of like-minded people; the general public apparently could care less.

      As for this house, I think it was firmly established it needed work on a scale that made little financial sense for most homebuyers. But another argument could be made that the uniqueness of the house and some of its intangible values justified a “labor of love” project for someone willing to make the commitment-unfortunately, no one was able or willing to do so. Unless some states decide it it is unacceptable and take action, this on-going decimation of their built heritage will continue. Ohio, which still has a vast repository of historic homes and buildings, decided this legacy was burdensome to maintain and in the aftermath of the 2008 Recession, set up a “Moving Ohio Forward” state funded program with a target of 100,000 house and building demolitions state-wide using mortgage fraud settlement funds obtained from major lenders to pay for the demolition of their neglected properties as well as identified “blighted” properties statewide. At the end of last year, this oblivion themed project was deemed so “successful” that additional funding was found to continue it into another year. Against this backdrop, its not surprising few locals will lament the loss of this rare Second Empire survivor. There appears to be a sharp cultural demarcation between those few who “get it” about the cultural/intangible values of old homes and buildings and the many who could care less. That may also help explain the occasional dumpster find phenomenon where the finder recognizes and discovers its a rare work of art or antique item with great value. To the person who discarded it, the rare item was worthless. The same applies to old houses especially if they are not in pristine condition. Sad that no one (who could have changed the outcome) recognized this 19th century work of art in time to save it.

      • RossRoss says: 2466 comments
        OHD Supporter

        1894 QueenAnneFreeClassic
        Emporia, KS

        Hi John!

        I concur with all that you said save: “I think it was firmly established it needed work on a scale that made little financial sense for most homebuyers.”

        I am unaware that any such conclusion was established.

        Above, Paul wrote about some people he knew which toured the house and developed estimates of around $200K to restore it.

        Sure, I could see that.

        But, as I wrote above, this estimate was based on the Most Expensive approach.

        For example, the estimates for redoing the roof in slate or repro slate would have been as much as $70K. Sure, I could see that. But what about redoing the roof in asphalt shingles for WAY less?

        Redoing or replacing the back addition was estimated to be up to $50K. Sure, I could see that. But what about lopping off the addition, as I likely would have done?

        Just these two ALTERNATIVES would have shaved around $100K off the $200K restoration estimate. And suddenly the undoable would have become doable.

        So, no, I am unaware of any solid estimates regarding this lost home. I am only aware of ONE approach as to what was needed.

        And there is always more than one approach. And always more than one estimate!

        • John Shiflet says: 5477 comments

          It seems I was being too vague-how many people do you know who would buy an old house and restore it without expecting that someday they might recoup the money spent on the restoration? (whether they went the cheapest route, the most expensive, or somewhere in-between) The point I was trying to make is that any old house needing a significant amount of repair work (regardless of total expenses) would deter most buyers. I thought the expensive vs. cheap restoration debate was settled and acknowledged that no one could buy this house at its list price and make it habitable (meeting code) without some substantial investment. If you have a source for free quality building materials or expert old house tradespeople who happily work for free, please share with everyone. My point was not that costs can be minimized but that the sheer scope of the project like this would intimidate most home-buyers. If you sincerely believe you have knowledge resulting in major savings for old house rehab, by all means please share it. Most old house lovers willing to consider a fixer-upper are frugal by nature but rehabbing this deteriorated house would have required more than just paint and some drywall.

          • RossRoss says: 2466 comments
            OHD Supporter

            1894 QueenAnneFreeClassic
            Emporia, KS

            Hi again John!

            You wrote: “The point I was trying to make is that any old house needing a significant amount of repair work (regardless of total expenses) would deter most buyers.”

            Ahhhh, well in this I concur 100%!

            I will even state that most buyers do not want an old home period (say, anything pre-WWII), even one in excellent condition.

            Buyers for old homes is, sigh, small. Buyers for old homes needing work is MUCH smaller. Buyers for old homes needing a lot of work (as with this home) is miniscule.

            Regarding my previous comment, I just wanted it on the record that this wonderful, cool, and interesting home did not have firm estimates as to its potential renovation costs.

            And, from what I can sense, apathy killed this fine home. Not potential restoration costs.

            • John Shiflet says: 5477 comments

              Ross, you said: “And, from what I can sense, apathy killed this fine home. Not potential restoration costs.”
              We are both in agreement here-most folks who end up buying old houses needing substantial work never break out the pen and paper to calculate exactly how much a restoration is going to cost-they give it their best guestimate, swallow hard, and take the plunge while hoping for the best. Often sheer will and determination decide the outcome more than money or the lack thereof. Any type of housing is going to cost money even if you only pay rent. I still wish more assistance money was available for folks willing to properly rehab an old house (often younger, idealistic individuals) but lack the financial resources to do so. Public/tax money goes to pay for demolitions, why not do the same for rehabs?

              • RossRoss says: 2466 comments
                OHD Supporter

                1894 QueenAnneFreeClassic
                Emporia, KS

                Hi again John!

                Just today the city of Emporia announced a large new project on its main street.

                A relatively new structure is to be demolished. As this structure is set back behind a parking lot, I will not miss this suburban-style structure in an urban location.

                The new structure will kiss the sidewalk, be three-stories in height, with retail on the first floor, and apartments above.

                All good! This is great news!

                However, unrelated to the new structure, the city has purchased FIVE sweet homes directly to the east, and is going demolish them for a public parking lot!!!!

                A huge parking lot in a totally residential neighborhood!!!!!!!!!

                The news article stated: “This project will remove a lot of dilapidated houses and replace them with something that will benefit downtown.”

                What would HELP downtown is the city UPGRADING these five sweet houses, thus adding that many more people living adjacent to the main street.

                Moreover what about the all houses across from the new parking lot? Now, NO ONE will invest in upgrading these properties.

                Once again, public monies are being used to DESTROY old housing rather then ENHANCE said housing.


  36. gypsywolf says: 10 comments

    I wish that there could be special financing for houses like this to allow someone with shallower pockets to save old homes. I dream of owning a old home someday and am handy for many projects I can do on my own.. but it’s so hard to come up with the capital for major issues when you don’t earn a 6 figure income. I’d like to see grants in place to save these buildings.. and a reasonably easy process to access that grant money. It’s sad to watch these old houses go. So many people want them and love them and too few have the ability to save them financially.

    • RossRoss says: 2466 comments
      OHD Supporter

      1894 QueenAnneFreeClassic
      Emporia, KS

      Dear gypsywolf,

      There are often funds available for old homes.

      In Kansas (where I live) there are outright grants available to help offset the cost of making an old house more energy efficient. There are also local foundations which offer financial support.

      Significantly, Kansas has a Heritage Trust Program, and this grants about $1M annually to structures on the National Register, or the Register of Historic Kansas Places.

      This is a wonderful program (financed by a small filing tax on all new mortgages), and it has done wonders for historic structures across the state. One can apply once every two years, and for up to $90K at a time.

      There are also state tax credits.

    • says: 6 comments

      In Ohio, Cleveland has a program for this sort of thing. However it only expands so far and doesn’t cover all of Ohio. They have saved and restored a lot of beautiful houses in the historic neighborhood of Cleveland. If you look up “Ohio City” which is this neighborhood in Cleveland, you can see some of what has been saved.

  37. gypsywolf says: 10 comments


    Glad Kansas has something. I live in Michigan and have never managed to find any assistance for this sort of thing. I am recovering from the loss of my semi old house I was financing due to the double whammy of the housing bubble and a divorce. I may have to move out of state to realize my dream.

    Thanks for the info. 🙂

  38. Paul W says: 468 comments

    HI ROSS!!!!! Welcome to the real world of Preservation advocacy! Your core values of saving things have now been challenged by new development. What will you do? Allow a block to be demoed for a parking lot because of good development at the cost of significant historic assets, OR will you open your own pocketbook, hire an attorney and fight for preservation?

    This might be an opportunity for you to stand up and make difference…will you?

    Happy to help you, especially of fed funds are involved in redevelopment because section 106 review is mandated! My area of expertise!

    Welcome to the trenches of Preservation warfare!!!!

  39. Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 11783 comments

    1901 Folk Victorian
    Chestatee, GA

    Got a notification that this sold for $11,000.

    • John Shiflet says: 5477 comments

      Assuming all of the good stuff-entry doors, mantels, newel posts, balustrade+staircase, stained glass, fancy hardware was taken out the salvage value might be equal to the purchase price and there’s still the value of the land-someone came out pretty good on the deal but the rare Second Empire style house is no more.

    • Amanda says: 10 comments

      Well its disappointing to say the least. I wonder if they are going to salvage the details out the house. If so I would really like to get with the company for that front door and stair case.

  40. Whitney says: 1 comments

    I’m from New Phila and I’ve always admired this house. Unfortunately it’s been sold and I’ve heard the buyer’s plans are to raze it and build apartments. So disappointing.

  41. John Shiflet says: 5477 comments

    Back on the market? : http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/233-Ray-Ave-NW_New-Philadelphia_OH_44663_M32634-10881?source=web If so, that is a near miraculous survival story-I hope someone jumps on this before its lost forever again.

    • Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 11783 comments

      1901 Folk Victorian
      Chestatee, GA

      Interesting. Maybe the developer ran into some problems with getting demolition approval? Or zoning approval?

      • John Shiflet says: 5477 comments

        I think that’s exactly what happened…either zoning issues or objections to demolition were raised based on the home’s historical qualities. Its also possible that the financing for the project did not come through or some other explanation. Whatever the circumstances, I’m very relieved that this house may yet have a happy future but its imperative someone who is preservation minded take ownership soon. This could be a remarkable house with some TLC.

        • Paul W says: 468 comments

          Well it sold in Dec for 11K (matter of public record) Now the guy wants 30K and we know its sat for an entire winter without heat which probably explains why there are no interior pictures. Because I would just bet they didn’t winterize it since he planned on tearing it down.

          This can not be a good situation.

    • RossRoss says: 2466 comments
      OHD Supporter

      1894 QueenAnneFreeClassic
      Emporia, KS

      W H O E E!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  42. Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 11783 comments

    1901 Folk Victorian
    Chestatee, GA

    Updated the post, not including the new pics since Lindsey’s are better. 🙂

  43. G S says: 17 comments

    I can’t tell if the all the “good stuff” has been taken out of the house? But it’s good to see it may have a second chance.

  44. lara janelara jane says: 483 comments
    OHD Supporter

    Sold for $21,000 on May 4. I do wonder what’s happened since.

  45. Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 11783 comments

    1901 Folk Victorian
    Chestatee, GA

    Looks like it was sold again. $72,660 this time. Tax records show a property management company now owns it.

  46. John Shiflet says: 5477 comments

    Flipped, maybe?

  47. This house has such a great sense of whimsy, I hope someone saves it! I can see it done!

  48. Carolyn E. says: 65 comments

    I am more than two years down the road in viewing this house, and I still could see “potential” if not for the whole thing – then for it’s parts…especially those fabulous entry doors! Took picture, and when I finally buy my “dream house,” I most definitely plan on having “custom” doors duplicating those!!!

  49. Leah says: 1 comments

    Just stopped bye and took a look today. The front door has been standing open for months so I peaked in the door. The stain glass is broken but the stair case is beautiful. Many of the windows have been broken and you can see threw the siding all the way inside because nothing is protecting it from the weather. It is beautiful but it is just sitting and rotting. It would take alot of time and $ to fix it up. I drive bye everyday and dream about it but I don’t have the $ or resources. I hope someone saves it before it is too far gone.

  50. Cynthia says: 1 comments

    I was at this house a couple of weeks ago , the damage that’s been done inside is tragic . I really wonder who owns it .

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