Exotic Revival – Oxford, NY

SOLD / Archived From 2014
Added to OHD on 12/14/14 - Last OHD Update: 8/29/18 - 166 Comments
Address Withheld

Map: Aerial View

  • $16,500
  • 5 Beds
  • 5 Bath
  • 2500 Sq Ft
  • 0.22 Ac.
Your chance to salvage a bit of history in a pretty village. This home has suffered some neglect but still has plenty of charm. Great down town location within walking distance to shopping, services etc.
Sold By
Jack Thyfault, Northeast Realty      (607) 334-3344
Links & Additional Info
State: | Region: | Period: ,
Associated Styles: , | Misc:

158 Comments on Exotic Revival – Oxford, NY

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  1. AvatarTori Taff says: 1 comments

    That is some of the prettiest scrollwork I’ve seen!

  2. Kelly, Old House DreamsKelly, Old House Dreams says: 10321 comments
    Admin

    1901 Folk Victorian
    Chestatee, GA

    Maggie from Facebook found some interior photos! Link!

    • AvatarTheresa says: 41 comments

      I’m glad you finally found this one. I have been salivating over it for some time and didn’t understand why it wasn’t on your page. Since you don’t allow us to post I didn’t really know how to bring it to your attention. If you get on one of the historical property sites, you’ll find it was sold to the person that has it now for $5000.00 just a couple years ago. So to the individual that is interested he may take even less. And if anyone from this site purchases it we want after pictures.

      1
  3. AvatarAaronH says: 9 comments

    Now that is an amazing Gothic-revival!
    I do really want to see the inside though!

  4. Avatartapiola says: 37 comments

    Wow! Hope it is saved. I loved the idea in the real estate listing of turning it into a bakery–perfect as it looks just like a wedding cake. 🙂

  5. EricEric says: 150 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1918 Bunkhouse
    WestOfMiddleOfNowhere, KS

    This house is not only older than stated (c. 1870), but it is quite a bit older than it appears, as well. At first glance it appears to be a Greek Revival/Gothic Revival hybrid c. 1860, but a few details at the back of the house shatter that illusion. The interior photos show 12/12 window sash and a handsome 8-paneled door in a rear room… this is clearly an 18th c. or early 19th c. house at the rear and a mid-19th c. house at the front. I surely hope that this place will be restored and not parted out to various upscale salvage stores… it is a steal for the money.

    • JimHJimH says: 4197 comments
      OHD Supporter

      Eric, you’re right on about the c.1800/c.1850 history of this house, which is confirmed in the NRHP Historic District report. The realtor’s unfortunate (I hope not deliberate) use of the word Salvage and your concerns about it are apt as well. Absolutely stunning carved decoration!
      “Washington Avenue, at the west end of the district, is predominantly residential in character and is lined with distinctive Federal, Greek Revival, Gothic Revival, Italianate, and Queen Anne style residences. Many of these structures were constructed during Oxford’s early settlement period (c.1790-c.1830) and obtained their present appearance as a result of mid- and late-nineteenth century modernizations.
      “An excellent example of ninteenth-century eclecticism and local woodworking craftsmanship is found in the c.1850 Clark Lewis house at 6 South Washington Avenue, with its low-pitch hip roof, Gothic transverse gable with Gothic window and bargeboards, two-story portico with onion-bulb columns supporting finely carved scroll-decorated spandrels, and shouldered door and window surrounds crowned by anthemion scrollwork.”
      http://www.livingplaces.com/NY/Chenango_County/Oxford_Village/Oxford_Village_Historic_District.html

      Deserves a lot more than 4 photos, and it’s a pity there’s no Streetview to see it and all its beautiful neighbors.

  6. AvatarBetsy says: 168 comments

    WOW. Wow.

  7. AvatarPeg says: 21 comments

    I’ve been looking for a fixer upper in upstate NY; going to go check this one out. Even with all the work needed, it’s beautiful and worth the effort.

  8. AvatarMW says: 725 comments

    Whoa, this one is cool. $16,500 seems like a ridiculously low price for it. It needs a lot of work for sure, but actually doesn’t look $16,500 bad. But, apparently sold in 2013 for only $5000. Regardless, I certainly hope someone doesn’t rip it apart for salvage.

    I think what really makes it interesting is that it started out as a much older house and that gives it some very unexpected proportions and details that it probably wouldn’t have had otherwise.

  9. Paul WPaul W says: 562 comments

    Not the first early east coast house to have a “restyling” in the gothic style, but certainly on of the finest in terms of its scrollwork and overall design. If you don’t already have it in your readers collection, I would recommend the book “Victorian Houses: A treasury of lesser known examples”, which detail a lot of gothic homes. Not an expensive book I picked mine up on ebay used for few dollars.

    Given its low price and the availability of historic tax credits I would think this would be a worthwhile project.

    I would only hope some preservation Angel swooped down on this one and it gets the attention it deserves.

    1
    • AvatarGregory Hubbard says: 356 comments

      Hello….
      Actually, the book “Victorian Houses: A treasury of lesser known examples” is interesting primarily for Gillion’s wonderful photography. Clay Lancaster was a fine historian, but his remarks throughout this book are often snarky, verging on caustic,even mean-spirited. It is entirely possible he’d have been banned on this site. I have identified famous architects as authors of several of the pattern-book designs he denigrated. I wonder if he would have altered his remarks if he’d done more research and spotted these architects as the source of these designs?
      Far more importantly for me, he said he was writing about lesser known examples. To me, ‘Lesser Known’ presumes these homes will be by less skilled designers, possibly local builders stitching together various pattern book designs. He then criticized the lesser known homes pictured using design criteria that the finest architects of the age would not have considered valid. All in all, not a good example of the work of a distinguished architectural historian.
      Greg Hubbard

      1
      • John ShifletJohn Shiflet says: 4708 comments

        Gregory, I don’t have my copy at hand but as I recall, the original publication date was decades ago at a time when the architecture of the Victorian era wasn’t very well thought of. Terms like “horrors”, “monstrosities”, and a lapse of good taste were almost universally directed towards everything built in the Victorian era. John Maass published the first mildly sympathetic book in 1957 titled THE GINGERBREAD AGE but he was alone at that time. Critics scoffed at his admiration of Victorian architecture and dismissed his sentiments as the nonsense of an romantic Austrian immigrant. The default opinion at the time was that everything built during the “lapse of good taste” should be razed. This was the peak era of Urban Renewal where older cities across the U.S. eagerly took Federal funds so they could rapidly eradicate their Victorian architectural heritage. Many cities jumped as well on the Interstate highway building programs of the 1950’s by making sure the path of the new Interstates went right through their 19th century neighborhoods. If anything is amazing today, it’s that there’s anything left from the Victorian era. I’ve often heard from local Preservationists in communities which still have a representative sampling of their Victorian architecture that the only reason they still have some is because they used to have so much more in the past. I cannot recall the architecture of any era from the past which was as controversial in more modern times as that called Victorian with all of its specific styles. I’ve suggested that one reason the concept of “less is more” became trendy was because there was nothing that could surpass the “excesses” of the Victorian era in the 20th century so all the negativity directed towards it was a conscious effort to validate the simplicity embraced by modernism. Architectural ornament was passe` and thus form should follow function; finally, it was sought to make the concept of less is more as an architectural “truth” with the ornate Victorian architecture being scorned as “dishonest”. We should be thankful not everyone agreed with the Brave New World represented by 20th century architecture. That said, I won’t seek to invalidate 20th century modernism or even it’s most brutal form named appropriately: Brutalism. History will judge 20th century architecture just as it has that from the 19th century.

  10. RossRoss says: 2405 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1894 QueenAnneFreeClassic
    Emporia, KS

    Oh.

    Wow.

    The house is about 3 hours from NYC. To live in this amazing house, and maintain a small apartment in the city, would be ideal.

    $16K!!!!

    The place is a treasure. Thanks Kelly!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You made my day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. RossRoss says: 2405 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1894 QueenAnneFreeClassic
    Emporia, KS

    The realtor wrote: Your chance to salvage a bit of history in a pretty village.

    I do not think the realtor meant: to part the house out. I think they meant: to salvage the whole; restore the whole.

    To salvage history.

    • EricEric says: 150 comments
      OHD Supporter

      1918 Bunkhouse
      WestOfMiddleOfNowhere, KS

      Ross, the listing for this house on historicforsale.com (link in Kelly’s comment above) is not any too encouraging:

      “Worth it for the façade alone, this stunning Gothic Revival known as “The Lewis House” needs to be saved, and is offered for salvage or for a complete restoration. ”

      At this price, there are plenty of people out there who would see a financial incentive to gut the place. Let’s hope someone more culturally responsible will take this place on!

    • John ShifletJohn Shiflet says: 4708 comments

      Ross,
      I hope you’re right about the offer not being primarily a salvage pitch to part out the facade. As others have noted, the mid-19th century facade, although nominally Gothic Revival in style, also encompasses more exotic details reminiscent of The Royal Pavilion in Brighton, UK which is described as: “Indo-Saracenic Revival architecture”. Whatever the stylistic definition(s), the facade design demonstrates a high degree of artistic creativity. As for the lack of Google Streetview, there seems to be some kind of East Coast bias at work because I’ve noticed one can usually find quality streetviews of the smallest hamlets in Texas, yet fairly robust size towns in the Midwest and Eastern Seaboard often have no streetview available or only a Main street view. If cost is the limiting factor, I would think the New York office of tourism would chip in a little so that smaller communities like Stamford or Oxford could be represented. In turn, being able to see these rare and sometimes exotic survivors via the Internet might lead to their rescue. I recall visiting remote Bradford, Pennsylvania and looking in wonderment at several of the lovely mansions on Congress Street. One in particular, an exquisite example in the Queen Anne style, was later bought by a Los Angeles doctor who has been carefully restoring it over the years. I wish Streetview would be expanded to include these off the beaten path communities which may lead to others visiting and perhaps a few relocating to these places. Until streetview includes these communities, like Paul, I too hope for a Preservation angel to arrive in time to save this rare survivor.

  12. AvatarJean E says: 4 comments

    I live 3 miles from that house. I never knew it was for sale and I never knew the condition of the interior. It is one of my very favorites.

  13. AvatarErnie says: 132 comments

    Because the acanthus leaf motif on each of the columns match so perfectly to each other I was wondering if perhaps they might be cast iron instead of carved wood. Decorative cast iron columns very similar to this design were used in the 1854 New York Crystal Palace.

    • RosewaterRosewater says: 4542 comments
      OHD Supporter

      1875 Italianate cottage
      Noblesville, IN

      I was thinking the same thing Eric. Iron columns. Tin arches, and in the front gable. Probably..

    • JimHJimH says: 4197 comments
      OHD Supporter

      Ernie, thanks for pointing out the cast iron parts. There are references in the write-ups on this house to the wood-carved scrollwork, but the crisp condition of the detail without the cracks or losses you usually see with wood gives it away. The way the arches rest upon the columns without joinery and the rigid structure of the thing say iron also. The gable parts seem to differ a bit from the arches in character and extend below the eave as if too big, as though they were cast for another building and ended up here. I have to wonder if parts of the window and door surrounds are cast iron as well. There’s detail there that wouldn’t likely have survived 150 years if wood in a cold, wet climate.
      It’s maybe not as quaint to imagine the facade of a house being produced in a foundry rather than hand-crafted on site, but I would think this is far more rare. It adds to the interesting history of the house, and probably will be a lot easier to restore. Perhaps there’s an expert somewhere that could date and identify the source.

      • AvatarErnie says: 132 comments

        Hello Jim
        I spent a considerable amount of time both on line and in my library of 19th century architectural elements studying commercial and domestic cast iron facade components to see if I could come up with an identical match for those bulging acanthus leaf column bases hoping to get a clue to a pattern unique to a specific foundry but so far no luck.

        The squared off Greek revival style capitals with the downward pointing ears at their corners certainly appear to have all the sharp characteristics of castings. What is interesting are the “I” beams attached to the columns well above their midpoints. Too high to lend support to the floor decking of a second story balcony. Hard to tell if they were placed there to lend stability to the porch or the columns themselves are being utilized to help shore up the outer front wall.
        As suggested by another contributer rather than cast iron various components of the gable fretwork may be thin sheets of tin, zinc, or even copper fashioned into their elaborate designs using a French “repouse’ ” technique which involves using ball peen hammers and rounded end punches to shape and stretch the metal into the scooped out cavities of negative image hand carved reusable wooden molds. The backside may then have been given a coat of plaster for extra stability. The individual components would be much lighter and easier to handle and assemble onsite into a corresponding wooden framework. Metal if kept well preserved as would appear in this case also has the properties to allow three dimentional surface details to remain sharp and crisp over a span of 150 years or more long past wooden components under constant exposure to the elements.
        I sure would like to get up on a ladder with my paint scraper in hand and find out!

        ▼ Hide quoted text

        • JimHJimH says: 4197 comments
          OHD Supporter

          Ernie, I’ve never seen sheet metal work with voids and that much relief, but I don’t know much about it. I’d guess cast iron, and the more I look it seems there were horizontal pieces that fit into the gable parts and ran across the front; note the cast tabs. Maybe the missing parts are in the attic, or more likely they fell off and were scrapped. Iron is heavy!
          There’s a house up the street which also has cast iron columns and decoration (p.10):
          http://www.oprhp.state.ny.us/hpimaging/hp_view.asp?GroupView=1193
          This is an amazing Victorian village with some extraordinary old houses and buildings. We haven’t even mentioned the 1876 Venetian Gothic mansion across town or the bluestone 1894 Romanesque bank by Isaac Perry. It’s sad that we have to get deep into Web archives just to get a look at them.

          • EricEric says: 150 comments
            OHD Supporter

            1918 Bunkhouse
            WestOfMiddleOfNowhere, KS

            Hi Jim and Ernie,

            Your speculation about the construction of the porch is fascinating; perhaps someone in or near Oxford will be able to stop by for a close look and post their findings on OHD.

            I do find it unlikely that Clark Lewis, who owned a lumber mill and a planing mill, would choose to showcase metal products on his own home; wouldn’t it be more likely that he would strive to show off the marvels of wood?

            While I agree that the top of the column which Ernie mentions is likely cast, I believe that it is a cast iron drip cap meant to protect the top of the wood column from moisture – it is sitting on top of the capital and is not a part of it. Similarly, at the base of the columns you will note ungainly-looking plinths. Were the columns made of cast iron, the plinths would not be so massive. It is more likely that these plinths are later repairs to the base of wood
            columns which were beginning to wick up moisture in the end grain.

            It is likely that the columns, spandrels and bargeboard are all made of cypress or some other durable rot-resistant wood available at the time. There are, in fact, a few losses and flaws which would suggest wood construction. In the gable, the lower end of the right-hand side ends with kind of rounded flourish. This detail is missing from the left-hand side. At the peak of the inside of the arch, it appears as if a wedge-shaped piece is missing. The urn-shaped carving on the column near the steps appears to have a small crack, and the
            fluting above and below the urn does not appear to be aligned.

            The two arches on the side of the porch are slightly smaller than the three on the front; counting the “nubs” inside the arch will confirm this. It is not likely that pressed or cast units would be sized in such small incremental differences. The 2 x 6 horizontal supports would be awkward to secure cast iron; it is more likely that they are nailed to the facade and back side of the wood spandrel.

            It deserves to be restored, whatever it’s made of.

            • AvatarGregory Hubbard says: 356 comments

              Folks, suppose the facade was altered over time, so that not all of the exotic decorations around the columns were contemporary with the Gothic gable above. What do you think of the parallels between these columns, with their Indian blossom style column decorations between their ‘plinths’ and the column shaft, and the iron columns that supported the piazza roof on the Broadway elevation of the Grand Union Hotel in Saratoga?
              I believe there is a close resemblance, which combined with the Neo-Greek design of their capitals shifts the time frame for their design and installation.

          • AvatarErnie says: 132 comments

            Take a look at the finer details of the statue of liberty torch. Same technique using copper sheets. I guess until someone can be kind enough to investigate and give us a live report from the scene there are several plausible theories

            • EricEric says: 150 comments
              OHD Supporter

              1918 Bunkhouse
              WestOfMiddleOfNowhere, KS

              Ernie, I did take a look at the Statue of Liberty as you suggested and I agree that the detail on the porch could have been made by a technique such as repousse; I also see things that are indicative of cast iron (such as a bit of rust I had previously overlooked). There are a number of conflicting bits of visual information and it is very hard to “read” a building from a photograph on the internet as opposed to being on site. It may turn out to be a combination of different materials; I’m looking forward to some word from the field! This house, as evidenced by the huge number of comments, seems to “speak” to a lot of people; it really is very special.

  14. AvatarPeg says: 21 comments

    It certainly would be worth restoring; the area is very beautiful and as someone above points out, a nice country getaway for NYC dwellers. I do hope it doesn’t just get snapped up for salvage. I am looking to buy a live-in fixer upper for cash but I don’t have quite enough for this. But we’ll see if the price can be negotiated; it sold for $5000 last summer and it doesn’t look like much was done to it. I am checking it out next week and will let y’all know my thoughts.

    • AvatarMelissa says: 250 comments

      Dying to hear if you will join me as part of the “Saw it on Old House Dream and bought it” clan!!!

      • Avatarjane stevens says: 18 comments

        Peg and Melissa, is this a tongue in cheek query? Used to clean up houses this old. Not rehab, not restoration, not renovation, just sensitive, sensible clean it, fix it, live in it hard work. If you two are looking for a not so silent partner it might be worth the conversation.

        • AvatarPeg says: 21 comments

          I am very serious. I have been looking in my area for a project similar to this–a city-owned property for bid or auction, or something similar I can acquire for very little and fix up. I have fixed up a HUD house previously in Albany (stripped away layers of lead paint and old wallpaper, refinished the floors, redid the landscaping etc.); and lived in it while the work took place. It was a LOT of work but the house (1940 bungalow, very unusual design features including trompe l’oeuil painted panels, gorgeous copper drainpipes, textured plastering) was worth it. Sadly, my ex didn’t want to continue working on it and sold it to move into a rather characterless house. I am rebuilding my life now (post-divorce) and do not quite have the resources to purchase at this price BUT for $5000, yes maybe! I have a plumber pal in VT who has already offered to do any plumbing work for me and a few contacts in my area who know plenty about rehab work. I am not afraid of getting my hands dirty or living without mod cons while working on such a project. I am no expert on architecture but I have learned quite a lot about old houses over the years; oh and I have a stack of about four years’ worth of THIS OLD HOUSE magazines! 🙂

          • RossRoss says: 2405 comments
            OHD Supporter

            1894 QueenAnneFreeClassic
            Emporia, KS

            Peg and Melissa and Jane,

            This sounds like a reality TV show in the making! And the ONLY one I would be interested in watching!

            • AvatarPeg says: 21 comments

              Ha ha, funny you should say that. I have been approached numerous times over the last several years to be part of a reality show (not to do with fixer upping, however; and none of them have seen the light of day as far as I know. The way many of these ventures work now is that independent producers prepare a “sizzle reel” or pilot episode and then shop them around to networks to find someone to produce them); and this could be a really interesting part of such a venture….

            • AvatarMelissa says: 250 comments

              LOL Ross, Peg and Jane,
              I don’t think I have it in me to do another rescue like the one Big Daddy and I are doing now!
              I’m glad I got to it before the developers did, though!
              Good luck Peg. Maybe Kelly will let us make Tshirts that say “I bought it on Oldhousedreams.com” or some such…

          • Avatarthelmascudi says: 22 comments

            Peg, how old are you? I, too, am divorced; interesting building a new life at 71 going on 40.

            I spent my 30s and 40s doing rehabs on derelict houses in northern california. Spent time in port townsend, washington, running a victorian as a B&B. Spoke at the annual convention for the national trust for historic preservation in either 85 or 86, whichever year it was in seattle.

            I have the skills and some capital. My body is a bit slow on structural but mechanical systems don’t require monumental strength. What are the local attitudes on owner/builder, own general contractor, let alone two women knowing enough about construction to not let workmen flim flam us?
            I haven’t done any construction work in almost thirty years.

            • AvatarPeg says: 21 comments

              I’m 51 going on, oh, 35…That is very cool you have done so much for historic preservation. I have small landscaping.garden design business and want to learn more about restoration of historic gardens…My soil set is basically painting/prep for painting, floors, and landscaping. But I am willing to learn anything new. I have taken a few homeowner repair classes at our local homebuyer’s program…

              • Avatarthelmascudi says: 22 comments

                Peg, any serious interest in discussing this property? For me it would be a rough live/work situation. (although I’ve lived in worse.) How many feet of snow there, now, mid December? Without the local knowledge, contacts, and access to sympathetic craftsman it would be difficult. t

        • Avatarthelmascudi says: 22 comments

          See thelmascudi, below. Jane Stevens are my two middle names.

  15. AvatarLaurie says: 40 comments

    In the link Kelly included, what is the wall “decoration” in the picture with the broom against the wall? The Oxford, New York website sure makes it sound like a delightful place to live!

  16. JimHJimH says: 4197 comments
    OHD Supporter

    Clark Lewis (1808-1893) lived in this house for decades and is probably responsible for its mid-century improvements and the wonderful facade. A short bio of him:
    In 1838 Clark LEWIS came to Oxford and in partnership with his brother Stephen bought the grist and saw mill one mile south of the village. In 1850 he bought the plaster, grist, and lumber mill in the village; here he did a large business, as he had a planing mill in connection with the plant. Before the Civil war he did a thriving business in plaster and employed many hands at the mill. During the winter months when the sleighing was at its height the farmers coming from neighboring towns, Morris, Unadilla, Sidney, and other outlying villages, would reach Oxford in the afternoon, trade at the stores, spend the night at the hotel, and in the early morning get their load of plaster and start for home. Up to the serious flood of 1865 he had prospered and acquired wealth, but the great losses he sustained in mill and stock from water damage ruined him, and he never recovered therefrom.

  17. AvatarCalvert says: 10 comments

    The little gable at the top looks Gothic Revival, but the rest of the porch looks more Moorish Revival to me. Henry Austin designed a somewhat similar porch for the Willis Bristol House in New Haven, CT. I hope someone will restore it.
    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-hWUFOtkissM/Uc2lYoS_uYI/AAAAAAAABEM/v2LT900X9sk/s1429/Willishouse.jpg

    • EricEric says: 150 comments
      OHD Supporter

      1918 Bunkhouse
      WestOfMiddleOfNowhere, KS

      You’re correct; the Moorish Revival influence is very strong and really does overwhelm the Gothic character of the Oxford house. The Bristol house in New Haven (built 1846) is amazing, and the similarities the two share are striking. Whoever saves this house will be a real hero.

      • EricEric says: 150 comments
        OHD Supporter

        1918 Bunkhouse
        WestOfMiddleOfNowhere, KS

        Here is another Moorish/Gothic porch, this time on an otherwise Italianate-styled house:

        http://picturesqueitalianatearchitecture.blogspot.com/2013/07/the-brewster-burke-house-rochester-ny.html

        It is the Brewster-Burke house in Rochester, NY. Scroll down to see b/w photos of side and rear porches which continued the theme! The blog’s author, Josh F., notes similarities that this house (as well as a neighboring house) shares with the Willis Bristol house in New Haven. All are described as “Indian Italianate” which would fit nicely under the umbrella of “Indo-Saracenic Revival architecture” which John Shiflet mentioned. I especially like the quatrefoil motif used on the Brewster-Burke porches. Too bad these exotic styles were not more popular; they are like architecture on steroids.

  18. AvatarSteve G. says: 1 comments

    I just bought a Victorian home and I’m tight now for money, but this is in the top 1 percent of beautiful home exteriors people! So someone worthy please come rescue this house! The suspense is killing me!

  19. JimHJimH says: 4197 comments
    OHD Supporter

    I sent a note to Vicky House, the Village Historian, who is aware of the home’s importance and endangered status. She is preparing an article for the local paper and has been trying to put together a group to acquire it. There are local folks you care deeply about the area’s history and landmarks, but maybe outside investment and expertise are required.
    http://oxfordnyhistorian.blogspot.com/
    http://www.oxfordny.com/index.php
    http://www.oxfordny.com/about/walkingtourwest.php

  20. AvatarTammyK says: 13 comments

    Like many others, fell in love with this one . . . contacted the agent and he forwarded some interior photos, but said it best by commenting “the interest stops at the façade.” No millwork, drop ceilings, water damage to walls, floors, ceilings, no functioning baths, buckling linoleum, peeling wallpaper . . . so sad (I thought I wanted this for Christmas!)

    • AvatarPaul - South Bend, IN says: 3 comments

      Drop ceilings, yucky linoleum, drop ceilings, no baths, etc. sounds like the last several houses I have owned. Unless there is serious structural problems, I hope someone can see beyond this stuff and rescue this gem. Would be a great way to start the new year by reading this one has been saved. Got to keep my fingers crossed.

      • JimHJimH says: 4197 comments
        OHD Supporter

        Paul from SB – thanks for those thoughts. I’ve seen homes in far worse condition fixed up beautifully. I don’t know why anyone would expect anything more for $16k; this isn’t Detroit! The next available house with good detail in town is asking $67k and it needs lots of work also; a livable home up the street is asking $136K.
        http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/43-Greene-St_Oxford_NY_13830_M49534-18406?
        http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/12-N-Washington-Ave_Oxford_NY_13830_M36430-92718?

        I also don’t know why the realtor thinks someone could just cart off an outstanding facade in a NRHP Historic District – that would probably require an expensive permit process and maybe a long fight.

        • John ShifletJohn Shiflet says: 4708 comments

          Move-in ready old houses for less than $50,000 are seldom found; if a high end seller like Antiquarian Traders acquired the exotic facade, I could see a price tag for multiple times the property’s asking price. The seller of this property recognizes the condition issues and no one should realistically suggest there should be more offered by the seller(s) at this price. I could see someone with creative talents buying this property, doing some very selective interior demo work to uncover the original details, and then basically rebuilding the house from the inside out and in keeping with the period and exotic style it represents. Worse would be an NYC resident with lots of money but with very little vision and understanding of what this house represents. They would totally gut the house and then reconstruct it inside to look like their modern NYC apartment with everything painted white combined with modernistic fixtures and decor. This rare house needs a caring new owner who is willing to listen to what the house tells them in its details inside. I doubt anyone would have originally selected such a grand facade on the outside and then would have put in a minimalist “Shaker” type spartan interior. That said, given the 150+ years of this house, its understandable that its gone through some changes over the decades. What looks rough and dirty are actually surfaces encrusted with the layers of time waiting to be cleaned and brought back to their original beauty. I’ve seen “before” photos of museum quality antique furniture pieces looking like dumpster finds that were taken to a skilled conservator, cleaned up properly, and now look much as they did originally with correspondingly high values. I think this house could benefit from a similar painstaking, methodical, approach. That’s my wish for the house and I hope it has new caring owners-the exotic facade everyone remarks on puts it in the rare category. Tammy K., I too would be interested in seeing more interior photos.

          • AvatarLaurie says: 40 comments

            John, I am still curious about the interior walls in the link pictures. I did contact the Realtor re restoration contractors. He indicated he didn’t know of any and to check Coopertown (I believe). I don’t think the agent is too fond of this place. We don’t have the skills or knowledge to do it ourselves. Considered trying to contact “Rehab Addict” but what’s the odds on that?! I love the look of this house, can see the possibilities and believe Oxford would be just up my alley. But where do you go from there?

            • John ShifletJohn Shiflet says: 4708 comments

              Some suggestions: contact the New York state preservation office for recommended preservation contractors who could come to Oxford. For Technical Assistance: http://nysparks.com/shpo/technical-assistance/ Also, seek out older issues of the Old House Journal to address specific projects. (the Old House Journal was started by Brooklyn Brownstone restorer Clem Labine in the 1970’s and is still a good resource for restoration advice 40 years later) Library periodical departments usually have back issues. My Old House Online: http://www.myoldhouseonline.com/forum is another site where restoration professionals hang out and can furnish contractor leads and reliable free advice.
              Nicole Curtis, a/k/a HGTV and DIY-TV’s “Rehab Addict” is booked up solid and is transitioning more from being a restoration contractor/property investor into a media figure. If I were nearby, I could come and suggest where to start and how to approach the project from a preservation perspective, but my traveling Restoration contractor days are pretty much over. Don’t let the lack of finding the right rehabilitation resources deter you from this house if it appeals to you-they are out there. Now, if you were located somewhere in remote South Dakota, you might be out of luck but NY State is particularly blessed with knowledgeable preservation rehab people. Beware of generic “remodeling” contractors, even if trustworthy and reasonable in their charges, chances are they lack the specific knowledge and expertise to properly restore a house of this age and retain its original characteristics. Good luck, and please feel free to follow up with questions should you need more information.

    • JimHJimH says: 4197 comments
      OHD Supporter

      TammyK, please send the photos to Kelly so she can post them. Thanks.

  21. AvatarMW says: 725 comments

    Man, for just $16.5K, the ruined interiors are maybe a shame, but also maybe just a good opportunity to gut stuff back enough to allow for the insertion of updated MEP systems and insulation, structural repair etc. That is almost better than getting a house for a lot more that has interiors that are too nice and original to mess up with doing that kind of stuff.

    Just because you gut a lot out doesn’t mean you can’t rebuilt it just as nicely as it was and often times even more nice that it probably could have been done with old damaged original material. Just because something is of new material doesn’t mane it has to be done poorly or unsympathetically. it may cost more to do that, but probably still easier and cheaper than actually fixing, repairing and working around sensitive older damaged material.

    But, still looking at what can be seen so far, I bet a lot of original material is still left there to be saved. Dropped ceiling can often do a lot to actually save original material. You just need to take a look above them and see what is left and what condition it is in.

    As JimH mentions, this house doesn’t even look all that bad to me as long as the structural stuff is in reasonable shape. This house is way, way too nice to have some historical criminals come in and take the best materials away and try to sell them off. I really, really hope that doesn’t happen to such a unique and interesting house. But at just $16.5K it is almost begging for it as the house and property are almost throw away items at that point.

  22. Kelly, Old House DreamsKelly, Old House Dreams says: 10321 comments
    Admin

    1901 Folk Victorian
    Chestatee, GA

    Tammy sent in interior images that the agent emailed her. Thank you Tammy! Uploaded them to the post.

    • RossRoss says: 2405 comments
      OHD Supporter

      1894 QueenAnneFreeClassic
      Emporia, KS

      Thanks Kelly!!!!!

      I see some VERY tantalizing features in the interior images.

      • EricEric says: 150 comments
        OHD Supporter

        1918 Bunkhouse
        WestOfMiddleOfNowhere, KS

        Indeed; VERY tantalizing. Looks like there is lots and lots of original woodwork – including sash and doors – in both sections of the house. The scroll detail in the stairwell is beautiful… I can’t help but wonder what the staircase looks like from a more conventional perspective. I’m impressed.

  23. John ShifletJohn Shiflet says: 4708 comments

    Thanks for the interior photos…no major surprises but I still see potential after some major cleaning and investigation of earlier period clues which might be found under later changes. I cannot envision this as being a minor house in its heyday-the facade is too elaborate for it to have merely been a pretentious front for an otherwise modest cottage. Peeling interior paint, wallpapers, and finishes sometimes are the result of several winters without heat inside but I would assume some water migration into the house has occurred as well. A replacement roof might be the first order of business for the new owner(s.

  24. AvatarBetsy says: 168 comments

    I always wonder… how hard would it be to hire someone to spend a half day hauling all of the crap out , pulling up the carpet and swishing out the sinks and bath tubs. I don’t mean cleaning out a hoarder’s house or even a deep clean, but get the loose debris up. A little picking up would go a long way.

  25. AvatarMW says: 725 comments

    Thanks Tammy and Kelly!

    Looks about as I expected as far as condition and original material goes, although somewhat surprisingly plain, at least as compared to the outside. Even though the trim work appears to at least be there and fairly old, it is pretty simple and minimal.

    It is hard to tell, but I wonder if a lot of the 1800’s trim work got stripped out and replace sometime in the early 1900’s when the house was modernized on the inside with wiring and plumbing, etc. A lot of it looks old, but not early 1800’s old. Anybody else thinking that? I think some of the doors, base moldings and the trim around the stairs looks possibly older. But all the trim that appears to be just plain flat stock I’m guessing is maybe newer. If so, it would be possibly no big loss to yank it and replace it with new material instead of having to deal with all the lead paint and stripping concerns.

    In any case, Happy Holidays everyone.

    • EricEric says: 150 comments
      OHD Supporter

      1918 Bunkhouse
      WestOfMiddleOfNowhere, KS

      Hi MW – Not all early 19th c. woodwork was fancy; a lot of it was quite plain. Window casings at the rear section of the house (such as around the 12/12 sash) are backbanded… a good clue as to their originality. It is likely that this room once had a chair rail which was later removed. Whoever ends up restoring this place will likely remove lots of wallpaper, and at that time it will be easy to determine whether or not such a chair rail existed. Some of the plain woodwork (such as around the bathroom door) is obviously mid-20th c., but I believe that there is a lot of old stuff still intact here. Personally, I don’t mind the build up of centuries of paint; it provides a patina which simply cannot be faked and is proof of antiquity – accumulated, living, history. Old paint doesn’t need to be stripped… it’s an option, of course, but not a mandate in preservation. Re-painting is considered “encapsulation” and is the gentlest way to deal with lead paint in historic buildings.

  26. AvatarErnie says: 132 comments

    Although I could not find any exact duplicate examples in their design books the repetitive wave pattern used in the stairwell very closely resembles the thin line delicacy of 18th century plaster work designs inspired by Robert and James Adams. That fragmentary frieze could be the only surviving element of the homes original interior decoration. It would have long gone out of fashion by the mid 19th century and may well support speculation that the core structure could date back to half a century or more before it received it’s exterior Gothic makeover.

    • Avatarthelmascudi says: 22 comments

      Ernie, I’m new here. Glad to find myself in this company. You have deeper knowledge and a better library than I, thank you,

  27. AvatarJean E says: 4 comments

    I mentioned that I live just 3 miles from the house. I have been enjoying this conversation immensely! All of you know so much about house history – what a TV show this would make!!! “This Old House” never did anything to educate their audience on important tell-tale details to look for and what certain architectural features could mean to determine age. Also referencing other houses is great. I don’t know anything about determining the age of the house but I’m willing to help be your eyes. What do you need?

    • AvatarPeg says: 21 comments

      Nice offer, Jean, thank you! I am curious about the YARD, too (as I am a gardener); is it s good sized lot, are there nature trees, what is the soil like in that area, etc. I agree about TOH as a TV show, the assumption was that any house being worked on was already fully known to its audience etc. because they would simply give a brief description of it and the year built (Tudor, bungalow, Victorian etc.)–also you rarely saw bad 1970s do-overs (possibly a result of so many Urban Renewal loans that came about then) which can be a lot of work to fix!

    • EricEric says: 150 comments
      OHD Supporter

      1918 Bunkhouse
      WestOfMiddleOfNowhere, KS

      Thanks, Jean! I agree that TV could do a much better job at promoting genuine preservation, but TV’s purpose is not to keep
      you informed; it is to generate advertising revenue through commercials. Perhaps when preservation products and services can compete with the stuff that is currently advertised, we’ll have a shot at it. Saving old buildings does not stimulate the economy as much as new construction and drastic overhauls. We’re seeing progress, but as long as “makeover” shows continue to gut vintage bathrooms, etc., the masses will not get exposure to serious preservation or history.

      Thanks for the offer of being our “eyes” here; that is very kind and much appreciated. In order to determine whether or not the columns or other carved decorations are cast iron or not, a simple magnet will do the trick. Please don’t test anything that requires a ladder; answers can be had at ground level. Examine the carved “urn” shape in the lower section of the column… do you see cracks or missing pieces as if it were carved of wood? Is there any flaking paint which would expose the base material? Bring a pair of binoculars if available and zoom in on the bargeboard at the gable and the arches on
      the porch. Look for missing pieces, cracks, etc. which would indicate wood. Look for nails, hooks or screw heads which
      are often attached to wood porches. Knock on the column as you would a door… what does it sound like; metal or wood?
      If these techniques fail to give you a definitive answer, use a measuring tape and try measuring carefully the “urn” parts on each column; if cast iron they should be virtually identical in width and height… same with any other easily accessible ornamentation.

      Good luck, and thanks so much for your offer and efforts; we’ll look forward greatly to your findings!

      • EricEric says: 150 comments
        OHD Supporter

        1918 Bunkhouse
        WestOfMiddleOfNowhere, KS

        P. S. – Regarding the age of the house, Jim H. noted above that the c.1800/c.1850 history of this house has already been confirmed in the NRHP Historic District report. From the photos provided, it is clear to see that the house began as a side-gabled, two story structure c. 1800. The front portion (with the glorious porch we all lust after) was added as an extension to the front. By clicking on the aerial view link at the top of the page, you can see this evolution in the roof itself. It also appears that there have been a few smaller additions (or porches) to the rear over the years. The house is fascinating because of the two eras represented. Each section seems to retain a great deal of original material and character which will greatly assist in a successful restoration!

  28. AvatarLaurie says: 40 comments

    Don’t we all just love this house?! Hey Kelly, what about that TV show idea? Think its a great one. 🙂 I’ve learn more following this site than any TV show!
    So, who’s going to buy this house? Maybe we could all converge there for a week and help with the work.

  29. AvatarJen Mensale says: 9 comments

    Wow. The exterior of this house is spectacular, but the inside… pretty bland. But nothing a lot of work can’t rectify.
    I completely agree that some times.. solely depending on the integrity of the structure… bringing things back to the studs and starting over is the way to go. I’m currently working on an adorable 1930’s bungalow, and while I’m not having too difficult of a time keeping the original plaster in most areas of the house, there are some rooms where I’m constantly wondering why I’m making life so hard on myself.
    I’m interested in this house. I think that making the interior mirror the exterior a bit more would be the way to go, simply to eliminate the disappointment when comparing the two. If no one has purchased this house by the spring (or warmer conditions… whichever comes first), I’ll take a drive to check it out.
    Also interested in doing a show, but having an issue finding a production crew that I’m comfortable being alone with in my houses.

  30. AvatarMelissa says: 250 comments

    The TV Show could be called “I Found it on Old House Dreams.com”

    • Kelly, Old House DreamsKelly, Old House Dreams says: 10321 comments
      Admin

      1901 Folk Victorian
      Chestatee, GA

      Heck, I’d watch that show!

      • Avatarkath says: 211 comments

        they already have a show like that, with nicole ? . called REHAB ADDICT> on diy, tv channel.
        she buys OLD houses around detroit and mineeapolis, real cheap, then patches/ paints em, etc. then as a realtor, she flips em for a huge profit.

        • AvatarJen Mensale says: 9 comments

          Nicole Curtis is definitely the person who made old houses popular… or at least something to pay attention to. But the fact is that shows and personalities run their course. Usually about five seasons, which is where she’s at. If you look at HGTV’s casting page, they’re currently looking for teams who are renovating old homes in small towns. So they’re looking to expand the ‘old house’ brand.
          Also, she doesn’t really do much by way of selling her big renovations. More often than not, she gets sued by her financial backer because she dumps way too much money into houses that are in areas that aren’t ready or able to spend the kind of premium she’s asking for (this is coming from factual information publicly available on courthouse websites).

          • Avatarkath says: 211 comments

            hey Jen
            yeah, she got in trouble in detroit, cause she didnt get legal ‘permits’ before remodeling a burnt house in a bad neighborhood.but google says shes worth 5 millions, so shes doing somethin right?
            to me, this house is gorgeous on outside, but i dont see any attraction of any kind on the inside.no woodwork, no fancy staircases, no fances fireplaces, etc…good luck to someone restoring it.

            • AvatarJen M says: 9 comments

              She only made the millions from promotional stuff. She really doesn’t make anything off of the houses… bad economic research (or lack of) causes her to sit on her houses for years. But from what I hear, her backer is very happy that she could finally pay him back!
              You’re totally right about the interior… which is why I think the only way to go would be to make the inside look like the outside, as unauthentic as that may be. Curious as to what other people would do with it.

              • Avatarthelmascudi says: 22 comments

                Actually, someone who really needed the tax advantages would wait and watch for the IRS code to give tax credits for the “substantial rehabilitation of an income producing property” and then buy this house and another more in tune with this exterior. Put the gingerbread facade on an appropriately aged house, clean it up, and put a tenant in it. Clean up the very early nineteenth century house appropriately, put a tenant in it. Tax credits give you $$ off your tax bill not your income. Spending a dollar for a 20 cent reduction in your income is a lesser win. Historic preservation is a many faceted calling.

                • EricEric says: 150 comments
                  OHD Supporter

                  1918 Bunkhouse
                  WestOfMiddleOfNowhere, KS

                  Thelma, the ornate porch is already on an appropriately aged house. The entire front half of the house was an addition to a c. 1800 house. Ripping off the most significant architectural feature of the house and remodeling or removing the front half would not really qualify as a facet of historic preservation. Preservation inherently involves accepting and caring for history as it actually was, and not as we wish it to have been.

                  • Avatarthelmascudi says: 22 comments

                    Eric, I understand your point. My sense, looking at the interior photos, was that the basic house was way before 1860. That is what prompted my observations.

                    Bringing the interior to gingerbread standards is not an answer either. Wishful thinking tends to get us in to trouble.

                    • EricEric says: 150 comments
                      OHD Supporter

                      1918 Bunkhouse
                      WestOfMiddleOfNowhere, KS

                      Yes; it is a confusing place on many levels, and I enthusiastically agree with you that bringing the the interior of the front half to “gingerbread standards” is not an answer (at least not from a preservation standpoint). I know that the house could be stunning by removing 20th century partitions and alterations and embracing the relatively austere (when compared to the porch) period detailing and molding inside. Period wallpapers and restored plaster cornices (should they be found to have existed) could go a long way toward making the interior just as interesting as the front.

                    • Avatarthelmascudi says: 22 comments

                      Eric, here is a treatise, written by an architect, that is sort of tangential to what we are talking about. The thought, the measure of the man, is paramount and has almost been lost in ornamentation and fuzzy thinking, http://www.conversations.org/story.php?sid=53

                    • EricEric says: 150 comments
                      OHD Supporter

                      1918 Bunkhouse
                      WestOfMiddleOfNowhere, KS

                      Thelma, I’ve changed my position. After studying the photographs that Jean sent in I must admit that your sense that the basic house considerably pre-dated the porch is correct. I mistakenly assumed that the entire front half of the house was added when the porch was added. The second photograph from the bottom shows the side of the house. Examination of the underside of the roof eave where the porch joins the house clearly shows a large mitre joint.

                      This indicates a “return” of the eave took place here at one time and implies that the front of the house once had a gable end which faced the street, much like the house next door, and like what exists at the back of the house still. Given this new bit of evidence, I must conclude that only the porch and bay windows date to the mid-19th century; the majority of the house is from the early 19th century. At the time the porch was added, window openings of the front rooms were updated with 4/4 sash in the then-current fashion. I still, however, believe that the porch is significant to this house and that removing it at this point would be wrong; removal would deny the layer of history that Clark Lewis contributed and the street would loose a significant part of its appeal. Thanks for the article link re: The Meaning of Proportion… it’s a long read but fascinating!

                  • Avatarthelmascudi says: 22 comments

                    Eric, I finally found the diagonal joining that you mention, thanks to the ability to enlarge images on my screen. Good eye.
                    I’m glad you enjoyed “The Meaning of Proportion.”

                    Is there any chance of a handful of those of us who have “been there” joining together to wander around the country and save a house a year? If so, Kelly, is it possible for you to facilitate that sort of collaboration off list?

                    • Avatarthelmascudi says: 22 comments

                      Eric, here’s another link for a long interview: http://www.conversations.org/story.php?sid=57
                      If you bog down in the verbiage, scroll down two thirds or three quarters of the way to where the conversation turns to architecture. I think you will enjoy the ideas. He mentions “The Architecture of Jubilation.”
                      When you get past the second image of a brick structure the architectural information gets dense. He speaks of the gothic and shadows and mystery, and so much more.

              • Avatarkath says: 211 comments

                dont make a rental out of it, rentors ‘trash’ property, mostly from my experience with rentals.
                maybe a ‘hausted house business’, or a tatoo parlor, they like gothic? lol…best of luck.

    • AvatarJen Mensale says: 9 comments

      Perfect show name!!

  31. John ShifletJohn Shiflet says: 4708 comments

    Given that one of the early owners was apparently in the plaster (supply?) business, I’m surprised no ornamental plaster work is evident inside the house. “Neat” or finish plaster of the time was slaked lime often sold in casks and when mixed with horsehair as a binder provided a durable plaster material to be run in place for ceiling coves, crown moldings, and such. The best examples, from the 1850’s, often had very intricate designs made in molds and then assembled to create ornate ceiling borders. (the Murfreesboro TN house in the most recent sampler had examples of this decorative plaster work.) The plain interior is at odds with the ornate exterior facade except for the wavy border around the staircase. The buyer, if interested, might want to search for evidence of early plasterwork.

    • JimHJimH says: 4197 comments
      OHD Supporter

      John, the early owner operated a plaster mill on the river, grinding local gypsum for use as “land plaster”, a fertilizer. From a 1904 USGS article: “The gypsum in New York State occurs as rock gypsum interbedded with shales and shaly limestones. Most of the deposits are too impure to be used in the manufacture of the finer grades of plaster of Paris. Until recently almost all the product was marketed as land plaster.”
      I’m sure you would agree that even without any plaster details, there’s a lot here worth preserving and bringing back to life, although it’s going to take a real effort and a substantial amount of money.

      • John ShifletJohn Shiflet says: 4708 comments

        Jim, Thanks for that information. Lime is used to de-acidify soils so that makes sense. I’ve seen some ornate plaster work in New York houses so the finer grade was obviously available but the lesser grade made and sold by the resident owner here may help to explain the lack of interior plaster details. Since we now know the facade was made of wood components,(thanks for checking, Jean E) I’m now curious to know whether this facade may be a manufactured assembly that was shipped to Oxford. The high quality columns also suggest a factory origin. If made locally, these details demonstrate a high level of skill and design experience around the mid-19th century in Oxford. So long as the impressive facade can be preserved, the house interior, no matter how plain or faded, would be worth saving-I still wonder why the house has such a showy exterior and an almost minimalist interior-maybe after adding the exterior details, the house renovation budget was used up and additional money for improving the interior to match the facade never became available.

        • JimHJimH says: 4197 comments
          OHD Supporter

          John, the term “land plaster” is new to me. Apparently the fine “Plaster of Paris” was imported from France for a long time but there must have been an American source for it by the mid-1800’s.

          I’m trying to get my head around the carved facade, not only because it’s unusual and well preserved, but also because similar carving in better condition is found right up the street at 32 N. Washington St. It’s described in the NRHP report as a c.1850 Italianate with a later Second Empire mansard roof.
          http://goo.gl/maps/ZU2dT
          NRHP photo (repeat, p.10): http://www.oprhp.state.ny.us/hpimaging/hp_view.asp?GroupView=1193

          Both examples of the carved swirls in the arches appear to have been produced by the same hand, possibly in a factory as you suggest. If you (or anyone) can find similar exterior work from the period I’d love to see it.

          • John ShifletJohn Shiflet says: 4708 comments

            Jim,
            I had downloaded Java (said it was required to view) yet Java’s security settings would not allow me to view the NRHP photo. I clicked “ignore” but would still not upload. I tried to shorten the URL but got an “access forbidden” 403 Server error. Does the Library of Congress HABS collection have this photo? (since I’d apparently have to be a software engineer to get around the Java blocks) Every time Microsoft significantly updates Windows there’s a whole new batch of frustrating issues to deal with…I think my next system will be Apple even if I have to buy a used machine.

            • JimHJimH says: 4197 comments
              OHD Supporter

              John, the photos aren’t HABS but NY State copies of the NRHP nomination. The setup with Java is so 2002. The NRHP site is worse!

              I’ve sent the photo to your Yahoo address. Should work.

              • John ShifletJohn Shiflet says: 4708 comments

                Received them…thanks, Jim. In my reply I noted some details that led to more questions rather than answers but better to address that outside the blog post. I very much appreciate your extra efforts made to share these images.

        • AvatarSusan Sherwood says: 1 comments

          I have some old pamphlets I got in Oxford @ 20 years ago, stating the wood carvings were done by members of my Sherwood family, who also did doors for the Statehouse in Albany and a famous eagle sculpture which had disappeared. Asa, John, Hezekiah, and Levi Sherwood came @ 1790, perhaps bounty lands? Their father had died on a British prison ship. Asa also a Veteran, he is buried at Gospel Hill Cemetary maintained by the local SAR. When I was last in Oxford, I took photos of a whole row of storefronts slated to be demolished. The Walmart downriver killed off the town stores. It is still a very pretty town; PLEASE someone help this house!

          • AvatarVicky House, Oxford Historian says: 4 comments

            Hello Susan, I am the historian in Oxford. I recently did some research on James Sherwood who was a descendant of your Sherwoods. He served in the 114th Regiment NY Vol. Infantry, Co. C. He was a joker and more famous for his wood carvings. During the war, James took it upon himself to carve “headboards” for the soldiers who died. I have pictures of the doors he carved for the New York State Library. Sadly, the Library burned in 1911 so the doors are gone, but I have some pictures if you are interested. Also, I did a story on James for the local paper if you would like a copy of that. Vicky

    • AvatarVicky House, Oxford Historian says: 4 comments

      I would like make a correction here and that is the plaster that you speak of is not in the terms of building plaster. Plaster mills were used to fertilize farmer’s fields in the early years. That is why the farmers came to town to get their plaster, for their fields and not for building purposes.

      Mr. Clark Lewis also built a large building called the Lewis Block which is where the Navy Island now stands. His skills as a craftsman and those who worked for him are most likely the reason for such beautiful scroll-work on this house.

  32. AvatarMother of 6 says: 1 comments

    I visited the house yesterday with the realtor. It use to be a boarding house. It is divided up into LOTS of bedrooms but only 2 kitchens. House been stripped of pipes and water tank. Electrical panel is the screw type breakers. House has 6 outside doors. You cannot get to all the rooms through one door, you need to keep going outside to view another part of the house. The realtor stated it is still listed as a single family resident.

    • JimHJimH says: 4197 comments
      OHD Supporter

      Thanks Mother for checking it out. It doesn’t surprise me that the house is in bad shape; otherwise it wouldn’t be available for so little. If anyone has asked for this for Christmas, be sure it comes with a six-figure commitment for funding the rehab.

      Let’s hope that the right person with preservation priorities gets this before somebody like “Balki” comes along and turns it into a prop for a silly reality show.

    • LanaLana says: 72 comments

      Hi “Mother of 6” (I’m a mother of 5) Can you email me? I’m thinking of going to see this house this week and if I can email you, it would save me about 8 hours of drive time. gontzes11565@yahoo.com

  33. AvatarJean E says: 4 comments

    I thought there were a curious amount of doors! I went and took pics and tested the front columns for iron. They are indeed wood. (Magnet did not stick.) I could see wood under the paint and cracks in the wood. I was hoping to be able to post some of the pics somewhere but I don’t know how to do it here. Maybe Picasa? I’ve just been busy – with Christmas and all.

    • EricEric says: 150 comments
      OHD Supporter

      1918 Bunkhouse
      WestOfMiddleOfNowhere, KS

      Thanks Jean! That was incredibly kind of you to go and report back from the house – especially at this hectic time of year. It really is fun to be able to solve a mystery half-way across the country through the internet and your generosity. I’m not certain, but I think photos can be posted in the Forums (perhaps under “What Style?” or “Show it Off!”). Perhaps Kelly can suggest a better option. Thanks again! Did you see anything there that changed your perception of the house other than the numerous doors?

      • Kelly, Old House DreamsKelly, Old House Dreams says: 10321 comments
        Admin

        1901 Folk Victorian
        Chestatee, GA

        Jean, if you’d like to email me kelly@oldhousedreams.com I’ll upload them to the post. Thanks.

      • RosewaterRosewater says: 4542 comments
        OHD Supporter

        1875 Italianate cottage
        Noblesville, IN

        Hey thanks’ for the pix Jeanie. Yep – wood. No doubt about it. This place is a real monster. Good luck to whoever has the chutzpah and barrels of cash to bring this one back..

        • Avatarthelmascudi says: 22 comments

          Rosewater, I think some of the money can be replaced by elbow grease and sweat equity.

          A more appropriate question would be “How much is a new roof going to cost; and are the rafters and skip sheeting sound?”

          • RosewaterRosewater says: 4542 comments
            OHD Supporter

            1875 Italianate cottage
            Noblesville, IN

            Or an even better question: what’s up with that entire substructure? LOL.. I’m just glad mine is only 1/10 as bad 😉

  34. Paul WPaul W says: 562 comments

    I wonder if this scrollwork might be Canadian based? It bears some resemblance to gothic homes up in Nova Scotia and might explain the ‘visual weight’ of the columns which were a little beefier up north to compensate for high winds and harsher winters.

  35. Kelly, Old House DreamsKelly, Old House Dreams says: 10321 comments
    Admin

    1901 Folk Victorian
    Chestatee, GA

    Thanks to Jeanie for sending in some exterior pics. You can click on her pics for a slightly larger view or if you are on a desktop, right click and “View Image” to see a much larger detailed image.

  36. Avatarthelmascudi says: 22 comments

    Jeannie Petersen, thank you for the amazing exterior pictures.

  37. JimHJimH says: 4197 comments
    OHD Supporter

    Thanks Jeannie for your efforts!

    I see a lot of very thick cracked paint in the photos, maybe thick enough to fool a magnet. What I don’t see is any cracked, broken wood, losses or rotting on the facade. The arch sections are very thin as if cast in one piece rather than many wood pieces fit together 160 years ago. In the first close-up of the column, the large paint chip shows what looks like smooth uncracked solid uh, metal.

    Boys and girls, draw your own conclusions! LOL

    • EricEric says: 150 comments
      OHD Supporter

      1918 Bunkhouse
      WestOfMiddleOfNowhere, KS

      The magnet was “fooled”? Whatever. In addition to the conditions I noted earlier which show the columns to be wood, Jean’s photos provide more evidence. In the lower left corner of the photo of the porch (13th from the bottom) there is a brace made of threaded pipe. It is secured to the column with a flange… the type that is designed to be screwed into WOOD. Wood which has been kept painted and maintained can stay well-preserved; lack of rot is evidence of nothing. I’m not going to beat a dead horse, and I’m not wasting any more time on cognitive dissonance. No one but us even cares what the composition of the columns are, and I’m satisfied that they are wood.

    • AvatarJean E says: 4 comments

      Thank you all – my pleasure. I am just eating up all these historic references – you’re all so well versed in this. You can now see that there isn’t much you could do with the landscaping – except cut it back a lot. What you don’t see is location, location, location. This house is 2 doors down from the brick post office which is diagonally opposite the historic LaFayette Park with its magnificent iron (yes really cast metal) fountain and there is a fantastic band stand in the park too. So pretty.

  38. Kelly, Old House DreamsKelly, Old House Dreams says: 10321 comments
    Admin

    1901 Folk Victorian
    Chestatee, GA

    Added another pic of the column (caption says it’s the closeup of column). For desktop you can right click and “View Image” to get a huge view and see it close up. Thanks Jeanie.

    • RossRoss says: 2405 comments
      OHD Supporter

      1894 QueenAnneFreeClassic
      Emporia, KS

      Well, that sure looks like wood.

      Thanks Jeanie! Thanks Kelly!

    • JimHJimH says: 4197 comments
      OHD Supporter

      Thanks Kelly for posting Jean’s closeup photo. It shows the wood composition and construction of the facade far better than the other photos. Good detailed photos or a site visit can answer a lot of questions that no amount of discussion can.

      Unfortunately the photos also show the frightfully poor condition of the structure that has probably scared off most prospective buyers. It only takes one and let’s hope he/she shows up before it’s too late, which isn’t very far off.

  39. RossRoss says: 2405 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1894 QueenAnneFreeClassic
    Emporia, KS

    I agree with others.

    This originally was a simple house which, for whatever reason, had an extraordinary porch added onto it decades later.

    Thus, the disconnect between the exterior front and interior.

    This aspect of the house is fascinating, and I would have no desire to change the interior so as to reduce or remove the disconnect.

    I would call the place Gemini House — the house with two faces.

  40. Avatarthelmascudi says: 22 comments

    Ross, I like the thought “Gemini House.” I keep thinking about cast iron and magnets. I’m not sure that 1860 metallurgy for cast iron will take a magnet. Never did with I was working in the field.

    Here’s a link: http://www.practicalmachinist.com/vb/general/non-magnetic-cast-iron-some-magical-metal-238082/ You have to remember that the metallurgy has changed a great deal in 130 years.

  41. RossRoss says: 2405 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1894 QueenAnneFreeClassic
    Emporia, KS

    The more I look at this house the more I love it.

    Yes, it is in desperate condition.

    Is it restorable? YES!

    I would lop off all the rear additions (assuming they are not incredibly historic).

    This would leave an L-shaped house. Was this the original footprint? To this was later added, or so it appears, two bay windows, and the OMG front porch. To match the new front porch, the front rooms, or so it appears, also received updated window sashes.

    If you look at the stair image (with the green carpeting), that wall tight to the right was surely not there originally. I would remove it STAT! That lovely wave detail (seen in the image just above the green carpeted stair image) continues all around the side of the stair. Please please please let the newel post be intact! Above the wave detail was surely the second floor railing in an L-shape. So, I would also remove the upper wall surrounding the stair.

    As mentioned perviously, this was originally a simple house with subtle but elegant details. I love the window trim in some rooms, and the windows to the floors. I would restore all this. As I would restore the where-did-that-come-from porch.

    The house has had an amazing history. Surely if any house deserved a full commitment by some preservation nut, oops, aficionado, it would be this gem.

    A treasure. For but $16K.

  42. Avatarthelmascudi says: 22 comments

    Ross,
    I think the current consensus is the original, base, house is more or less two hundred years old. In that time frame the kitchen would probably have been a separate structure at some distance from the main house to minimize the risks of fire. It would probably have had a walk in fireplace with integral oven. The fire in that would never have been allowed to go out. The fact that the house is frame makes this even more likely.

    Like you, I find the rear accretions horrid. The problem is, if you summarily destroy them you may be losing a lot of sound, virgin timber, that is of antique dimensions; it will be best to remove, pull nails, stack and sticker as it all comes down to be used again. New from the lumber yard has skimpy, 21st century dimensions.

    The long focal length image, tenth from the bottom sort of defines the age of each add-on just by the millwork. It may be that the original kitchen has either been destroyed or is on the far side of all these pieces.

    What is the tenor of the town when it comes to conservation and preservation? The 2500 square feet noted seems way under. Did the realtor tape the property? What is on the county assessor’s books? What would a hip pocket, comparable sales, appraisal be if the property were in good shape? Would it be possible to find old men, retired but having late nineteenth century and early twentieth century manual skills and willing to be drafted? Is there a historical society in the town? Are there any original families left? What are their attitudes?

    I come from an agrarian tradition. Is there enough of that attitude to gather townspeople who might lend a hand?

    Do we know how many chimneys were in the original house? I see three I think. Did they all originally serve fireplaces? Are the fireplaces and fireboxes intact? mantels? Any way of knowing if they draw? Are the chimneys old enough with large enough dimensions that they can be religned, by hand, with fireclay.

    If I were going to look seriously at the property it would probably take a week. I would want to closely inspect, measure, and draw the foundation and undercarriage, the attic, and the fireplaces continuing down to their foundations. The scale drawings of those structural entities would help determine what is bearing the weight and help determine the removal of newer partitions.

    I would need to come up with a decent approximation of the floor plan on all three floors. That would give me enough information to maybe (??laughing) make an informed decision.

    This house was austerely elegant at one time. I would remove as much gorp as possible. I would replace some double hung windows that have been removed and replaced with tiny, high windows. I would keep the conservation and preservation as simple as possible, doing as little damage to the original fabric of the building as I could. I would be searching ReStore or Habitat for Humanity or whatever salvage dealer has the best old inventory for sash. I would probably do some home sawn, custom millwork to repair the window frames that need it.

    Funny thing, I tried to take a nap and this building bugged me enough that you are getting this commentary. sigh

  43. AvatarTheresa. says: 41 comments

    Thank you J.Petersen for the extra outside shots! It really gives a better understanding of what is needed to bring this house back. Fantastic.

  44. AvatarRobertcn says: 63 comments

    This house makes me giddy! Please, please someone buy this house that will do it justice. I would paint that house with sanded paint in stone colors to make it appear carved from stone! Throw-in a Turkish corner and live happily ever after.

  45. AvatarTammyK says: 13 comments

    I can’t help but think that this house is like a pretty girl . . . everyone is so excited about how she looks on the outside and completely discounting the fact that there isn’t much on the inside . . .

    • RossRoss says: 2405 comments
      OHD Supporter

      1894 QueenAnneFreeClassic
      Emporia, KS

      Dear Tammy,

      Based on the many above comments, it is clear to everybody that there is a significant disconnect between the exterior (front) and interior of this house.

      And the interior does have its charms, once restored.

  46. Paul WPaul W says: 562 comments

    There is nothing wrong with effectively sealing ones house, however that, in and of itself, does not provide as effective a result as a combination of sealing and insulating. I can only point to my own experience of rebuilding my single pane windows, caulking sealing/foaming openings etc and after that, with a conventional gas furnace we averaged about 300 a month in winter( our average electric was 80.00) and when we went to a new Hi Eff electric heat pump we reduced our overall energy heat cost in winter to about 225 a month. After we sealed and insulated the ductwork we got it down to 175.00, after we insulated the walls? Our heat cost run about 80.00. We still have single pane windows. Our pipes have never frozen and we are reasonably comfortable and keep it at about 70 degrees. That’s just my experience, and that’s my data that has convinced me that “just sealing” was not going to cut it for me. Everyone can do what they want. The next house will be a hybrid gas electric system and yes I will insulate everywhere I can.

    • RossRoss says: 2405 comments
      OHD Supporter

      1894 QueenAnneFreeClassic
      Emporia, KS

      Hi Paul,

      I do not disagree that insulation can help.

      People with old houses have three options:

      1) Insulate, and put in new windows. A huge industry works hard to convince people of this. And this is what most people do. However, without stopping air leakage, you will not be comfortable and will have high energy bills.

      2) Stop air leaks. Plus heavy attic insulation. This is the most effective way to keep a house comfortable. If you have radiators a return-air duct system is a must.

      3) Do #1 and #2. This will be most effective, but the costs cannot normally be justified. 85% of heat in a house escapes straight UP. It goes through ceilings, then roofs, and outside. Heat does not naturally migrate SIDEWAYS much. If your exterior walls are tight, the air inside the walls will be dead air, and dead air is a great insulator.

      If I had an old home which was gutted to the studs I would do #3.

      But if you have plaster walls, and good exterior siding, why destroy these for insulation which is not really necessary? And most blown-in insulation is bad for old houses (for reasons discussed previously).

  47. AvatarPaul - South Bend, IN says: 3 comments

    Hey Folks,
    I want to point out that last year’s most talked about house on OHD from Dawson, MN had 126 comments. If my estimation is correct, my comment on this house comes in at 124. If all goes well, we should be going into 2015 with a new most talked about champ. Why is that important, you say? It clearly shows that this little gem has touched a lot of hearts. Never have I seen such a deserving old home ripe for restoration. Lots of hard work, yes, but the acquisition price is about the same as used double wide trailer. I plan to post this cutey to my Facebook page to give it some more, well deserved exposure. If enough others can do the same, who knows, maybe we can collectively find that one special buyer who is a perfect fit for this property. Now THAT would be a great way to start the new year!!

    BTW, I would like to weigh in on the less than spectacular interior. Back in the 80’s & 90’s, I had a Queen Anne with lots of ornate trim, fireplace, oak staircase, leaded glass, etc. I also had all the Victorian furniture, wallpaper, rugs, light fixtures and other accouterments to go with it. You never saw so many do-dads, doilies, swags, tassels and frills in all your life! While I still admire a beautifully restored Victorian home, my current preference is for less ostentation. Being in the antique business, the vintage look has evolved in the last 20 or so years. Our younger generation want a less formal and cluttered home. They still like to incorporate antique furnishings but have less of it in a traditional Victorian fashion. The most daring aspect that my younger clients have embraced is the mix of older furnishings of various age with contemporary items. It gives the interior a layered look that recalls the grand old manor houses or quaint cottages in Europe that were furnished by successive family members living in the same home for multiple generations. I mention this because a Millennial will be attracted to the austere quality of this interior. What the inside of this house offers are long windows that flood the rooms with natural light, lofty ceilings, acres of wide plank floors, simple painted trim and a scale of grandeur not found in a modern tract home. With good design sense, the inside of this home can be furnished to intentionally contrast with the robust exterior by incorporating a casual & contemporary re-interpretation of a traditional interior. I think I can live with that. I just hope someone else can too.

  48. LanaLana says: 72 comments

    I hate to burst everyone’s bubble…but here goes. I have spoken to the realtor a few times about this lovely old house as I was truly interested in it…the truth is that the interior is a total wreck. All of the copper pipes are gone, the water, gas and electricity have not been turned on in YEARS…so who knows if there are leaks. The electric is not up to code. Plus there are asbestos boilers in the basement that would need special removal. To say that it is restorable is really a pipe dream. It’s not like it could even be restored, it would be more expensive than building an entirely new house, as you would also have the expense of tearing this one down and then rebuilding, (of course attached that gorgeous façade). Some of the upstairs floors are giving away, which could be extremely expensive. My heart sank when I heard this news. Also, the roof needs replacing ASAP. Water is coming into the house. Not to mention, the area is depressed and many families are living well below the poverty level. He said that a ton of people have called about it and he has shown it extensively, but everyone walks in and then walks right out. He told me not to even bother to come and see it. Like I said I was ready to tackle this one, but it’s way beyond repair. :~(

    • RossRoss says: 2405 comments
      OHD Supporter

      1894 QueenAnneFreeClassic
      Emporia, KS

      Dear Lana,

      Nothing you wrote surprises me. The house is priced at $16K. At $16K I expect a ton of issues. I would not expect anything in move-in condition.

      Moreover, the images provided also confirm: a ton of issues.

      Yes, one could likely build a new house for less than the cost of restoring this house.

      But it would not be a COOL house with a HISTORY and rich with CHARACTER. It would be a boring new thing.

      I have restored houses in worse shape than this place.

      Also, while I love old houses, I want all new plumbing, all new electric, all new HVAC, all new roofing, and all newly restored windows. So, should I buy a house that looks pretty good for, say, $125K, but still have to replace all the above because it is all decades old? Or would I be better to buy this wreck for $16K?

      I prefer the wreck.

      And sweet baby this is a great wreck.

    • Avatarthelmascudi says: 22 comments

      Lana, all the things wrong with the house do not make it unrestorable. The economic situation of the town is both pro and con.

      Think about it this way: what do you really have today: lots of money? or years of time that you can spend in lieu of money. My jobs are done on a shoestring. You don’t need buckets of money, just some, and lots of persistence and hard work.

  49. AvatarGregory Hubbard says: 356 comments

    HOLD ON THERE !!!!!!!!
    Nothing in this summary of horrors should surprise anyone accustomed to dealing with derelict or near derelict homes. You can easily see how long this house has been abandoned by the paint-bare clapboards and deteriorating window sash and roof.

    Tragically many old buildings have been lost because someone said it was unsalvageable, when it was simply a listing of the usual suspects.

    I have been actively involved in historic preservation since I was 12; I am now 61, and nothing in that list scares me.

    Let me share some similar examples with happy endings:

    A friend in Portland, Maine, removed his home’s asbestos shingles and boiler jacket. He read the materials, passed the test, bought the proper equipment, divided the project into manageable segments and it was gone. Some 1940s idiot used a chainsaw to remove the bracketed cornice from his house, but couldn’t reach one short section at the rear. He took that down, replicated the details and has been working his way around his increasingly handsome house, one paneled bracket at a time.

    My parents bought John Philip Sousa’s empty 1906-1912 summerhouse on the North Shore of Long Island from the composer’s surviving daughter. Designed by accomplished architect Alexander Trowbridge, the house had been empty more than 10 years when they bought it in 1965. The only prior offers had been for demolition. The house had asbestos, was wired with bell wire, and our first winter, the oil line to the pair of boilers in the basement, each the size of an SUV, failed and the snow that blew into the house from Long Island Sound, with our unparalleled view of the Manhattan skyline, built up in snow drifts rivaling those in Dr. Zhivago’s summerhouse. There was enough snow we had to shovel it out.

    I moved into my own derelict Victorian in Denver in 1976. No heat, water or electricity, or windows. I burned wood until late winter when the furnace was finally installed. The second floor sagged 8 inches in the center of the span due to joists cut for plumbing. They simply needed to be sistered with new joists.

    The Old House Journal carried the story of a couple who’d purchased a handsome but seriously damaged Italianate farmhouse in New York state. The house was barely a shell, and the center sagged dangerously. Her parents suggested they bulldoze the house into its own basement and live in the barn. He had to work, so she was the one who jacked the new joists into place. And she was pregnant.

    We all know examples like these.

    If the house we love is in a place we can live, and we can afford to hire out those things we do not know how to repair, then it’s a sale. $16,000 is a very good price.

    What is the problem?

    Under no circumstances should anyone ever offer their opinion that a building cannot be saved. If that real estate agent gives up before all options are exhausted, then there is nothing between that house and the wrecker-salvagers.

    One final example.

    One of Southern Maine’s finest Federal style mansions was within hours of sale for demolition for an auto parts supply and gas station. The agent risked her career to hunt down a possible preservation buyer to counter the demolition offer because the team of which I was a member convinced her that the house could and should be saved. It is under restoration now, and it was not in much better condition than the house in Oxford.
    Greg Hubbard

    • Avatarthelmascudi says: 18 comments

      / / / / /

      Greg Hubbard, thank you, thank you. You said all this much better than I could. The worst thing for old houses is terminal stupidity. You have proved that critical thinking and hard work mean that nothing is beyond saving.

    • RossRoss says: 2405 comments
      OHD Supporter

      1894 QueenAnneFreeClassic
      Emporia, KS

      Gregory, well said!

  50. AvatarGregory Hubbard says: 356 comments

    Thanks very much for the thanks.

    It really is so easy to say something that will discourage a realistic evaluation of a building’s problems. This house is in ROUGH condition. That said, it should be saved. Ideally, this is where a preservation group would step in to stabilize the house to guarantee its survival, in the manner of Preservation North Carolina.

    Wallingford House in Kennebunk, for which that really swell realtor risked everything, is on the internet. Two heroes here, the other is the owner, who had the courage to step in at what was literally the last minute. Wonderful house, brave owner. I’ve got to say that my preservation partner and I have never talked so fast and hard in our collective lives as we did with the realtor and then the prospective owner.

    On another note, Columbus Mississippi has a cluster of mid 1800s plantation homes with openwork spandrels between interesting column variations. Perhaps they all have a single source for inspiration.
    Again, thanks for the thanks.
    Greg

  51. AvatarJon Adams says: 6 comments

    All these comments over several months — and this one is STILL listed as ACTIVE. I agree that this house is much older than advertised. Wish someone would save it.

  52. LanaLana says: 72 comments

    OK, don’t shoot me, I’m just the messenger. Believe me, I wanted to see any potential I could in this house, by that I mean, could I afford to buy it and live in it, for a “reasonable amount of money”. My financial situation is a mess, so I have to buy something with cash, so this house seemed perfect for me. That being said, for me, it would not have worked out, because just the façade of the house is the real gem, here. Inside it is in ruins. Like one poster said, “anything can be restored”…but at what cost? I deal in antiques and when I first started, over 30 years ago…I thought “if it is old, it should be saved”. I quickly realized that just because it’s an antique, doesn’t mean that it has value in it. In my humble opinion…this place would require well over 100K to fix, remember, it would have to fixed to code, that’s the law. That being said, I don’t know if it is worth it. Here is another little gem that I found, it broke my heart to not buy this place. It’s an old church, in upstate NY and they were willing to take 10K. http://www.exiteliterealtygrp.com/real-estate/Capital-Region-Albany/Commercial/property/201320942-126-County-Highway-140-Ephratah-NY-13452/

    • RossRoss says: 2405 comments
      OHD Supporter

      1894 QueenAnneFreeClassic
      Emporia, KS

      Dear Lana,

      I believe that any house can be saved.

      The question, to me, is not if X house can be saved, but rather is Y buyer the right kind of buyer?

      Should this house be condemned because Y buyer cannot take on such a project?

      It sounds like you made the right decision for yourself. There is nothing worse than taking on a wreck and not being prepared for it.

      Good luck on your search!

      All houses for sale need but one buyer. This house needs a very special buyer. This house deserves a very special buyer.

    • Avatarthelmascudi says: 22 comments

      Lana, your background sounds a lot like mine. I am in a similar situation financially and have just about given up on finding affordable housing in the united states. For you and me, restoration and conservation jobs come way, far, down on the list: past no rain coming in, no pipes freezing, and a way to keep warm that we can afford. My best to you I will remember you to the universe. The rest of the world does not know it but it is people like you and me that keep civilization from crumbling.

  53. Paul WPaul W says: 562 comments

    Lana, There are houses like this that probably need a “deep pocket” buyer or a preservation group who expect to lose money. Right house + right person = landmark restoration.

    I really feel in this case the best scenario for this house is a group who can afford the acquisition cost and some stabilization and be in a position to wait
    for that right buyer to come along. Active promotion of the significance of the house might go a long way. I don’t know what kind of local preservation exists here, but they would likely be the best stewards of it. Sometimes a ‘corporate preservation hero” can be found to a least stabilize it.

    It needs stabilization, if someone who can get the basics done comes along it has a good chance. Certainly being on OHD gives it wide exposure. We can hope for the best here and sometimes that is all you can do.

  54. AvatarThe 'other' John S. says: 31 comments

    Mr. Hubbard’s reference above to India is a better hint at the style of this home, rather than the label “Gothic”. The details on the facade are too elaborate and fanciful to qualify for that categorisation. “Gothic” misses by a country mile.
    This structure is the village of Oxford’s answer to the Royal Pavillion in Brighton. It is whimsical, flamboyant, exotic … it aspires not to Europe, but rather to the East. One wonders who commissioned such a flight of fancy, and what the orignal inspiration was.
    Could the neighbours in Oxford have been as shocked by this unique and unconventional addition to the streetscape as the Prince Regent, George, and his tastes and escapades were judged scandalous by his father’s generation? (George III was quite a stodgy, family man … a pity that some colonists opted to be so revolting.)
    “Safe upon the solid rock the ugly houses stand. Come and see my shining palace built upon the sand.”

  55. Kelly, Old House DreamsKelly, Old House Dreams says: 10321 comments
    Admin

    1901 Folk Victorian
    Chestatee, GA

    Sold for $22k.

    • JimHJimH says: 4197 comments
      OHD Supporter

      That’s very good news! With some luck, it will be stabilized with restoration well under way before winter.

    • LanaLana says: 72 comments

      Now I’m curious…why did it sell for more than the asking price? Did I miss a post? And do we know if they are going to restore it or tear it down? Thanks Kelly for all of the work that you do to make this site as wonderful as it is.

  56. AvatarAlena says: 1 comments

    If only someone could close off the areas where the glass is broken from the windows. Imagine how much damage the weather has done because of that. It truly is heartbreaking!!!

  57. AvatarEllenDrews says: 58 comments

    Sold this April fools day for 22k, Taxes $3467.

  58. AvatarSharon M says: 54 comments

    This morning I was in a waiting room, leafing through the April 2015 issue of This Old House Magazine and this home is featured in a section (right inside back cover) called Save This Old House. I thought it looked familiar and just now had a chance to look on Kelly’s site and here it is! Sure hope it finds someone to bring it back to life as the grand home it once was.

  59. AvatarGregory Hubbard says: 356 comments

    Hello folks. I hope the fact that this house has sold is good news, and this is not a folk-art dealer out to make a killing.
    I JUST BOUGHT A CDV PHOTOGRAPH OF THIS HOUSE< CIRCA 1860. It has actually lost ornament! There was a roof-top balustrade with urns at the corners. Really!!!! I will supply a copy to the new owner if they are interested.
    Greg

    • AvatarVicky House, Oxford Historian says: 4 comments

      As historian for the town and village of Oxford, I would love to have a copy of the CDV. My email address is: chottienducky2644@yahoo.com. Thanks, Vicky

      By the way, the new owners of the house have not done a thing to it as of yet. The village has had to contact them about the lawn not being mowed and, to my knowledge, there has been no response. He may be another out of town/state owner who may not care about the property he purchased.

    • Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 707 comments
      Admin

      1901 Folk Victorian
      Chestatee, GA

      Gregory, do you still have the old photo?

      • AvatarGregory Hubbard says: 356 comments

        Yes I do have the photograph. The roof-top balustrade appears to be a traditional design with a set of classical balusters separated by a die or newel posts. I will see if I can find it and send you a copy. Do you have a use for it?
        Gregory

  60. AvatarAmanda Dawdy says: 10 comments

    Hello,
    Has Anyone received or know of updated info on this home?

    Warmly,
    Mandy

  61. AvatarVicky House, Oxford Historian says: 4 comments

    Sadly, this house was sold, but no work is being done on it. The new owner appears to be an out of town individual who has neglected the property since it was purchased. The village would like to see something done and it is hoped that it will be restored – someday.

    • AvatarPeg says: 21 comments

      That’s too bad! Can the town put pressure on the owner to do something? Some counties in NY are trying to enact laws to prevent the proliferation of more “zombie houses” that are causing such deterioration of neighborhoods and communities.

  62. AvatarJane says: 569 comments

    Wow, lots of comments! I am about 99% certain that the architect of this lovely confection was Merwin Austin. His brother Henry was more famous but Merwin used a lot of the same elements in his work and had a successful office in Rochester NY for a while. He designed buildings around upstate New York, including the Young House in Bath, NY, which has similarities to this one.

    http://picturesqueitalianatearchitecture.blogspot.com/2013/07/the-b-f-young-house-bath-ny.html

    The porch posts were known as Candelabra Columns and were introduced to America by Henry Austin during his Moorish Revival phase, though they’re more Indian really. By all accounts, Merwin was a respected and popular architect – he mentored his nephew Andrew Warner, who also became a successful Rochester architect – but he must have had a rough time at the end because he died in the almshouse and was buried in a potter’s field in Connecticut.

    Anyhow, I pray that the new owners do something with this before it collapses, even if it’s just finding a way to re-use that wonderful facade on another building.

  63. AvatarGregory Hubbard says: 356 comments

    Wow, all these wonderful comments. So many interesting and insightful observations from site visits and careful examination of the photographs. Obviously historic American architecture is in much better hands than most people think.
    Thanks to all of you.
    Gregory Hubbard

  64. Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 707 comments
    Admin

    1901 Folk Victorian
    Chestatee, GA

    Anyone still live close to this home? Wondering how its doing.

  65. Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 10321 comments
    Admin

    1901 Folk Victorian
    Chestatee, GA

    From Gregory, thank you!

    1
  66. John ShifletJohn Shiflet says: 4708 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1889 Eastlake Cottage
    Fort Worth, TX

    Wonderful to see this house with all of its early Victorian era ornamental details. Decades would pass before such lavish exterior ornament became commonplace. Truly a pity that the State or some regional organization can’t mobilize to save this rare survivor before its time runs out. Thanks Gregory for sharing a photo of this house in its heyday.

    • AvatarGregory Hubbard says: 356 comments

      Thanks for your thanks.
      I have more than 2000 photographs, not all identified, now looking for a home because my brother, who has power of attorney, is about to put our 92-year-old mother in a residential facility. This will mean the sale of the house where my collection is stored. If anyone can think of a museum that would take a donation from Chatsworth, California, Let me know…..
      Greg

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