c. 1820 – Seneca Falls, NY

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Added to OHD on 9/30/16   -   Last OHD Update: 4/12/20   -   57 Comments

3563 State Route 89, Seneca Falls, NY 13148

  • $72,900
  • 7 Bed
  • 4 Bath
  • 4080 Sq Ft
This home is not viewable inside and is being sold as is. Please do not attempt to enter property. You should assume that all of the interior needs to be removed and replaced as well as structural repairs to the roof and its support. Buyer will have to pay all closing costs for both sides. Seller will not and can not pay any closing costs.
Contact Information
Mary St George, Nothnagle Realtors,
(315) 781-7653

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

56 Comments on c. 1820 – Seneca Falls, NY

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  1. Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 12502 comments

    1901 Folk Victorian
    Chestatee, GA

    Quickie post because, poor thing!

    • Liz Lemon says: 9 comments

      You’re right, Kelly, poor thing indeed. It’s a tragedy. This is one I tried to see while hunting for an old house in western NY this past June. I contacted everyone I could think of to get involved in its restoration. I was ready to buy until I met such resistance from the agent and apathy from everyone else. I even went around the agent directly to the owner because I had to know WHY this once grand home was allowed to deteriorate beyond restoration. The owner told me she couldn’t afford maintenance, let alone restoration, for years before she was finally forced out because the house had become uninhabitable. A hole in the roof had allowed rain & snow (not just moisture) in to soak fine wool carpet for at least 3 years. Unavoidably, this led to wood rot & mold. One of the historical preservation companies I contacted told me it was too far gone & that I should consider putting my money into another house with more potential & fewer problems. Mold mitigation could run as much as $20K & may require removal of a good portion of the original woodwork & structure. There are also substantial back taxes due on this property that have to be paid before title can be transferred. I am suspicious of the agent’s motives in continuing to list this property, so have given up trying to get a straight answer from anyone associated with it & moved on. Thanks for posting the house & letting me vent my anger at its neglect. Perhaps someone with deep pockets will see this & save it.

  2. MW says: 930 comments

    Love that oval window. Looks too nice and solid to be let sitting there rotting away like that.

    Have a nice weekend Kelly!

  3. Sandra says: 293 comments

    It’s a huge house but you’d never know it from the photos. Too bad we can’t see more. But I can see from google earth that the house has been encroached upon by trees. Wish we could see the interior! I’d like to think that the agent knows best and if he/she says the interior has to go then it really has to go, but who knows?

  4. Bethany Otto says: 3481 comments

    One of the most intriguing realtor blurbs I’ve ever read! Way to hook the old house lovers! If I lived in the area I am afraid I would be sorely tempted to enter the inside regardless of warnings. But I am weird like that.

    • GeoffreyPS says: 102 comments

      Or at least peek through some of the windows to see how intact the interior is.

    • Carolyn says: 303 comments

      Oh I agree Bethany. It makes me want to drive there and see for myself. I’ve snuck through more abandoned old houses than I can count. (I never break in and I always leave them as I found them.)

  5. JimHJimH says: 5581 comments
    OHD Supporter

    The house was owned and improved, and possibly originally built, by Samuel McIntosh (1811-1880), a merchant and farmer. McIntosh was the grandson of an Scottish immigrant who settled in Pennsylvania shortly before the Revolution and fought in the War. Samuel was born in the next county and came here to the hamlet of Canoga before 1840. He owned a general store and a farm of 235 acres, served as postmaster and was an elder of the Presbyterian Church.

  6. Judianne says: 8 comments

    I’ve been in this house-there’s a hole in the roof and it was raining all the way down into the first floor! I’ve rehabbed homes of this era and love them. But, this one is a total loss, except for maybe some bricks. Sad.

    • Ross says: 2434 comments

      There’s a hole in the roof and it rains all the way down into the first floor?

      I have restored several houses in such condition.

      • Judianne says: 8 comments

        Ross, see Liz Lemon’s comments. These pictures make it look good-but they’re several years old, I believe, because that’s how long ago I looked at it. At that time, there may have been some hope if someone (with deeper pockets than mine) had begun right away. When you drive by now, it’s like it has disappeared behind a wall of overgrowth.

  7. BarbF says: 34 comments

    Hmmm . . . It was once Locustwood Country Inn.

  8. Anne M. says: 1028 comments

    very mysterious!

  9. DH says: 13 comments

    Love that old pump is still there! Brick with stone (granite maybe?) foundation, Nice old bones for sure, ?

  10. Pookha says: 127 comments

    This falls in the “pig in a poke” category. I, too, would peek in the windows just to get some idea of how much resto is needed. Or badger the realtor unmercifully.

  11. MicheleP says: 64 comments

    I would never believe what an Agent has to say about whether a house can be restored. That is not their specialty – selling houses is what they are best at. My agent told us that our house was Center-Hall Colonial, when it is actually Gable-end Greek Revival, so there’s that issue, too. This house might be fantastic for the right owner: it’s all about the location, as we all know!

  12. David F. says: 52 comments

    Probably the tersest RE ad I’ve ever seen. While the overly poetic ones always make me skeptical, this one makes me want to buy the place and prove them wrong.

  13. KimT says: 74 comments

    If you search on Locustwood you can see a photo in here: http://k.b5z.net/i/u/6013369/i/RochesterChristian_Directory2006.pdf Something must’ve gone awry with the plans for 2006.

  14. Nona says: 275 comments

    I found a picture from 2006, page 7. I am sending the link because I couldn’t attach the image. http://k.b5z.net/i/u/6013369/i/RochesterChristian_Directory2006.pdf

  15. Dasalimo says: 22 comments

    The strange thing about the add from Nona’s link is it says opening summer of 2006. That isn’t that long ago for the house to be in such disrepair that it couldn’t still be brought back to life.

  16. Van says: 35 comments

    I would think back taxes could be reduced or waved entirely by talking to the right people. No taxes will ever be paid as is, show the tax accessors office the advantage of collecting revenue going forward. The white house has been gutted more than once, so anything can be restored. Doesn’t mean it’s a financially sound investment.

    • Tom Amlie says: 21 comments

      Usually the counties up there give you two years (max) before they sell the property. The county has no incentive to bargain. If it goes to tax sale then the county gets ALL the money from the sale. If the owner owes $10k, and the property sells at the tax auction for $20k, the county is twice as pleased.

  17. John Shiflet says: 5661 comments

    Might be possible for a rehab of this magnitude to create a TIF (tax increment financing) district for the zoned area. The State of New York is trying hard to entice new businesses to come in. Perhaps by taking an income producing approach tax breaks or even low interest loans/grants might be possible. But that is assuming the house can still be saved. There have been some houses and structures so far gone structurally and cosmetically that even the restorers had their doubts at the beginning but with enough money and labor, almost anything is possible. The approach for a structure like this is to first get an idea of the scope of the damage inside and what, if anything, can be saved and re-used in the reconstruction. After careful documentation and measured drawings, then work can begin with the first objective to get the interior in the dry again and covering with a new roof. Cleanup and temporary removal of historic elements that can be reused or as templates for creating replica elements should take place and these items moved to a storage facility not left inside the house. Temporary structural supports need to be put up from the basement to the attic as determined by a structural engineer familiar with historic building rehab. Careful demolition can begin with reconstruction beginning wherever its feasible. Everything should follow a written plan in the order determined by the structural engineer. Last, after systems retrofits would be cosmetic work and, in a best case scenario, the house will look as it did before the deterioration began.
    I would like to cite as an example the 1860’s Steele Mansion in Painesville, Ohio, because the second floor and attic had partially collapsed into the first floor and basement. Several million dollars later (thanks to the Shamakian family, the owners who had the vision to see what was possible) the Steele Mansion grandly reopened as a specialty hotel. The entire community was in awe at what had been accomplished in a house that 99% of the people who saw it said: “tear it down!” (not that there was that much left to tear down anyway) It was an amazing transformation that shows what is possible if the willpower and resources are available. There’s probably someone reading this right now who knows it can be done but whether they will take the challenge or not is up to them. (I’d have to win the lottery to do it but houses in ruins do not intimidate me) Here’s wishing this story has a happy ending.

  18. Journey47 says: 15 comments

    Too bad the owner didn’t put this home on the market before they owed years of taxes and prior to the roof caving in or at least as soon as they noted the roof leaking and they knew they couldn’t afford to fix it. The owner must be an elderly person who just didn’t want to let go of it until it became unsafe to live in it. They should lower the price further and get the town to agree to forgo collecting the back taxes. Then someone might have the incentive and funds to restore it. If they don’t sell it, it will just collapse and be condemned and the town will have to pay to have it torn down unless,of course, the town is too small to have the funds to do that. Even if it can’t be restored, I would think that a lot of the wood work and flooring as well as the brick could be used to restore another old home. You’d think the realtor could have gotten some interior shots at least through some of the windows without risking life and limb. Thanks for everyone’s info.

  19. MW says: 930 comments

    The taxes don’t seem like the biggest problem for this house. They were only $2267 for 2015 and 2014 apparently, which is pretty modest compared to a lot of places. Before that it was quite a bit less, except for the off $4,094 in 2009. But before that is was zero for years if the record is correct. The lost value of the house itself is the biggest loss the current owners will face not taking care of it. The taxes due on it would seem to have had little consequence comparatively. Whoever let the house fall into this much disrepair made a pretty big financial mistake. Should have sold it a long time ago to someone who could afford or wanted to take care of it.

    2015 $2,267 — $55,000 —
    2014 $2,267 +504% $55,000 —
    2013 $375 -1.4% $55,000 —
    2012 $381 -60.3% $55,000 —
    2011 $960 +5.1% $55,000 —
    2010 $914 -77.7% $55,000 —
    2009 $4,094 — $55,000 -57.1%
    2008 $0 — $128,200 —
    2007 $0 — $128,200 +18.7%
    2006 $0 — $108,000 —
    2005 $0 — $108,000 —
    2004 $0 — $108,000 —

    But I am with others here, I have my doubts about how bad it could be until someone could actually see the inside. The main brick structure and the foundation and even the windows look pretty decent and solid. Even if the whole inside of the house had to be gutted, as long as the brick walls and foundation are still solid, it is certainly easily doable. In some ways, it makes it easier and cheaper than trying to sensitively modernize a more historically intact house since you want to be so careful to preserve as much as possible. Here you can just gut it all without much remorse and rebuilt with new. The hard and expensive part is replicating all the trim and millwork with modern materials and labor rates. If you can salvage a lot of that and strip it down and restore that remotely rather than on site, that could be a big help.

    But of course how much effort and cost you would want to spend on it depends on the economic condition of the area. It would be unwise for a private party to put a lot more money into this than could be returned on a sale in the reasonably near future.

    • Liz Lemon says: 9 comments

      The amount due in taxes is in dispute – one of the straight answers I was unable to get from the agent or the County. According to the agent, the owner’s bankruptcy wiped out the unpaid property taxes and no more PT could be assessed until the bankruptcy period ended (or the house sold). According to the owner, who IS elderly & indigent, the unpaid taxes are around $30K.

      In NY, there are multiple entities (like school districts) that assess property taxes, so it is difficult to find the total due in one place. You have to look at the records of each entity to get a total. While the property description of the house I am buying near Syracuse shows taxes of $6K, the County records show only $2K. NY has one of the highest property tax rates in the country. So high that another agent told me that is the reason why property outside NY City & its commuter communities is comparatively cheap, but hard to sell.

      The first house I looked at on-line, a 5000 sqft, beautifully preserved Victorian on an acre of land in Leroy NY, was listed for only $300K in April 2016. Incredulous, I flew into Rochester (from Denver) to see it. It is a gem, requiring no work unless the buyer wants to change its decor. I would have bought it if the Village had allowed chickens – despite taxes of $13K. Both the agent & owner made sure I could afford that before considering an offer. Wouldn’t it be counterproductive for a homeowner or agent to inflate the taxes on a house they’re trying to sell?

      Since I was already there, I looked at rural/agricultural property in the Finger Lakes as well. That’s how I happened upon this house.

      • MW says: 930 comments

        $30K? Well, if that is true, and it can’t be waived or at least the majority of it, this house is doomed then. The county will end up with pennies on the dollar at some point one way or another. Eventually, likely after the house is fully condemned and abandoned and they receive it by default.

        The county probably hasn’t taken it yet, because they are probably still holding out hope the owner can sell it for more than enough to get all their taxes out of them. But if it really is at $30K, that is pretty unlikely. It is probably just a waiting game for them at this point.

        • Ross says: 2434 comments

          An asking price is rarely carved in stone.

          If I were interested in this house, and IF the unpaid taxes were really $30K, and IF these could not be waived, I would make an offer of $42K for the house.

          In my experience, if a low offer is made graciously, and with an explanation, it is often accepted.

      • JimHJimH says: 5581 comments
        OHD Supporter

        Liz, it’s a shame that the house is caught up in a lot of legalities that are preventing its sale and preservation. Someone with a good real estate attorney could get to the bottom of it, but property tax liens are never discharged in bankruptcy and must be satisfied before title can pass. The only thing being “wiped out” is any equity the owner may have had, which is sad but inconsequential.

  20. Tom Amlie says: 21 comments

    I did a little digging around on the Seneca County website. The annual taxes total out to about $4,677/year; $1,792 school, plus $2,885 county. That’s a pretty big annual hit on a place that’s being marketed by the realtor as essentially a tear-down.

    • JosephFortHill says: 430 comments

      In most places, valuations for tax assessments are not like appraisals for sales. They are based on square footage, number of rooms, lot size etc. As long as the house is still standing, the quality does not make much difference in the valuation.

      • MW says: 930 comments

        I am no tax expert, but that is probably why some nice old houses are probably just torn down. Taxes might be a lot less for cleared property without a neglected old house on it. No square ft, no bedrooms or baths to count = less taxes to pay on it.

        • JosephFortHill says: 430 comments

          This happened a lot – if you get a chance to read the book “Lost Newport”, there are a number of cases in that book of what we would consider very nice houses demolished because they were out of fashion/no longer practical, and the heirs didn’t want to pay the RE taxes.

          In some cases, however, you don’t want the house down, because if you are on a non-conforming lot, once the house is gone, you can’t rebuild on that footprint.

  21. MicheleP says: 64 comments

    The owners would have to just about give it away at this point, in return for the taxes being paid up, and in consideration of the terrible shape that it is in. Does anyone think that would be possible?

  22. John Shiflet says: 5661 comments

    It would be exceedingly generous for the owners to donate the property to someone who would guarantee its rehab. (with legal signed preservation and rehab performance covenants) However, the land, minus any improvements, still has value and perhaps a sale based on land value might be feasible. I would think the unpaid taxes might be negotiable in such a situation but someone will need to get seriously involved with this project-those of us here in the “armchair” category can do little except to express our sentiments. The owners have the option to consider or reject any proposals. It would be nice if a piece of local history could be rescued and preserved but such preservation miracles only occur if everything lines up perfectly. Let hope this is one of those rare times.

    • MicheleP says: 64 comments

      John, We just sank a whole lot of money into restoring our retirement house in Vermont, so no, I am not the very special person with very deep pockets who can rescue this place. But I sure hope that person, or entity, is out there.

  23. John Shiflet says: 5661 comments

    MicheleP, if you are that special person who is willing to try to save this place, please contact the listing realtor (listed above) and explore that possibility. You’ll soon find out what is or is not possible.

  24. EileenM says: 287 comments

    I lived in Seneca Falls for a number of years. It is a very pretty little village with many beautiful old homes. Unfortunately, the economy in the area is not good. Gould’s Pumps had its world headquarters there for decades but moved them to Rochester some time ago. They do maintain a manufacturing facility there, which is the main local employer. If you are a professional, self-employed, able to work remotely, retired, or just plain wealthy, you could probably live there comfortably. I, like the rest of Kelly’s followers, would love to see the place restored. I’m sure it could be done but would need not only buckets of money, but support from local government, financial institutions and, of course, the community. It’s a tall order. Were I financially able, I would take it on in a heartbeat, but, alas, Publishers’ Clearing House has not rung my doorbell (yet). I hope that the right person comes along and saves the place. It must have been grand at one time.

  25. gordon william reed says: 78 comments

    i visited this house for the first time yesterday and was easily able to see the interior. the house is an architectural jewel inside and out. it has a winding staircase, and a beautiful double parlor with grecian columns connected by a carved frieze. the windows in this area have built-in interior shutters that fold into the surrounding frames. the house is filled with junk and looks like a rat’s nest. the most serious problem is that the roof is falling in at the front left corner. the exterior brickwork and the foundation appear to be in excellent condition. the house is definitely restorable and worth saving. BUT it is now or never!!

  26. gordon william reed says: 78 comments

    i took pictures and will post them when i am able; it may take some time for me to learn how..be patient. tks.

  27. Gregory K. Hubbard says: 450 comments

    So? What has happened? Anything?

    The great and handsomely restored Greek Revival Equinox House in Manchester, Vermont, was in ruins when I first saw it. Water was pouring down the main staircase, a lovely Greek Revival confection, and there was moss growing on the floors. The Equinox House is a vast commercial property, but anything can be saved if caught in time.

    So, was this jewel caught in time? What about those photographs? Has anyone nominated it for the Preservation League of New York’s annual Most Endangered List?

  28. Cycl44Cycl44 says: 9 comments
    OHD Supporter

    According to Zillow SOLD: $15,100 on 09/18/18


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