1878 Second Empire – Frankfort, NY

Details below are from October 2016, sold status has not been verified.
To verify, check the listing links below.

Added to OHD on 10/11/16   -   Last OHD Update: 4/12/20   -   Comments Closed
Off Market / Archived

Frankfort, NY 13340

  • $135,000
  • 6 Bed
  • 5728 Sq Ft
  • 1.2 Ac.
Historic Gates-Mayer mansion or Balloon Farm. This amazing, 20+ room mansion is ready for restoration to its former glory. Gorgeous historical details throughout- custom woodwork and moldings, lighting, hardwoods, 7 foot doors & more. Many improvements already complete including newer furnace, hot water tank, vinyl siding, & more. Would make an outstanding Bed & Breakfast, apartment building, or an incredible private residence. This home has more rooms than listed in the Zillow listing. There are 6-12 bedrooms, and many bonus rooms.
Contact Information
Jennifer Hoover, Coldwell Banker Faith Properties
(315) 735-2222
Links, Photos & Additional Info

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

76 Comments on 1878 Second Empire – Frankfort, NY

OHD does not represent this home. Comments are not monitored by the agent. Status, price and other details may not be current, verify using the listing links up top. Contact the agent if you are interested in this home.
  1. Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 11892 comments

    1901 Folk Victorian
    Chestatee, GA

    Thanks Cora for sharing!

  2. Christine says: 12 comments

    I wish there were more pictures of the inside.

  3. Jessica says: 1 comments

    I have that piano in my living room and it is massive! It looks so small here! I’m in love ❤

    • CoraCora says: 2057 comments
      OHD Supporter & Moderator

      Clinton, TN

      You’re right – those old upright pianos are huge…and they weigh much as cars, which is why they always get left behind. :/

  4. Phyllis Caldwell says: 44 comments

    So grand and stately! Love it!

  5. Linda Omoletski says: 74 comments

    Do you think the stair case has been re done?

    • Morselmom4 says: 3 comments

      I definitely think the staircase was redone, that would be the first thing I would do, would be to put a banister, post and spindles back. Also, the color in the room with the stained class really detracts from the glass. It would be interesting to see if any photos exist from the original color scheme.

  6. Lindsey says: 3 comments

    Used to be the Balloon Farm! There’s some interesting photos when you do a google image search. Neat piece of history!

  7. Derek says: 38 comments

    I was fascinated by this house, so I did some googling.

    Why is this home called the “Balloon Farm”? Well, a man named Carl Myers, who was studying hydrogen gas balloons, along with his wife Mary, purchased the mansion along with five acres of land, so that they could construct and fly balloons. This site has the entire story, including a colorized photo from 1907… http://herkimer.nygenweb.net/frankfort/balloonfarm.html

    The home was posted to the National Register of Historic Places on April 23, 1998. The National Park Service has not digitized their records for the state of New York yet, though. http://landmarkhunter.com/120853-balloon-farm/

    Here is the Yelp review site for “The Balloon Farm Bed & Breakfast, which listed this house as the address. No reviews were ever posted. https://www.yelp.com/biz/the-balloon-farm-bed-and-breakfast-frankfort

    Here is their listing on bedbreakfasthome.com, which does include a few pictures of the interior: http://www.bedbreakfasthome.com/cnybb11342/

    Two obituaries of former residents of the home:

  8. Shannon says: 1 comments

    Exactly. I bet it’s already inhabited.

  9. KimNKimN says: 42 comments

    Stunning home full of potential – would love to restore this one too!

  10. L Adams says: 59 comments

    Love it!!! Yeah, I know I usually only comment on a house if I love it, but this house really is stellar and I like its back story. It’s a steampunk novel waiting to happen! I find cemeteries very peaceful, so having a house right beside one is perfectly okay with me. If you want to think about it in strictly mercenary terms, it means the plot where cemetery is located won’t become a surprise Dollar Store in five years. 🙂

    • CoraCora says: 2057 comments
      OHD Supporter & Moderator

      Clinton, TN

      Quiet neighbors, added bonus! 😉

      • Michael Mackin says: 2395 comments

        Too funny, Cora! And you could be a loud as you wanted to and not bother the neighbors!

        • CoraCora says: 2057 comments
          OHD Supporter & Moderator

          Clinton, TN

          Yep, if you buy this house…folks will just be dying to live next door to ya.


  11. jeklstudio says: 1139 comments

    Second Empire is not a favorite style of mine, but this! Whoo, this is incredible. For one thing, it’s huge and with lots of elbows and grease you could really have a beauty on your hands. It reminds me of the Munster’s house. Very spooky looking, but wonderful!

  12. SueSue says: 1143 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1802 Cape

    I agree. How can you take out an original staircase and redo it so horribly?

  13. SueSue says: 1143 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1802 Cape

    Second Empire is a favorite of mine and this is beautiful, mysterious and elegant all in one package. It is also surrounded by the cemetery which only adds to the ambiance. Oh what fun to bring it back to life.

  14. Carolyn says: 293 comments

    The outside of this house is spectacular but the staircase is definitely a deal breaker for me. The staircase is always the first thing I look for when perusing these homes. It’s my favorite detail.

  15. CharlestonJohn says: 1099 comments

    Beautiful symmetrical Second Empire that appears to have once lived up to its mansion label. How wonderful would it be if the original staircase was preserved under that plaster/ sheetrock? Any realtor who calls vinyl siding an improvement to a house like this ought to spend some time reading Kelly’s website.

  16. Diane says: 559 comments

    I’m not sure that the original banister isn’t on the inside of the boxed addition. It would take an in-person inspection but there is a top running along side it towards the stairs. We can only hope. I don’t think this home would be spooky looking with cleaning and period paint and landscaping. It will be difficult to find someone to restore this large of a project, even at this reasonable asking price, and it will again appeal to someone wanting to make it into a cheaply thought out income property (which I think is the type of investor the realtor is appealing.) Again, we can only hope the master of deep pockets rides up to save this gem.

  17. Dallas says: 84 comments

    I agree with other comments. So many of these homes have the narrow staircase and tight entrance hall – claustrophobic and not practical.

  18. Lottie says: 384 comments

    This is really a beautiful house with a great backstory! Wish we had more interior pics. The house may have seen some remuddling and the stairs could just be the tip of the iceberg. Lots of potential for restoration but the low asking price is of concern. Could it just be the cemetery next door?

  19. Lottie says: 384 comments

    What an exciting history lesson on the early owners of this house! More on Carl and Mary Myers:


  20. says: 18 comments

    I am in love! And on Cemetery Street? Just perfect!

  21. Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 11892 comments

    1901 Folk Victorian
    Chestatee, GA

    Image from Wikipedia:

  22. Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 11892 comments

    1901 Folk Victorian
    Chestatee, GA

    Still showing for sale but you’d need to contact the agent for the current status.

  23. dragonflyspirit14dragonflyspirit14 says: 250 comments
    1913 farmhouse
    Dillon, SC

    as with most homes I find it seems the architectural interest and beauty is on the outside but either destroyed or not accentuated in the interiors.

  24. Janet Vodder says: 125 comments

    Yes!!!!! Do you think the original spindles are behind that sheet rock? Wouldn’t that be cool !

  25. John Shiflet says: 5363 comments

    As others have noted, the interior reflects a number of changes since the original period after the house was built. The staircase was probably enclosed more recently and later an attempt was made to open it up without going to a lot of trouble and expense. A proper staircase for this house would be a walnut mid-19th century stair balustrade and railing as well as a typical Italianate style newel post (interchangeable in Second Empires which differ from Italianates in their roof lines) Fortunately, salvage versions of these period staircases are relatively common but measurements between the salvage version and the existing staircase need to be compatible. Best to get a tradesperson familiar with this kind of work to make it look original again. Difficult to say what else has occurred inside with so few photos to tell the story. The house has quite an interesting history and is offered with a generous 1.2 acre lot. It seems to have potential but all prospective buyers should take a closer look to ascertain the house and property meet their needs.

  26. Michael Mackin says: 2395 comments

    The staircase was definitely heartbreaking. It makes me wonder how many other things did they change in order to ‘modernize’ it.

  27. Linda omoletski says: 74 comments

    Lol, I agree about the stair case. I hope who ever did it was too lazy to take them down and behind this mess of a wall, they are there. Would love to be the one to uncover them.

  28. montana channing says: 257 comments

    what realtor thinks vinyl siding is an improvement? especially on an old house.

    • EMPinkham says: 1 comments

      If you lived in NY, you’d “get it.” Even with the best possible paint, winter is brutal on wooden clapboard siding. Almost no one wants the effort and cost of that kind of upkeep. Many of the newest, higher-end vinyl sidings look fine.

      • Kevin O'Neill says: 153 comments

        I have never in my life observed any vinyl siding on a old house look “fine” there is no edging like wood, the intersections on corners are blunt and architectural elements are covered or shaved off. I live in Minnesota and I “get it” I get it to the point of removing the vinyl siding someone put on my house years ago.

  29. NightOwlRN says: 6 comments

    Wow! Second Empires are becoming a new favorite of mine. I saw the first pic and my jaw dropped and I began drooling. I really wish there were more pictures. Hope this goes to a restorative investor vs. the quick/cheap flipper that they seem to be appealing to.

  30. Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 11892 comments

    1901 Folk Victorian
    Chestatee, GA

    Already reduced to $145,000.

  31. montana channing says: 257 comments

    brutal winter – don’t talk brutal winter to me. I lived in a 200 year old house on a 800 ft high hill in rural Maine with a West view of Mt Washington and its winds.
    vinyl is cheap but there are too many trim compromises for it to ever look good or be an option for a house as nice as this one

  32. Leah Gratiot McDuffie says: 6 comments

    I’ve called about it! I’m awaiting a return call. This is my dream, and I’m bracing for the “too good to be true” info. Vinyl siding? Ewww! My son is experienced in restoration by proper method, and he’s drooling at the thought of this! Wish me luck!

  33. Daystar says: 46 comments

    Oh Leah! Best of luck, hope you find nothing that keeps you away from this gorgeous place. Can’t wait for your updates:)

  34. G.Watson says: 6 comments


  35. Deb says: 51 comments

    What a bizarre staircase. Was that some lame attemp to modernize the home?

    • JimHJimH says: 4949 comments
      OHD Supporter

      Deb, more likely the original newel post and railing was lost in an apartment conversion years ago, and the stair was recently opened up again and stock parts added. A period newel post could be found and the rest fabricated by a skilled craftsman to create a pretty good facsimile of the original if desired.

  36. Matchman says: 1 comments

    Pictures do not reflect the overall interior condition. There are of the first floor 1/2. Copper pipes have been vandalized, 1/2 the second floor has been used by someone with a large number of cats and hence cat feces and urine smell nearly unbearable. Many rooms contain trash which make it look like a garbage can. Main roof is sound except for one vent penetration which has water running down the outside a cast iron pipe. Ceiling coming down in back above exit to fire escape. Water coming into the basement some how on an interior wall. Stair case is the least of the worries at this point.

  37. Rev. Leah says: 6 comments

    I’m viewing the property in 2 weeks when I get there. Thanks for the heads-up. I don’t mind clean up, but structure is important. I wonder how much $$ I’m looking at.

  38. SJG says: 1 comments

    Rev. Leah, did you end up seeing the house?

  39. Kat says: 1 comments

    Leah, Did you tour the property? Im curious if you noticed any more damage.

    • Rev. Leah says: 6 comments

      I did. I just got back to Seattle last night. I was heartbroken to see the condition that this grand old gal was left in. Vandalized for copper, water damage, garbage left everywhere! The smell was an outrage! The sending floor tenants did a number on this gorgeous house when they were evicted. Bad remodels over the years removed the central spiral staircase to what you see in the photo. That used to be servants stairs that were expanded. On and on. And yet, she’s still calling to me. It’s not irretrievable yet! But one more humid summer vacant, and I fear the very worst. All odd the grand fireplaces have been removed. Gas ones have been installed in a few rooms. This house is so big, I really did get lost twice! If they would take 50k,or thereabouts, I’d buy it in a heartbeat! I really would. But, other than that, it’s going to be worth less than the cost of rehab. I really wanted that house for my B&B. I’ll keep looking! But, what a glorious home she once was! The Wright Brothers stayed there. The history is incredible!

  40. Charlene711 says: 5 comments

    We went to see this house yesterday…what a shame! The first floor is ok, needs a lot of cleaning but otherwise ok. The second floor was SO BAD that we literally could not view it. It was only 10 degrees outside, but the smell was OVERWHELMING! I literally nearly vomited coming out of the second floor. Cat urine and feces EVERYWHERE…I can only imagine the smell on a warmer day. So much garbage everywhere. The third floor was ok as well. Obviously needs rehab and cleaning out but nothing too bad. There are a lot of holes in the eaves where critters are nesting. Unfortunately the second floor is a deal breaker, that smell is soaked in everything. 🙁

  41. Hoyt says: 1 comments

    Such a beautiful place. I’m only 3 hours from it so I’m tempted to take a drive over to it to see it in person. Wouldn’t be able to buy it for several years but to just drive by and see the estate. While the cat damage is sad to hear about, it can be taken care of.Theres ways to clean it up and make it seem as if there never were any cats. I wonder how much rehab is needed besides this, the staircase, and the siding? I agree with many here that the cemetary next door adds to the charm of this place. From what I’ve read on it the town is always I need if volunteers to help maintain the cemetery as well.

  42. GarDon says: 3 comments

    My wife and I are going to visit this place this weekend and taking a contractor with us for rough estimate. We hope it will be within our budget to get and secure it from further deterioration. May take awhile to get back to what it was but hope to try. Will get pictures and try and to send in so others can see.

  43. charlene711 says: 5 comments

    Problem is the bank won’t budge from the $135,000 price. They had a cash offer of $95,000 and turned it down. From what I understand other contractors have said that a minimum of $100,000 would be needed to restore.

  44. Andrea says: 14 comments

    Contractor estimates are so inflated. The house we bought, which was featured on this website as well, cost us about $1500 in the best Behr paint and probably another 300 in supplies. We also needed ladders which we had and we borrowed scaffolding for convenience. It took time but we did it ourselves. You know what the estimate we got for the house was? A contractor stopped and looked at the house when we were almost done and said if we had hired him to do that paint job it would have been at least $36,000. That’s crazy. Unless we just aren’t physically capable of doing a project by ourselves on the house, I’m not hiring anyone. Having a pro come look at and inspect the house with you is a good idea but don’t let their prices scare you off.

    • Leah Gratiot McDuffie says: 6 comments

      I flew out the from Seattle all ready to pay money, and I couldn’t get anyone to give me a bid! They said it was to open ended!

      • Andrea says: 14 comments

        I’m not surprised. They’re looking for someone to come in and say, “Money’s no object, start the work and just let me know what you need.” :/

        • John Shiflet says: 5363 comments

          Old houses, especially those not move in ready, can have hidden condition issues that only come to light once the restoration or renovation project is well along. Best to break the house makeover down into smaller projects such as roof, foundation, structural, mechanical systems (electrical, plumbing, heating/venting/air conditioning) and then obtain individual bids for each of these tasks. A plumber will not re-roof a house usually, nor would a carpenter be qualified to do masonry or concrete work. A general contractor will probably avoid taking on a project like this unless the job is paid on a time/labor and materials basis. By all means do as much work yourself as you are capable of doing and as allowed by local building code-contractors must factor in a profit and while that is not too difficult to do in a new build in an old house it can become the proverbial can of worms. Breaking up the entire renovation project into smaller tasks as mentioned above can give you a general idea of the total costs involved. Best wishes for success if you decide to move forward with this property.

  45. GarDon says: 3 comments

    appreciate all the comments everyone has left and the advice tips – we are bringing a family contractor so we should get a realistic ballpark figure. as John stated above we will be looking at all the mini projects within the main project.
    our primary goal would be to get it livable first – restoration would come later.
    either way I will share what I can after we see it maybe post some pictures.

    • Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 11892 comments

      1901 Folk Victorian
      Chestatee, GA

      Thanks GarDon! Yes, as soon as your pics are ready you can either share a link from Flickr or online album or send them to me and I can post here.

  46. Andrea says: 14 comments

    Looking forward to seeing your pics and what you find out. This house is amazing.

  47. charlene711 says: 5 comments

    GarDon, what did you think of the house?

  48. GarDon says: 3 comments

    Hello all!! Sorry for the lengthy delay in my response – work took me out of town.
    Okay so the house – it is beautiful! Second floor is a mess and stinks and needs major cleaning. All in all the walls etc are all in good shape. First floor needs cleaning. We estimated 3 dumpsters of junk are in the place. 4th to remove the damage on the third floor ( plaster etc) . The eves are the worse structrual damage – estimate was 30k for repair. That was dissemble repair and replace flat slot with some vinyl soffit to let the eves breath. If all flats were restored it would jump another 10-15k. Inside work – here and there and the third floor repair was estimated at 20k. So for 50k you could get this back up and running. The basement was very dry and well kept- a lot of junk thou to be purged. The hack job on the copper was not all that bad. A lot of steel pipe, pex etc was in the house. That repair was in the 20k estimate to fix. Roof was good and not to recently back recoated. There was one section on the third to second floor in a corner that the eve rot thru was in the wall but that was estimated in the 20k and eve 30k repair.
    This is a big house!! We were thinking primary residence and B&B rooms to offset living expenses. Didn’t like the layout of which rooms to use and where we would stay. As a straight B&B this would be a great investment – has potential with the Herkimer County Fair – right there, home to area Irish Festival, Remington Arms Museum, close to Utica NY and colleges and Beardsley Castle which has many wedding venues. Local vendors and wineries as well. So the market research we were doing we think would support.
    For a 200k investment the return could/should be there. But we would not have the time to run that with our full-time jobs currently. As a primary residence – it would be a lot of house to heat – and general maintenance. And the drive we would both have was going to be to far. So depending on your job background..
    Pictures online are the better ones – the inside is now quit messy.
    As for the smell – it is still quite strong and hits you at first – one room was the worse- so a lot of airing out and cleaning to purge the smell would be needed. This does not permeate the entire house – just the 2nd floor once you go into a couple of the rooms.

    • Phyllis Turner says: 1 comments

      Did you by any chance take any photos? I would love to see them. My husband and I are relocating to the area and can live anywhere. I will be looking at the Home in a few weeks. But wondering if you might have any photos to pass along

  49. Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 11892 comments

    1901 Folk Victorian
    Chestatee, GA

    $130k on the Realtor.com link you shared is just what they guesstimate it’s worth, it’s still at $135k. There’s another Realtor.com link that shows the current list price. https://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/128-Cemetery_Frankfort_NY_13340_M39711-61134

  50. Melissa says: 1 comments

    For sale again. I wonder how bad it is now. 129k now

  51. Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 11892 comments

    1901 Folk Victorian
    Chestatee, GA

    New post: https://www.oldhousedreams.com/2018/10/01/1863-second-empire-frankfort-ny/

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