1857 Italianate – Norwich, CT

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Added to OHD on 6/16/17   -   Last OHD Update: 11/3/19   -   78 Comments

241 Broadway, Norwich, CT 06360

  • $85,000
  • 4 Bed
  • 1.5 Bath
  • 4696 Sq Ft
  • 0.77 Ac.
History and Architecture are your LOVE. Bringing them back to life via rehab, restoration or renovation are your PASSION. You need both Love and Passion in order to take on this project. Your rewards will be great. In a city filled with rich history the Millionaire's Triangle area around Norwich Free Academy is one that even today draws interest via walking tours of the area, its homes and the people that brought it all to life.
Contact Information
Dawn Mcnary, Berkshire Hathaway,
(860) 575-5001


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78 Comments on 1857 Italianate – Norwich, CT

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  1. lara janelara jane says: 565 comments

    What a lovely neighborhood! Judging by the surroundings it would seem this fixer upper would be worth the price (and investment), but looking at the local listings shows that this home looks overpriced compared to its turnkey neighbors. Still, as I said, gorgeous neighborhood.

  2. Brian says: 18 comments

    I’m so happy to see this house up here. I took piano lessons in this house throughout the 1980s as a child and nearly flipped last week when I saw that it’s finally for sale. This always has been my dream house. Sadly, for me, it’s just way too far out of my price range to give it the rehabilitation it deserves.

    The deal is that, as stated, this house needs a tremendous amount of work, which is sad that it got to this point in the first place. My piano teacher divorced the current owner, and the state of the house began its downfall. There once was a wrap-around porch that was taken down, oh, 15 years ago or so. A few years ago I happened to be walking past and, from the sidewalk, noticed that the room that once was the piano room looked to have framing installed in the middle of it.

    Although it’s been 25 years since I stepped inside, I still can remember the beauty of it inside. I just shudder to think what’s happened since, and judging by the (few) pictures, it’s not pretty. I have contacted my realtor and I plan to go for a tour of it, even though (and I told her this) that the cost to rehab it surely is too far out of my checkbook.

    What is optimistic is that this could be a centerpiece of this area, which was known as the “Millionaire’s Triangle” of Norwich during the Gilded Age. There are a number of fantastic houses from the late 19th Century when Norwich was one of the most successful cities in New England. This house sits between the beautiful St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the Norwich Free Academy (semi-private high school), which has beautiful architecture (I should know; I graduated from there!), including a Richardson Romanesque museum, one of only two on a high school campus in the country.

    Anyway … I hope to God that whoever buys this gives this house the attention it deserves because it really would be a standout home (and that someone will restore the wrap-around porch). Perhaps once I view the rest of the interior, I will feel optimistic or further deflated. Hopefully the former.

    1
    • Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 11465 comments
      Admin

      1901 Folk Victorian
      Chestatee, GA

      Thanks Brian for sharing what you know about the place. Any chance you could take some photos when you visit? πŸ™‚

    • says: 186 comments

      Brian,

      What gothic looking old church is down the street from this old house?

      • Brian says: 18 comments

        That is the Cathedral of St. Patrick. It just underwent a large renovation/restoration a few years ago. Check it out: http://www.stpatsnorwich.org/photogalleries.html That’s where we go to church. It was built by Irish immigrants around 1879 (I think?) because there was a lot of anti-Irish sentiment around here at the time, so they had to do it themselves. It is quite striking inside.

        • Jan Ramey says: 26 comments

          Beautiful, beautiful restoration! Thanks for sharing the link. Whoever did the church should do the house. I know it is hard for a local who has loved and knows a wonderful old house can’t save it themselves. Maybe you’ll get lucky, I hope you do!

  3. Brian says: 18 comments

    Kelly, that won’t be a problem πŸ™‚ I’ve made sure there’s plenty of room on my iPhone.

  4. Jim says: 4748 comments

    It’s a real shame this unique house was neglected. With a six fiqure renovation needed at least, and a lot big enough for 2 houses, endangered is a good word for this one. There is some good restoration work going on in the neighborhood:
    http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/185-Washington-St_Norwich_CT_06360_M47699-25217

  5. les says: 5 comments

    I am in love!!! Hoping Brian does take some more pictures. My favorites are the Italianates (well do love me some Gothic Revival too). What a beautiful house this must have been back in its day and hopefully will be again πŸ™‚

  6. Curiouser George says: 163 comments

    Brian,
    Was your piano teacher Russian? The word over the door in the second photo is the russian word for “exit” (“Π²Ρ‹Ρ…ΠΎΠ΄”, transliterated, “vykhod”.)

    • Brian says: 18 comments

      CG,

      No, not Russian. At least, I don’t think so (but thanks for translating). The man who lives there actually is a specialist on pipe organs. I have heard from others that there are a number of organ parts spread across the house.

  7. Ross says: 2501 comments

    Dear God,

    Please, please, more pics of this INCREDIBLE house. Particularly interiors.

    Thank you.

    Sincerely,

    Ross

  8. Robt. W.Robt. W. says: 437 comments

    Terrific house, even in its present perilous state. Other than a quick review of what’s for sale in the same zip code, I don’t know anything about Norwich real estate markets, but the asking price doesn’t seem the stumbling block; $150,000 is the least concern on a house that might easily need twice that amount to restore it. (And even if $450,000 were invested, it doesn’t seem wildly out of balance with other current listings.)

    It’s a very handsome house even as is, lacking its porches and in obvious distress. The street is very attractive and seems to include a good many houses of roughly comparable size and quality and a smattering of more more modest but still large and attractive houses — all seemingly tidy and well looked after. The Italianate seems to be the worst house in its immediate neighborhood, and yet has potential to jump to the front of the line as one of the very finest.

    Though a different date and style (but a similar size), I also like this neighbor that’s for sale: http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/280-Broadway_Norwich_CT_06360_M49748-71638?row=3

  9. Brian says: 18 comments

    The house to the left of this one suffered a fire a few years ago on the upper floor and currently is under renovation. As you head north on Broadway, the houses remain in beautiful condition. Quite honestly, this one listed here is probably the one in the worst shape.

    As an example, here’s one that just sold last month, located at 270 Broadway: https://www.oldhousedreams.com/2011/12/22/1870-italianate-norwich-ct-580000/

    This was the former Home Economics building for Norwich Free Academy, which was converted back to a private residence around 20 years ago.

    Behind this house is Washington Street, which is where the house Jim linked is located (known as the Converse House, I believe). Many of the houses on that part retain their architectural beauty. I can’t remember if it’s that one, but some of the houses still have their slate roofing.

    This entire area is known as the Chelsea Parade Historic District. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chelsea_Parade_Historic_District

  10. Tammy says: 13 comments

    Taxes just south of 8K a year in the present condition . . . yikes. Norwich is known for extremely high taxes.

  11. Ernie says: 14 comments

    With so few pictures its hard to get an overall sense of past grandeur. The oval skylight in the ceiling is an interesting feature. Because it appears to be boarded over I was trying to visualize whether it was there to provide illumination internally between floors or bring sunlight from the outside into the space below. I lived a short distance away in Gales Ferry CT nearly 30 years ago. I was very familiar with Norwich and its historic structures which were at starting to fade into decline due to increasing costs of heating and property taxes. Its nice to see that there seems to be a renewed interest in the town and breathing new life into these stately homes.

  12. Jim says: 4748 comments

    Ernie, you can see on the aerial photos (Bing bird’s eye is best) there’s a lantern or cupola on the roof which provided light by day. You can also see a complex roof structure which apparently leaked over the years and caused the plaster ceiling to fail.

  13. Brian says: 18 comments

    Spent an hour at the house this afternoon with my realtor and the owner’s realtor (who, happily, also is the president of the Norwich Historical Society). It was incredible for many reasons. First, I’m sorry to say, there are no additional pictures. The realtor said the homeowner requested that no additional photos be taken of the interior, so I complied with that.

    First, the good, which will take up the least amount of space:
    The foundation is sound and the basement is dry.
    The rooms are unbelievably huge. The master bedroom is 28×16. Probably 12-foot high ceilings.
    Lots of original details abound. Although the floors were covered with area rugs, the woodwork appears original, or is at least from the turn of the century and is quite intricate.
    I think we counted five fireplaces. The craftsmanship is stunning.
    Everything seemed to be saved, including the intricate parts of the former porch. So, replication could be possible.

    And now, the bad:
    The roof is the first thing that needs to be replaced. There are water buckets all over. When we walked in the attic (which we surmised was once servant’s quarters), you could see right through the eaves in some places, maybe an inch or two. During heavy rainstorms, we were told he has to come up and dump out the buckets.
    Because of the roof failure, a number of the ceilings look like the one in the third photo. Some of the walls look like that, too. Also, we surmised that window in the ceiling at one time allowed light in from a skylight above the third floor attic. There appears to be (it was covered) an ornate balustrade around the window. There also is a cupola on the roof, but we didn’t go up that high.
    Wiring is all knob-and-tube.
    Exposed beams and pipes in some places.
    Sometime in the last, I’m guessing, 20 years, the back room, which was the kitchen, had a failed roof, and to fix this, the back end was chopped off, and the back wall appeared to have been moved up about 25 feet to meet the back part of the house so it looks like it matches (this is my best guess, and I’m going off memory). Thus, there really is no kitchen in the place. I mean, there’s a stove and a sink (with jerryrigged pipes), but it’s most certainly not original.
    There are organ parts EVERYWHERE. Every room. Upstairs, downstairs, everywhere. Some came close to touching the ceiling. Thus, you probably couldn’t get a good feel for just how big these rooms are.

    I really feel sorry for the owner. He’s an older gentleman and it would appear he hasn’t been using the heat and has been relying on space heaters, on top of the leaky roof. It was about 55 degrees or so when we were in there today. The furnace is enormous. Thus, the lack of heat indoors I’m sure has been contributing to the plaster issues and other troubles.

    That said … I love this. Absolutely love this. The potential is incredible. This could be a house where, if I was lucky enough to give this the renovation it deserves, would be in the first line of my obituary as “the guy who restored 241 Broadway.” I loved this house 30 years ago as a child and I still do. But holy crap, does it need a tremendous amount of work.

    1
  14. Ross says: 2501 comments

    Dear Brian, I agree with Kelly. Thanks for letting us know the condition of the house. It is wonderful reading a first-hand report.

    The saving grace of the house will be the property values of adjacent homes. They are MUCH higher than the ask on this house. One can likely recoup hundreds of thousands in restoration costs. This will also make a HUGE difference to a bank in terms of fully financing such an adventure.

  15. lara janelara jane says: 565 comments

    I’m afraid for this one. Not because of its condition, but because the kind of person who could afford to give it what it needs is likely the kind of person who would give it things it doesn’t need (aka, someone who will remodel, not restore). I hope to heaven I’m wrong.

    Thanks for those details, Brian!

  16. Curiouser George says: 163 comments

    I was struck by Jim’s comment above about the “cupola” or “lantern” on the roof, and thought it looked so odd and out of place when seen from the GMaps angles. More of a mushroom or door knob shape than anything else, and definitely not part of the original architecture. When the roof is viewed from the GMaps overhead angle, then this thing is clearly seen as being set within a shaded square area, which makes me suspect that originally there must have been a large square cupola on top. Certainly square cupolas are a common and distinctive element of the Italianate style. It would be wonderful to find an old photo of this place to see what was there originally.
    Set off to one side of this “cupola” appears to be a skylight, and I suspect that this is the source of a lot of the leakage, though the rest of the roof obviously needs attention too, as Brian noted.

  17. Jim says: 4748 comments

    C.George, I hadn’t noticed before that the thing on the roof is visible from the street and looks more like a large vent than a lantern or cupola. I’m sure you’re right there was a cupola there in line with the entry and the skylight, but I think we’d need a set of original drawings to know exactly what it all looked like.

  18. Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 11465 comments
    Admin

    1901 Folk Victorian
    Chestatee, GA

    Updated post with the few more pics they added. Also an old photo added. Move to the front, this was originally posted 2014.

  19. Bethboop says: 1 comments

    Absolutely gorgeous, wish I could do this!

  20. Linda Robinson says: 7 comments

    Is the house on the national Registry? And century home plaque? If it is or isnt!,,,either you apply for national registry, or if have it on it,,,the house can qualify for funds, you have to apply for them, which ever the house would qualify, national registry takes awhile to apply, and anyone can apply for national registry even if don’t own the house! Whoever does this it’s a complicated journey, but worth it, to get funding for roofs, windows, foundations, plaster works, whole lot out there, but house has to be historic, and documented! I love this house, hate to see it sit rotting!

  21. Warbon says: 119 comments

    It looks to me like that “vent” is a replacement for the cupola. In that old picture, I think it looks like you can see the cupola through the trees. Maybe I’m just seeing what I think should be there. Looks a little expensive with all those supports holding up either the walls or ceilings. Hopefully someone will buy this and be able to afford the renovations that it needs to be beautiful again.

  22. TimothyTimothy says: 156 comments

    I truly appreciate the bluntness of the listing Realtors statement. It prepared me for the worse. This house is in amazingly bad shape and will take a very motivated Old Home Lover to restore it to the former glory that this home clearly had. That said, the details (which are few) had me drooling for this house. I relish the style of the home and I think that the skylight is very interesting. It would be even better if it was art glass imho.

    Love this house and wish the best to the lucky buyer!

  23. Daughter of GeorgeDaughter of George says: 937 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1905 Neoclassic & 1937 Deco

    This house has so much potential, and I hope the right buyer will restore it. The house across the street is a real stunner!

  24. Brian says: 18 comments

    Just know that if someone (hopefully, an old house lover) comes along to restore it, the first thing has to be the roof, and the fact that I don’t think it’s had heat (outside of space heaters) for some time. Wish I could!

  25. Paul says: 81 comments

    Love this house.
    The old photo looks like it was an Indian/Moorish Italianate. Especially the front porch and the details on the wraparound porch. Similar front porch design:
    http://picturesqueitalianatearchitecture.blogspot.com/2013/07/the-henry-z-pratt-house-hartford-ct.html

  26. Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 11465 comments
    Admin

    1901 Folk Victorian
    Chestatee, GA

    Added new listing photos with price drop to $99k! Moved to front of page, this home has been on the site since 2014 so comments above may be older.

    1
  27. Cathy F. says: 2113 comments

    Plenty of beautiful tiling. And the fence in the old photo was cool.

  28. Tommy G says: 45 comments

    I believe the lack of synthetic updates is a plus here. Repair the plaster! Too many of us want to get out the 12# sledge and just make more work than is called for. I like the opportunity just as she sits. Go slow and preserve. Just my opinion.

  29. gordon william reed says: 75 comments

    i would love to see the “This Old House” program take this on as a fascinating project, do to their love of New England houses. do any of your supporters have any contacts with TOH? it is wonderful to see the number of people who care about this house.

    • Ross says: 2501 comments

      Oh, please please please I hope This Old House never gets anywhere near this wonderful house.

      This Old House just seems to hate the old in old houses.

      1
    • Paul W says: 553 comments

      Having This Old House would be about the worst think that could happen to the place. It would be gutted, “opened up” with crappy new kitchen and basically ruined. I think TOH has forgotten how to actually “restore’ anything, sort of how Victorian Homes magazine has forgotten what a Victorian Interior looks like.

      1
    • Eric Unhinged says: 791 comments

      Just go straight for the jugular and call in “Fixer Upper”… why prolong the agony?

    • RosewaterRosewater says: 5324 comments
      OHD Supporter

      1875 Italianate cottage
      Noblesville, IN

      G.W.R. – I do agree with you that watching this really great house undergo a ground up preservation / restoration in a weekly serialized doc. program would be CHOICE! I also agree with everybody else that “This Old House”, (as it is today), or ANY affiliated, HGTV, or DIYN program having anything to do with it would be tragic considering their collective nearly entire disregard of the “preservation” aspect of that proposition. They SUCK! But yeah, if it was “Preserve That Old House with Rosewater” – THAT would be worth watching. πŸ˜‰

  30. lrene says: 1 comments

    I’m confused by the porch pics. In the old black and white picture, there appears to be a wraparound sort of deck with a bracketed hood above, and there is also a big window hood over the windows to the left of the entry. And these all appear the same today, although in poor condition. But then in the picture taken in between the Victorian and current pics, there is a big fancy porch with columns. So did they reattach the original hoods when the porch was removed, or were the hoods still there but hidden by the porch?

  31. Beth H says: 191 comments

    I’m glad they’re still attempting to sell rather than just tearing it down – what a beautiful house! But after two years sitting on the market, it’s got to be in serious danger. I would have loved to see Brian (above) get this place – he knows the history and obviously loves the house.

    • Brian says: 18 comments

      Thanks, Beth. I wish I could. But now my wife and I are renovating the house her grandparents built in 1946. So needless to say, unless Powerball hits tonight, I won’t have the pleasure of buying this one (but I’m still keeping hope!).

      Irene, to answer your questions … I believe the first photo with the half-roof over the porch was the original. Then, sometime later, that full roof was added (which was the one I remember in the 80s). Not long after that, the porch was torn down and a facsimile of the original was put in place. That’s the best way I can put it. All of those “railings” (I do not know what you call them) were down in the basement when I checked it out.

      If you look at the 11th picture down, that shows the back of the house. The back portion was lopped off halfway (I believe) and then pushed in closer to the house for whatever reason. I think that held the kitchen at one time. There is nothing of value in there from what I remember, and the “kitchen” was bare bones. The owner used some tiny room off this back part as a kitchen, that had pipes leading into a makeshift sink. The bathroom(s) did not have much in the way of original fixtures, either.

      I will reiterate what I said a few years ago: You will need to have an open checkbook to save this house (and I obviously hope someone does). I had heard from someone that the owner’s son had come in to help secure the house. Whether that actually happened, I do not know; however, the first thing that will need to be done is the roof. After that, the heating, because there were space heaters throughout. When I went in April, it was pretty cold in there. The furnace was enormous!

      Lastly: If someone on this site buys this house to renovate, I hope that you will invite me over to see the restoration! Really, there is no other house that I want to see restored more than this one. A lot of good memories and it could be absolutely gorgeous, something in which a lot of people in this city would take a lot of pride. There is a reason why that area was known as the Millionaire’s Triange in the second half of the 19th century. The 22nd picture down, the one with the blue wall and built-in cabinet, is where I took my piano lessons. I remember that blue very well (that is the room that is in the 16th picture, with the window that juts out), and a few years ago I started taking piano lessons again, 30 years later.

      1
  32. DonS says: 57 comments

    Ha ha, I can tell by the number of responses that this house got everyone pretty excited. It’s an Italianate fantasy! The details both in and out are exquisite. I love the intricate plaster work. I would love to see the spaces on the third floor. I hope the kitchen and bath are largely unaltered…and that they remain that way!

  33. Zoomey says: 499 comments

    What a beautiful house. And so sad that it’s fallen into such disrepair. So many gorgeous details, too many to count! I hope it gets purchased by someone who appreciates its beauty! It would be wonderful to see it repaired and restored.

  34. Mimi says: 6 comments

    What is the window in the ceiling in the entry? Never saw anything like it?

  35. Jewels says: 1 comments

    Love this home! So many homes could be easily renovated if the roofs would have been replaced or the plumbing winterized. At the Reddick mansion in my home town the window in the 3rd floor ceiling had a railing around it and gave light for help who lived up there.

  36. pamibachpamibach says: 121 comments

    renovation fantasy come to life

  37. Morgan says: 4 comments

    So I’m very happy to say I’m looking at this home tomorrow with my fiancee’and we are planning to buy and fix it up by this time next year. That being said we would love any feedback and history that you guys have on the house. We can’t wait to start our family there.

  38. MargieDC says: 14 comments

    Morgan that is terrific! I do hope you will be able to own it and give it the love and restoration it deserves!

    I absolutely love all the intricate detailing inside…what a treasure!

  39. Floridaprincess says: 2 comments

    I would love to buy this house. I canny fix it up myself.
    I would have to hire contractors. I do not know anyone in New England.
    I really want an old house to fix up.
    DH would flip if I showed him this house.

  40. Morgan says: 4 comments

    Dawn I did and unfortunately we can’t continue with this buy because me and my fiancee cannot park our trucks in the driveway at all because it’s historical and our trucks are over the weight limit but it was a gorgeous home with tons of potential

  41. Dawn says: 8 comments

    Morgan – there are no such restrictions at this house. This is not even historic district. Perhaps you have it confused with one of the other homes in the area. ?? Could that be the situation…. ??

  42. Morgan says: 4 comments

    It’s definitely historic it’s built over 100 years ago and that’s what the historic society told me

    • Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 11465 comments
      Admin

      1901 Folk Victorian
      Chestatee, GA

      If you are really interested in this home you should check with the city because what the historical society told you about parking your trucks does not make sense. Are they normal trucks or are you talking a big rig trucks?

  43. Dawn says: 8 comments

    Morgan- that is true the home was 1874 built but it is NOT a designated historic home. If you are interested. Seriously interested in rehabbing please reach out and talk to the realtor and get the proper documents on file with the city and you will see that there IS NO SUCH stipulation. As a matter of fact they are encouraging folks to run a business. Run a home run a B&B. This property has a ton of potential uses (Just NOT multi family). If you e already moved onto another home than that’s fine too but don’t overlook this one for the reasons you stated because they are NOT accurate.

    • Ross says: 2501 comments

      Dawn, when I first read Morgan’s comment I thought: That makes no sense.

      And when something makes no sense, there is often another, unstated, reason.

      • Dawn says: 8 comments

        Ross ..understood. Yet this is a public forum and we do not want to dissuade potential buyers with misinformation. As with any property but especially with older project homes, it is critical that all information you gather be vetted by numerous sources and that you explore all avenues before accepting it as fact.

        1
        • Ross says: 2501 comments

          Dawn, my comment was not intended as a reflection of anything you said. It was intended as an observation about Morgan’s stated concerns.

          I apologize for any misunderstanding, and 100% support keeping misinformation to a minimum.

          I recall one potential buyer backing away from a purchase because, as he stated here on OHD, the retaining wall would need to be wholly and expensively rebuilt.

          But…there was no retaining wall.

  44. Morgan says: 4 comments

    I’m talking both.

  45. Dawn McNary says: 8 comments

    SOLD!!!!

    1
  46. LUCINDA HOWARD says: 234 comments

    Really sold?

    1
  47. Dawn says: 8 comments

    Yes!! Sold and closed

    • Brian says: 18 comments

      Dawn, are you the new owner of this house? If so, let me know, because I did some research into its early years, in the event you might be interested.

      2
      • Dawn says: 8 comments

        Brian, no I’m not, I was the listing Realtor. However, the new owners may want to reach out to you, they seem very interested in the story. Feel free to connect with me and let me know how best they can reach you. I will pass your info along, plan to visit the house this week. Text me 8605755001

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