c. 1870 Queen Anne – Wassaic, NY

Added to OHD on 10/6/18   -   Last OHD Update: 4/12/20   -   25 Comments
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18 Nelson Hill Rd, Wassaic, NY 12592

Map: Street

  • $69,165
  • 5 Bed
  • 2.5 Bath
  • 5136 Sq Ft
  • 1.17 Ac.
Sprawling five bedroom Victorian on over an acre. Hardwood floors throughout, fireplace and original woodwork. Large detached garage. If purchaser is broker and/or agent submitting offer or representing relative, there will be no commission paid to said broker, unless approved as an exception by the seller. Sold as-is. Buyer to pay NYS Transfer Tax. Offers with financing must be accompanied by pre-qual letter; cash offers with proof of funds.
Contact Information
Desiree Beecham, River Realty Services
(845) 486-1100
Links, Photos & Additional Info

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25 Comments on c. 1870 Queen Anne – Wassaic, NY

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  1. Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 12125 comments

    1901 Folk Victorian
    Chestatee, GA

    I’m not sure why I waited so long to post this one, it’s been shared a few times since on the market.

  2. peeweebcpeeweebc says: 1068 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1885 Italianate.

    What a cool house. Looks like someone started on it? Would love to see her restored properly.

  3. JimHJimH says: 5244 comments
    OHD Supporter

    A fine old house that needs an angel. It was built for the superintendent of the adjacent Borden Milk Condensing plant. (The 1871 date seems a little early.) Sits on a hill with an interesting view:

    Wassaic is a tiny hamlet with an industrial past and an artsy present. Two hours from NYC between ritzy Millbrook and the CT line. Some cool old buildings there like this 1875 chapel:


  4. MISTERMICELY says: 54 comments

    In photo #8 it looks as though a dropped ceiling has been removed. The tops of the cabinets appear to be unpainted where they might have been covered by the dropped ceiling. It would be cool to strip the whole lot of cupboards and take them back to the original. Amazing staircase. This has quit a bit of space and potential.

  5. Nancy CNancy C says: 133 comments
    OHD Supporter

    abuts historic village Old Salem, NC

    Sitting back from the road looking regal, it is hard to tell that some of it is crumbling. It could be so handsome again, both inside and out. This house has obviously charmed someone into making improvements, and surely can recruit another dedicated restorer to continue the effort.

  6. Paula M says: 13 comments

    The staircase!!!!

  7. Gregory_KGregory_K says: 455 comments
    OHD Supporter

    Chatsworth, CA

    I used to drive past this handsome house when I lived in Dutchess County, teaching at the CIA – that’s the Culinary Institute of America, not Central Intelligence. Always hoped it had a great staircase, and by Jove, it does. Unfortunately I’m now living on the other side of the nation, so there is no possibility that I could make an offer..

  8. CarolynCarolyn says: 303 comments
    Grand Rapids, MI

    Is it me or do all the middle kitchen cabinets look like they’ve been cut off? If so, what a shame. It’s a wondrous wall and something you don’t find intact too often.

    • Kimberly62Kimberly62 says: 2081 comments
      OHD Supporter

      1936 Cabin

      The cabinets do seem to be incomplete because the pattern does not always follow thru as we’d expect. The opening above the countertop is rough and not finished, and the lowest upper cabinets are lacking trim to the bottom. Perhaps the cabinets used to finish off at the countertop. It would be interesting to get in there and take a look. Would love to look behind those doors.
      The house has a lovely three dimensional presence on the outside. On the front or public view.

    • MichaelMichael says: 2841 comments
      1979 That 70's show
      Otis Orchards, WA

      It looks to me that those are not cabinet door but in fact, interior doors cut down to fit in the openings.

  9. I actually bought this house! It’s amazing. We are slowly restoring it… very slowly, but it’s great! 🙂

    • Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 12125 comments

      1901 Folk Victorian
      Chestatee, GA

      Congrats! We’d love to see some after pics once you get to that point.

      • Will do! Trying to document the process (doing it mostly ourselves), if you are interested in the progress it is at http://www.thewassaicmaison.com – so far progress is pretty limited lol

        • Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 12125 comments

          1901 Folk Victorian
          Chestatee, GA

          Yes, thank you!

        • John ShifletJohn Shiflet says: 5426 comments
          OHD Supporter

          1897 Queen Anne Colonial
          Cadiz, OH

          Congratulations Asineth for your and Sergui’s willingness to take on a project house. Sounds like you have some local sympathetic support. As you can see in the “1900-ish” period photo, the house was dazzling in its heyday. The most important thing that comes through in your Old house narrative is a sense of humor. I’d argue that being able to tackle an old house with a sense of humor is more important than money…well, almost. Old houses are tricky; they often come with hidden problems as well as those not so hidden. You folks are wise to approach this major project as a one room, one project at a time because a whole house gut just compounds the doubts that most people have when they begin an old house restoration/renovation. (seeing an interior gutted and in shambles can bring on a sense of pessimism in even the most motivated of restorers.) Keep up the good work and thanks for sharing your old house journal. Best wishes!

          • Thanks John!

            It’s a labor of love, that’s for sure. We’ve had quite a few surprises already, with more on the way (I’m sure!), but we’re slogging through. I think the hardest part for me, personally, is that we are doing a ton of work but very little of it produces striking visual progress – so much is necessary but more behind the scenes. The exception to that is the downstairs half-bathroom, which gave me a great before/after pictures 🙂

            I’m hoping this first year was the most wallet-heavy, getting the essentials repaired and replaced. Then we can focus more on the restorations 🙂

    • JimHJimH says: 5244 comments
      OHD Supporter

      Asineth, you’re just the angel this house needed! I read your blog and it sounds like you’ve handled some difficult items already (roof, septic, water, electric) without going broke or crazy, so you’re up to the task!

      I don’t know if you found much info at the historical society, but I dug up a couple of early superintendent-residents of the house, Noah Lent Bishop (1848-1928) and his assistant and later successor, Gaston Ketcham (1863-1943).

      Bishop grew up locally and he probably got a job at the milk condensing plant through his neighbor (and probable namesake) Noah Gridley. Gridley owned about everything in Wassaic and was Borden’s primary financial backer. Bishop was working there by 1870 and was superintendent by 1875, when he was 27. I’m pretty sure he was the first resident of the house, which wasn’t on the map in 1876, and the details suggest a slightly later date than 1870 also. Maybe somebody can find your beautiful hardware in a period catalog.
      In any event, Bishop was in Wassaic until taking over the Borden plant in Norwich NY after 1900, before retiring there. He lived in the home with his 2nd wife Jennie Jones, their 2 daughters and a Swedish servant.

      Gaston Ketcham likely had connections to the plant ownership also – his family owned the Dover Plains National Bank nearby. Gaston was called assistant superintendent in an 1891 write-up and called himself the bookkeeper in 1892, living next to Bishop. Ketcham took over as superintendent about a decade later for about 10 years, then retired and ran his own hardware store in Dover Plains. He was married to Carrie Wyman for over 50 years and they had a son, Arthur.

      • Thanks Jim! I’m really hoping the craziest (aka most up-front expensive) parts are behind us now, but realistically that is probably not true.

        The dates are confusing and interesting. There is a step-stone on the south side of the house that suggests the construction was (or, at least began) in 1869, and most of the records/info we’ve had lists E. Fowler as the superintendent who designed/commissioned its design. There is a radiator that was custom built for the house that has the date September 22, 1874 stamped on it, and the documentation I got going back to mid-20th century all list 1870 as the construction date. But, as you mentioned, some of the design elements suggest later.

        We did find some old coins in some of the walls that are from the 1870s; they may have been planted later, but it was pretty fun to find!

        Thank you for all of the research and info, it’s fascinating and I’ve been wanting to learn more about the history of the house for some time! The Amenia Hisotrical Society shared some old photos with me, which are amazing, and one of our neighbors has helped fill in some details for the past 60+ years. One of the weirdest things so far (for me) is trying to figure out what the garage originally was – one of the old photos they shared show it, but without the traditional garage door in the front. It seems it was originally something else, and later converted to a garage (and the wood floor would support this theory), but I can’t imagine what it would have been.

        Mysteries are fun, though, and there are a lot waiting to be discovered in this house. That should keep me going when frustration, impatience, and looming bankruptcy get too depressing 🙂

        • JimHJimH says: 5244 comments
          OHD Supporter

          That’s interesting about the early dates and possibly the house was later remodeled. The only Fowler I see associated with the milk plant was Edward Fowler (1800-1878), Trustee of the Shakers at Mount Lebanon who Borden got the Vacuum Pan technology from, but he didn’t live in Wassaic. There was a brick mason in Wassaic named Elmer Fowler that may have been involved in the construction. No other matching Fowler shows up in the 6 Wassaic/Amenia censuses from 1855 to 1880. A mystery indeed!

  10. I definitely don’t think the house was remodeled, at least not in any significant way. 1870 is not outside the realm of possibility, detail-wise, and some of the queen anne elements feel early – a little boxier than later examples.

    That’s so interesting about E Fowler! Here’s the stone that was laid at the door https://thewassaicmaisonhome.files.wordpress.com/2019/05/20190503_180802-2.jpg

    Thr brick layer would make sense, sort of, if he was deeply involved in the house (though it’s not brick).

    One thing about the address, i realized in some of the old pics that it was definitely not the same address (key roads didn’t exist) so that might make it more difficult (you probably already knew that).

    My guess is that the house was started or planned in 1869 or 1870, and it was finished in roughly 4 years. Im going to measure some lath and see if i can find any more date-clues! 🙂

    • I found the house on a map from 1876! It’s the one on the left of the wassaic river, just above the factory.

      • JimHJimH says: 5244 comments
        OHD Supporter

        I saw the map but that small building looks much too close to the factory to be the house, which is SSE of the church, then and now. I think the stone is a cornerstone from the factory which was expanded or rebuilt after the Civil War iirc. It’s not a permanent part of the house and could have been easily moved. If Elmer Fowler was involved, it makes more sense that he worked on the brick factory rather than the wood-frame house, and it would be unusual for his work on the house to have a marker like that.
        I was going to comment on radiators. They were manufactured in large foundries, not custom made, and the dates on them are patent dates, which could have been many years before they were made and purchased.
        So altogether, there’s no solid evidence the house was built any earlier than its apparent style and details suggest. I’d like to hear from others but it looks like 1880 or after to me.

        • Yeah, I realized some of that after I posted, sorry.

          I’m not sure what I think about the map, but it could have been marking the in-construction house.

          The chimney has a marble plaque that is similar to the one at the house and says 1861.

          Basically, i need to do some in-person research on microfiche that hasn’t been been digitized yet and try to find any mention of the house or planning. 🙂

          The nails on the original lathe are square and not uniform. Not really sure what that means (if anything) but it is one of the things google mentioned to check when trying to date a house. 🙂

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