Because we've had our store in Lambertville nearly 22 years we've come to know many of the residents. In fact, some have become good friends. One of our neighbors up the street Jeff McVey is a good customer of ours and a friend. He also happens to be a member of the Lambertville Historical Society. One day in late March 2014 he showed up at the store with these photos and documents. He was kind enough to do some research and had compiled a packet for us detailing the history of the house. We were thrilled!
These maps show a different configuration of the house.
Here's what we found out from the information provided by Jeff: The original part of the two unit side-by-side structure was built C1873. This is according to a copy of the Individual Structure Survey Form filed with the State and National Historic Records by the Delaware & Raritan Canal Commission. It's listed as a "Duplex" and our's is the house on the right, or north side, of this structure. (In our first blog entry "We Got It! Now What???" we wrote that the house was built in 1864. This is what we remembered being told by other sources at the time of our closing. We're going to go with the 1873 date, since it is in the historic records.)
Sometime soon after it was built the house was expanded with an addition to the back that included the dining room, kitchen and a two-story New Orleans-style porch. We assume this back part was an addition because there is a step down and the joists change direction. Also, the panoramic sketch map dated 1873 shows the house, but with a different configuration. It shows a smaller structure attached to the back. Maybe a kitchen? A shed was added at the back of the yard along the canal tow path eventually, too. The house first appears in it's current configuration on a fire department map dated 1885. The shed first appears on a map dated 1890. Interestingly, it is not on the map dated 1902. It re-appears in the 1912 map. This was probably just an error, but, who knows?
The original property included the entire side-by-side structure and the land from the street to the canal tow path. The earliest transfer of the property that we have records of takes place on 7 January 1946. On this day Harry and Lottie E. Worthington sold the property to Alfred J. and Martha E. Hobbs. They didn't stay long, because on 28 June 1946 they sold it to George E. and Lena M. Allen. On 29 March 1954 the Allens sold the property to Louis J. and Helen I. Santini. Some time after that the Santinis broke up the house into the two separate houses we have today. They also enclosed the back porches to put in bathrooms and expand other rooms. We bought the north house from the Santini family estate after Helen passed away. Both sides sold around the same time after being on the market for 6 or so months. Our new neighbors are also in the process of renovating their house.
If we go by this information obtained from copies of the deeds we were given, Nick and I are only the fifth family to own this house. We think this is why the bones of the house are so great. Yes, the floors were carpeted, but all the original moulding is there. There's an arched doorway separating the living room from a parlor that has original arched-paneled pocket doors. And they work! The staircase has the original banister, too. So, good bones and good flow.
A copy of a postcard C1910. Our red brick house is on the right.
Anyway, enough with the history lesson....let's get back to the renovations. In my last blog post we had just re-finished the floors. Now we are ready for a fresh coat of paint on these old walls and trim. Yikes! We need a lot of paint! Oh, one last thing about the Individual Structure Survey Form I mentioned above: it indicates that the house's Architectural Significance is "Notable". We'll take that. Our goal is to elevate that to Fabulous!