The Stanfield Villa in central New York. (Click photo for the listing)
At some point, probably in the next few months, we will completely run out of obvious categories for these Historic Properties for Sale posts. We’ve done houses with pools. Houses in this style or that style. Houses with views. Hotels. Farms. Schools. You name it, we are teetering on the edge of almost definitely having it. I knew we were getting close when, just a couple weeks ago, I wrote about houses with tenuous connections to 80s movies. But all exaggerations aside, we really do still have countless architectural features to emphasize, styles to drool over, and geographies highlight (I’m not forgetting about you west coasties!)
The James Lee house in Memphis. (Click photo for the listing)
And so, without further ado, I present this week’s column, the Second Empire’s New Groove Edition. (Probably my least favorite Disney movie, but if I had gone with the Second Empire Strikes Back I would have been backsliding into my 80s post. Journalistic integrity is intact. Phew.)
So what is Second Empire anyway? Mix Pollyana’s house and the one from Lady and the Tramp and you’ve got Second Empire (and also a couple convenient Disney references). Mansard roofs, curlicue detailing, and Italianate flair.
First up is the James Lee House on Memphis’ historic Millionaires Row. The grande manse, once home to Memphis’ College of Art, is currently owned by the Association for the Preservation of Tennessee Antiquities and is in need of a complete rehab. The institutional seller is looking for a buyer willing to return it to its residential roots or adapt it for cultural, business, or academic use. You know, give it its groove back. (Ba dum ching!)
The second one is the Stansfield Villa in central New York’s Otsego County. Another classic Second Empire home, the Villa was built in 1883 and boasts 11’ ceilings, bay windows, and even a first floor ballroom. If you’re into wallpaper, this house is the one for you. Plaids, florals, toiles, and jacquards line the walls of most of the home’s 16 rooms.
Lastly, the Jacob C. Allen House (we officially need more homes named after the women of the house) is located on a one-acre corner lot in historic Hackettstown, New Jersey. The house is classic classic Second Empire (two classics for emphasis), with its multi-colored exterior scheme and wrought iron cresting along the entire roof. At just an hour away from New York, it’s actually quite the steal at $615,000.
If you're on the lookout for a new house but these aren't doing it for you, check out the full selection at our Historic Properties for Sale website.
David Garber is a member of the Digital and New Media team at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This post may or may not have just inspired a weekend Disney movie marathon.
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