I really hate writing negative articles like this. Most people would never notice the changes made or even care what someone does to their house. However, I was contacted by several people in town that a historic house was in danger and being vandalized by a new homeowner.
In a way it’s funny that so many people were saddened by what this homeowner did and came to tell me as if I could stop them. I only wish I could.
This house proudly stood out as being a shining Victorian gem of the historic homes on Main Street but new homeowners rushed to change that immediately.
- These new homeowners covered up the wood siding with vinyl.
- Removed the wood window casings on the side of the house.
- Removed the original wood shutters and replaced them with cheap plastic shutters.
- Removed the entire historic balustrade including the porch posts and added tacky plastic ornamentation.
- Replaced an intricate pattern of decorative gable shingles with simple plastic round shingles and replaced 1860 gable decoration with new plastic one.
Upon hearing this I paid the homeowners a visit. I first noticed that the historic 2 over 2 windows were replaced. I was really upset. The windows however were replaced by the previous owner. The evil new homeowners said they will be replacing the balustrade since the wood is rotting in some areas and they this was not a concern since the house is not in a historic district (and evidently had no moral obligation). This allowed these people to have a field day. These rabid homeowners could not be stopped from removing all the original features and replacing everything they could with plastic in a style very different from what was there.
The town of Freehold does not have a historic district. There is a Historic Preservation Commission that proudly demolishes the key historic buildings in town and has never done anything to protect them. While a historic district with strong regulations would protect this historic home the blame is still on the homeowner. The conversation ended with me telling them that they are “trashy evil people to do this to a historic house”. What they have done was an absolute disgrace.
Be sure to click on the following images to enlarge them.
I do not take pleasure in writing articles like this and seeing what happened really saddened me but I need to make a point. This is just criminal. Why would someone move to a historic area and do something like this. They must really have a hatred for historic architecture. They come to our town and desecrate it. I was told that the homeowners have a renovation business so they will be doing this to other houses and taking advantage of unknowing homeowners with historic homes. I also found out that they are also part of the local Historic Preservation Commission where they can do further damage to the other homes in town. This house survived mostly intact for 150 years only to be stripped of its character by two new simple-minded homeowners. This is a sad fate for this house and I can only hope the same fate comes to these current homeowners.
Shhhhhh – there is one thing they forgot. They forgot to remove the Yankee gutters. They will eventually notice them and surely remove them I’m sure.
This is a shock to those of us who know this house. I really don’t know if it is better to have a house stripped of its integrity or a complete demolition to allow the house to die with dignity. Simple-minded people may say that they paid for their house and pay their taxes and they can do what they please. Well it is a matter of morals and simple-minded statements like this really says a lot about the type of person that says it. This thinking is also probably evident in the appearance of that person’s house and neighborhood.
Towns with historic homes attract home-buyers in general. Historic neighborhoods have much higher real estate values . Yet many of these people upon moving try to change historic neighborhoods into what they believe a historic house should be. These people do not want to pay the higher cost of maintaining these homes. If a town is so lucky to have a preservation commission, the homeowner will plead poverty and a weak commission will usually allow the homeowner to do as they please. Tough luck for the neighbors who really care. Watch out for these people – they are dangerous and must be called out.
My feelings are if you can’t do it right then don’t do it at all. If you can’t afford a historic house then stay away from them. Don’t buy a historic house and plead poverty that you can’t maintain it in its original style then spend lots of money on cheap plastic features. Go build a new house somewhere else – you’re not wanted here. Others will agree with me but most people would never admit to feeling the same way.