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.
See the listing for this house here.
3-Doors Away, Another Historic House Gets Vandalized!
Just when you think it is over, another historic home gets demolished on the interior and vandalized on the exterior. I first saw this house when I first moved into Freehold and went on a house tour. The owner had meticulously restored the interior and exterior of this house. They later downsized into a smaller house around the corner that they also restored beautifully. The mayor of the town purchased this house and also later downsized. Unfortunately when it was sold, there was no historic preservation easement on the house, and unknowingly it was sold to a rabid homeowner.
This new rabid homeowner from what I hear, also had a home renovation business and proceeded to gut the entire house. The floor plan was changed for the 2nd floor and I am not sure about the first floor but the entire interior was removed. Additionally the entire exterior was removed and all features remade. The only historical feature that remains are the porch posts and attic window – at least for now.
Also the heart-grown wood siding was removed. Clapboard should be about 4.5-5 inches reveal. Now the hardiboard siding has a much wider reveal typical of siding from the 1950-60s. In other words looking close at the picture, where there were originally 5 clapboards there are now 3.
See the listing for this house here.
And Sadly Another
This 1908 Late Victorian home also located in Freehold NJ was desecrated by the new homeowners.
For 115 years this home had it’s original clapboard on the first floor with shingles on the upper floors. The shingles had diamond patters on the 2nd floor facade and an arched pattern of shingles over the windows at the top and porch gable. It also had the original wood operable shutters.
Then one day while passing by I noticed this.
What a crime for a house is such great condition.
- Once clapboard, shingles, and decorative shingle patterns – now all siding is vinyl.
- All decorative details are gone.
- Oriel window is enclosed on side of house is gone.
- Decorative Victorian windows were replaced.
- Shutters are gone.
- Balustrade is replaced and porch skirting is badly covered over.
It is so sad that the homeowners the purchased this house came from such a bad family. It is obvious they were never taught any values.
Raye Smith says
At some point they will find out that their house has lost a great deal of value. Did they destroy the inside as well?
Ken Roginski says
I don’t know about the interior however I did look at the real estate listing and all the wood has been painted for a long time.
Ron Weatherby says
If you want to preserve it, how abouts you buy it, pay for the upkeep, and do all the maintenance yourself?
Ken Roginski says
What an ignorant comment. True trailer park mentality. I wonder why you are wasting your time on this website if you prefer the destruction of a historic house.
Well, I’d happily chip in to fund Ken’s acquisition and renovation of historic properties. Then he can rent them out and control their maintenance. Once you get a large enough scale, you could have your own historic preservation/maintenance property management company.
Ken – thanks for taking the time to try and advocate for this house. Hopefully they will come to their senses or else sell it to someone else willing to take on an un-muddling project.
If freehold borough has nothing to say about it why do you have to be so rude? I’m with you Ron.
Ken Roginski says
Yes – this is a very strong post I agree but it makes me so very angry. You ask why I should care if Freehold does not. Why should anyone care about anything? Why care about election results? Does it have to be George Washington’s house before you care? I care about all historic homes. They do not have to be in my town they can be anywhere. This can be about historic structures anywhere in the world.
The problem is people like you that don’t care creates the downfall of a historic town. I make a stand to fight for what I believe in. My cause is to stop people like you from allowing this to happen. People move to historic neighborhoods because they like these historic homes (that is a fact) and then these people are the first to change what they liked and the charm is then lost. Original houses are less common today.
Homeowners are brainwashed by constantly seeing bad architecture and they do not know what a historic house should look like anymore. My quest is to protect historic homes from people like you and others with no respect for history and call them out for their wrong doings so they and others may learn. I will continue to try to educate people of the importance of preserving the character of their homes and when I see someone promoting this desecration, I will call them out on it and do it strongly for I do not take this lightly.
Take some time to read my website, you may learn something instead of blindly advocating homeowner rights to do anything they want. If there is not a law protecting a historic building, then there is a moral obligation when you are a steward of a historic home. Ignorant comments such as “if you want to preserve it then buy it” show the simple mindedness of ignorant people. I was not aware if was for sale for I would buy it and put a preservation easement on it and resell to someone who cares. I have been educated and trained in this field and will continue to help homeowners restore and maintain their historic homes and educate those who care to do what is right.
Brian Munroe says
I don’t understand why anyone buys an old, historically accurate house and does “this” to it! This is sickening. It is bad enough that inappropriate styled vinyl windows were installed by the prior owner, they the new owner finishes it up with all new vinyl everywhere. Sad and drab and vinyl doesn’t last forever. Vinyl Windows have a 15 year life expectancy before they warp and start to fail. Over all this is a travesty and wasted money for nothing.
Dan miller says
If you want to preserve the neighborhood you have to get local historic district status for it and then a Preservation ordinance. We did that in our neighborhood back in 1981. It brought pride and confidence to our neighborhood. People all understand that they have to get approval for any exterior changes on their home. Very few complaints. Studies have been done showing dad our whole values are better than those that are not protected.
Marvin Haines says
The users “me” and “ron” clearly don’t deserve to own historic homes or even see them from afar. What simpleton sentiment!!
Deborah Tomblin-Bissonnet says
The television shows for quick home updates may be the culprit of how to destroy an authentique and historic home. Promotion of vynl siding, plastic decorative parts has replaced true craftsmanship. Thank you for your insight and education on restoring historic homes.
Ken Roginski says
Exactly – people learn from TV. These homeowners own a renovation business.