Sunday, November 27, 2011
A House's Changing Fortunes
Back in 1996 or 1997, this little house on Allen Street was rehabbed by Columbia County Habitat for Humanity. It was Habitat's first project in Hudson, and initially there was a lot of enthusiasm for the project. Preservation advocate Judy Meyer, who joined the board of Habitat for Humanity at about this time, persuaded the organization to agree to retain the original interior details of the house--baseboards and moldings, fireplace surrounds, lighting fixtures. The house was gutted by volunteers, who painstakingly removed all the details, believing that they would be stripped, restored, and reinstalled in the house. Habitat, however, reneged on the agreement and sold everything salvaged from the house at a fundraising auction. Meyer resigned from the board in protest.
Eventually, the rehabbed house was sold to a qualifying family, who lived in the house for more than a decade. Earlier this year, they put it on the market. Asking price: $169,000. Apparently, after ten years, an owner's only obligation to Habitat for Humanity is to pay off the mortgage.
The house's new owner is now undertaking another extensive rehabilitation. The two-story front porch has been removed, and its elements are being stored in the side yard. Although the project has yet to come before the Historic Preservation Commission for a certificate of appropriateness, word has it that the porch was removed because it was rotting and the plan is to rebuild it exactly as it was.
The reason for telling this story is only to make the point that genuinely historic houses retain their appeal and their potential to appreciate in value, as the last two decades in this little house's history attest.