In a quiet historic town, stands one of the oldest homes in the neighborhood. This Gothic Revival home was built in 1876. The original owner was a prominent merchant and farmer in the area from 1869 to the early 20th century. After purchasing half a city block, the merchant contracted a local construction company and paid them $4,000 to build his 5,000 square foot residence on one of the lots. The elegant home featured a wrap around front porch, etched transom windows and fine architectural details.
In 1911, the merchant sold the home to his wife for $5,300. It is believed the transfer to his wife as a sale, and not a gift must have been business or legal related. The merchant passed away 6 years later, in 1917.
Hard times followed, the boll weevil destroyed the cotton industry in the South throughout the 1920s. Bad economic times got even worse with the crash of the stock market in 1929, triggering the Great Depression. The widow never remarried after her husband’s death and sold the home in 1926 for $6,500.
In 1937, in the depths of the Depression, Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC) foreclosed on the new owner. HOLC sold the property in 1943 and it has remained in the same family ever since. During the 1950s, the downstairs rooms were used as a boarding house. The homeowner had a home beauty parlor on the right side downstairs which was her main source of income. Over the years, the home was passed through family members but ultimately became abandoned in the late 1980s.
The current homeowner was a well-known lounge singer in the area during the 1960s and 1970s. She had 4 siblings, including one brother who began writing graphic crime novels while living in the home with her. He wrote his novel drafts on a Royal typewriter he kept in the downstairs front bedroom.
In 1965, after 21 crime novels and several short stories under his belt, he decided to quit and move to Atlanta to open a printing business and start a family. To his credit, one of his novels became the influence for an Academy-Award winning movie.
Locals refer to the home as the ‘Hoarder House’ due to the vast amount of dolls, furniture, and other belongings left behind.
Nature has been rough on the home over the years. The roof has large exposed holes with mold and falling plaster everywhere. Although the area is in a historic district, there are no plans to add this house to the National Register.