From the moment a house is built, the clock starts ticking and a new history is being created.
Most houses are built to last multiple lifetimes. Family lives unfold inside them — childhoods, marriages, celebrations, births and deaths. The house is sold, and another family moves in, creating the next chapter of the history of the house.
Sometimes, though, bad things happen to a good house. The clock stops ticking and the people who brought life into it are gone. The house has gone into foreclosure and time passes by. I drive by one such house every day and the clock has been stuck for many years now.
When I first stopped by 571 Main St. in Dublin, I was stopping at Webber’s Dublin Nursery and I bought a gorgeous clematis called “Ramona.” This was several years ago. Mr. Webber ran a nursery next to the big, old white house which I found striking.
At three stories, yet not towering, it’s a house with wide hips and a gorgeous old sun porch all across the front first floor with lovely dual columns on each end. The front lawn descends gracefully over a stone wall tiered to a lawn with big, tall old trees.
An online search told me the house was built in 1890. The address is actually busy Route 101 in a 50-mph zone, but when built was just a lovely, gracious home built on a country road less than two miles from desirable Dublin Lake. Well, more than a century later, the grand old dame is looking worse for the wear, yet it has inspired so many of my daydreams as I drive by.
I’ve coveted the long glass greenhouse that runs alongside a barn. A glass greenhouse! My parents’ greenhouses at the nursery they ran for many years were big steel hoop houses with dual layers of plastic with a fan constantly keeping them inflated to act as insulation. They were economical and practical, yet without the old-world look of a glass house.
With a big, long barn adjacent, my mind has whirled for years about what I’d do with the old property. A gorgeous old house to restore and a business of my own for the last 10 years of my working life. I’d run a nursery and an antiques business!
Granted, in the back of my mind I knew the idea was impractical and partner Joe would never go along with it. But imagine if I could!
I’ve worked out a lot of details in my mind. I’d cut the much younger barn back by about half to allow more parking space. It would still be plenty big enough to have the front facing the road and a farm stand where people would come and buy plants from the greenhouse, fresh produce, local meats and cheese.
Walking through that, you’d come to my own antique/vintage home décor shop that could keep the shop busy year-round, like my parents’ nursery became a bit of a local hub for folks in the region.
And the house! I’m envisioning tall ceilings, lots of light in every room, old plaster walls and gorgeous, original wooden trim still looking rich after all these years.
Heck, I’ve even vacillated over what approach I’d take over the phone with Consolidated Communications when I called them about please moving the recently installed big, ugly metal box that’s attached the pole right in front of the barn it to another pole just down the road. I think it is some sort of transponder for our local internet DSL connectivity in Dublin, which I’m forever grateful for yet it’s a darn ugly box and I don’t think my customers would appreciate it.
Crikey, some small child could get hurt running into it while they were frolicking around in the green wonderland my nursery would be! Do you see where my mind goes? This has been going on for years.
I stopped by town hall probably in 2017 to pay my car registration and thought to inquire about the house. Our town clerk was nice enough to entertain me. She told me that, in fact, many people have stopped by over the years to ask what the deal was with the property.
The house was indeed bank-owned. Not just by one bank but two. I’m guessing that’s why the house has been so devoid of life this many years. The foreclosure and resale of a house is quite complicated with lots of obligatory legal steps to be taken on behalf of the lienholder and property owner. I can only imagine how the red tape is magnified if there’s two banks attached to it.
As of that visit two years ago, the taxes were still up-to- date so one of the banks is keeping up with that and the lawn usually gets “mowed” once a year, but the house is deteriorating badly. A blue tarp on a roof is never a good sign and when the blue tarp is flapping about in shreds as the years pass by, there’s cause for alarm.
There’s a window sash open in one of second floor rooms and the greenhouse loses more panes of glass as each season passes. My friend Danny from Peterborough called the gorgeous old property a money pit when I suggested he try to buy it and start some creative, thriving plants/antiques/food venue like I know he could.
He’s probably right at this point. It’s currently not on the market but I’m hopeful that someday a person with deep pockets and a great vision will buy this lovely old house at 571, move their family in and let the clock start ticking again.