Restoration of an 1897 House

The Restoration Story of an 1897 Shingle Style Victorian in Yonkers, NY

Chapter 1  The continuing story of the restoration of one home



This residence is located on the grounds of the former estate of Gilbert Livingston Morse, a businessman and entrepreneur who in the late 1880s owned several large tracts of land in the northwest section of Yonkers. He was a relative of Samuel Morse, the inventor of Morse Code. Gilbert Morse died in 1891 at the age of 49 leaving a number of children and his widow. His will directed that his property and house be sold. In 1894 the land was subdivided and in 1897 approximately 7 houses were built on the great estate lands. His own home was on  or near the site of the public school close to the present day corner of Roberts Avenue and North Broadway. The residence discussed here was one of the 7 in the area built at that time.

When the house was purchased eight years ago, its exterior condition appeared fair.  A lot of its interior could be characterized as "HomeDepotized". Many original features of the house were hidden by drop ceilings, sheetrock, aluminum siding etc . Other interior features had been stripped out by one owner in the 1970s to create an apartment within the residence. It was impossible to accurately assess the condition of the original exterior because of the aluminum siding covering applied during the late 1960's. The original front porch columns had been replaced with wrought iron supports and railings. The original front double doors had been removed and a smaller single metal door put in their place. There were two sleeping porches in the rear that were in original condition, but in bad shape due to wood rot. They were slowly collapsing.  Since this house sits high on a hill overlooking the Hudson, it has taken 111 years of direct unrestricted wind from the river. Several roof shingles from time to time would blow off during any significant winds from the river.

Here are several photos of the exterior shortly after the home was purchased 8 years ago.


The front view of the house. Note the replacement windows, aluminum siding, brick steps, and the wrought iron porch supports


The south face of the house. Aluminum siding covers all.


The rear view of the house. Sliding doors were added in the 1990s as well as a deck. The door was also an addition.


The porch columns slowly collapsing


The North Face of the house. Architecturally its most impressive side.


The view from the North face of the house! The Hudson River and Tappan Zee in the distance.


Same view as above picture but in winter.


The view from the back of the house, the Palisades and Hudson River. Note the Victorian turrets on neighboring homes.