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Yellowdog's avatar

If you like touring Victorian houses, would you like it if one were kept intact but in unrestored / moldering condition?

Asked by Yellowdog (7963points) 1 week ago

Here in Memphis, the Lowenstien house built in 1891 in the historic Victorian Village district, is up for sale. Truly one of the last of its kind: an untouched, deteriorating, largely undiscovered Victorian mansion. Over 20,000 square feet, fantastically detailed with every Victorian architectural bric-a-brac imaginable.

The mansion is located at 756 Jefferson Avenue, and built in the Italianate and Romanesque Revival style.

There are several palacial Victorian mansions and bed-and-breakfasts in this area that have been beautifully and fully restored. The beauty of these homes is breathtaking and they are used also for weddings. But the Lowenstien house is unrestored and that, to me, is part of the attraction.

What about touring a house that looks like, well, the Addams Family or the Munsters, or a classic haunted house—or what your great great grandparents moved out of 30 years ago?

I love an old house to be funky, with character, and dripping with age and deterioration and mystery.

How about a tour home that really looked old and decaying and maybe had a few weird things in it from when it was an art school or a psychological rehabilitation center?

What could be done with an untouched Victorian house? Make a tour home of it as is? Use it for a museum or art gallery or hostel? Would YOU like to see or tour an untouched Victorian mansion?

I’d sure like to pay ten to fifteen bucks just to see a haunted-looking untouched Victorian mansion every now and then. And I hate that this one will go to become law offices or a perfectly restored bed and breakfast.

Any thoughts on the subject?

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14 Answers

Zaku's avatar

There are pics at https://www.zillow.com/homes/756-Jefferson-Ave-Memphis,-TN,-38105_rb/80338443_zpid/?

I do find the unrestored details interesting, and when someone restores, they often do more than I might like, or they remove things that would be better preserved.

In that case, it also looks like there’s some weird debris, and mold and crumbling plaster can also be a bit unsafe.

I see a lot of plaster there that needs reworking, which usually involves huge pervasive clouds or dust getting everywhere. I also see some beautiful old plaster that could be saved, and wouldn’t want the wrong people restoring it.

ragingloli's avatar

I would tear it down, and replace it with a brutalist concrete monstrosity.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

I didn’t want to rain on the parade so I waited to reply.
The first thing that came to mind is mold. :(

anniereborn's avatar

I totally love that place ! I wouldn’t want to live in it of course without major renovation, but it’s just so cool. I dunno, I feel the same way as you do about those kind of buildings.

Yellowdog's avatar

@ragingloli my GF actually said, when she first saw it, “why hasn’t anyone torn it down yet?”

There is Brutalist architecture all over this district and the historic parts of downtown Memphis.

Memphis even tore down Bell Tavern, built in the 1700s, and replaced it with brutalist architecture,

A hideous contemporary sculpture, installed on the Mid America Mall (formerly and once again Main Street) in 1976, was accidentally removed as scrap in 1985 and nobody even knew it was missing until 1987,

flutherother's avatar

Calke Abbey is an absolutely fascinating example in the UK. I have been once and would love to go again.

Inspired_2write's avatar

Restored would be better as it would be deemed safe for the Public then.
I heard that some old houses were restored and used as a Museum or Historical Societies use it.

filmfann's avatar

There is a big, beautiful victorian is San Francisco. The owner changed it to accommodate multiple renters. This required multiple entries, fire escapes, etc. Really ruined the look of it

anniereborn's avatar

@flutherother Wow! I love this place !

Yellowdog's avatar

Exactly—preserve it as it was found. As ghost towns in the U.S. are.

Of COURSE you take care of mold, unsafe stairs and floors. Block off holes in floors if they are a part of the character of the place. But keep them looking old.

Calke Abbey is a good example of the ‘Time Capsule” preservation concept.

The crux of the idea of this thread is—wouldn’t you like to see an old house that looks OLD—not a restored wedding-venue piece? But something more suitable for The Munsters, the Addams Family, or a classic haunted house in film?

My Great-Great Grandmother lived in a decaying, huge Victorian house at 894 Estival street in Memphis. I explored the house extensively in childhood. Lots of WWII activity as a boarding house until the mid 1970s. The last time I was there I was 16 years old in 1980. It was torn down in 2002, after for years after 1980 looking like nothing but a bombed-out shell of shattered plaster and lathework,

Its been 40 years since I;ve seen a really authentic old home as it was in its old, semi-ruined state. Many have never seen such a house except in film or on The Munsters, where houses are made to look this way as part of a movie set. I’d like a REAL one to be seen and would pay to see it.

Lots of antique furniture from the original time period, and interesting miscellaneous objects like old keys and common objects set around is essential, too.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

The woodwork in the house looks to be in great shape.

anniereborn's avatar

There is an amazing place near me. They are restoring it to it’s original state. No renovations. Everything in there is original to the house. Some areas that have not been restored are so very interesting to look at.

Hegeler Carus Mansion

If you search Hegeler in Flickr photos you can find a lot of the good stuff.

martianspringtime's avatar

I love old buildings, and hate to see people gut each and everyone one of them and turn them into an ironic ‘old on the outside, modern minimalist on the inside!!!’. I would love to see this place made safe (i.e. remove mold, fix anything that could be a danger to people going inside) but keep as much true to the original as possible. I understand the need for certain improvements just so it isn’t completely deteriorated and unsafe, but it does not need to be ‘redone’.

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