With dramatic rooflines and an exuberant mix of architectural details, the Second Empire style had a fair bit of popularity in New York in the latter half of the 19th century, for houses both rural and urban. Here’s one set in the midst of farmland just north of downtown Athens with all the hallmarks of the style.
Like examples in Red Hook, Hudson and Kingston, this house on the market at 1695 Route 385 boasts a windowed-tower from which to enjoy views of the surrounding landscape, a bracketed cornice, dormers and porches. But it appears to be missing the iron cresting that would typically ornament the roofline.
It likely dates to the 1870s, although the research didn’t dig up an exact date or a builder. A map of Athens from 1891 appears to mark the house as the property of “J. Smidt.” This is probably Joseph Schmitt (or Schmidt) a farmer and German immigrant. The 1900 census shows his daughter Amelia (or Amalia) and son-in-law Otto God living in the household with him, and the God family eventually took over the farm. Otto ran a prosperous farm according to the local paper The Recorder in 1919, focused on raising livestock.
While the God’s farm would have had a fair amount of space, the house currently sits on just under two acres. If that’s not enough land, the listing notes that an additional 57 acres are for sale separately.
The house itself has plenty of space, with formal rooms and the kitchen on the first floor and seven bedrooms spread out on the floors above. Original details like window and door moldings, wood floors, built-ins and plaster ceiling medallions are plentiful. There are also three mantels, including one in the dining room that’s fairly typical of the 1870s.
Wallpaper abounds in the house, with florals from delicate to bold. This includes the kitchen which has a floral and striped pattern. It also has an attractive wood slat ceiling and decor that is a bit dated but appears to be in fine shape down to the patterned linoleum floor.
The property currently operates as an AirBnB (the description refers to it as God’s Acres) and the listing notes that there is the option of including the furnishings in the sale. You can get a closer look at all the details with a virtual tour that allows a viewer to “walk” right through a door and sneak upstairs to the windowed space at the top of the tower. It’s also a chance to get a closer look at the 2.5 bathrooms, including one with wainscoting and a cast iron tub.
Outside there is some additional space in a garage with a rec room. In addition to a perennial garden, the yard includes an in-ground pool and a firepit.
The property is just a quick drive to downtown Athens, which has a wealth of interesting 19th century architecture. During the summer you can also hop a ferry from a downtown pier to head across the river to Hudson.
The house is listed with Aysa Morehead of Coldwell Banker Village Green Realty at $749,000.
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