There’s a bit more history here than might be obvious at first glance. A combination of a barn from Maine and a bit of 1930s imaginative adaptation, this Pound Ridge, N.Y., home was one of the many residential projects of local resident Hiram J. Halle.
Located at 3 Old Mill Road, the house, now on the market, was one of more than 30 projects completed by Halle between his move to Pound Ridge in 1928 and his death in 1944.
A businessman and inventor, Halle was the President of Universal Oil Products and a funder of the University in Exile at the New School for Social Research. An interesting character, his work and philanthropy is definitely worthy of a deeper dive. He moved to Pound Ridge in his 60s and began using his wealth to acquire country houses. A number of them are within the Pound Ridge National Register District and the report refers to Halle’s work as “antiquarian alterations.” Halle, working with designer Walter Gillooly and craftsman Herman P. Scheid, was not a purist in his projects. The 18th and 19th century dwellings that he renovated were often stripped of later 19th century alterations and given his own version of Colonial Revival style.
Tackling all of these renovations was a team of workers, meaning that in the depths of the Depression, Halle was providing steady work for local laborers. In “Westchester The American Suburb,” essay author Gray Williams estimates that Halle employed as many as 60 workers on his renovation projects. When he completed a residence, Halle often furnished it from his own vast collection of art and antiques and leased them to people with a taste for the historic.
Not all of Halle’s projects were originally built in Pound Ridge, he disassembled and moved a number of structures from other towns and states and reconstructed them in a way that “maintained the traditional while allowing for the functional” according to the Putnam County Courier in 1961. The listing states that this house is one of those: a barn moved from Maine and redeveloped into a single-family home in 1930. With its three-bay garage it would hardly pass for an authentic 19th century structure but it has the combination of old and new that is old-looking favored by Halle.
Above the stone garage is a one and a half story frame dwelling with an interior rich with details repurposed or created by craftsmen. There are wide planked floorboards, beamed ceilings, wood paneled walls and a massive rough-hewn mantel in the living room. Unexpectedly for a former barn, there’s a Palladian window, a favorite Halle addition, according to the Pound Ridge National Register Historic district report.
According to the listing, the kitchen was recently been renovated — as is apparent with the newer appliances — but there is still some Colonial Revival style on the wood cabinets with their strap hinges and iron pulls.
A rustic-looking staircase in the living room leads upstairs, where a room tucked under the slope of the roofline includes a half lunette window, another typical Halle touch.
The house has one full bath, which still has its 1930s fixtures, along with built-in cabinets and wood floors.
Within the last decade the house has had a new roof, hot water heater, basement waterproofing and a full rewiring.
This bit of quirky history is on the market for $649,900 and listed with Katherine S. Brunner of Houlihan Lawrence – Bedford/pound Ridge Brokerage.
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