Save This Old House: A Brick Federal With River Views
This 19th century house has seen its fair share of tenants, but the home's handsome character stands the test of time
Published September 2011
Location: Wheeling, W.Va.
Contact: Laura Kuhns, 304-368-1555
It may come as some surprise, but Wheeling was once one of the wealthiest cities per capita in the United States. A hotbed of iron, textile, and cigar manufacturing, the city spent much of the 19th century fortifying wealthy businessmen, who built hundreds of handsome houses in the Federal, Greek Revival, and Queen Anne styles. One of those houses was this sturdy 1830s brick Federal, owned by a prosperous meat-packer named George Cotts. Cotts and his wife, Agnes, lived here during Wheeling's heyday, raising seven kids. After more than a century of single-owner occupancy, the house was carved into small rental units. It has been empty for the past several years.
Shown: The 4,200-square-foot house was built with two separate entrances. It's believed the former owner, George Cotts, used the address on the left, with its separate entry, as an office. The exterior brickwork was recently repointed but needs stripping or repainting.
The three-bedroom offers beautiful views of the Ohio River and has an income-generating basement apartment. It's located on a street lined with restored 19th-century houses and within walking distance of downtown, where there are plenty of restaurants, arts venues, and shops to keep you entertained.
Shown: Access to the walk-out basement apartment is provided by a rear doorway. You could build a deck above it to enjoy the river views.
Original pocket doors divide the house's front and back parlors. A cherry staircase and much of the house's original cherry crown molding and baseboards are stored in the basement and can be reinstalled.
The wiring and plumbing require an overhaul, and the kitchen and bathrooms need gut renovating. Start with the apartment, then live there until the restoration of this deserving old house is complete.
Shown: These original windows are located in an upstairs bedroom.