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Save This Old House: A Colonial Revival in Syracuse, NY

Take a look at this 1900s colonial revival with great bones and ornate plaster finishes.

Exterior of house in Syracuse
Among the two-story home’s Colonial Revival elements are its hipped roof and symmetrical facade, with a full-width porch and an elaborate cornice with dentils. A 1976 photo (inset) shows the intact facade, with all its windows and its porch and balcony railings in place. The house sits on a 6,593-square-foot parcel adjacent to a vacant lot of the same size, which may be for sale by the neighboring church.
Daniel Stazzone/Greater Syracuse Land Bank

About This House

Historical photo of the colonial house. Courtesy Onondaga Historical Association

This once gracious house was built circa 1902 for a prominent businessman and Democratic party leader William H. Kelley and his wife, Nellie Dwyer Kelley. The couple raised their two children there while William grew the family’s grocery and coal businesses, represented central New York on the state Democratic committee, and began his 17-year term as president of Merchant’s Bank and Trust Company. The Kelleys lived in the house until 1925; around 1942 it was converted into a three-unit dwelling. It changed hands multiple times after that, sitting vacant for a decade before the Greater Syracuse Land Bank acquired it in 2017, avoiding demolition.

Why Save it?

Colonial revival interior home details
Left: Original ornamental plaster details largely remain in one of two first-floor parlors. Right: One of several interior archways opens to an upstairs sitting area with French doors still topped with an arched transom and once sheltered by an awning on the balcony. Most of the second floor’s trim is still in place
Daniel Stazzone/Greater Syracuse Land Bank

The 3,128-square-foot house retains many original elements, including parquet floors, ornamental plasterwork, paneled doors, and decorative casings inside, as well as fluted porch columns, clapboard siding, window trim, brackets, and dentil molding outside. It is the stateliest turn-of-the-century home among others on the block. Syracuse is experiencing a resurgence, with significant investment in its downtown and neighboring areas, including Southside, where the house is located.

What it Needs

Interior of Colonial Revival
The dining room retains its parquet floors, moldings, and window seat. Much of the first floor was stripped of its trim when the house was slated for demolition.
Daniel Stazzone/Greater Syracuse Land Bank

While structurally sound, the house needs a top-to-bottom renovation and all new systems. Zoning regulations require it to be converted into a single-family or two-unit house. The city offers a 10-year tax exemption for the rehab of vacant residences, and the land bank operates an architectural salvage program from which elements can be purchased at a reasonable cost. Given the scope of work, the house lends itself to a resourceful buyer with DIY skills and the will to revive a grand old home whose best years may be yet to come.

House Stats

  • Price: $5,000
  • Location: Syracuse, NY
  • Contact: Daniel Stazzone, Greater Syracuse Land Bank; dstazzone@syracuse; landbank.org

To take a closer look and view more photos from inside this home here.