6.30.2008

the house that george built...







Less than a mile from the heart of town, across the street from the elementary school that my kids went to, stands a small abandoned house. It is set way back in the woods between a tangled mess of tall maples and an antique apple orchard. In the winter it can be seen from the road, a ghostly, run down looking Tudor style house. But in the summertime it is a secret hide-away; an Enchanted Storybook Cottage.

This little house has always been the brunt of urban legend stories in our town- no one every really knew what the story behind it was - why did it go empty and abandoned for all these years...decades actually. Well, last week, on my favorite day, (Wednesday, rural decay adventure day) I had the pleasure of discovering more about it, when I snuck up onto the property with my camera to get a better look. Unexpectedly I was met up with its current owner, the grandson of the man who built the house, when he drove up the gravel drive and caught me with my camera redhanded. He graciously filled me in on the houses history and invited me to take pictures (because it is so hidden in this shady glade, these photos are unfortunately rough)

George Shorey built the little cottage around 1910 as his art studio. He was a well known and successful ( listed even) artist as well as art professor in NY and this was his getaway during his time off. The structure is primitive, after all he wasn't an architect. Traditional Tudor in design it is constructed of reclaimed beams, and salvaged parts including leaded glass windows (no longer there) and rustic doors and hardware. Yup, they were even recycling and reusing back in those days. Cement was carefully troweled over chicken wire exterior and sections of the beams were decoratively carved. There is a massive chimney at one end of the studio that soars two stories high and a steep open staircase that leads to a galley type loft over this huge fireplace. We couldn't go into the building but we stuck our camera inside and you can get an idea of the interior. A mess from being vandalized and partied in over the decades.

I could see remnants of old frames and garden statues that made me wonder ... what did this place look like when it was first built?

When I left I asked the nice man what they were going to do with the property. He said they were building their retirement home on the back acreage ( he even gave us a tour of that!) and going to tear down the front house. No!


But it turns out he meant the front house, that being the big white elephant of a house that his Grandfather lived in next to the little cottage - An old 18th century gothic style house, beautiful in its own right, that has gone to ruin.

As for the enchanted storybook cottage / art studio? George's grandson will be restoring that back to its original beauty :)

Won't George be happy ...

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5 comments:

Green Fairy said...

What a great fairy tale cottage! Nice to hear it's being restored.

Tracy said...

I love stories like this! As days go by we will have less and less of these beautiful relics as people make way for the new. What a wonderful story.:>

poppy-petunia said...

thanks you two - i cant wait to see what he does with it - will update with pics - i am sure it will be within the next yr (if not there wont be much left of it - it is like a crumbling cookie)

Anonymous said...

I am a relative and looking for Shorey's. George H Shorey was my father's Uncle. brother of Thomas Roy and son of Thomas. I have family history and lots of pictures of Crawfords and Shorey's to share and have located some of George's work. Love to talk to Shorey's. Allisonshorey@aol.com

Anonymous said...

Have loved this sweet cottage for years, and have been sad to see it deteriorate. So happy and excited to know it will be restored.

 
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