dcsimg

Chance to buy a castle

A meeting place for regulars to discuss the lighter side of old-houses.

Moderators: oldhouse, TinaB, Don M, Schag

Chance to buy a castle

Postby txriverwillow on Thu May 25, 2006 9:05 am

If you were willing to move to Waco Tx. I have always loved driving by this place, but it isn't where I want to live and I love my bungalow. But yet, the chance to say I bought a castle is very tempting...

Image

From the local paper

For sale: One castle


Sunday, May 21, 2006

An unusual and historic home called The Castle, 3300 Austin Ave., went up for sale last week.

The response has been staggering, literally.

I called Trammell Kelly at Kelly Realtors on Friday afternoon to ask about the home. He sounded nearly out of breath when he answered the phone.

“I’ve been running up and down Austin Avenue,” said Kelly, who had been besieged by calls since he stuck a “For Sale” sign in the yard just the day before, on Thursday.

He estimated the volume at four calls an hour.

“I think it will go fairly quickly,” he said, understating the allure of the 6,600-square-foot home that indeed looks like a castle.

It was built of hand-cut sandstone and limestone and has huge fireplaces, an in-ground pool, formal rooms, two staircases and a dumbwaiter, said Kelly.

Construction on The Castle began in 1890 and was completed by its third owner, Capt. Alfred Abeel, in 1914.

Today, it is owned by Hatch Bailey, president of Wilkirson-Hatch-Bailey Funeral Homes Inc.

Bailey could not be reached for comment, but Kelly said he believes Bailey bought the home “three or four years ago.”

No doubt creating a stir among prospective buyers is the asking price, a seemingly modest $175,000. Kelly said Friday that he could not comment on how much he had been offered for the home. He said he would meet with Bailey to discuss the offers.

Asked about reports that mold had been discovered in The Castle, Kelly said: “There was a small amount of mold, but it has been extensively remedied. We have documentation that gives the home a clean bill of health.”

He said a new roof is being applied to The Castle “as we speak,” adding that it needs additional work, “and that is reflected in the price.”

“This is a fantastic opportunity for someone to buy, fix up and own a one-of-a-kind property,” he said.

Some may remember The Castle as a source of controversy in the mid-1990s, when owners Bruce and Dorothy Dyer wanted to place a bed-and-breakfast inn there. Neighbors opposed their request, and the Waco City Council denied it.

A better description of the house

Cottonland Castle consists of about 6,600 square feet of living space and is made mostly of white sandstone. The front door is made of solid oak, measuring 9 feet 4 inches tall and weighing 400 pounds. It is so well balanced that it can be moved by a small child. The main door opens into an entrance hall, 9 feet by 15 feet in size. To the left, there is a main stairway that goes from the main level to the second floor which contains the bedrooms. Off to the right is the drawing room. The term "drawing room" comes from the medieval castle term "withdrawing room" where the king or lord could have his privacy. Next, we enter the 18 by 24 foot living room. The mantel over the fireplace in the living room is large and was designed to hold a mounted stag head, in the tradition of medieval castles. Inscribed on the mantel is a latin phrase which translated into english reads, "The divine guidance of God sustains me". The castle has a total of eight fireplaces. Doors from the living room lead into the dining room. Also on the main level is the library and a sun room with views of the 20' X 40' swimming pool and cabana.

The "basement" level is mostly above ground, and contains the kitchen, large pantry, boiler room, den, breakfast room, and wine cellar. The wine cellar is in the basement portion of the tower. The next higher level of the tower contains part of the stairway landing. On the floor above that, it is a boudoir off the master bedroom, and forth level is the roof level. There is a second tower over the garage and servants quarters. It's original function was to hold a water tank.


HISTORY
John Tennant was a stone contractor who, in 1890 he made a deal with banker J.W. Mann in which Tennant got a square tract of land 350 feet by 350 feet. Tennant carried leftover cut stone from the new Provident building downtown to his plot of land and started building a stone house. Tennant had financial problems and in 1906 he sold the property to Ripley Hanrick who bought it with the agreement that Tennant would continue the stonework. The sandstone walls and the round tower on the northeast corner went up slowly and for a few years, little if any work was done. Sometime around 1910, Alfred Abeel bought the property and hired contractor N.P. Lowrey to finish the castle. It was finally completed in 1913, 23 years after it was first started.

A family named Pipkin lived in the house for many years. In 1969, it was sold to Mr. and Mrs. W.J. Schwan. In 1990 the Castle was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Ginzburg. In 1999 Mr. and Mrs.Hatch Bailey purchased The Cottonland Castle fully furnished as a home in which to reside with their four sons.
txriverwillow
 
Posts: 92
Joined: Fri Apr 21, 2006 5:49 pm
Location: West, Texas (the city of West, not Western Texas)

Postby lrkrgrrl on Thu May 25, 2006 10:06 am

Dang. I don't think I could live in Texas, though. I have this strange fondness for snowy winters and maple syrup.

But what a place, What a bargain! I have always wanted a tower.

I guess I'll have to console myself that at that price, the on going roof work, and "rumors" of mold, it's probably got some other matters of what we call in the trade...."deferred maintenance." :roll:
lrkrgrrl
 
Posts: 4733
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2005 9:50 am
Location: Northeast

Postby Irene on Thu May 25, 2006 10:55 am

Wow what a fun house to own! Put that house in the northeast and it would cost millions! Too bad Texas is such a long drive from NYC :wink:
Irene
 
Posts: 34
Joined: Tue May 16, 2006 8:04 pm
Location: Lower NY

Postby Tujo on Fri May 26, 2006 10:04 am

I'm going to take the wild guess that either the 175 000 is a farce (who cares what we list it at?) or that the house needs substantial work. Too often I've seen homes that looked nice in the add, but visiting them showed they needed a lot of fixing up.
Tujo
 
Posts: 1623
Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2006 8:54 pm
Location: Rural Ontario

What I have been able to gather

Postby txriverwillow on Fri May 26, 2006 10:41 am

I have been talking to people who know the family who owns it and apparently a good deal of the low listing price is the fact it needs substantial plumbing work. Texas doesn't have public records on what a house ends up selling for so we will never know what the final sale price is.
txriverwillow
 
Posts: 92
Joined: Fri Apr 21, 2006 5:49 pm
Location: West, Texas (the city of West, not Western Texas)

Postby lrkrgrrl on Fri May 26, 2006 11:36 am

Hmm, yes, castles are well known for their plumbing problems. Upkeep on the moat alone can run into the big bucks every year. Stocking it with alligators and piranha is, of course, a necessity, although some claim it to be a needless extravagance.
lrkrgrrl
 
Posts: 4733
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2005 9:50 am
Location: Northeast

Great one

Postby txriverwillow on Fri May 26, 2006 12:49 pm

Thank you for that giggle. I can't wait to use that joke with someone today.

:lol:
txriverwillow
 
Posts: 92
Joined: Fri Apr 21, 2006 5:49 pm
Location: West, Texas (the city of West, not Western Texas)

Postby lildog on Fri May 26, 2006 1:05 pm

Tujo wrote:I'm going to take the wild guess that either the 175 000 is a farce (who cares what we list it at?) or that the house needs substantial work. Too often I've seen homes that looked nice in the add, but visiting them showed they needed a lot of fixing up.


I just did a Google search on houses in Waco, TX and there are a number of them on the market for high 50s so I'd guess that to be a fair price for a castle in comparison to other homes in that market. These are homes that would be selling for $200,000 in my neck of the woods.

Remember the key to restate is location, location, location! What sells in one town for $100,000 may sell in another for $1,000,000.
lildog
 
Posts: 157
Joined: Tue Mar 30, 2004 9:15 pm
Location: NH

Postby Tujo on Fri May 26, 2006 1:39 pm

Perhaps, but I think there are still minimums. There are some rural communities around here where you can hardly give a house away, but something like that castle would still fetch a great price because some rich city folks would snap it up as a country home.
Tujo
 
Posts: 1623
Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2006 8:54 pm
Location: Rural Ontario

Some truth to the housing market

Postby txriverwillow on Fri May 26, 2006 2:22 pm

The Waco market for housing costs is a huge difference from either of the coasts. I am on another group and while I was house hunting they were shocked at what I could get for my money. Job market is a lot different too so it is all relative.

However, we do have a fair number of upper end homes and the $175K price is still considerably under market value for the amount of square footage (not even factoring its totally unique architecture and landmark appeal). I paid $48 a square foot for my 1923 unremarkable bungalow and they are asking for $26.51 a square foot.
txriverwillow
 
Posts: 92
Joined: Fri Apr 21, 2006 5:49 pm
Location: West, Texas (the city of West, not Western Texas)

Next

Return to The Hangout Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 1 guest