166 Main Street: The Ira Gould House


Wagener's individual sales


166 Main St.
ven comparing this house's present appearance with an old photograph, it's quite difficult to reconcile the two. Offhand it would seem impossible to so change a dwelling without entirely demolishing it, but that is what happened here.

The lot was sold by Abraham Wagener to Henry Plimton in 1824, and by him to Ira Gould in 1825. Gould was at that time the dominant village merchant, and he built a very solid little Federal-style brick house on this site, with a rather flat parapet-style roof and a central side-gable entrance. Gould moved away from the village about 1833 and at that time sold his house to Myron Hamlin, newly arrived from Dundee by way of Buffalo, and about to become the dominant merchant in his turn.

166 & 168 Main St.

Hamlin lived in this house for decades, until the early 1870s, when it was sold to Daniel Morris, another relative newcomer, from Rushville. Morris' son William T. inherited the place, and it was he who in 1910 completely altered the house. He raised its south and west walls and then covered the entire structure with hollow yellow tiles, which were then finished with stucco.

The central block of what must really be called the "new" house is where the original house stood, with a window where the entrance was. A nod to the original Federal style was made with the beautiful pearl glass fanlight over the main entrance, which is under the north portico. The stepped end gables contain semielliptical lights, another reference to the Federal origins of the dwelling. The massive columns with their Ionic capitals, and the alternating gabled and round-topped dormers bring the house into what is usually called Georgian Revival style, a stately and more massive cousin of Federal that was quite popular in the early 20th century, though not much seen in Penn Yan. It would probably have been regarded as startlingly modern; on the other hand it would not have been dwarfed by the 1898 Methodist church next door.



Far right: 166 Main Street as it is today, completely altered from its original form in 1910 by William T. Morris. Originally a rather small brick Greek Revival dwelling, it is now a very large stucco Georgian Revival house, used by the Methodist Church for educational and other purposes. The Georgian Revival style is a subset of the Colonial Revival so popular in the early 20th century, characterized by a rather massive stateliness, columns and pilasters (in this case with Ionic capitals), dormer windows, stepped gables and semi-elliptical lights. This house has a magnificent leaded iridescent semi-elliptical fanlight over the main entrance, in the recess to the right and out of this picture.

Near right: Photograph of the Methodist Church at 168 Main with 166 to its south, before W.T. Morris's renovations (and of course also before the church was replaced in 1898). This 1825 federal-style structure still exists within the much more elaborate 1910 Georgian Revival house that Morris built. The original house was built of brick, with stepped gables and a porch all across the east (front) side. The central side-gable entrance was converted into a window.

People related to this lot and structure:

     Abraham Wagener
Ira Gould
Myron Hamlin
The Morrises
The later Wageners

Related structures:

     164 Main Street
     126 Main Street
     25 Main Street

Related history:

     The County Seat
     The 1910s


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